We're totally aiming for geek/nerd status at our house. While it makes for a few painful year in Jr. High/High School as a "life" plan the geek/nerd thing seems to have worked out well for most I know. :)
Those "geeky" scholarships are a lot more plentiful than the cool ones. :)
Culturally in my area (largely LDS) most every kid plays an instrument of some sort, so playing an instrument isn't considered uncool. By High School you generally have to choose band vs. cheerleading/sports, because obviously you can't be playing in the band, cheering, and playing the sport at the same time, but there was a lot of cross-over. I remember the coolest guy (at least I thought so) at our school was Student Body President, Captain of the Football team, and played the sax, he wasn't in band (played sports) but he played with the band in some of their concerts. :)
Also a lot of the "cool" kids that couldn't be in band, were in choir, show choir, or musical theater, and with the whole High School Musical thing, musical theater is enjoying a bit of a renaissance, at least in the schools around here (according to the 14-18 year olds I teach at church ).
There is definitely social divisions, but I think there is quite a bit of movement between the groups, esp. for girls, when I was in show choir, one of the other girls played basketball, did show choir, and was homecoming queen. :)