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Applications FAQ

These FAQs relate to applying to the Learning and Media Lab Fellowship.

If you are applying for the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award, please check out our JKCYA FAQs.

Questions? Email auditions@fromthetop.org. or call 617-437-0707 Ext 4.

1. What is the Learning and Media Lab Fellowship?

1a. What does it mean to be a From the Top Learning & Media Lab Fellow?

As Fellows, we work with you to:

  • explore the many different ways you can make an impact with your music now and in the future
  • give you a platform to share your story and celebrate your voice
  • provide professional tools and mentors to share insight and first steps into the multiple career avenues for a musician in today’s world

What does this look like in action?

From the Top Fellows join a cohort of peers to complete an online curriculum spanning four weeks. At the end of the remote learning program:

  • Fellows work together to plan and implement a community engagement activity.
  • Fellows record their solo or ensemble performance and interview for From the Top’s national radio program and podcast.
  • Fellows are invited to participate in From the Top’s digital media.

At the end of the experience, Fellows join a network of more than 3,000 alumni including students, professional musicians, educators, and arts administrators.

1b. Is the Learning and Media Lab remote?

Yes, the Learning and Media Lab is entirely remote. Fellows will take part in online workshops and discussions.

1c. How much of a time commitment is involved in the curriculum?

1 or 2 weekly sessions over the course of 4 weeks.

1d. Is the Learning and Media Lab a separate experience from recording for the radio show?

No, taking part in the radio show is also part of your Learning and Media Lab experience and professional development.

1e. Can I just apply to play on the show?

No, recording for the radio show is one segment of the Learning & Media Lab Fellowship. All Fellows must commit to the full curriculum. You won’t regret it! :)

2. The Basics

2a. What are the eligibility requirements?

You are eligible if you:

  • Are a musician between the ages of 8–18 and have not enrolled in a college or conservatory
  • Live in or have a significant training connection to the US

If you have any questions about your eligibility based on your countries of residence or places of study, please contact us at auditions@fromthetop.org

2b. Who can audition?

  • Solo instrumentalists
  • Vocalists
  • Composers
  • Small ensembles (8 members or fewer)
  • Large ensembles (9 members or more)

2c. What style of music does From the Top feature?

From the Top primarily celebrates music from the Western classical tradition. However, we also like to present music from other traditions including folk, world, jazz, and gospel. We are particularly interested in music that combines traditions! Contact auditions@fromthetop.org if you have a question about your genre of music.

2d. Is there an application fee?

There is a $70 application fee for all applicants with the exception of those applying for the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award.

For more information on the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award please click here.

2e. Are there deadlines for submitting the application and audition materials?

If you are a high school senior, you must submit your application by December 1st.

If you are not a high school senior, there is no deadline for submitting your application or recording materials.

*There are specific deadlines for the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award application. For more details, please click here.

3. My Repertoire

3a. What style of music does From the Top feature?

From the Top primarily celebrates music from the Western classical tradition. However, we also like to present music from other traditions including folk, world, jazz, and gospel. We are particularly interested in music that combines traditions! Contact auditions@fromthetop.org if you have a question about your genre of music.

3b. Do you prefer any particular types of repertoire?

We want to hear YOU! We want to hear repertoire that you and your teacher feel represents your playing most strongly. It does not need to be showy repertoire—some people shine through the slow lyricism of a haunting melody. Whether slow and lyrical or fast and virtuosic, we want to hear repertoire that you feel passionate about and that celebrates your playing in the best way.

If you are selected for the show, you will then work one-on-one with our music director to select a piece that will work for our radio program.

REPERTOIRE LIBRARY

Are you looking to learn something new? Do you need ideas for diverse repertoire, works by living composers, or composers from communities underrepresented in the classical canon?

If so, please check out our repertoire library.

3c. What should I include on my audition recording?

We require only two video or audio recordings, but you may upload as many as six recordings if you would like. A recording made using your phone is absolutely acceptable. We just need the audio to be clear. Please submit contrasting pieces if possible.

3d. Do I need an accompanist for my audition recording?

Even if the music you choose for your audition recording calls for piano accompaniment, we do not require that you submit a recording with accompaniment.

3e. I’m a vocalist. What type of music should I prepare for my audition?

We ask that you prepare classical repertoire such as art songs, arias, or equivalent repertoire from global classical traditions.

While we highly recommend you perform your audition with accompaniment, using a recorded track is completely acceptable.

From the Top is not able to feature pop nor a majority of musical theater repertoire due to rights and distribution issues. At this time, From the Top is also unable to feature singer-songwriters. Feel free to listen to past shows on our website for examples of vocal appearances, and contact us at auditions@fromthetop.org with any questions about vocal repertoire.

4. The Audition

3a. How polished does my audition have to be?

We would like to hear your playing in its most grounded, free, expressive, and consistent form. We would prefer to hear an old, polished piece for your audition rather than one you just began learning.

4b. What level of audio quality is required for the audition recording?

We need to be able to hear you clearly, but you do not need to spend money on reserving a professional recording studio or purchasing high-end recording equipment. Using an iPhone or other similar device is absolutely acceptable.

4c. How do I upload the videos to my application?

You can upload video files directly into the online application, on SurveyMonkey Apply.

You are also given the option to share the recordings as YouTube or Vimeo links in the application. This is preferred, when possible. We just ask that you make sure your videos’ privacy settings are set to either “public” or “unlisted.” If they are set to “private” we cannot see them!

4d. How many recordings should I upload?

