Q&A About Inside Music Schools

Q: How can we find out if Inside Music Schools (IMS) is right for us?

A: We hold a free 20- to 30-minute conversation via Zoom when a family contacts us. We learn about the student, and they learn about us. It helps everyone determine if we are a good match. We then follow up with ideas about how we could work together.

Q: What is the first step once a student begins working with IMS?

A: We hold an extensive intake consultation via Zoom. We learn a great deal about the student’s interests, knowledge, and ability and what both the parents and students envision for the college experience. That information determines what the next steps should be.

Q: When should a student begin working with IMS?

A: We advise students to begin in their sophomore year or junior year. We work with high school seniors too, but by then, there is a much smaller window in which to work. The students need to know where they stand compared to other college-bound musicians and what they should be working on for auditions and interviews. If a student comes to us in their senior year, we may only have time for one mock audition or simulated interview. It is still valuable. However, if they come to us earlier, we can repeat these activities depending on the level of service you select. The student enjoys progress over time and gets opinions from multiple specialists.

Q: What are the four tiers or levels of service IMS offers?

A: The Fundamental package is our most basic. It includes an extensive consultation with us via Zoom. During the interview, we discuss the student’s music training, academic record, extracurricular activities, college thinking to-date, and career aspirations.

Our Silver program begins with the interview and report from the Fundamental package. It becomes an intake step and a foundation for our work with the student. The Silver program also involves an online mock audition with a college faculty member who specializes in the student’s principal instrument. For students wanting to instead major in composition, music production, songwriting, or musical theater, we arrange for an assessment by college faculty members in those disciplines. The impartial feedback the student receives from such a well-placed expert is invaluable in helping them prepare for the real thing. The Silver program concludes with a simulated interview of the type the student will likely encounter with colleges and universities as part of the audition process. The IMS consultants conducted thousands of these at their respective institutions over the years, and we possess the deep experience to help students improve their interview skills.

The Gold program incorporates everything found in the tiers just described. It may also include additional auditions or assessments if the student plays another instrument or has another area of musical interest (composition, songwriting, music production, and the like). What truly sets the Gold level apart is a personalized list of schools we recommend the student consider. We provide this based on the information from the intake consultation and the mock audition(s)/assessment(s). Some schools on the list will be a “reach” for acceptance, while others will be a “match” for the student’s interests and abilities. We also include a few “safety” schools on the list.

In the Platinum program, we provide additional services (that may be repeated). Most students don’t have a polished résumé, so we provide them with guidelines. Once we receive a draft of a résumé, we have professionals review them and make suggestions on how to improve it. Most students will also have to write essays as part of the application process. We also review these and work with the student to help make them excellent. Families on the Platinum plan have one-on-one access to us via Zoom, phone, or direct message. From the day they sign up until May 1 of the student’s senior year, they can reach out to us for advice and guidance.

The music school admissions process is complex and full of pitfalls. Choosing the wrong school can be a disappointment for the student and an expensive misstep for the family. At Inside Music Schools, we help get college-bound students moving decisively toward their future.