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#363347 - 12/31/07 04:38 PM KU Grad school?
Goldberg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/08/03
Posts: 1231
Loc: U.S.
I'm beginning the very preliminary stages of Grad school scouting, and wondered if I could get a few words of advice from the more experienced musicians on the board. Really, at this stage all I'm mostly looking for are perhaps a few opinions based on past knowledge of certain schools, etc...mind you, I'm not looking for people to make decisions for me, but I need to start weighing some options against one another to begin the process.

Right now my first choice is probably KU. They seem to have a phenomenally good piano faculty and facilities, as well as strengths in all areas I'm interested in (I will most probably be applying as a piano performance M.A., but think it would be a good idea to also explore Musicology, Music Theory, and so on.

What sorts of things could I expect from this school in reality, though? It has a very impressive history, it seems, as well as a great current faculty...what sort of standards are maintained, and approximately how many piano students are there? I want a school that's somewhat progressive in its trends--that is to say, musically, that I am very interested in Contemporary music and would not want to feel confined to tradition and customs. How "accepting" is the school when approaching new works, etc.? I have heard that other schools, and competition juries, et al., often shy away from performers who play works rarely, or never, heard before.

Also, provided I am deserving of such things (that remains to be seen), what might be expected in terms of scholarships? I might not expect a full ride--by a long shot--but are they nevertheless willing enough to bring in grad students, that they can offer me a fair amount? Surely this depends on individual ability and circumstances, but remember I'm just looking for advice based on your past experiences. I have heard of other large schools that are extremely miserly and political when it comes to scholarship money.

I have not yet visited Lawrence, so I am also curious to know more about what to expect from the surrounding area, in terms of art music. Are there always plenty of concerts and operas, and so on? From what I've already heard, the campus and surrounding cities in general are quite active.

Anyway, I have also sent off for an information packet from the school itself, but I'd appreciate hearing about anyone's direct experiences with this school so I can get perhaps a more personal idea of what to expect, in general.

And if anyone would care to chime in on other options (please feel free to give me additional choices, and explain why they'd be good), I have also begun to consider University of Michigan, Temple University, New England Conservatory, University of Alaska at Fairbanks, Rice University (there's little need to fill me in about this one, as I spent many years there in the preperatory school--and I would really kill to be a student in Roux's studio...who wouldn't), Cincinatti Conservatory, Seattle Conservatory, and University of Denver.

Please feel free to add anything to that list, perhaps with a few reasons why I should look at it, and be as detailed or as brief as you'd like. I would greatly appreciate anything you have to say. For the most part (excepting NEC and Temple) I would like to avoid playing at one of the huge, popular schools along the lines of Juilliard, Curtis, and so on. I'd rather find a more niche-like school that focuses on modern music and not much on politics, or the marketing of big name, middle-of-the-road sort of pianists.

Thanks!

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#363348 - 12/31/07 04:46 PM Re: KU Grad school?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
One big plus at Michigan:

We have a piano forum every Tuesday, in one of the recital halls, where piano students can sign up to perform. There are usually several students performing each week, and all of the studios (including undergrad, grad, and doctorate, and professors) attend. This is in addition to individual studio classes.

I assumed this was just something normal, but one of the professors commented that an alum went elsewhere for grad school, and couldn't believe that there was no such thing. A friend of mine in California said that 2 of the professors don't even talk to each other, and the students from different piano studios don't really mingle much.

Could be those are just two exceptions, but there really is a lot of friendship at Michigan among all of the studios, and the piano forum is a great opportunity to hear others play / to hear more music / to perform.

In terms of modern music -- at the forum and public masterclasses, I've heard Rzewski, Duteilleux, Bolcom, Messaiaen, Barber, Shostakovich 1st Sonata, Copland Variations... My teacher, Louis Nagel, does not like one bit Boulez's first sonata, but he let one of his students play it (and memorize it and perform it at a recital), and gave him lessons on it, a few years ago. At every studio class, he asks if we've all heard the music being performed before -- even if it's a Beethoven sonata -- and one of his greatest joys is introducing someone to a new work they never knew before. Logan Skelton in particular is interested in 20th century / contemporary music, so you might also contact him. There is also an active composition department here, with composer forums several times each year. They're always looking for performers, so you'd probably have a good chance of playing music by student composers, if you wanted to.
_________________________
Sam

