Yeah that. What should I already know before applying to any college or university?
how to play in instrument, maybe not even that.
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Well there are number of things to consider:

Are you applying to music college's, or do you plan on majoring in music through a state university or private liberal arts college?

What do you want to do with music? Do you want to be a music teacher at the elementary/high school/university level? Do you want to start up a recording studio? Do you want to be a performance major? Are you being realistic with what you want to do?

Is there anything else that you're considering going to school for? Do you have other interests or passions? What are your goals, and what would you like to get out of college?

What is your current experience? Do you play any other instruments? How well can you read music? How is your knowledge regarding music theory?

Also, where are you in school right now, and what options are you considering for college?

Sorry for the wall of text, its a lot of questions, and figuring out what to do when it comes to furthering your education can be tough. You have to really spend a lot of time figuring out exactly what you want, and always keep in mind that you could change. For example, I went into my freshman year with my mind set on mechanical engineering. Now, in December I'm declaring as a fine arts major, and I could possibly come out of college with minors in history and music.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if you're thinking performance is the way you want to go, and you want to play bass (I'm just assuming this), it'll most likely have to be upright bass.

EDIT: also, searchbar. If I recall we had a really good thread or two a little while back that had some great info about music and college.
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Last edited by Tostitos at Jul 22, 2010,
Belongs to where and what exactly you want to study i guess..
To study Jazz Bass Guitar here in Germany (and i guess it's pretty similar in the rest of Europe) you gotta know a lot in theory and you also have to be a genius on your instrument (you have to play 2 jazz or classical solos).

I'm at the moment preparing to study jazz in Vienna. For this I'm preparing Bireli Lagrène's "Timothee" and Bach's "Cello Suite No. 1 Prelùde".

For the theory part go on a website of any college! I guess there you'll find all informations you need.
In the US instrumental proficiency is the name of the game. You should be a strong instrumentalist and arrange a few sample lessons with university faculty to gauge where you are and build a list of appropriate schools. Then you should know the audition repetoire for the schools your applying to like you wrote it.
You should know that it is not a smart Idea...

Major in business with maybe a minor in music...

there is no sense in going to college for 4 years and not being able to get a job when you Graduate

I hate to be a dream killer but truth is..the business is merciless and you will want a major that is likely to get you a job right out of school...if you end up having to get student loans you WILL need a way to pay them back...

There is a guitar center full of guys near where I live who attempted to major in music...now they are working at slightly above minimum wage + commission.

They always suggest to the younger guys careers in nursing/medicine for guaranteed pay..

I say business because with that you can start a business or get a job at a respectable company...with a minor in music you have some good credentials to build a respectable studio and run it your self or manage other musicians..

In short...music major is generally a bad Idea go for something that wont have you struggling to live/find a job
Quote by Axim Bassist
In short...music major is generally a bad Idea go for something that wont have you struggling to live/find a job

It alway belongs to what you study, where you are and how good you are. You can't say that in general.

Edit: Didn't want to say that you're wrong. To get a good job in music business you gotta be really good of course. And then there's still no guarantee that you'll get a job.
Last edited by Lucas_ at Jul 22, 2010,
I was originally going to study Music Composition at Indiana University before Med school slapped me in the face. So I have done a lot of narrow research on my topic. To get into the COMPOSITION program you had to have prepared a portfolio of three original songs, and had to preform a fourth song of your own composition, then on top of that, to get accepted into the SCHOOL of Music at the university you had to preform a complete song, and one solo for your instrument. Those are the pre-reqs to get into the program, now for what you should know if you want to be a music major...

Obviously you need to be good at your instrument, you don't have to be great, just good. You need to have very diverse styles, and have to be familiar with both Jazz and Classical. Experience is always a good thing (As with everything else in the world) and you are going to need to know how to present yourself as a "professional musician." (Pretty much dress up for every audition you have, be polite yes ma'am, no sir, thank you, that kind of stuff.)

