How To Get A Music Scholarship

One of the most daunting things as a musician is auditioning for a music scholarship at the college or university you really want to attend. As if working on the applications themselves weren’t enough work… The purpose of this article is to guide you through some things to keep in mind in order to give you the best shot possible at getting a scholarship in music. 

The first step is a simple one. Be sure that you’re studying with a great private music teacher. Lessons In Your Home has plenty of wonderful teachers to guide you to success in music lessons!  Once you’ve figured out which colleges offer music scholarships (if you are unsure, their websites tend to be very clear, or you can always ask them!), here are two steps in setting yourself up for success. 

The Audition

This is about 70% of the determining factor in whether or not you are offered a scholarship. Either when you look at their website or sign up for an audition at your prospective college or university, you will encounter a selection of audition excerpts you are to prepare. This can be a collection of technical studies or sections of pieces of music. Make sure you get your hands on them as soon as you POSSIBLY can!! The longer you have the audition materials, the more time you have to prepare. Lessons In Your Home instructors have all been through this process, and they have likely even seen the same audition materials that you are about to, so be sure to ask them how to best prepare for this audition in your music lessons!

Here’s a shorthanded list of what to look for and work on in preparation for these auditions:

  • Tempo Markings
  • Rhythmic Precision
  • Musical expression – bring the music to life!
  • For technical studies, you want your playing to sound effortless. It’s not “real music” of course. But if you can give off the sense of your typical technical exercises being superbly musical, you’ll really make an impression on the audition committee.
  • If it’s a section from a piece of music, be sure to understand the whole piece, the other parts of the ensemble, and your role within that moment of the piece super well. Listening to lots of different interpretations will help you form your own idea for how it should be played.

After the Audition

Reach out to the main instructor of your instrument and introduce yourself! Send them some recordings of your playing that you are proud of. Most of the players auditioning will just be a person behind a screen to them, and only experience their playing in those moments. If you reach out afterwards with more materials, they have a better sense of you as a musician. If you are like me and audition poorly compared to your true abilities, this will help you find greater success. It worked for me!

Another thing that is worth doing after the audition is requesting a single private lesson at some point afterwards. Be sure to reach out to them before the audition to check if there is an opening in their schedule. If there is, this another chance for you to show yourself off as a human. Think about this: they are making a choice of whether or not they want you to be in their program for multiple years. This includes private lessons and lectures. This is your chance to show them that you are a good listener, a responsive student, and an overall easy person to be around. They will very likely take you through your audition materials, so you also get some feedback. This is also your chance to see if this teacher and the program are right for you. College programs are two way roads, and the ideal is that all parties involved are happy with the student-teacher relationship. 

Most of those auditioning only play their audition and call it good. While that is fine, these are some steps that you can take to improve your odds by quite a lot!

Contact us today to find out more about our teachers!