Should I submit my Music Supplement? Answered
I have been playing piano for 12 years, but stopped taking lessons about a year ago. I want to submit a music portfolio to college, but there are many articles citing the "dangers" of submitting a bad portfolio. I know that music professors will be reviewing my work. The songs I am playing are Libestraum-Lizst, Fantasie Impromptu-Chopin, and Prelude&Fugue in C Minor-Bach. I am not planning to major in the Arts; I want to be a STEM major, and I am applying to Ivy leagues. How do I know if my playing is worth submitting; will it hurt my application, if so how badly?
Earn karma by helping others:
TLDR: I doubt you’re a bad player but your portfolio sounds standard for any advanced-level piano player, so I don’t think it will really change your admissions chances. There’s no hurt in submitting it but I think you can make a better use of your portfolio slot/time. IMO you should find a different way to incorporate music into your application. Submit a supplement but not with these pieces - maybe with something you wrote yourself or maybe in a way that utilizes both science and music; something with programming or engineering maybe? Idk.
I don’t think submitting a portfolio is going to hurt your application in any way but I honestly don’t see its relevance. I know your hook is about music and stem, but I don’t think this would help much because it’s just reaffirming your skill of being a talented music player, something which is a great skill but not really what colleges would be accepting you for. This is amazing but not at all unique for Ivy AOs unless you’re nationally ranked or did something unique and different with your skill. I am also a classically-trained musician (piano from ages 7-15; I started late lol) so I understand at least from an admissions standpoint the nature of competitive piano playing - among “smart” or “gifted” students playing the piano competitively is EXTREMELY common and unless you’re touring the world, getting a record deal, or playing all-nationals for orchestral supplement plying the piano well is not really unique. Thousands of Ivy applicants do this. Additionally, Ivys want to look not for technical skill with music (unless you play an uncommon instrument) but for originality, drive, international or regional recognition etc. If you have other competitions/awards/rankings to back this up, your portfolio will gain a lot of legitimacy but you’re not even applying for music in the first place, so this seems like you putting a lot if interest into an EC that’s not the most unique nor actually relates to your major. I’m really not trying to downplay anything you’re doing - I’m just in a similar position and there are tons of people at my school like this so I understand where you’re coming from. I actually quit music because my school’s program is so bad, and over quarantine I took up independent spoken word poetry/rap in its place because it combined my love of writing, music, and social justice. See if there’s a way you can do something similar with the piano and stem/your major.
Hope this helps and I really hope I didn’t come across the wrong way - if you think so, lmk
To keep this community safe and supportive:
- Be kind and respectful!
- Keep posts relevant to college admissions and high school.
- Don’t ask “chance-me” questions. Use CollegeVine’s chancing instead!