When you are looking at prospective music schools, you will be inundated with flyers, brochures, phone calls and emails all telling you about why each school is the best for you. Choosing a music school is one of the most important decisions you will make in your life – what will make it easier to choose? Answer: Visit the school.
Many colleges offer several open houses throughout the year***before applications are due. In fact, LA Music Academy holds open houses a couple times per year (check the EVENTS PAGE on Facebook or the website). So as promised, here are ten reasons to attend the open house(s) at the music school(s) of your choice (in no particular order):
SEE THE FACILITIES
You are going to spend quite a bit of time in all the different classrooms and performance areas. No matter how many pictures you see, you will want to get a vibe for the campus environment. Is it a conducive learning environment for you? Check out everything from the instrument storage lockers to the restrooms!
Unfortunately not all music schools offer this at open houses but quality schools like LA Music Academy do. For example, you’ll have the option to perform live so the school’s instructors can evaluate your current level of musicianship and let you know about any areas that you can improve before you start school. This can be extra nice to give you that extra advantage by the time school rolls around (TIP: At LAMA you must reserve a spot beforehand for performance evaluation).
CHECK OUT THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Did you ever see those photos going around the net that showed Hotel advertisement photos vs. what the Hotels actually looked like?
The same thing can happen with music schools! It is a great idea to come and check out the neighborhood where you will be spending much of your time. Some people might not like music schools that are in a crowded urban city (for example a densely packed “neighborhood” such as Hollywood, CA) while others can be in beautiful suburbs of Los Angeles like Pasadena, which is close enough to LA but doesn’t have similar crime and traffic concerns.
MEET THE FACULTY AND ADMINISTRATION
Your teachers and the people who run the school are some of the most important aspects of your education. Music schools can boast about teachers who have played all over the world with some of the biggest musicians, but all that doesn’t mean anything if you don’t feel a connection or feel comfortable with them. Most schools give prospective students the opportunity to meet with their faculty, but few schools (like LAMA) also allow faculty to preform live sets so that the incoming students can experience first-hand what the school has to offer!
ASK ABOUT THE DIFFERENT PROGRAMS
When you first stumble on a music school’s website it can be a little overwhelming deciding which program you want to apply to and when you want to do it. Whether it’s an AA degree, or a Diploma program, or you want to study drums or producing, it can be very nice to hear someone at the school explain all the different options.
ASK QUESTIONS IN PERSON
After you listen to the schools presentation you usually have an opportunity for a question and answer period. Make sure to bring a notepad with you so when you think of a question you can write it down for later. If you have a more detailed and personal question you might want to pull a faculty member aside after the formal presentation.
LEARN ABOUT FINANCIAL AID
Financial Aid can be one of the hardest and most stressful parts of applying to music school. Take advantage of the Open House and bring all your Financial Aid questions. Hopefully your prospective school has a full-time financial aid staff member (like LAMA) who you can consult with.
MEET FELLOW MUSIC STUDENTS
Almost as important as meeting your possible teachers: meeting your potential classmates! At the open houses for music schools, you usually get to socialize with a lot of current students. It can give you a really good idea of what the environment at the school is like. If you get along with the students you meet, there is a good chance you are going to enjoy your future classmates.
HEAR OTHER QUESTIONS YOU MAY NOT HAVE THOUGHT OF ASKING
One of the best parts of visiting an Open House is that other visitors will ask questions that you never thought of! It can possibly give you some new information or a new perspective on things. Another student’s question might actually inspire you to ask something in response!
As fellow musicians we deal with “vibes” a lot! Whether it’s grooving the pocket on a jam or belting out that note at just the right time, we have a lot of intuition and feelings. Visiting the school is the only way you can feel that “vibe” and see if it is the right one for you!
Well musicians, get out of the house and get to the open house! Families are welcomed too. If mom and dad are a little unsure of your possible career choice, it could be a nice way for them to see that you are going to get a real education at a prestigious music school. You will want to get on the LAMA Facebook page here.