A Guide to Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI)

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Music sheet, headset, a guitar and a pen on a table

A Guide to Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI)

Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) stands as a renowned summer program that ignites the aspirations of young musicians and opens doors to their dream colleges. In the world of music education, BUTI shines as a beacon of excellence.

Summer programs, like BUTI, play a pivotal role in shaping the futures of aspiring college-bound musicians. They provide a unique opportunity for students to hone their craft, learn from accomplished faculty, and immerse themselves in an environment dedicated to musical growth.

This blog is dedicated to unraveling the tapestry of BUTI’s offerings, from its rich history and affiliation with Boston University and the Boston Symphony Orchestra to its profound impact on college admissions for countless talented musicians. Join us as we delve into the world of BUTI and uncover the myriad benefits it offers to those seeking to make their mark in the realm of music and academia.

What is Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI)?

Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) has a distinguished history that dates back to its establishment in 1966. Founded in the picturesque setting of the Tanglewood Music Center in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, BUTI quickly became a revered summer program for young musicians.

Its origins can be traced to the vision of music educators and leaders in the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO), who aimed to create an immersive learning environment for budding musicians.

Boston University Sign

BUTI’s unique strength lies in its affiliation with two musical giants: Boston University and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. As an integral part of Boston University, BUTI benefits from the academic resources, faculty expertise, and institutional support that one of the nation’s leading universities offers.

Its close ties with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, one of the world’s most acclaimed orchestras, provide students with direct access to renowned musicians and performance opportunities.

The heart of BUTI’s mission is to nurture young musical talents. It is dedicated to providing an intensive and transformative experience for its students, fostering their artistic growth and personal development.

Through rigorous training, mentorship by accomplished faculty, and exposure to the highest standards of musical excellence, BUTI aims to empower young musicians to reach their full potential. This commitment to nurturing emerging talent has made BUTI a pivotal stepping stone for countless aspiring musicians on their journey toward fulfilling careers in the world of music.

Why Choose BUTI for Your Musical Journey?

Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) is renowned for its exceptional faculty and the wealth of resources it offers to aspiring young musicians. One of BUTI’s standout features is its faculty, comprised of accomplished musicians, educators, and conductors who are passionate about nurturing the next generation of musical talent.

Students at BUTI have the privilege of learning from these distinguished professionals who provide expert guidance and mentorship, helping students refine their techniques and expand their musical horizons.

BUTI serves as a catalyst for students looking to develop their musical skills and gain invaluable experience. Through a rigorous and immersive curriculum, BUTI challenges students to push the boundaries of their abilities. The program encourages students to explore new genres, techniques, and styles, broadening their musical palette.

Boston University signage

Additionally, students benefit from the opportunity to perform in a collaborative and inspiring environment, honing their performance skills and building confidence on stage.

Beyond honing technical prowess, BUTI instills essential life skills such as discipline, teamwork, and time management, which are transferable to various aspects of their lives.

Another aspect that makes BUTI exceptional is the diverse range of programs and instruments it offers. Whether a student is a virtuoso violinist, a budding brass player, or a jazz enthusiast, BUTI provides a program tailored to their specific musical interests and talents.

With a plethora of instruments and genres to choose from, students can explore their passions and expand their musical horizons. This diversity allows students to collaborate with peers from various backgrounds, fostering a rich and vibrant learning environment.

In essence, Boston University Tanglewood Institute is not just a summer program; it’s a transformative experience that empowers students to grow as musicians and individuals.

Its exceptional faculty, immersive curriculum, and diverse range of programs make BUTI a remarkable platform for young musicians to sharpen their skills, gain valuable experience, and take their musical journeys to new heights.

Admission Process and Requirements

Applying to Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) is a significant step for aspiring young musicians. To help you navigate the application process successfully, here’s a step-by-step guide along with key requirements and some valuable tips:

Step 1: Research and Preparation

Before diving into the application, thoroughly research BUTI’s programs to determine which one aligns with your musical interests and goals. Familiarize yourself with the specific program details and requirements.

Step 2: Online Application

Start by visiting BUTI’s official website and accessing the online application portal. Create an account if you don’t already have one.

