Student Testimonial: Baldwin Wallace UniversityPosted July 18, 2022, 10:00 am by
Payton Cole - Baldwin Wallace University
Why Did You Choose to Attend Baldwin Wallace University?
I was initially drawn to the field of music therapy after reading Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks in middle school. I was drawn to music therapy as a major because it combines many subjects including music, statistics, and psychology to ultimately serve others. Toward the end of high school, I decided to double major in horn performance as well because I wanted to advance in my musicianship and pursue performance goals alongside music therapy ones. In short, I couldn’t choose one major, and I still love both!
I chose to attend Baldwin Wallace for many reasons. The school has a music therapy program (it’s not an extremely common major), acclaimed faculty, and small class sizes. Further, while BW is situated in the small town of Berea, it is very close to Cleveland, providing easy access to various professionals (such as those in The Cleveland Orchestra). Lastly, I was drawn to the communal atmosphere at BW that was displayed every time I visited. Conservatories in particular can be cutthroat and overly competitive, but the environment at BW is very supportive and friendly while also promoting excellence and hard work.
What Did You Hope to Get Out of the Program and Did You Achieve It?
Simply put, I hoped to gain skills to successfully pursue music therapy and performance jobs upon graduating. I hoped to make connections with my peers and music professionals at BW and have many performance opportunities and direct client experiences as a student music therapist. Heading into my final year at BW, I believe that I’ve gotten what I wanted from my conservatory experience.
BW has an all-undergraduate conservatory which has allowed me to have many performance opportunities in both the large and small ensembles presented on campus. Regarding music therapy, I’ve had direct client experiences in a variety of settings and was able to confirm my interest in the field early on in my coursework. I’ve been fortunate to occupy leadership positions throughout my time at BW, and I’ve connected with many highly informative brass musicians and music therapists through BW too.
Did You Have to Prepare for this Major in Any Way?
I had to learn audition materials (on horn) to audition for the large ensembles on campus at the start of the fall semester; however, I didn’t have to prepare for my majors in any other way. Despite that, I did come into the conservatory with some basic music theory skills and novice guitar/ukulele skills. Also, I started piano lessons in 4th grade and continued taking lessons through high school which helped me advance through keyboard courses at BW. Preparation is helpful but not required!
What Was a Typical Day Like at Baldwin Wallace University?
To oversimplify, mornings and afternoons tend to consist of some combination of classes, homework, and practicing, and most afternoons end with SWE (symphonic wind ensemble). Evenings tend to consist of more homework, practicing, and preparing for the next day; however, orchestra rehearsals and music therapy classes occur some evenings. Free time and working happens sporadically throughout the day and week.
What was the Most Memorable Moment of Your Time at Baldwin Wallace University?
The first orchestra concert that was performed for a live audience after a year of no large ensembles or live audiences was thrilling.
What Advice Do You Have For Teens Looking for the Right College?
Learn what you want. Whether that be in regard to class size, location, major(s), diversity, or anything else, think of where you could thrive for the next period of your life. Also, reach out to others with questions! People tend to be open to sharing their experiences, and, if you’re interested in a music major, see if you can set up a sample lesson at schools you’re applying too.
Lastly, don’t lose sleep over finding the “perfect” school. Choosing a college and major(s) is a decision, but it is not everything. Definitely easier said than done.