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Music Conservatory Resume

Postby BrassyNathan12 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:47 pm

Hi all,

I am currently a junior in high school (11th grade) and next year I will be entering my senior year.

I'm starting to work on my resume right now for applications, but I don't know where to start. Please help me!!!

What am I supposed to put on a resume and what topics do I touch on and anything I should avoid, etc?

Thanks! :tuba:
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Re: Music Conservatory Resume

Postby bisontuba » Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:48 pm

Ask your teachers....
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Re: Music Conservatory Resume

Postby Tom » Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:06 pm

BrassyNathan12 wrote:...and anything I should avoid, etc?

Don't lie on your resume both now (for college) and later (for employment).

Yes, I'm serious. Whatever it is that you decide to include, just make sure it's true.
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Re: Music Conservatory Resume

Postby swillafew » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:02 am

anything I should avoid

Make some long range plans for yourself and make contingencies too. Formulate a plan and then a second and a third plan. Admissions people will pick up on your organization if you start practicing it now.
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Re: Music Conservatory Resume

Postby the elephant » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:37 am

Include ONLY true claims about your history as a player. You might think that clever wording or vague listings will help pad your résumé but anyone who requests you send such a document knows the deal well enough to spot lines of BS or padding as the read it the first time. It is shockingly easy to weed out BS-filled résumés. And BS *will* most definitely see your application filed in the trash can.

A résumé is simply a concise listing of what you have done. In the case of a high schooler it should be, realistically, very short.

Here is what I would put on an audition résumé for a pro orchestra audition:


universities attended
include degrees attained or sought (if not yet completed)
dates of attendance

list teachers in order of importance to you, meaning if you studied with John Smith 4000 times and Arnold Jacobs once, list Mr. Smith first. To list Jake first implies something that is not true.

Only list RELEVANT experience. At the pro level, All-State band is *not* relevant, as an example. Neither is the honor band at Wahoo School of Automotive Technology. Relevant means stuff that applies DIRECTLY to what you are applying for. On my playing res I originally listed all these things, but I was applying to the Epcot Center Orchestra. In such a case my three years in the university's top orchestra was relevant. Having 24 years of experience as a professional orchestral tuba player is pretty much this entire section of my res now. I might list my European festival orchestra experience if I am applying for a festival audition. I list my Army Band experience because that is very relevant, despite it coming before my university experience. As a high schooler, any honor band counts, whether sponsored by a university or by the State's Music Educator Association or the Lion's Club. If it is a big deal locally for your level, include it. Solo contests go here, too. Being a section leader in your school's top band is good. Anything below this probably will not look all that impressive. Being drum major also should be mentioned, if what you are applying for includes a possible pathway to a future drum major audition. (Leadership roles at the HS level are good to list, too. If they are non-musical then list them in some other section.)

A résumé is supposed to be short. Two pages for something like this is pretty long. One page of bone-honest information is FAR better than two pages of padding. Again, padding looks good to you, but it will end up in the trash can, most likely.

For a musical résumé your goals are not important to list. Your goals are to get into the program; it is very obvious what your goals are. You want to play the tuba in that program, or whatever. Now, if your LIFE goals are not in music, you can list these, but they are not really relevant to such a focused, targeted résumé. If you were submitting a res to some youth group that was not musical, some sort of leadership program, etc. all that stuff would then be *very* relevant. Remember who will be reading your résumé when you write it; it is a person who is working for the program to which you are making application, and they are looking for people for that program. They might love to hear that you are the captain of your intramural flag football team, but it will have zero bearing on your application.

There are résumés that are exceedingly long. These are called a Curriculum Vita, or CV. Curriculum Vitae (for music) are basically a complete listing of every group you ever played with, everything you have ever done, every contest, every award, etc. Mine is 24 pages long, whereas my generic playing résumé is only three pages long. My audition résumé is only one page long. These documents all serve different purposes and are read by different people doing the same job; they are looking for candidates to fill a position they have, whether in a band, as a band director, or in an orchestra. Everything in your document needs to be relevant. Everything needs to be concise. Everything needs to be clearly and uniformly formatted. There is no such thing as a résumé format. It does not exist. People who sell you their résumé services make you think this is the case. There is no such animal. You make a res that looks good, reads easily, HAS ABSOLUTELY ZERO MISTAKES OR INCONSISTENCIES in formatting, spelling, etc. and that contains only 100% truthful information.