Step 3: Program Selection

Choose the program you wish to apply for. BUTI offers various programs catering to different age groups and musical genres, so select the one that suits you best.

Step 4: Gather Required Materials

Here are some common application requirements:

  1. Audition Materials: Prepare your audition materials, which typically include recordings of your musical performance. Follow the program-specific guidelines for audition repertoire and recordings. Make sure your recordings showcase your technical skill and musicality.
  2. Letters of Recommendation: Obtain letters of recommendation from music teachers or mentors who can speak to your musical abilities, work ethic, and potential as a musician.
  3. Transcripts: Submit your academic transcripts to demonstrate your educational background and commitment to your studies.
  4. Personal Statement: Craft a thoughtful and concise personal statement that outlines your musical journey, your aspirations, and why you want to attend BUTI.
  5. Application Fee: Be prepared to pay the application fee, if applicable. Check BUTI’s website for the most up-to-date fee information.

Step 5: Auditions

Auditions are a crucial part of the application process. Ensure you adhere to the program’s specific audition requirements. Submit your audition recordings or schedule an in-person audition if required. Pay close attention to deadlines for audition submissions.
a director coaching actors for their performance

Step 6: Complete the Application

Fill out the online application form, including your personal information, program choice, and contact details. Review your application carefully to avoid errors.

Step 7: Submit All Materials

Upload or submit all required documents, including audition recordings, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and your personal statement, through the application portal.

Step 8: Monitor Application Status

Keep track of your application’s progress through the online portal. Ensure all materials are received and your application is complete.

Moreover, here are some useful tips for a higher chance of getting into BUTI:

  • Start the application process well in advance to meet all deadlines.
  • Follow program-specific guidelines for auditions and materials.
  • Record high-quality audition materials that showcase your talent and potential.
  • Choose recommenders who can provide insightful and positive recommendations.
  • Craft a compelling personal statement that reflects your passion for music.
  • Proofread your application and materials to avoid errors.
  • Seek advice from mentors or teachers during the application process.

Applying to Boston University Tanglewood Institute is a competitive but rewarding journey for young musicians. With careful preparation, adherence to deadlines, and attention to detail, you can increase your chances of successfully securing a spot in this prestigious program, furthering your musical aspirations and education.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) is committed to making its world-class musical education accessible to talented students, and they offer several scholarships and financial aid options to help alleviate the cost of attendance.

Available Scholarships and Financial Aid Options

Merit-Based Scholarships: BUTI offers a range of merit-based scholarships that recognize exceptional musical talent and achievements. These scholarships are typically awarded based on the audition process and the quality of your application materials.

Need-Based Financial Aid: BUTI also understands that financial circumstances can be a barrier to participation. They offer need-based financial aid to help students who demonstrate financial need attend the program. The aid packages vary depending on the individual’s financial situation.

Assistantships: In some cases, assistantships may be available for students who can contribute their skills or services to BUTI in exchange for financial assistance. These opportunities can include working as teaching assistants or in administrative roles.

Community Scholarships: BUTI often collaborates with local organizations, music societies, and foundations to provide additional scholarship opportunities. Be sure to explore these external options as well.

The Importance of Financial Planning for Summer Programs

Planning for a summer program like BUTI is not just about the musical audition; it also requires careful financial planning. Here’s why it’s essential:

Budgeting: Understand the total cost of attendance, including tuition, housing, meals, and any additional fees. Create a budget that outlines your expenses and income sources, including scholarships and financial aid.

View of a wireless microphone on a podium.

Early Preparation: Start researching financial aid options and scholarships well in advance of the application deadline. Some scholarships have early deadlines, so planning ahead is crucial.

Exploring External Sources: Don’t limit your search to BUTI’s offerings. Look into external scholarships, grants, and sponsorship opportunities from local music organizations, community foundations, and other sources.

Financial Aid Application: If you’re applying for need-based financial aid, be sure to complete all required financial aid forms accurately and submit them by the specified deadlines.

