Music School Decisions When You Can’t Visit

How can you make music school decisions when you can’t visit? While campuses are closed and in-person instruction and activities are canceled?

Here are some suggestions:

1. Visit school websites and take their virtual tours. Many are also setting up virtual open houses and Zoom meetings as well for prospective students and new admits. Bard College Conservatory, for example, has set an open house for early April with virtual booths with admissions, faculty and current students all coming on from their remote locations.

2. If your questions aren’t answered on the school websites, contact the admissions staff (they are all working remotely at this time). Reach out to specific faculty members via their email addresses. They are all working remotely right now. If these schools participate on you can also use the forms on their pages to ask your questions.

3. Ask for some student contacts you can connect with. Email these students with any lingering questions that will help inform your decision.

4. If you haven’t yet had a lesson with a faculty member who teaches your instrument, inquire with the admissions staff as to whether this is possible and how to set it up remotely.

5. If you haven’t had a chance to sit in on classes, ask the admissions staff whether it would be possible to attend a class remotely.

6. Check school websites and social media to see how faculty and students at the schools you’re considering are creatively making music while distancing from their musical peers.

This will give some insight into the music school culture you’d be part of. “As far as ensembles, professors are getting creative with ideas ranging from repertoire analysis to playing along with the conductor from home to sending in videos of them playing specific bars of music, etc.,” said Communications Director Jennifer Clary Jacobs at Colorado State University School of Music, Theatre and Dance.

“We are requiring ensemble members to do critical listening with recordings of the rehearsals we recorded before on-campus activities were discontinued, and they have analyses and reflections they are required to submit to complete their requirements,” said Dan Godfrey, professor and chair of the Department of Music at Northeastern University.

As Berklee College of Music President Roger Brown said, “We are creators, improvisers, innovators. We can’t control the nature of the coronavirus, but we can respond to it with imagination and determination.”

7. See whether the schools you’re considering have extended their decision deadline. Some have already postponed it from May 1 to June 1 or later. This means the deadline for sending a deposit has also been postponed.

Since the decision about when to reopen schools around the world is determined by national and state regulations, keep checking school websites to find out their policies and plans. can work with concerns and issues around decision-making and other aspects around studying music on the college level. To learn more about fee-based consultation offered via telephone, Skype, FaceTime or Zoom:

Photo credit: John Matychuk

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