Why Ensembles Matter (Even if You’re Not a Music Major)

Performing For College Money

Ensembles matter to recruiters at colleges, universities, and conservatories, and they are always looking to fill their ensembles to get the right instrumentation and perfect balance. If you have experience being in an ensemble, or you don’t have experience but you have the skills, then you could be offered a scholarship or stipend in exchange for participation in a college ensemble. In many cases, you don’t even have to be a music major!

The Benefits

Besides scholarships, there are many perks to being in an ensemble. If you want to be a performance major, it’s important to have a good repertoire. For instance, if you had to play the first bassoon part in Carl Orff’s "Carmina Burana," you might get noticed by a local community orchestra director that just happened to see the performance. Participating in ensembles is also a way to keep up your skills. You might play the violin, but no one will want to hire you for a wedding gig if you haven’t touched your instrument in four years! Lastly, ensembles matter because they provide potential leadership opportunities. For instance, many choirs have a president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, and section leaders.

Potential Performance Opportunities

Below are just some of ensembles recruiters may be looking to fill:

  • Theatre
  • Pit Orchestra
  • Show Choir
  • Opera Workshop
  • Madrigal Singers
  • Early Music Ensembles
  • Chamber Ensemble
  • Jazz Band
  • Concert/Marching Band
  • Rock Band

In addition, schools may be looking for student accompanists or players for big performances involving many ensembles (think back to "Carmina Burana").

Don’t Overdo It

As a musician, it can be tempting to want to be involved in every performance on campus. However, learn the art of saying no. Your friends, sleep schedule, and mental health will thank you for it. Some ensembles are worth college credits, so too many ensembles might keep you from taking a class you need. Some music programs may even have a maximum number of ensembles you are allowed to participate in.

If you’re a musician that wants to get scholarships from premier programs for your ensemble experience, visit ScholarshipAuditions.com.

Keep Practicing,

Dr. Randall Bayne, CEO of ScholarshipAuditions.com