Be sure to apply early. One thing I have seen is a percentage of applicants really don’t have much developed in terms of plan B or C or D for schools and as a result get in sort of a last minute panic to apply or create alternate plans. Apply to a number of schools of a variety of types and sizes (including ASU!) and do it early, you will have the best chances for admission and for scholarship consideration.
Also, apply to all the types of music degree programs that interest you. If you are interested in for example horn performance and also in music therapy, apply to both programs. Horn performance is more reliant on a great horn audition and solid horn study in high school, so in reality it is easier to get in to major in say music therapy or music education. I can’t accept you to a program that you did not actually apply to, be sure to give yourself options. We have a great music therapy program at ASU.
I mention all this as in our first music faculty meeting of the year at Arizona State on Friday it was mentioned that this year we will have to do things totally within the published admissions deadlines. I think with the number of staff positions that have been cut at schools across the country this is probably the case all over the place. Admissions will be less flexible than in the past; apply early and think over the variety of plans and options as you consider schools.
Speaking of schools, I may be biased but over all I feel that a large state university such as Arizona State is a great choice, especially one with a full time horn teacher. Undergrad or grad, you will have a wide variety of musical experiences and graduate with not only a quality education but less debt. This is an element to really think over carefully; if you have less debt you will have more choices open to you for the next step after graduation.
Also, to be honest, people who apply late don’t necessarily make a good impression from the start because of the late application. The assumption is there are some underlying reasons that would lead you to apply late rather than on time, as in it is difficult for you to get your act together. Get it together early.
Finally, ASU almost every year has a Graduate Teaching Assistant position open in the horn studio for MM or DMA study. I would welcome interested applicants to contact me directly. More on horn study at ASU may be found here.