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#937890 - 09/06/07 08:06 AM San Francisco Conservatory of Music or Certificate of Merit?
MA Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 302
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
My daughter has just auditioned at San Francisco Conservatory of Music and been accepted in its Certificate Program which means private lessons with a faculty member plus a musicianship (theory & ear training) class.

She started learning piano last year with a member of Music Teacher Association of California and aced through its Certificate of Merit exam (Level 1 after Preparatory Level) this March. She's probably playing at Level 3 now.

She started practicing 15-30 minutes per day on average and now 30-45 minutes. She's required to practice at least one hour after joining the program.

One concern I have is that she is only 7 years old while "most students enrolled in musicianship classes are at least 9-10 years old". Another is the cost, about $4K-5K per year, twice as much as what it cost us before.

Would you choose the conservatory or continue with Certificate of Merit?

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#937891 - 09/06/07 02:03 PM Re: San Francisco Conservatory of Music or Certificate of Merit?
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1267
Loc: California
My students do CM. I'm not familiar with SFCM's Certificate Program... is it set up like CM? To me it sounds like a way for a music school to charge a lot of $$, when CM is itself an awesome program. But I don't want to sound judgmental as I honestly don't know their program. The Certificate of Merit program is designed so that students who reach the advanced level (after several years) can actually test out of some college music theory courses. Personally, I would continue w/CM for a few more years, then re-evaluate what your goals for your child are. The SFMC program may be the way to go when she's in jr high or high school. Perhaps their structure is better for students planning to major in music in college.
_________________________
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

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#937892 - 09/06/07 02:07 PM Re: San Francisco Conservatory of Music or Certificate of Merit?
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7407
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
If the SFCM is anything like the Seattle program, it's a real opportunity for your daughter. However, as a 7 yr old, perhaps it's a bit premature to worry too much about ear training and theory. Are there other 7 yr olds enrolled? Can you talk with the parents?

Are you unhappy with your current teacher? Why are you considering switching? Have you discussed with the teacher the curriculum she is following and where it leads?
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#937893 - 09/06/07 05:18 PM Re: San Francisco Conservatory of Music or Certificate of Merit?
MA Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 302
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
 Quote:
Originally posted by dumdumdiddle:
To me it sounds like a way for a music school to charge a lot of $$ [/b]
That's what I am worrying about.

It seems though the program is in demand, and only talented young children are accepted. (They told me they wanted 7-year olds instead of 13-year olds.)

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#937894 - 09/06/07 06:13 PM Re: San Francisco Conservatory of Music or Certificate of Merit?
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 542
 Quote:
Originally posted by MA:
My daughter has just auditioned at San Francisco Conservatory of Music and been accepted in its Certificate Program which means private lessons with a faculty member plus a musicianship (theory & ear training) class.

She started learning piano last year with a member of Music Teacher Association of California and aced through its Certificate of Merit exam (Level 1 after Preparatory Level) this March. She's probably playing at Level 3 now.

She started practicing 15-30 minutes per day on average and now 30-45 minutes. She's required to practice at least one hour after joining the program.

One concern I have is that she is only 7 years old while "most students enrolled in musicianship classes are at least 9-10 years old". Another is the cost, about $4K-5K per year, twice as much as what it cost us before.

Would you choose the conservatory or continue with Certificate of Merit? [/b]
Hi, I'm giving you a parent's perspective... I think it also depends on the kid. My son is also 7 and he has had theory lessons with 10-year-olds. He totally enjoyed those lessons and interacting with the older kids, but it was obvious that the older kids weren't treating him as their equal. Of course you also need to figure out where that high cost comes from. We also considered a precollege program offered by a university, but the cost is essentially the same as going with a private teacher...

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#937895 - 09/06/07 06:36 PM Re: San Francisco Conservatory of Music or Certificate of Merit?
MA Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 302
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
 Quote:
Originally posted by John v.d.Brook:
If the SFCM is anything like the Seattle program, it's a real opportunity for your daughter. [/b]
I have just checked the Seattle Conservatory Website ( web page ), and its program is similar.

