As you make a decision to major in music, you will want to have most, if not all, of the following skills and experiences under your belt by the time you apply to music schools.
Check to see how you stack up. If you’re missing any of these or feel like you could use a bit of help in any area, ask a more advanced music student or a music teacher for some help before you start applying.
1. Experience studying with a private teacher — along with plenty of advance preparation and support for auditions.
2. Experience in school and/or community bands, orchestras, ensembles, choirs or in your own band or performance group.
3. Experience and some degree of comfort in performing solos as well as performing with a larger group.
4. Ability to read music, sight-read and sight-sing.
5. Listening and aural skills.
6. An understanding of basic music theory.
7. Exposure to lots and lots of music, in the genre you like to perform as well as in other genres.
8. Experience participating in after-school music programs and summer music camps and training programs.
Note that academic achievement is not included on this list because music schools vary so much in their requirements. Some expect academic excellence and competitiveness and see high SAT and ACT scores as predictors of success as a music major. Others put less emphasis on high school academic achievement and are more interested in finding students with passion, talent, knowledge, and interest in the world at large.