If you're an aspiring concert pianist or an electric guitarist looking to receive as much music training as possible, you've probably been looking into college music programs. However, there are a lot out there, and figuring out which ones are worth your while can be tricky.
There are several things you can look for that can help you weed out the duds and determine which college music programs most closely meet your requirements. A few of these elements are faculty, location, and alumni experiences.
Having successful and highly experienced faculty members or administrators is definitely something about a college music program that should catch your eye. For example, Piedmont president Dr. James Mellichamp has been a music professor since the mid-nineties and has performed organ concerts in many famous locations such as Notre Dame Cathedral. When the faculty and staff have that sort of relevant experience, their program has likely been created and maintained with the utmost care.
Faculty and administrators with extensive experience and recognition realize the importance of training, practice, and quality instruments and programs to help you succeed. So, when considering a school, take a stroll through the faculty list and consider their credentials and experience. That in and of itself can go a long way in your music education.
It doesn't matter if a college program you're looking into has the most famous classical pianist in the world teach piano workshops twice a year if you are studying acoustic guitar. Likewise, if you're aspiring to be a classically trained cellist, the perfect program for you may not be in Nashville. Different locations attract different crowds, mindsets, and experiences.
Also, the location provides more opportunities to make relevant connections to others in your future industry. Whether you hope to walk the cobblestone streets of France or meet top country stars in the heart of the United States, finding the school that will give you that experience will be worth it. College is a significant investment of money and time. So if you're going to be spending several years in one place, it should be one that can potentially positively shape your music career.
Lastly, remember that you can read up all you want on the school's web page, but until you actually go for a visit and dig deeper into the individual experiences of real students, you won't completely understand the nuances of attending a particular school.
If a college program has one or more alumni that make it in the music industry, that's a critical indicator that they're doing something right. Most credible colleges and programs have alumni pages that allow you to read up on program graduates, their current careers, and more.
And, of course, the internet is always a fantastic tool to seek out reviews on different programs, schools, and even professors. Credible college rating sites or lists of best programs often consider alumni experience and thoughts and can give great insights to narrow down the search.
In the end, you know yourself best, and only you can define your goals and dreams when it comes to your music education and career. So take the time to understand what you are looking for, and that, combined with the above tips, can help you pinpoint your ideal college music experience.