Tips for Securing Scholarships or Aid

Prepare Outstanding Audition Materials: Your audition performance is often a key factor in scholarship decisions. Dedicate time to perfect your audition materials to increase your chances of merit-based scholarships.

Thoroughly Research Scholarships: Understand the eligibility criteria, application requirements, and deadlines for all available scholarships. Tailor your applications to meet the specific requirements of each scholarship.

Seek Guidance: Consult with teachers, mentors, and school counselors who can provide advice on scholarship applications and financial aid opportunities. They may also help you with recommendations and insights.

Submit a Compelling Personal Statement: If required, write a persuasive personal statement that not only highlights your musical passion but also emphasizes your financial need and how receiving aid would impact your ability to attend BUTI.

Meet Deadlines: This cannot be stressed enough. Ensure that all scholarship and financial aid applications are submitted on time to be considered for awards.

Remember that the pursuit of scholarships and financial aid requires determination and careful planning. By exploring available options, meeting deadlines, and presenting your musical talent and financial need effectively, you can increase your chances of securing the necessary financial support to attend Boston University Tanglewood Institute and further your musical education.

Life at BUTI

A Day in the Life of a BUTI Student

Being a student at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) is an immersive and enriching experience. Each day is filled with music, learning, and personal growth. Students typically start their day early, often with a warm-up or practice session, as dedication to honing their craft is a core part of the BUTI experience.

Morning classes and ensemble rehearsals follow, led by renowned faculty who challenge and inspire students. The afternoons are often dedicated to private lessons, providing one-on-one guidance for individual growth.

In the evenings, students can attend masterclasses, and workshops, or enjoy performances by faculty or guest artists. Amidst this rigorous musical training, students also find time for relaxation and bonding with peers.

Campus, Accommodation, and Recreational Activities

BUTI is situated in the serene and picturesque setting of the Tanglewood Music Center in the Berkshires, providing a stunning backdrop for artistic inspiration. The campus itself is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, including practice rooms, performance spaces, and well-equipped classrooms.

A girl performing on stage

Accommodation options vary, but students can typically choose between dormitories or shared apartments, fostering a sense of community and camaraderie.

Recreational activities at BUTI are designed to balance the intense musical schedule. Students often engage in outdoor activities such as hiking, picnics, and exploring the natural beauty of the Berkshires.

The region offers opportunities for cultural enrichment, including visits to museums and historical sites. These activities provide students with a chance to relax, rejuvenate, and build lifelong friendships.

In conclusion, Boston University Tanglewood Institute provides a holistic experience for young musicians. It immerses students in a world of music, nurtures their talents, and offers a vibrant and supportive community.

With its beautiful campus, dedicated faculty, and a wide array of musical opportunities, BUTI stands as a cherished chapter in the musical journeys of countless students.

BUTI’s Impact on College Admissions

Boosting Your College Application through BUTI

Attending the Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) can be a game-changer for aspiring musicians looking to enhance their college applications. Here’s how BUTI can significantly bolster your chances:

Exceptional Training: BUTI provides rigorous training and exposure to high-level musical experiences. Admission officers at top music schools appreciate the level of dedication and commitment it takes to be accepted into BUTI’s competitive program.

Professional Development: BUTI’s world-class faculty and facilities offer an unparalleled environment for musical growth. This experience not only hones your skills but also demonstrates your passion and readiness for advanced musical studies.

Performance Opportunities: BUTI students have the chance to perform in prestigious venues, which can add valuable performance experience to your resume.

Letters of Recommendation: BUTI faculty often serve as recommenders for college applications. Their recommendations carry significant weight due to their expertise and experience in the music education field.

Networking: BUTI provides opportunities to connect with fellow talented musicians and renowned faculty. These connections can lead to letters of recommendation, collaborations, and valuable insights for your future musical pursuits.

Networking Opportunities and Connections at BUTI

BUTI isn’t just about individual growth; it’s also about building lasting connections:

Faculty Relationships: BUTI’s faculty includes accomplished musicians and educators. Developing relationships with these mentors can lead to valuable guidance and letters of recommendation for college applications.

Peer Collaborations: BUTI brings together talented musicians from around the world. Collaborating with peers from diverse backgrounds fosters creativity and opens doors to potential future musical collaborations.

