Got nerve? High school students virtually audition for college music program

While big music venues remain closed, Maryville College has found a way to carry on the music.
Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 6:40 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - While big music venues remain closed, one local college has found a way to carry on the music. Maryville College is adapting their audition process so that musicians and singers can keep pursuing their dreams.

Dean of the Fine Arts College Dr. Eric Simpson says this was the best way to keep their music program top-notch.

“It’s scary to get up and play for a room of professors evaluating you, but it’s also scary playing in a room by yourself with your phone,” said Simpson.

For Loudon County high school student, Claire Pinkston singing is her passion. She applied to the Maryville College music program. She’s hoping to spread that passion to students one day with a major in music education.

“I’m looking for a small school close to home, schools like Maryville College. Which, I’ve done a few interviews for recently, do fit the mold and their music program is just phenomenal,” said Pinkston.

The school has had applications from high school students across Tennessee.

“We’ve had applications from Nigeria and Thailand, and in those cases, those students wouldn’t have been able to apply anyway,” said Simpson.

“The performing arts industry has been one of the hardest hit during the pandemic, it will be one of the last to recover. What we are doing now is trying to lay foundations and frameworks for years out,” said Simpson.

He fears music programs could lose talented students if they don’t adapt.

“There’s a real fear that we will lose a crop of students here that there will be people who because they had to begin their musical studies digitally won’t stick with it or will be afraid to keep studying,” said Simpson.

Driven students like Claire still vying for scholarship money.

“It would mean a lot, I have four younger sisters, so being able to take that load off of my parents would be nice,” said Pinkston.

Claire’s keeping her fingers crossed she’ll get into her dream school and their music program.

If you’d like to apply, click here.

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