We require only two video/audio recordings, but you may upload as many as six recordings if you would like. A recording made using your phone is absolutely acceptable—we just need the audio to be clear. Please submit contrasting pieces if possible.

5. My Application

5a. How long will the application take to complete?

The online application generally takes a few hours to complete, depending on your application type. The scholarship application can take longer to complete, as it requires detailed financial information.

5b. Do I need to complete the entire online application in one sitting, or can I save my work and come back later?

You can save your work and come back at any point. Clicking the “Save & Continue Editing” button on the bottom center of your screen can save applications in progress. Once you click that button, your progress will be saved through that point. You can exit at any time, or click the “Home” button at the top left corner of the screen.

5c. Do I need my parents’ help with the application?

If you are applying for the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award, you will need your parents’ help to provide the financial information required for the scholarship application. For non-scholarship applicants, parental assistance is discouraged.

5d. Who do I contact if I need help with my application?

If you are experiencing technical difficulties, have questions about the application process, or need clarification on From the Top’s application requirements, please contact auditions@fromthetop.org.

5e. I submitted my application, but I made a mistake and need to change it. How can I re-access my application?

If you’ve submitted your application but need to fix an error, please contact us at auditions@fromthetop.org.

5f. What if I don’t have access to a personal computer/I can’t upload my audition recording to your online application?

If you are unable to use our online application, you may apply via mail. Contact auditions@fromthetop.org and request a paper application.

5g. I want to apply as a small or large ensemble and don’t see an option for that program on the first page of the application in the section, “I am applying for.” Where do I apply as an ensemble?

In order to apply as an ensemble, follow these five steps:

  1. Assign one member of your small or large ensemble as the “ensemble leader” for the application process.
  2. That person should begin a standard application in the program titled “From the Top General Application: Learning and Media Lab Fellowship.”
  3. On the second page of the application, they will be able to specify whether they are a soloist, member of a small ensemble, or leader of a large ensemble.
  4. After designating themself as an ‘ensemble member,’ new questions will appear on the application. These questions will allow the leader to provide more information about the ensemble.
  5. FOR SMALL ENSEMBLE LEADERS: Once you have submitted your portion of the application, you will be invited to enter the contact information for the remaining members. Those members will then be automatically invited to complete similar forms.

5h. I want to apply for the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award and don’t see an option for that program on the first page of the application in the section, “I am applying for.” Where do I apply for the Young Artist Award?

Please select “From the Top SCHOLARSHIP Application: Learning and Media Lab Fellowship AND Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award” as your application program when beginning a new application. The one application is both for the scholarship as well as for the Fellowship. You do not need to complete two separate applications.

*If you are thinking of applying for the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award, please know that you must apply for the Award before you are selected as a Fellow. The JKCYA Award cannot be granted separately from the Fellowship, and the Award cannot be given after your participation in the Fellowship program. It can only be given in conjunction with your Fellowship experience.

If you are an ensemble member: Complete your ensemble forms first. Then contact us at scholarship@fromthetop.org to receive an additional scholarship supplement.

If you have applied before and are updating your application for the scholarship: Contact us at scholarship@fromthetop.org for further instructions.

5i. Are there deadlines for submitting the application and audition materials?

If you are a high school senior, you must submit your application by December 1st.

If you are not a high school senior, there is no deadline for submitting your application or recording materials.

*There are specific deadlines for the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award application. For more details, please click here.

6. The Selection Process

6a. When will I hear if I’ve been selected?

You will receive an email from us within three months of your application submission date.

6b. How does From the Top select students for the Fellowship?

No two From the Top Fellows are exactly alike! We aim to create a community of young musicians from a wide range of backgrounds, identities, locations, instruments, interests, strengths and future aspirations. That is why we review each applicant’s recordings and application answers in great detail and with consideration of many musical and non-musical attributes.

All From the Top Fellows do have two things in common, though. They are:

  • committed, passionate and highly capable performers
  • excited about using their ideas and talents to imagine and invent the future of the music field

6c. If selected, when will my program air?

It typically takes a few weeks, and sometimes months for programs to air after recording. Our staff will inform you of your broadcast date.

You can also find out when a particular show will air by visiting our broadcast schedule.

You can also listen to shows by subscribing to our podcast.

7. Other Things

7a. Can I reapply if I have already appeared on From the Top?

If you have already appeared on From the Top as a soloist, you must either wait three years before reapplying, or apply as a member of an ensemble. If you have appeared on the show only as a member of an ensemble, you can reapply as a soloist or a member of a different ensemble.

7c. How can I listen to From the Top right now?

7d. If my local public radio station doesn’t carry From the Top, is there anything I can do?

You, your family and your friends can write, phone, or email the station’s program director and encourage the station to carry From the Top. But don’t forget that you can listen to From the Top’s broadcasts at any time on our podcast/website!

8. The Scholarship

8a. How do I learn more about, and possibly apply for, the $10,000 Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award?

Visit our Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award page!

Please note that the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award is a need-based grant. It can only be awarded in conjunction with full participation in From the Top’s Learning and Media Lab Fellowship. It cannot be awarded independently. All applicants wishing to apply for the Award as well as for the opportunity to take part in From the Top’s Fellowship, need only complete one application:

“From the Top SCHOLARSHIP Application: Learning and Media Lab Fellowship AND Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award”

Even if you are not selected for the Young Artist Award, you might still be selected for the Fellowship. Solo instrumentalists, vocalists, composers, and members of small ensembles may all apply for the Award.