As a college band director, Miguel Bonds understands high school students’ effort into earning acceptance into a collegiate music program. The entire admissions process can be highly stressful, and most students don’t truly understand the factors that can help provide them with an edge in a very competitive field. Miguel Bonds believes that a successful journey to a career in music starts by selecting the proper college for musical education. Today, Miguel Bonds will discuss the importance of choosing the appropriate college and the other factors that play a significant factor in easing the struggle of applying to collegiate music programs.
Many high school students are unaware of the differences between a university and a conservatory. A conservatory puts a student in a place where it’s much more than having a major in music. It’s an institution where the entirety of a student’s focus is on instrumental music. The easiest way to understand a conservatory is to look at other trade schools. If a student chooses to go to a trade school to become a plumber, they shouldn’t expect to take classes outside of that world. The same can be said for conservatories and music. A few of the top conservatory institutions in the country, like the Manhattan School of Music and Cleveland Institute of Music, ask students to complete credits in different liberal art classes. If a student has aspirations to attend one of these schools, they should look to have a well-rounded academic resume. If a student is looking for a more traditional college experience, they should look for universities that have great music programs but allow them to take other classes as well.
Miguel Bonds on the Importance of Prescreening
In order to be accepted into a top music program, students will need to either audition in person or send in a video of themselves performing. In the post-pandemic world, it’s much more likely that students will be asked to submit a video. Prospective students should spend time and energy choosing a location to record with excellent acoustics. A professional videographer is not required, but the video should be semi-professional. A lot of students make the mistake of over-editing and adding artificial sounds or graphics to enhance their video. Schools are looking for a video with excellent, natural performance. There’s plenty of time to shoot and reshoot, so students should put the work into their performance as opposed to their video editing skills.
Miguel Bonds on Live Auditions
Students should approach live auditions with confidence. No one is invited to audition live without a considerable amount of talent. The hardest part of the audition process is controlling nerves. This is why it is best to seek out secondary schools to audition with first. The more practice in front of a board of collegiate professionals, the more natural it will feel to perform. The biggest fears students have are typically linked back to the fear of the unknown. Miguel Bonds suggests students ask to tour the facility ahead of an audition. Becoming accustomed to the room can help a student ease their nerves.
In a lot of ways, the live audition is like a job interview. It’s essential to show up early, dress appropriately, and put on a show. The little details add up. Taking the time to pay attention to the details can be the difference between gaining acceptance to top schools and settling for a safe school.