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#363349 - 12/31/07 04:55 PM Re: KU Grad school?
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13789
Loc: Iowa City, IA
KU is great. I almost went there for my masters with Jack Winerock. Lawrence is nice, but KC is where all the action is - ask Brendan, he'll know the scoop on the KC scene.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#363350 - 12/31/07 10:19 PM Re: KU Grad school?
Brendan Offline



Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5315
Loc: McAllen, TX
Sorry I never replied to your PM. I send you something tomorrow and run it all down.
_________________________
http://www.BrendanKinsella.com

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#363351 - 12/31/07 11:07 PM Re: KU Grad school?
Goldberg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/08/03
Posts: 1231
Loc: U.S.
Sam--that sounds fantastic. *That's* the sort of thing I'm looking for, to the core. Yes, I am really interested in the opportunity to perform student compositions, and I would love to have a teacher who's willing to let me play an "edgy" or unconventional work, even if he doesn't like it himself. My current teacher is even reluctant to let me study things by Alkan, Busoni, Godowsky, et. al., largely because he is not extremely familiar with the music from past experience. Fortunately, he rarely is so discouraging as to tell me outright to study something else. But, at the moment I just go to some anonymous, crappy, uninspired state school in Colorado--and I hope that my intense work ethic and individuality will let me overcome this poor school and get into something truly grand, like Ann Arbor or something similar.

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#363352 - 12/31/07 11:41 PM Re: KU Grad school?
Brendan Offline



Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5315
Loc: McAllen, TX
Which school in CO do you go to?
_________________________
http://www.BrendanKinsella.com

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#363353 - 01/01/08 12:00 AM Re: KU Grad school?
Goldberg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/08/03
Posts: 1231
Loc: U.S.
I didn't really want to name it outright as it is quite embarrassing for me, especially considering I previously learned a lot under very competent teachers at Rice (the reasons for my being at this present school, however, are bizarre and not worth discussing...).

Anyway, the name of the place is Adams State College, in the small town of Alamosa, CO. It offers nothing, although as piano teachers go, you could do a lot worse than Dr. William Lipke. He is no Robert Roux, but I've still learned some valuable stuff from him. However, most of what I've accomplished pianistically--I'd say I'm on a relatively average plane as far as college students my age go, with pros and cons like everyone--has been due to my own efforts. Despite being quite isolated in Alamosa, I nevertheless keep up with pianistic trends through recent recordings and reading a few forums, etc.--so at least I know of standards outside those of my pathetic school's.

So, I get by, but the next step is to find a superb teacher who would be willing to take me in, so rather than a simply lukewarm weekly lesson or whatever, I would find consistent, almost insurmountable challenge. I think it's safe to say without ego that I hold a lot of potential and raw talent, and I have several recitals behind me, a lot of collaborative and theater work, and good grades in all my classes, etc. etc. But I'll have to quadruple my efforts nonetheless to truly begin to realize what potential I have, and so on. So, we'll see.

Sorry to get so carried away about all this. Thanks for reading and replying--all opinions and comments, no matter how harsh (as long as they're constructive) are appreciated.

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#363354 - 01/01/08 09:39 AM Re: KU Grad school?
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13789
Loc: Iowa City, IA
COOL! A good friend of mine was on the theory faculty of Adams State for several years (and his wife was the choir director.) I even played a recital there back in 2002. I haven't met Lipke, but I've heard good things about him, and from what my friend said, he's a very good pianist.

Besides, there are worse things in life than spending time in the mountains just a few hours away from Taos and Santa Fe!
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#363355 - 01/01/08 11:23 AM Re: KU Grad school?
Goldberg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/08/03
Posts: 1231
Loc: U.S.
Well I can't argue with that, Kreisler. I can be a little depressed about my location considering that "everyone else" I know of seems to be spending their time at excellent schools for undergrad, and I feel like Adams State is wasting my time in some aspects. But, as I said, you could easily do a lot worse than Dr. Lipke, who is a perfectly fine teacher and pianist, not to mention an all-around nice guy with good intentions. Who was your friend? I was not around until 2005, but I have heard the name of Dr. Mills, who I hear was the main theory teacher before Schildt. Also, Dr. Schauer used to do choir...

