It’s that time of year, again,… college application time. No matter what your dream school is, we’re sure you want to beef up your application as much as possible in order to give yourself the best fighting chance to be accepted. While you’re adding all of your extracurricular activities, you may be wondering, does playing an instrument look good for colleges?
Does Playing An Instrument Help With College Admission?
The bottom line is that it depends. In many ways, playing an instrument can absolutely give you an advantage when it comes to getting into colleges. All major arts, of which music is one, are recognized as areas of study that can help students succeed. However, not every school values musicianship equally, and those that do are often looking for something more than musicianship itself. Playing guitar by yourself now and then can be a fun and rewarding hobby, but it wouldn’t stand out as much as someone who practices with a group regularly over several years. What most colleges are really looking for is a demonstration of your skills, determination, and ability. They’re asking what your musicianship says about what kind of student you’re likely to be.
Here’s What Colleges Are Really Looking For
What kind of musician are you? Did you play in a school band or orchestra? What instrument or instruments do you play, how often do you practice, and how long have you been playing? These are all questions you should be asking yourself as you’re preparing to start sending out applications. You want to show the people in charge of admission how being a musician has helped you grow, how it made a difference in your academic life, and the skills it’s helped you develop outside of music.
Here are some examples of how playing an instrument can help you stand out to college admissions:
1. Social Skills
Playing with a group over several years can demonstrate that you know how to cooperate and coordinate with others. In this way, music is similar to other activities and disciplines that colleges look at such as sports or academic clubs. Think about how it felt to have a specific role in your school’s band or orchestra, and how you were able to do your part in coordination with everyone else.
Anyone who’s ever picked up an instrument probably knows it takes a lot of time and practice to develop the skills to play. Moving from a beginner to an intermediate and beyond is a sign of perseverance, it shows that you can stick with something and make progress. As a prospective student, colleges want to know if you’re able to stick it out and make progress over several years of study. If you have the patience to master a musical instrument, you’ve proven you have the determination to do outstanding things when your mind is put to it.
3. Creativity & Problem-Solving
Did you know that creative people who can think outside the box to solve problems are in high demand in today’s society? Having a passion or dedication for the arts can be a demonstration of just how creative a person you are. After all, music isn’t merely a subject of memorization and repetition (we swear!) It’s a form of expression, creation, and subjective experience. If you’re someone who’s passionate about music and genuinely enjoys creating it, it wouldn’t hurt to mention it on your application.
4. Academic Performance
Students who play instruments are understood to achieve higher test scores and perform higher than average in academics in general. While test scores don’t say everything about you, they are still a good measure of your academic performance that colleges are interested in. If you have good grades and play an instrument, colleges may feel more comfortable about the test scores of your future.
5. Extracurricular Interest
Many colleges with extracurricular programs have an eye for prospective students who will participate in them. Schools that have their own bands, orchestras, ensembles, and other music programs available are more likely to be actively seeking students with a solid background in musical education. If you’re a student with exceptional music school and dedicated enough to continue your musical education, there are certain skills that will gladly take an interest in you.
Weighing Your Skills And Ambitions
As mentioned, colleges and universities can vary regarding how much they value musical ability. In most cases, however, it certainly doesn’t hurt to mention how playing an instrument has affected your academic life. If you have the skills and the experience, you can almost certainly find a school that will appreciate these qualities. Whether or not those schools are for you will depend on your goals and interests. If you’re dedicated enough to pursue a higher education through music, there are options such as music schools or art schools that can help you earn a degree while continuing to practice your instrument. If your career or education goals lay elsewhere, you may not have the same opportunities to pursue your musical interests and, depending on your ambitions, you may want to have more than just music itself to make your application stand out.
Above all, remember that colleges want to know what makes you unique. If playing an instrument is part of your life, let them know. Just be sure to tell them what it means to you as a student.
Pursuing A Musical Education
Learning to play an instrument can be a fantastic exercise for students of all ages, regardless of what the future may bring. If you’ve always wanted to learn an instrument or just looking to branch out your extracurricular activities, you can always find a fun and rewarding outlet with music.
Grace Music School offers classes for a variety of instruments for all skill levels. Our teachers work to understand your musical goals, tastes, and learning habits, ensuring that you have the best experience while learning how to make the kind of music you’ve always loved.
Contact us here to learn more and sign up for one of our music lesson programs today!