When I was working in the Admission Office of an internationally-known music school, the biggest mistake I saw applicants make over and over was not choosing a professor when they submitted their application.
Many students said that they liked the school so much, they would be happy studying with any of the professors of their instrument on the faculty. But, that statement shows a lack of knowledge about the instructors, and that missing detail matters.
Professors at major music schools have significant input into whether or not a student is offered admission to their programs. They are choosing trainees, and want to be sure that they will be working with people who will respond to their teaching and who will do the intensive work. Most also have limited spaces available in their lesson schedule.
To win one of those spots, a candidate must not only be a great player, but must also have a good rapport with the professor. It has to be clear that the teaching methods will be effective for the student. If, by audition day, that student shows no knowledge of or interest in the instructor’s style, another student who has demonstrated both will be chosen ahead of them.
Is this process unfair? I say no.
Developing a healthy relationship with the person who will be your mentor, instructor, coach, and guru for four years is essential for your ultimate success. And, choosing students who show real interest and potential is essential for the professor’s success.
Planning to apply to music schools? Start researching the professors on your instrument, and get to know them.
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