On the theory side, going into college you'll just need the basics, all key signatures, read bass and treble clef, know Major scales, Minor scales, 7th scales, know every key's relative minor, have familiarity with chord buildings and all that nice stuff, know all your inversions, 1 is 8, 2 is 7, 3 is 6, 4 is 5. Know that 1, 3, 7 are majors, 2, 6 are minor's and 4 and 5 are perfects, remember you're going to college to learn, not to already know everything. You will have to know how to play piano, my Jazz band teacher told me that he never really learned how to play and was able to fake his way through, but said it would help immensely to already know how to play.

One reason I decided to change majors was because of job opportunity. To get a job in music composition, I would have to move out to either the West coast, or the East coast, which I really didn't feel like doing. (Personal side note, I want to live in Alaska. /random) BUT if you go as a performance major you can usually (instrument pending) get into an orchestra, or Philharmonic. Some pay enough to support yourself, others just pay enough to help out.

The best source of knowledge will come from the school itself, contact the teacher, or contact the head of the music department and just talk to them, but do a lot of research in advance, good luck with your music, and remember that success is measured by the fulfillment you get from your work, not from the size of your paycheck.
Music as what career? Band teacher or rock star or commercial jingle writer...orchestra leader?

My advice...do as I did . Major in something else (I'm a geologist) and do music as a minor. You can always adjust in future and major in music if you change your mind. I found that this way I enjoyed my music courses and requirements. Hardly any of the students i knew who majored in music had a music profession afterwards or, if they did, it was teaching in schools. Even if you want to be a school teacher...then have another major (English, history, etc.) to make yourself more likely to get a position in a school that you want to rather than a drabby public school.
Last edited by Raptorfingers at Jul 23, 2010,
TS, basically this thread is gonna have a bunch of advice from people who dont know a whole lot about what their talking about

If your heart is set on music, heres what you do. Research schools with programs in your instrument. Pick 10 schools that you like. Go visit them, TAKE A LESSON WITH THE TEACHER. Send in an application, put together your audition, and then give that audition.

Then you play the waiting game for the next 5 months or so
The music industry is a very unforgiving industry, and having a degree or something in music does not guarantee you a job in the industry. My uncle-in-law (my step-dad's brother) studied music at college and university, and he has two different degrees in music and the very best job he has ever had the chance to do is a music teacher, whereas he planned to become a studio producer or something high up in the business.

My recommendation; study something that can help you get a secure job, like computing or medicine, and study music as well, that way you have something to fall back on if you're music career goes dead.

/depressing story.

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As a student of music I'd recommend not studying music. There's no gain to it in terms of getting anywhere in the industry. You just need to get out there and play and hopefully if you're unbelievably lucky you'll get noticed.

And the most important piece of advice given to me ever. Never turn down a gig.
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Over here you need to have 4 years of music theory behind you and know how to play perfectly a classical instrument (or the classical version of it), and they ask you to learn several musical compositions to learn on it. My friend who has played piano relentlessly since he was 6, with theory ever since then, FAILED the test to get in. And when your in it's a lot of years of studying music. Best job you could get? Music teacher.

But over there it's probably less complicated.
And be sure that youll be happy spending the next for years doing nothing but music or however long courses are in america. I decided this year that that would put me of music myself. Im still going to do a music related course but its more lutimedia in a way.

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And the most important piece of advice given to me ever. Never turn down a gig.


This is what i hear everywere.
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My advice--double major. Music is one of the areas where you want to have a solid fall back plan.

Some other pieces of advise from the "trenches" of personal experience and those of good friends and mentors.

1. Learn to make rice and beans in many, many ways. From an economic standpoint, if you don't have a money pot coming from your family or a spouse, money is going to be a constant worry.

2. Never turn down a gig. Yes everyone has said this already, but it bears repeating. The most successful musicians from a career standpoint, work constantly in several different bands and are always available for a call.

3. While you may be the big fish in the pond of your secondary school when it comes to music, university level you are one fish amongst many. If you can shine amongst the cream of the crop and get in, be prepared to constantly have to prove yourself against the best of your peers over and over again. And even that's no guarantee that you will get the golden ticket after graduation. Because guess what? The real world of music the same.