I'm a Freshman in high school now, but I'm trying this new thing where I think about the future. Right now, I want to be a music major, and I need to know the best way to get into a school with a good music program. I've heard all about academics advice, but nothing about music. Do grades matter? I'm in the Orchestra and the Marching Band now, and that seems like the most important for me. Since I'm still a Freshman, I don't really know any good colleges with strong music programs, but both my parents want me to go to Belmont because we live in Tennessee. Can you help me with this ton of questions?
As you probably know, within the broad category of music, there are lots of specializations—theory, performance, teaching, and conducting, among others. I’ll assume you haven’t narrowed your interests down and are interested in exploring all these avenues.
It’s great that you're involved in the music programs at your school. You've done the right thing by joining orchestra and marching band, and you should aim to take on a leadership role in these groups. That's certainly key.
From an admissions standpoint, grades also matter. Just think of all the other students out there who are interested in studying music in college—but not just any college. They want to attend a good school that is competitive, well-known, and lauded for its great academic programs. To compete with these students, you want your grades and test scores to reflect positively on your application and help set you apart.
I grew up in the South, and I've heard very good things about Belmont University. This private school is located in the country music capitol of the U.S., and it has an exceptional program in music management and marketing. I agree that it would be a great school for any student interested in studying music.
Here is another option: if you are willing to look further afield, check out The Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University of Bloomington. This school has a top notch arts program and a campus that is rated among the best-looking in the country. It is said to have a very good music program and is worth checking out—and visiting, if you can make the trip. If you wouldn't mind hobnobbing with Yankees, you could also investigate the abundance of great music schools on the East Coast, including Julliard, Berklee, and the Eastman School of Music. Hope this helps!
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