Alumni Network: BUTI boasts a strong alumni network that extends into the professional music world. The connections made at BUTI can continue to benefit you as you pursue your musical career.

In conclusion, Boston University Tanglewood Institute serves as a powerful catalyst for aspiring musicians, enhancing their college applications, connecting them with accomplished mentors and peers, and ultimately propelling them toward successful careers in music. It’s not just a summer program but a stepping stone to musical excellence and achievement.

Tips for a Successful BUTI Experience

Making the Most of Your BUTI Experience

Attending the Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) is a unique opportunity for young musicians. To maximize your experience, consider these pieces of advice:

Stay Open to Learning: Be receptive to new ideas, techniques, and musical genres. The diversity of faculty and peers at BUTI offers a wealth of perspectives. Embrace this opportunity to broaden your musical horizons.

Set Clear Goals: Before arriving at BUTI, outline your goals for the program. Whether it’s mastering a challenging piece or improving your sight-reading, having clear objectives will help you stay focused and motivated.

Engage Actively: Participate wholeheartedly in all aspects of the program, from classes and rehearsals to masterclasses and performances. Actively engaging in every opportunity will ensure you get the most out of your time at BUTI.

Time Management: With a busy schedule, effective time management is crucial. Create a daily practice routine and allocate time for rehearsals, classes, and downtime. Balancing your commitments will help you excel without feeling overwhelmed.

The Importance of Dedication, Practice, and Collaboration

Dedication: BUTI demands dedication to your craft. Consistency in practice and unwavering commitment to your musical journey will not only lead to personal growth but also set you apart as a dedicated musician.

a students performing on stage

Practice: Practice is the cornerstone of improvement. Make the most of the practice rooms and time allotted for individual work. Set specific goals for each practice session and focus on problem areas to see continuous progress.

Collaboration: Collaborative experiences at BUTI are invaluable. Whether you’re in a chamber ensemble or an orchestra, collaboration sharpens your ensemble skills, fosters teamwork, and exposes you to different musical perspectives. Embrace the opportunity to make music with your peers.

Feedback: Be receptive to feedback from faculty, peers, and mentors. Constructive criticism is a powerful tool for growth. Use it to refine your technique and artistry.

Building Relationships with Faculty and Peers

Attend Office Hours: Faculty members are eager to help students. Attend their office hours to seek guidance, discuss your progress, and ask questions about your musical development.

Participate Actively: In classes, rehearsals, and masterclasses, actively engage in discussions and ask questions. This not only demonstrates your commitment but also builds rapport with faculty and peers.

Be a Collaborator: In ensemble settings, be a collaborative and supportive musician. Show respect for your peers’ ideas and contributions. Building positive relationships with fellow musicians can lead to lasting connections in the music world.

Network: Take advantage of the networking opportunities BUTI offers. Attend social events, connect on social media, and stay in touch with your BUTI peers and faculty. These connections can prove invaluable as you progress in your musical career.

In essence, Boston University Tanglewood Institute offers an exceptional platform for growth and musical development. By embracing these principles of dedication, practice, collaboration, and relationship-building, you can make the most of your BUTI experience and set the stage for a successful and fulfilling musical journey.


For aspiring musicians, BUTI is not just a summer program; it’s a stepping stone toward achieving your musical aspirations and gaining admission to your dream college. By attending BUTI, you’ll receive world-class training, gain performance experience, and build relationships that can help shape your future in music.

Your time at BUTI will not only foster artistic growth but also provide you with the skills and confidence needed to excel in college music programs. Embrace this transformative experience as a vital chapter in your journey toward realizing your musical dreams.

If you have any questions or need more information about Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI), please feel free to reach out to their admissions office:

BUTI Admissions Office:

Phone: 617-353-3350

Email: [email protected]

Website: https://www.bu.edu/cfa/tanglewood/

The admissions office will assist you with any inquiries, application details, or specific program information you may require. Don’t hesitate to get in touch to learn more about the incredible opportunities that BUTI offers to college-bound musicians like you. Your journey to musical excellence starts here!

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