How can I prepare for college while still in high school?

Preparing to enter college for a degree in music

Has God given you a unique talent in music? Would you like to explore this talent in college and make a career of music? Music students major in an area of interest. If you want to be a band or choir director, your major will be Music Education. If you are interested in working in a church, you will be a Church Music major. Performers who may be thinking about going on to graduate school may wish to be Music Performance majors.  Those who may be interested in music as a major, but want a secondary area of interest outside of music may wish to pursue the general Bachelor of Arts in Music degree. Listed below are some suggestions for those individuals who are considering music as a major in college.

  • Music majors enter an intense program beginning the first day, so being able to read music in both bass and treble clefs, rhythmic notation, and key signatures is a must.

  • Participation in high school large ensembles such as Choir, Band,  Orchestra,  or participation in groups outside of school, such as church choirs/bands/orchestras, youth orchestras, drum & bugle corps is strongly recommended.

  • Solo & Ensemble participation.

  • Auditioning/participation in All-District, All-Region, All-State groups.

  • Private lessons while in high school are strongly recommended.

  • Listen to quality solo recordings of literature for your instrument or voice. For a representative list, see appendix 25 of the Cline School of Music Handbook.

  • Piano lessons for non-pianist will be very helpful. Piano proficiency is required as part of a music degree and piano knowledge is very applicable to music theory.

  • Music theory courses, including sight-singing and aural skills, will be helpful. A placement test in music theory will be required.

  • Visit universities and colleges that you are interested in. Attend concerts at the school that interest you. Visit classes and meet instructors.

  • Meet all entrance deadlines and audition early.

  • A score of 1650 on the SAT or 25 on ACT will allow you to exempt PRAXIS I for those pursuing a music education degree.

Please refer to the additional information provided here on the Cline School of Music website and to the Cline School of Music Handbook where all degrees are laid out in sequential order.


Are music scholarships available?

The School of Music has scholarship audition days each spring for those students who will be attending college that fall. Scholarships are based on performance ability and may be renewed for up to four years as long as the student is in good standing with the School of Music. A limited number of ensemble scholarships may be available to non-music majors if need arises within an ensemble for a particular instrument/voice.

How many hours will I be expected to practice every day?

Music majors are expected to practice approximately two hours per day, with Music Performance majors practicing three hours per day.

How many ensembles will I play in?

All music majors will play in at least one large ensemble; Band, Choir, or Orchestra, which meet for three hours per week. Depending upon ensemble instrumentation need, some instrumentalists may be required to play in both Band and Orchestra. Some music students may be required to play in small ensembles such as jazz band, percussion ensemble, flute choir, woodwind quintet, singers, etc. All students need small ensemble experience at some point in their degree. Students are limited to three ensembles, excluding marching band.

What type of classes will I take during my freshman year?

All music majors will take applied lessons, large ensemble, music theory or music fundamentals (depending upon placement exam), first year experience class, Chapel, Cultural events, old or new testament, and usually another general studies course such as English, a Foreign Language, Math, etc.

Do I have to attend recitals off campus?

All NGU students must attend three cultural events as part of the cultural events class. Music majors must attend 30 music events per school year (15 per semester). Of these 30 events, four (two per semester) must be off-campus music events.