Which conservatory /university?

Posted by: MiguelSousa

Which conservatory /university? - 11/17/12 11:59 AM

Hello guys.

How are you?
I'm going to apply this year to some usa universities to take a master degree in piano performance. I did a lot of research and I talked with some teachers but I still have doubts about my choices.

I want to have the best of every aspect of music life. Good teacher, scholarships or working as a pianist accompanist, a lot of chances to perform and facilites to practice. These are the schools that I have in mind

University of Michigan
Illinois University
Boston Conservatory
NEC
Ñorthwestern University - bienen school of music
University of North Texas
Crane School of Music
Mannes
Mason Groos

I have been talking with some teachers of those schools. They say that I'm in a good level to applicate. But I really need your help.

Thanks
Posted by: MiguelSousa

Re: Which conservatory /university? - 11/17/12 12:07 PM

If you have another suggestion, please tell me smile
Posted by: DonaldLee

Re: Which conservatory /university? - 11/17/12 12:20 PM

I would say that you should add Peabody to your list. I want to go there for my masters and study with Leon Fleisher, granted he's still well by the time I would get there.

Also, another suggestion: It may sound far fetched, for my current university, James Madison University, might be another option. The piano faculty here are absolutely phenomenal and graduated from some of the best conservatories in the world, yet are still NICE, the are abundant accompanying opportunities, the facilites (the Forbes Center) are AMAZING, one of the best Theaters/Concert Halls/ Recital Halls in the country w/ 4 brand new model Ds to choose from for performances, amazing practice rooms (all new Steinways), and the graduate students all have assistantships where you pay no tuition, and receive a monthly stipend for rent and other expenses. Also, the after graduation job/further schooling placement rate is 95-100% every year.
Posted by: gooddog

Re: Which conservatory /university? - 11/17/12 12:27 PM

Originally Posted By: MiguelSousa

Crane School of Music
Admittedly, my experience with the Crane School of Music was a long time ago, but if it hasn't changed, I'd avoid it for several reasons. I found the atmosphere among the students to be nasty, egotistical and lacking a healthy perspective on competition. I was not impressed with the teachers or their judgment. I was horribly under-qualified for the advanced theory class they insisted I belonged in even though I was completely lost. My frustration was met with a deaf ear. The atmosphere, attitudes and lack of support made me extremely unhappy. At that time, there were no private lessons, only master classes. When I sought guidance, I got no help whatsoever. I went to Crane with a passion for music and I felt they were killing that. I eventually had to drop out or lose my sanity. Finally, Potsdam is not a great place to spend any amount of extended time. It's in the middle of nowhere. There is nothing around for hundreds of miles. There is very little to do unless you are into drinking. The winters are just awful. 30 degrees F below zero is no big deal. Sometimes it's just too cold to snow. Spring, which starts in May, is a sea of mud.

Boy, it sure feels good to get that off my chest!
Posted by: Pogorelich.

Re: Which conservatory /university? - 11/17/12 01:24 PM

Deborah, that is the case with many schools. You need to kind of make the experience for yourself, in other words, it's what you make of it. You will find competitive attitude everywhere in the music world. It's just how it is.
Posted by: JessicaB

Re: Which conservatory /university? - 11/17/12 01:44 PM

I love the University of Illinois' School of Music when I went there. But that was a long time ago. The practice pianos were not great, but Krannert Center is world class (in a small community). The cost of living is very low. You will have performance opportunities and Chicago is only a couple of hours drive.
Posted by: debrucey

Re: Which conservatory /university? - 11/17/12 01:50 PM

'Lacking a healthy perspective on competition' and 'there was a competitive atmosphere' are two different criticisms.
Posted by: gooddog

