Preparing for Music School: Advice From Experts (Part 1)

Preparing for music school admissions: advice from experts. Gain insights on music school applications and auditions. This part of our series gains insights from bass teacher, Tim F.

Hodis Learning & Music bass teacher, Tim, shares insights on the music school admissions process. Tim earned his B.M. from Oberlin Conservatory of Music and M.M. from USC Thornton School of Music, both in jazz bass studies.

What goes into preparing for the performance aspect of music school applications?

Preparing for music school applications can be a very involved process. In addition to sending in an application and supplemental essays, students will often have to send in a portfolio. This involves preparing a lot of material that usually requires applicants to record themselves playing solo pieces or in an ensemble. If the committee likes what they see, then students may be invited to visit the school for an in-person audition. 

How can you specifically help students prepare for music school auditions? Can you help with the application itself?

I’ve gone through the process twice myself, so I have a good understanding of general requirements and application timelines. I can help the student record their portfolio as well as help them prepare mentally for the in-person audition.

What advice would you give those applying to their dream program? 

I recommend trying to get a lesson with the professor that students are hoping to study under. Students will be spending four years studying with this professor, so they should make sure that the instructor is a good fit personally and in terms of their teaching style. It can also be helpful to take a private tour with someone in the specific school in which students plan to study. I learned as much from my peers as I did my teachers. Try spending the night on campus. Students should make sure they feel like they could fit in and grow with the community of the school.

Get started early and stay organized. It’s important that you allot enough time to understand individual school requirements and prepare the requested material. There are a lot of students who apply each year, so leaving out required material will likely disqualify you. Sending your application and portfolio in time can also be a good way of leaving a good first impression.

Are you planning on applying to music school? Schedule your first session with Tim today!


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