5 Tips for Using DAWs as a Music Supplement

Getting through the college admissions process can be challenging, but there are many ways to boost your college application and get into your dream school! If you’re interested in pursuing music education, submitting a music supplement is a great way to demonstrate your musical talent and increase your chances of admission. 

There are a few essential things you’ll need to know before submitting a music supplement, especially if you’re using a DAW. Let’s dive in!

What is a Music Supplement? 

An arts supplement is also known as an “additional arts form” or an “arts portfolio” that allows students to display their creative or performance arts achievements by submitting work samples in their college applications. If you are submitting creative materials that show your musical talents, this is referred to as a “music supplement.”

Colleges prefer that their classes consist of students with various talents. Although it is optional to submit music supplements, doing so can boost your chances of admission to top colleges and universities. 

Should You Submit a Music Supplement?

If you’re considering using a music supplement to boost your college application, check the school’s website to see if they accept music supplements. Even if the college in question will accept a music supplement, it doesn’t mean you should submit one. 

If you’re exceptionally talented compared to the other students applying to a college, including a music supplement can be quite beneficial. However, if your music supplement is average in relation to other students applying to a particular college, it won’t increase your chances of getting accepted. 

After you submit your music supplement, it will be evaluated by professors in the department to ensure that admissions officers clearly understand how advanced your musical abilities are. This is important because music awards of artistic ability among students from different backgrounds may have different criteria, or an admission officer may not be familiar with a certain award.

What Do Music Programs Look For in a Music Supplement?

Before you submit a music supplement to any college, you’ll need to understand what admissions officers look for beyond formatting. Remember, musical talent is only enough to get your foot in the door. You’ll also need to create a music supplement that has the following qualities:

  • Technical Mastery. This is the first qualification that admissions officers will assess when listening to your music supplement. Technical proficiency is defined by your ability to apply simple and complex musical principles to your work. It also demonstrates attention to detail.
  • Variety and Versatility. Talented music-maker can apply their skills in multiple ways. If you submit multiple music samples, you should demonstrate how you can apply your musical talents differently. A versatile music supplement should illustrate your ability to think creatively.
  • Style and Personality. A music supplement should express your personality and offer an artistic perspective that is different from others.  A sense of style and personality will illustrate how your musical creations differ from what others are creating.

If you believe that you have the technical ability, versatility, and artistic perspective to pursue music education in college, submitting a music supplement is a great way to achieve your goals! 

What is Required for a Music Supplement?

Every college has there own requirements for arts and music supplements, but most require the following to ensure that your submissions are reviewed:

  • Cover Letter. Your cover letter should express your interest in the department for which you’re applying, your relevant experience, and why you’re applying to a particular college. Be clear about any materials you choose to include in the cover letter. 
  • Brief Work Sample. Provide information about what you are submitting, including your name and the title of your work. Depending on the college, you can take work from live performances or a recording.
  • Resume. Your resume should briefly describe your experiences in music and performance. If you have live performance experience, be clear about the venue where you performed. Including any private music instruction you have received on your resume may also be beneficial.

Including recognitions or musical awards you’ve received throughout high school may also be beneficial. You should also include a recommendation from someone who is deeply familiar with your work, such as your music teacher.

5 Tips for Using DAWs as Music Supplements

Most music makers take the traditional performance route when submitting a music supplement, so using a DAW can really help you stand out from the crowd! However, submitting a catchy song to ace the college admissions process is not enough. Remember these simple tips when you’re using a DAW to increase your chance of college admission.

1. Understand the College’s Specific Requirements

Before composing a music supplement, decide which colleges you’re most interested in attending, and pay close attention to their requirements. However, you should submit applications to many different colleges to err on the side of caution.

Each school has different music supplement requirements, and they can vary significantly from one school to the next. Consequently, you will need to make a few changes to your application every time you apply to a different college, which means that you may need to alter your music supplement as well. In this case, save your initial music supplement so you can easily edit it when necessary.

2. Compare Your Portfolio to Successful Music Supplements

As a music maker, you probably have a few friends that got into certain colleges with the help of their musical talents. Although college admissions standards change with each passing year, it is still beneficial to look at their documents for inspiration and ensure that you have the correct format.

Additionally, you can find plenty of music supplement examples online. Professional and credible websites will have plenty of high-quality music supplements you can draw inspiration from.

3. Include Your Best Compositions

Of course, you should include your best compositions when submitting your music supplement, but your opinion of your best work can differ greatly from the admission officers’ criteria. Get a second or third opinion from music teachers, friends, family members, and other musicians who have successfully submitted a music supplement.

When you’re deciding which musical composition is your “best” piece of work, make sure that you use the same criteria as college admissions officers. For instance, a song may express how you felt at a particular time and pull at the heartstrings, but that doesn’t mean it demonstrates your technical ability or artistic perspective. Remember to be as objective as possible when assessing your work.

4. Use a DAW Made for Music Education

While there are many DAWs to choose from, it’s in your best interest to use a DAW tailored to your unique needs as a student. Even if you’re familiar with DAWs, remember that some are easier to use than others. When you’re preparing a music supplement, using the right tool can streamline your process while allowing you to focus on the end result.

With DAWs like Soundtrap for Education, you’ll have access to thousands of loops and effects to make it easier to create a music supplement that accurately reflects who you are as a musical artist. These tools make it possible to create an astounding music supplement even if you don’t have access to certain music equipment. Additionally, your music teachers and peers can offer feedback within the program so that you can create the best music supplement possible!

5. Think Outside of the Box

Using a DAW for your music supplement opens a realm of possibilities you can’t achieve with traditional musical instruments. With the right DAW, you can extract sounds from your environment and create an original musical composition that fully expresses who you are as a person. For instance, you can record interesting sounds from your surroundings, such as traffic, tapping pencils, or echoing footsteps to enhance your music supplement.

Using the right DAW can really boost your college application when you think outside the box to create a music portfolio that expresses your personal experiences. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is playing it safe! Create work that reflects your true self to stand out amongst thousands of applicants.

Are you a music teacher? Find out the “8 Popular Grants for Music Teachers” that you can apply for. 

Create Your Music Supplement with Soundtrap for Education

Soundtrap for Education is the ultimate audio production platform for students and teachers to create and edit audio recordings. Pupils and educators can easily tap into their artistic side with this intuitive audio platform that facilitates a creative learning environment for every subject, regardless of the student’s age or experience level.

With Soundtrap for Education, students and teachers can collaborate with advanced cloud technology at any time or place. In addition, the platform comes equipped with a robust resource portal, with tutorials, an external curriculum, and lesson plans to complete the educational experience. And to ensure privacy, teachers can ensure that student collaboration is safe and secure with invite-only groups in Soundtrap’s versatile digital environment. 

If you’re ready to enhance your educational experience with an intuitive cloud-based audio production platform, get started today with Soundtrap for Education! And be sure to share this article with other teachers in your network to help spread the joy of learning through sound.