The College Board, the administrator of the SAT Test, identifies the arts (including music) as one of the 6 areas that students should study in order to succeed in college.
University admissions officers clearly state that students who participate in arts classes continually through high school have an advantage over students who do not when applying for high-end schools.
During the admissions process, colleges and universities look for students who “stand out” and who have something to offer to the campus. Music students who have played for at least 3 years in high school ensembles are automatically placed in this category (assuming they have met all other university entrance requirements).
Continuous enrollment in music is valued by colleges and universities much more highly than extra years of foreign language classes. Students having to choose between music and extra language classes at the Junior High level should ALWAYS choose music, according to admissions officers of several universities. Language requirements can be met in high school along with music classes.
Playing an instrument well can help a student get into a university if the student is willing to play in the university’s ensembles. The student does not have to be a music major to take advantage of this. All universities have to have enough musicians on each instrument to feature high-level performing groups. University band and orchestra directors will find a way for a talented student/musician to get into a school.
Having music on a student’s transcript all through high school shows that a student has developed skills in group work, multi-tasking, spatial reasoning, mathematics, leadership, community spirit, and many other areas. These types of skills cannot be found all together in any other class.