When you are applying to college, it is important to present a cohesive application. As we discuss in Well Rounded or Specialized?, that means showing that you are especially committed to a particular skill or area of interest. This specialization should be reflected not only in your academics, but in your extracurricular activities as well.

 

If you are planning on majoring in music or attending a music conservatory following high school, finding ways of incorporating music into your extracurricular activities can make you an especially competitive candidate for admission. Even if you are planning on majoring in something else, colleges do like to see a connection across activities—so if you’re involved in band or wind ensemble or have been taking oboe lessons for 10 years, finding other activities that put your musical talents to use will strengthen your application.

 

We have talked about the importance of community service on the CollegeVine blog previously; for more tips and information on volunteering in general, read Do I Need Community Service for My College Applications? and Can I Volunteer if I’m Under Age 18?. In this post, we will discuss how to complete service hours and better your community while strengthening your application and doing something about which you are passionate.

 

Volunteer music classes

 

One idea for getting involved is to start or lead free music classes. Try reaching out to local nonprofits or elementary schools to see if there is interest in pro bono music tutoring among low-income students. You could offer free music lessons individually, or recruit a network of fellow musicians to start an organization dedicated to providing no-cost music lessons to local elementary or middle school students.

 

You will need to raise money for several aspects of the program—such as helping students buy or rent instruments (pianos, guitars, violins, and other instruments can be very costly)—so try hosting a fundraiser. For ideas on how to raise money for your cause, check out How to Plan and Execute an Effective Fundraiser for High School Extracurriculars.

 

Colleges respond to seeing self-started initiatives on applications, so if you can demonstrate that you turned your personal passion into an established program to help others in your community, you will stand out to admissions committees.

 

Be a leader at a music camp…or help start your own

 

There are many summer music programs at high schools and local community centers. You can rack up community services hours by being a leader and helping introduce students to the world of music—playing instruments, reading and composing music, and even simply appreciating different genres.

 

If a program like this doesn’t exist at your school or within your community, talk to a music teacher, band conductor, or other music mentor about starting one. You might also reach out to your location parks and recreation department to see if there is a possibly of starting a summer or after-school program. That way, you could serve as both an administrator and a counselor. Consider recruiting friends and classmates to serve as fellow counselors, help fundraise, develop marketing strategies, and work through other practicalities. As with volunteer music classes, starting a camp or program shows initiative and leadership qualities.

 

Start a charity music group

 

If you have performing experience, try using it for charity or in another volunteer capacity. Like the other activities we have discussed, you could do this solo or with a group of friends who are also musicians. You could even form a traditional band featuring a vocalist with instrumental accompaniment.

 

Your group could play free concerts at hospitals, senior homes, local schools, or other community centers and program. You could also offer to play accompaniment for local plays. Many elementary schools don’t have musicians to play live music for their performances, although many middle and high schools do. Local theatre troupes might also need musicians, so try contacting them as well.

 

Turning passion into meaningful service

 

While we offer a few ideas here, there are many ways to turn your talent and passion for music into meaningful service for your community. Make use of friend, teacher, and other networks to find other musicians interested in playing alongside you. Reach out to community leaders, program directors, teachers, and anyone else who might share your interests and want to join your project. Before you know it, you may have a huge network of volunteers helping with your idea. Be creative and thoughtful. Brainstorm ideas, and try them out. You are sure to find a means to blend your passion with ways to help your community.

 

Want some more community service ideas? Check out some of our posts on getting involved with and bettering your community:

 

Do I Need Community Service for My College Applications?

Can I Volunteer if I’m Under Age 18?

Community Service, Reimagined: MCC’s Recommendations for High School Service

 

Looking for ways to get involved in more music extracurriculars, want to build your music extracurricular profile for your applications, or interested in pursuing a music degree? Read these posts:

 

A Guide to Leadership Roles in Music Groups

Should I Submit an Arts Supplement? The Dangers of Submitting Supplementary Application Materials

Dual Degree Music Programs: The Best of Both Worlds

Laura Berlinsky-Schine

Laura Berlinsky-Schine

Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where she majored in Creative Writing and minored in History. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and works in publishing. She also writes, dreams of owning a dog, and routinely brags about the health of her orchid.
Laura Berlinsky-Schine

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