It seems that it's only a preparatory conservatory, though. On its home page, it has listed SFCM as one of the institutions under "Where have our graduates gone after leaving the Conservatory?"

 Quote:
Originally posted by John v.d.Brook:
Are you unhappy with your current teacher? Why are you considering switching? Have you discussed with the teacher the curriculum she is following and where it leads? [/b]
I have to find a new teacher anyway because we have just moved. It seems to me that the SFCM program is geared toward preparing the children to enter a conservatory when they are older.

Here is the course description ( web page ):

Level 1 - Sight singing and conducting using diatonic melodies in simple and compound time. Students study all major and minor keys, the intervals in those keys, chord progressions, rhythmic design and phrasing.

Level 2 - Sight singing using skips in all diatonic triads, syncopation, harmonic cycles of thirds and fifths, dominant 7th and V7 chords, non-tonal use of seconds, fourths and fifths; binary and ternary form.

Level 3 - Sight singing material to include seventh chords, rhythmic patterns of two against three, inversions of triads and dominant seventh chords, non-tonal use of thirds, theme & variations and rondo form.

Level 4 - Sight singing with secondary dominants and chromatic non-harmonic tones, small subdivisions of the beat, changing meters, inversions of dominant 7th chords, secondary dominants, modulation, non-tonal use of sixths, sonata and concerto form.

Level 5 - Sight singing with modes and remote modulation in 20th century idioms, polyrhythms, quintuplets, meters with unequal beats, tempo modulation, leading tone seventh chords, augmented sixth chords, Neapolitan chords, all intervals in a non-tonal context, fugue.

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#937896 - 09/06/07 08:13 PM Re: San Francisco Conservatory of Music or Certificate of Merit?
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7407
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Hi MA - I've scanned the brochure, and from what I can see, the preparatory program is most comprehensive. And I agree with your assessment, your daughter would be prepared to enter the conservatory as a college student.

The tuition isn't covering just private lessons, but a comprehensive music education which requires nearly daily attendence. In other words, music, with a piano major, is going to be your daughter's sole extra-curricular activity. If this is what you are looking for, the tuition is most reasonable. If you are just looking for competence in piano playing, this may be overkill.

I would ask to speak to some other parents and get their assessment, and include some parents who have dropped out of the program. I hope the reason for this is obvious!
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#937897 - 09/06/07 10:04 PM Re: San Francisco Conservatory of Music or Certificate of Merit?
MA Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 302
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
 Quote:
Originally posted by childofparadise2002:
Hi, I'm giving you a parent's perspective... I think it also depends on the kid. My son is also 7 and he has had theory lessons with 10-year-olds. He totally enjoyed those lessons and interacting with the older kids, but it was obvious that the older kids weren't treating him as their equal. [/b]
Thanks for sharing this. My daughter has been used to studying with children 1-2 years older as she started school early.

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#937898 - 09/06/07 10:29 PM Re: San Francisco Conservatory of Music or Certificate of Merit?
MA Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 302
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
Hi John,

I have just called the conservatory. One of the persons who auditioned my daughter is the chair of Piano Performance in the collegiate division. His feedback to the preparatory division director, who also was at the audition, was: among the children he had auditioned, only my daughter showed real promise. He asked the director to assign the best faculty member from the preparatory division to give my daughter private lessons.

So they are not in this for the money. I will send her to study there and worry about whether it's the best for her to become a concert pianist when she grows up.

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#937899 - 09/08/07 09:30 AM Re: San Francisco Conservatory of Music or Certificate of Merit?
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5550
Loc: Orange County, CA
MA:

I think you've made a wonderful choice! To be completely honest, CM is for the "average" students. At age 7, your daughter won't benefit from the best programs that CM has to offer, which are geared for kids in grades 9th-12th (Young Artist Guild, Masterclasses, and Panel).

Best of luck!!
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#937900 - 09/08/07 12:37 PM Re: San Francisco Conservatory of Music or Certificate of Merit?
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7407
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
MA - that sounds wonderful. Give us feedback on her progress from time to time.

John
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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