Preparing to Enter a Conservatory, College, or University as a Music Major:
An advisory from the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM)
Acceptance to an undergraduate program in music is based on many considerations. These vary widely among institutions. For example, some have stringent audition requirements prior to admission while others have open admission policies, followed by thorough examinations at some point in the program to determine whether the student may continue as a music major. For specific application requisites, contact NASM institutions directly. The suggestions below indicate how you can best prepare during the high school years, not what you must achieve to apply or be accepted. The advice provided describes two things: first, an ideal set of knowledge and skills goals for college-level applicants; second, competencies needed by musicians as they practice the various aspects of the profession in college and beyond. In brief, you should learn as much as you can as early as you can.
Finally, think of everything you study as helping you to become a better musician.
The best musicians continue to learn throughout their lives. They are always studying and thinking, always connecting what they know about music with their knowledge of other fields. Since you never know the direction your career will take, it is wise to spend your high school years gaining the basic ability to understand and work in a variety of fields beyond music. Keep music at the center of your efforts, but accept and enjoy the challenge of gaining knowledge and skills in other areas that will support both formal studies at the college level and your music career beyond.