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Frequently Asked Questions

Search through our FAQs for insight on common questions we receive.
1How do I know if I should major (or minor ) in Music?
What is your passion when you wake up each morning?
Can you envision yourself doing anything other than music each day of your future?
What do you experience when you engage in a musical activity?
2What do I have to know to be a music major in college?
It’s not just what you already know, but it’s also about potential and a willingness to learn. That being said, these are some skills and traits that will stand you in good stead applying as a music major:
  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.
3Are music scholarships hard to come by?
The overall answer is Yes. However, it depends. What does it depend on?
What instrument (or voice) will be your principal instrument?
How well do you play it / perform on it?
How badly does any given school need that instrument?
4Are there different kinds of bachelor’s degrees awarded in music? A BM, a BFA, a BA, and a BS?
The most obvious difference is the ratio or distribution of course credits in your major field of study vs. other humanities/liberal arts courses.
The degree with a preponderance of music or major-related courses is the BM (bachelor of music), or the BME (bachelor of music education).
The BFA (bachelor of fine arts) will be heavy on major-related courses but will include more humanities than the BM.
The BS (bachelor of science) is likely to include a fair representation of science, math, business courses.
The BA (bachelor of arts) will contain the least number of music-related subjects and a majority of Liberal Arts courses.
5Can I make a career in music?
The list of careers in the music industry is lengthy. Far too long to list here in it’s entirety. And it gets longer each year.
In general, they fall within 4 major categories: Playing/performance; Writing / composing; // Music Technology; // Music Business- Industry.
Read more about majors here.
6What is expected on an audition?
It really depend on the type of musical genre you are auditioning for. Classical - Perform 1 - 3 prepared pieces (or portions) from the standard repertoire from your instrument, or voice. (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, 20th C).
Jazz - Perform 1 or 2 prepared pieces; sight-reading; ear-training; improvisation.
Pop - Perform 1 or 2 Standards and/or originals; ear-training; maybe sight-reading.
7As a Musical Theater Major, do I have to choose between singing, acting, and dance?
You wish! Musical theater programs will expect you to do all three in an audition, whether it be a pre-screening video or live audition. They may not expect all three areas to be equally proficient, but you must evidence strength in 1 or 2 areas and some skill in the other(s).
8I want to be a record Producer (or Engineer); Can I learn that in college?
Most definitely. There are many conservatories and university music programs that either have a major or courses in music producing, audio engineering, technology, sound design, etc.
They are often called by different names, so study the course curriculum carefully. Some may place an emphasis on musicianship, some on technology, and some even on business/industry skills.
With the assistance of IMS, find the ones that satisfy your own personal interest and goals.
9How difficult is it to Double Degree?
DIFFICULT! Not for the faint of heart; or the disorganized, or the less-than-driven smart student.
Putting maximum effort into one discipline is hard enough. Double that, and be ready to exist on 4 or 5 hours of sleep a night.
Also - only go this route if your are sincerely passionate about BOTH areas of study.
10Do you consult with students/families out-of-state?
All the time. It works great. In fact, many international students/families have worked successfully with IMS.
11Why should I choose to work with IMS?
Experience - 40 years in higher education (public and private), at the teaching and highest administrative levels.
Knowledge - derived from being a conservatory-trained musician, an educator, a Dean of Admissions, a parent of three college-educated children.
Contacts/Network - from coast-to-coast, in countless conservatories, colleges, and universities, in every music discipline offered.
Success - Having guided thousands of college-bound musicians and over 200 independent students/families each of whom was successfully admitted to a college of their choice.
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