I'm amazed to hear that you actually did a recital there, though! What's your name, and what program did you play? Did you do a masterclass afterwards? What sort of piano did they have you play back then? I'm proud, despite myself, to say that we now have a fine Steinway D for which Dr. Lipke kind of heroically saved money through fundraisers over about two years. It's a great achievement for such a small school with a minute piano department.

Small world, though. In my first semester here, Andreas Klein, who is active in Texas (especially Houston), came through and played. I can't say I was impressed at all, though--but at least it was something.

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#363356 - 01/01/08 12:34 PM Re: KU Grad school?
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13789
Loc: Iowa City, IA
My friend is Peter Fischer (Dr. Schauer is his wife.) The recital I played was the premiere of his violin concerto with a violinist friend of mine.

I can't remember the details about the piano, except to say it was pretty good, and I liked that recital hall, too!
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#363357 - 01/01/08 03:36 PM Re: KU Grad school?
CherryCoke Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/11/02
Posts: 531
You mentioned Lawrence, which does not offer graduate degrees (undergrad only).

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#363358 - 01/01/08 04:56 PM Re: KU Grad school?
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13789
Loc: Iowa City, IA
The University of Kansas is in Lawrence, KS. The Lawrence Conservatory is a different school. ;\)
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#363359 - 01/01/08 05:08 PM Re: KU Grad school?
CherryCoke Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/11/02
Posts: 531
Ooops! My mistake. I misread \:\)

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#363360 - 01/01/08 05:18 PM Re: KU Grad school?
CarlosKleiberist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/01/06
Posts: 220
Loc: Southern California
Sam, you make Michigan sound like such a WONDERFUL place... I think I should apply. Sounds like those Californians out there are straight up cranky!!!

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#363361 - 01/02/08 09:55 PM Re: KU Grad school?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
 Quote:
Originally posted by CarlosKleiberist:
Sam, you make Michigan sound like such a WONDERFUL place... I think I should apply. Sounds like those Californians out there are straight up cranky!!! [/b]
Of course they're cranky. They're all jealous. They don't get to dig their cars out of the snow on New Years Day. ;\)

(and then miss an exit on the snow-covered freeway with no visible lane divisions because all the signs were covered with snow, and then get lost on middle-of-nowhere city streets because all the street signs were covered in snow, and then park outside a restaurant for lunch and afterwards take 5 minutes to back out of the big chunk of snow and ice self-made parking space....)

Ah, the wonders of Michigan weather... \:\)
_________________________
Sam

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#363362 - 01/02/08 10:19 PM Re: KU Grad school?
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17777
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Sam, how do you do strike-overs in your posts? All I've figured out how to do is bold and italics...
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#363363 - 01/02/08 10:32 PM Re: KU Grad school?
Amy J Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/19/07
Posts: 141
Loc: Kansas City, MO
I can give you, somewhat, the scoop, on KC, at least the MO side.

Okay, let me hyphenate that further by stating, "from a child wanting to learn." My daughter takes from Park U. near KC, MO and I'm impressed. I went to University of Central Missouri and got so frustrated with my teacher that I didn't continue until a LONG time afterwards.

Good luck - and let us know what happens. My daughter is thinking of Piano for undergrad.

Amy

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#363364 - 01/02/08 10:33 PM Re: KU Grad school?
LiszThalberg Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/13/06
Posts: 3288
Monica - type
 Code:
 <strike> and </strike> 

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#363365 - 01/04/08 08:03 AM Re: KU Grad school?
CarlosKleiberist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/01/06
Posts: 220
Loc: Southern California
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianojerome:
 Quote:
Originally posted by CarlosKleiberist:
Sam, you make Michigan sound like such a WONDERFUL place... I think I should apply. Sounds like those Californians out there are straight up cranky!!! [/b]
Of course they're cranky. They're all jealous. They don't get to dig their cars out of the snow on New Years Day. ;\)

(and then miss an exit on the snow-covered freeway with no visible lane divisions because all the signs were covered with snow, and then get lost on middle-of-nowhere city streets because all the street signs were covered in snow, and then park outside a restaurant for lunch and afterwards take 5 minutes to back out of the big chunk of snow and ice self-made parking space....)

Ah, the wonders of Michigan weather... \:\) [/b]
...

HMM... yea that all sounds about right...

see u in feb sam. \:D \:D \:D

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