For me, my CV has one format, and it looks much more like a business résumé. My one-page playing res looks nothing at all like the CV. I have sat on audition committees for decades now and I read lots of résumés. None are the same. Some are convoluted, and some have misspelled words. I judge the person based on this. So do all my colleagues. So do players and Personnel Managers all over the world. Seriously, this is important, and you couldn't run Spell Check? You couldn't find the empty spaces at the ends of lines before you centered all your text, so that you have five or six lines that are not actually centered? You don't know that parentheses go around the area code and a dash between the exchange and the individual number? This is not hard, so if you don't do it the person reading it will have a difficult time taking you seriously. This stuff counts. Putting together your first résumé is an excellent way to learn to be in control of your image by not looking like you need to stay in high school for an additional ten years, heh, heh, heh...

Good luck!
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Re: Music Conservatory Resume

Postby bloke » Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:47 am

BrassyNathan12 wrote:anything I should avoid, etc?

Will you be pursuing a performance degree, or some degree(s) that might be tickets into the teaching profession?

- Music conservatories are very high-priced trade schools for blue-collar jobs. Most of those jobs (the few that open) are either part-time, or pay less than $40,000. Those that pay more than $40,000 are rare, and there are usually some very highly-qualified and experienced players applying for there are ALSO for the UNDER-$40,000 ones. It's difficult to get out of student loan debt with the pay levels of such jobs, and it is even MORE difficult to get out of student loan debt when merely ATTEMPTING (for several years) to acquire such a job. Someone very close to me (major/"big"-orchestra musician / in their later 30's) is - just now - paying off the last of their student loans, and they are one of the few who - almost right out of the conservatory - found full-time work.

- "Four years of intensive studying, practicing, and going into debt at the rate of $40K/yr.", typically, doesn't furnish the edge required to be offered a $20K - $40K music performance job. That's just typically not enough time to actually build skills and experience to compete with those who've had more time/experience to sharpen their likely, there will be no "job" at the end of the rainbow. If - at this point...age 17, or're already being hired to play the tuba here-and-there (the first-call recommendation of your studio teacher, etc.) you may (??) have the drive (and no, I don't put much stock in "talent", though aptitude/knack are minor aids to success) to eventually end up with one of these jobs...but realize that the very highest-paying of these jobs are found in the very-highest cost-of-living cities, and that standard-of-living (unless a significant amount other good-paying "side" work is obtained) will tend to be "modest". Young people typically state that this does not matter to them, but within a few short years (spouse, young children, etc.) it DOES matter to them, and it matters to them VERY much. "Continuously being surrounded by very wealthy patrons" tends to "rub in" one's economic status.

- If the goal is to enter the (studio?) teaching profession, more-and-more of those jobs are adjunct ($4K - $9K/yr.) or (what bloke labels as) "fake tenure track" (where teachers are chewed up, spit out, and no one is ever offered tenure) positions. The reason for this is supply/demand...i.e. simply because universities (that - in their classroom teaching & philosophy - tend to claim that supply/demand forces are evil) ~can~ do this. Some of my friends who have acquired terminal degrees are stuck in (tenured) college teaching jobs where most students are c. high-school/middle-school level students, they are applying for schools that offer better pay and to which better students are attracted, but (just as in the performance realm) are consistently out-ranked by other applicants (retiring military with national reputations, or moving/retiring-out-of-the-orchestral-realm musicians with national reputations).

:arrow: :arrow: :arrow: OK..."résumé"...??

No music conservatory is going to give a flip about "All-State" or stuff like that.
They may possibly (??) be interested in with whom you've studied and for how long (if that person has a national or international reputation).
A music conservatory WILL be interested in these:
- Do you have the ability (or, at least, potential ability) to "hang" ?
- Do you have the means (some sort of scholarship, minority status, or whatever) to furnish them with the MONEY they need to teach you ?

As a teenager, you're not expected to have much of a résumé, but make the little that is there neat, organized, and lacking in misspelled words or other displays of ignorance.
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Re: Music Conservatory Resume

Postby Three Valves » Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:53 am

I better not quit my day job!! :(
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