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#602160 - 12/09/05 04:33 PM Top 10 Best Music Schools in California?
Puckettmeister86 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/05
Posts: 215
Loc: Rocklin, CA
I am a piano performance major and am looking towards going off to college for my bachellors and eventually masters. I am just curious as to what colleges you believe to have the best musical programs.

Thanks, Chris
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is never enough for music." Sergei Rachmaninoff.

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#602161 - 12/09/05 05:27 PM Re: Top 10 Best Music Schools in California?
Kreisler Offline

Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13825
Loc: Iowa City, IA
USC and the San Francisco Conservatory
"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)


#602162 - 12/09/05 05:47 PM Re: Top 10 Best Music Schools in California?
curry Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/02
Posts: 3770
Loc: Hamilton Twp, NJ
Not in California, but
Shenandoah University
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#602163 - 12/09/05 05:47 PM Re: Top 10 Best Music Schools in California?
Opus_Maximus Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/04
Posts: 1515
The west coast definately lacks the east's wonderful institutions, but if I had to list 5 I would say

San Francisco conservatory
Cal State Northridge
Colburn (recently a full time, degree giving conservatory)

#602164 - 12/09/05 06:54 PM Re: Top 10 Best Music Schools in California?
thoughtful Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/11/05
Posts: 74
I don't recommend SFCM, having known several people from there and attended dozens of student recitals myself (including graduate). SFCM has a good prep decision, but neither its undergrad nor its graduate school stand on the same level as schools on the east coast. But I suppose you could say it belongs to 10 of the Best ones INSIDE the state of Calfornia.

#602165 - 12/09/05 07:46 PM Re: Top 10 Best Music Schools in California?
opus119 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 314
The SF Conservatory might have some good teachers, but there are a few major drawbacks to this school. First is that there is NO on-campus housing. That means that you have to find housing in the most expensive city in the US (maybe NY is more - but SF is a close second). That means that as a pianist, unless you can find reasonably inexpensive digs close to the conservatory (which is moving into a new facility in 2006 -- still no dorms --), you'll have to plan your practice time very carefully and compete with other piano majors for practice rooms. San Francisco is a great city - but it is just plain expensive to live in... period. Also, I have heard that the financial aid is not all that great, unless you are the next Alexander Kobrin or something. One other place to look into, although I know nothing much about it currently, is California Institute of the Arts. All in all, USC probably has the best reputation of any music school in California. Colburn is so competitive (as it is guaranteed tuition for free - you only cover your living expenses and I think those are also subsidized), that it's like winning the lottery. Check out their website and you'll see that they only admit students when someone leaves -- so maybe 5 pianists a year or something. It is the Curtis of the west coast, but smaller. Maybe a few to check out: Redlands, UCSB, Northridge (as mentioned before); I graduated from Humboldt State in the 70's, and if it's anything like when I went there -- FORGETABOUTIT! (except I did kind of like my piano teacher who is long gone).

#602166 - 12/09/05 09:11 PM Re: Top 10 Best Music Schools in California?
WCSMinorCircuit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/04
Posts: 1124
Loc: California
USC is a very good school but very expensive. I'd rather go to UCLA which also has a very good music program.
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#602167 - 12/10/05 01:33 AM Re: Top 10 Best Music Schools in California?
Opus_Maximus Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/04
Posts: 1515
I got a full scholarship to the San Francisco conservatory, but there were several factors that led me to choose to go to MSM, despite the fact that I got hardly any money from them.

First of all, exactly like op. 119 said, they don't have on - campus housing , which makes it difficult to practice late at night. Secondly, their facilities are not particularly professional (even thought they are about to open a new building) I was turned off by the graffiti on the pianos. Additionally, just from what I saw during auditions, the level of students seemed to be incredibly low and uninspired.
On the other hand, Jefferey Kahane and Yehudi Menuin are both Alumni of this school, and they do have some amazing faculty members.

I would recommend either Colburn or USC more than anything.

#602168 - 12/10/05 10:01 AM Re: Top 10 Best Music Schools in California?
Auntie Lynn Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/04
Posts: 1140
Loc: San Francisco, CA
I'm not sure about this, but San Francisco State U is one of the few schools that has a performance major/concentration. Wonderful as that may be, it also means you are out there with a bunch of young geniuses who can play everything in the book. However, if you wanna learn anything at all, there's someone there who can teach it to you. They have lotsa practice rooms and dorms...

#602169 - 12/10/05 11:21 AM Re: Top 10 Best Music Schools in California?
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 22263
Loc: Oakland
A friend of mine who is a fine pianist went to SF State. His parents told me that if they knew he was going to be a professional musician, they may have sent him to the Conservatory, but they sent him to State because they thought he would get a better musical education there. Of course, both schools have changed since then.
Semipro Tech

#602170 - 12/10/05 12:05 PM Re: Top 10 Best Music Schools in California?
Dan M Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/03
Posts: 770
Loc: California
Yes of course the West Coast can't hold a match to the East for music education. I was briefly at SF State as a music major, and know many who went to the conservatory. I'm not sure which is better, but I think the student body at the conservatory is better than at State.

USC is probably better overall, but it's still slim pickings. If the school is important to you probably should go out East.
The piano is my drug of choice.
Why are you reading this? Go play the piano! Why am I writing this? ARGGG!

#602171 - 12/10/05 05:50 PM Re: Top 10 Best Music Schools in California?
Agent99 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/05
Posts: 28
Originally posted by Puckettmeister86:
I am a piano performance major and am looking towards going off to college for my bachellors and eventually masters. I am just curious as to what colleges you believe to have the best musical programs.
We are only talking about California, so bear in mind there is no music school on the West Coast that even comes close to those in the Northeast.

A few things you might want to consider Chris. In a straight conservatory environment like Colburn, CalArts, or SFCM, there is little or no opportunity to study or even be exposed to other fields. College is a great time to explore, and you potentially will be missing out on obtaining a broad Liberal Arts education.

USC has a good program for both Classical and Jazz. You will also take General Education classes, or possibly have a second major in something other than music. It's a private school though, and rather pricey, and located in not exactly the nicest part of town.

CSUN (Northridge) is a public school, that is close to USC's music program in quality ( maybe even better in Jazz).

I don't know much about UCLA's music program so won't comment.

One last thought: You may wish to get your BM or BA at a place like USC or Northridge, and then pursue your Master's at a more conservatory-like environment, possibly even on the East Coast.

Best of luck!


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