How to Prepare for a Music College
There are millions of kids that dream of being famous musicians. From rock stars and show-stopping rappers to legendary music producers, music career aspirations cover a broad range.
However, all of these possibilities can begin with a singular step: attending an accredited music college.
It makes sense, right? A music school puts you in an immersive atmosphere where you eat, sleep, and breathe music, learn the very best techniques, work with industry-leading instructors, and have countless collaboration opportunities.
That part is pretty clear-cut. But, it's the other stuff you need to consider, too.
What separates one music school from the next? What is the admissions process? Do you have to audition? Is financial aid available? Does the school offer a program that will help you seamlessly transition to your dream career? What support exists once you graduate?
These are some of the questions you need to think about. Plus, what about yourself? You typically need to be at a certain skill level before a music school will even accept you.
But, don't worry! Information is power, so today we are helping you prepare for your music college journey.
Table of Contents
- What is the Curriculum Like?
- What's The Music Environment Like?
- Check Out the Facility
- Have the Alumni Been Successful?
- How to Prepare Yourself for a Music College in High School?
- Attend an Accredited Music College
What is the Curriculum Like?
When deciding which music college to attend, the first thing you should look at is their curriculum.
If you have a strong understanding of what you want to excel at in the music industry, you need to pair that passion with a music degree or certificate that will directly put you in a position to land that job once you complete the program.
In addition, make sure you know what all is required to graduate.
How long does it take to complete the program? Does the music school offer certificates or degrees? Associate Degrees or Bachelor Degrees?.
You should also be aware of the following:
- Admission and application process
- Tuition costs
- Financial aid opportunity
- Elective classes
- Minimum experience required
- Online vs. on-site courses
- Foreign language requirements for international students
- General classes to test out of
If you want to explore multiple areas, find a school that offers a double or dual degree option.
What's the Music Environment Like?
Another essential thing to know before going to music college is what the overall music environment is like.
Many students want to know the playing level of other students and where they will fit in.
You want to go to a music school that will challenge you and bring out your best.
Also, how accomplished are the instructors?
Ask about the student/teacher ratio and average class size so you know you won't feel like you're left out.
Check Out the Facility
What does the music school offer in terms of its facility? What about equipment? You don't want to be stuck in an old dance studio with a First Act guitar.
Okay, that is a little extreme. But think about the following:
- Gear/equipment provided
- Software (Pro Tools/Ableton Live/Etc)
- Performance Halls
If you're going to spend your hard-earned money, you should be sure that you're walking into an environment with a professional vibe that sets you up for success.
Have the Alumni Been Successful?
A music school can have a ton of great programs, a fancy website, and an all-star faculty, but the ultimate way to check its legitimacy is by taking a look at its alumni.
Have you heard of any of them? If not, what have they done? Who have they worked with? What companies do they work for?
If you don't have positive answers to any of those questions, that is a major red flag.
Unless the music college is incredibly new, there should be at least a handful of alumni that have turned their music education into a successful career.
How to Prepare Yourself for a Music College in High School
1. Study Theory
One of the most important things you can do to prepare yourself for a music college is to get familiar with music theory. This will separate you from a lot of other students.
Students who don't study music theory until college often struggle, particularly vocalists, drummers, and guitarists.
High school Advanced Placement (AP) Music Theory classes are tremendous opportunities.
Community college courses are, as well, if they're available. And there are an infinite amount of self-study methods available online.
2. Learn Music Technology
Most music courses today involve computers, so familiarity with computer notation programs is beneficial.
There are stand-alone notation programs and DAWs like Pro Tools that will be beneficial to be familiar with.
Fortunately, some companies offer educational discounts for their programs and free trials. MIDI, digital audio recording, and editing programs are other powerful tools.
Familiarity with this technology is extremely valuable to anyone aspiring to attend a music college.
3. Learn an Instrument
Even if you want to be on the production side of music, it is so valuable to be able to play an instrument. 9/10 kids have a desire to learn an instrument, so make sure you follow through!
Whether that instrument is guitar, bass, vocals, keys, brass, or percussion - you're only hurting yourself by not developing a performance skill.
4. Take Dual Credit or AP Courses
No matter what type of college you choose to attend, it's always a good idea to knock out some of your general requirement courses like Math, Science, English, if you can.
Transferring these courses will allow you to focus more on music and alleviate some of the craziness in college.
5. Listen to Music
This seems like an easy one, but don't forget to listen to music. If you're looking into a career in music, there is a good chance that music deeply resonates with you.
But, how often do you listen to music outside of your preferred genre?
Listen to music you like, don't like, your favorite songs, and songs you've never heard before.
Well-trained students can often have a poor aural grasp of basic musical styles and concepts, especially those they aren't interested in.
Attend concerts and recitals, listen to as much music as you can on the streaming services, and tune into a radio station that you don't usually listen to.
Attending live music events will expose you to various music and get you in the habit of supporting your fellow musicians.
Start Your Enrollment at an Accredited Music College
If you are a dedicated high school student looking to get a music degree, check out the Atlanta Institute of Music and Media. Even if you're not in high school and want to take the first steps toward a musical career, you're in the right place.
AIMM is an accredited music college that offers the following music programs:
- Music and Technology Associate Degree: Concentration in Guitar, Voice, Drums, Bass or Keyboard
- Music Production and Audio for Media
- Certificate in Music Production (offered both on-site and online)
- Certificate in Music and Technology: Concentration in Guitar, Voice, Drums, Bass, or Keyboard (offered both on-site and online)
- Performance Certificate in Guitar, Voice, Drums, Bass, or Keyboard
As you can see by our Music and Technology program, AIMM is truly unique in that we combine instrumentation with music production techniques. This puts you in position to succeed in the current music climate as the ultimate well-rounded musician.
In addition, you have the opportunity to earn your AVID Pro Tools Certification.
Want a sneak peek of what AIMM has to offer? Schedule a tour now! Both virtual and on-site tours are available.
Follow in the footsteps of AIMM alumni like Turbo the Great (Drip Too Hard), Tosin Abasi (Animals as Leaders), KEYZBABY (WAP), and Kesha Lee (This is America). We are excited to talk about your music career aspirations and set you on the right path with our music degrees.
What will you accomplish once you graduate?
Click the button below to discover how our school can help channel your passion and assist you in turning a degree in music into a successful career.