Re: Which conservatory /university? - 11/17/12 01:55 PM

Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
Deborah, that is the case with many schools. You need to kind of make the experience for yourself, in other words, it's what you make of it. You will find competitive attitude everywhere in the music world. It's just how it is.
I was, and still am, pretty sensitive and non-competitive but I think I might have survived Crane had I not been put into the wrong classes. I quite literally did not know how to tell you what key something was in. I had no idea what Roman numerals had to do with music. I was completely lost when it came to theory and just too far behind to be assigned to advanced theory. (There was a less advanced class available but they refused to move me.) They gave me no support and no solutions and just turned the whole experience into misery. Master classes were shark tanks. I'm just not cut out for that kind of atmosphere and I really admire your ability to thrive in it. You are extremely talented and you playing shows sensitivity so you must have a thick skin.
Posted by: GeorgeB

Re: Which conservatory /university? - 11/17/12 02:50 PM

You should also look at UK ones as well. Probably less expensive than the states and still very good.
Example:
-GSMD
-RAM
-RCM
-RNCM
Posted by: Pogorelich.

Re: Which conservatory /university? - 11/17/12 03:15 PM

Deborah... that sounds awful about theory. When I did my pre-college training they did that to me too, but as soon as the teacher started putting all these roman numerals on the board I quickly switched. I wish they'd let you do the same. How did you manage??
Posted by: DanS

Re: Which conservatory /university? - 11/17/12 03:39 PM

Mason Gross is a great school. I've know a few pianists (and other instrumentalists) who graduated from there and they all had good things to say. I've seen a lot of great performances there, too.
Posted by: fledgehog

Re: Which conservatory /university? - 11/17/12 03:55 PM

I've loved my time at Hartt School of Music (Connecticut) so far. Being a part of the University of Hartford, administration can be frustrating, but the atmosphere of the conservatory itself is great. Teachers are all supportive, and students aren't unnecessarily competitive (I've never experienced any of the horror stories you hear about places like Julliard where students try to sabotage each others performances, etc). Not saying it's the best choice for everyone, but it's a fine school and worth researching. For whatever it's worth, I had a lot of the same schools that you do on my list when I was applying for college.

I noticed Crane on your list -- are you from New York? If the low costs and proximity of state schools are appealing to you, you might also want to check out SUNY Purchase.
Posted by: gooddog

Re: Which conservatory /university? - 11/17/12 04:40 PM

Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
Deborah... that sounds awful about theory. When I did my pre-college training they did that to me too, but as soon as the teacher started putting all these roman numerals on the board I quickly switched. I wish they'd let you do the same. How did you manage??

I didn't. I lasted a few weeks, dropped all my music classes and changed my entire program to a liberal arts one. The regular college folks told me it would be hard to catch up on the lib. arts classes that late in the semester but I was determined, worked my rear off and did fine. I continued to use the practice rooms 3 hours a day and no one ever questioned my right to be there because of the level of music I was playing.
Posted by: JessicaB

Re: Which conservatory /university? - 11/18/12 12:13 PM

I just looked at the faculty at Illinois and was happy to see Ian Hobson is still there. Everyone I know who worked with him loved the experience.

Have you looked to see where graduates of those particular institutions are performing/teaching? How well does that match your interests? You can tell a lot about the strengths of a particular program by what people do afterwards.

Have you talked or emailed any of the faculty? You might find that some are more interested in you than others. How about master classes with them? Are any of the faculty coming to your country to do master classes you might attend?
Posted by: Piano*Dad

Re: Which conservatory /university? - 11/19/12 08:18 AM

Deborah,

Tell us how you REALLY feel! grin


Oberlin seems to offer a lot (except for good weather). I'm becoming familiar with that program because youngest is interested (flute, not piano). I also know a piano student there. It seems to be a humane place where the faculty get to know the students well and they work with them individually and intensely. You also have the opportunity to study on the college side as well as in the Conservatory.
Posted by: gooddog

Re: Which conservatory /university? - 11/19/12 09:51 AM

Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Deborah,

Tell us how you REALLY feel! grin
laugh Potsdam was awful but my audition for Fredonia was a disaster. The lone judge was drunk. The piano wheels weren't locked and all I had to sit on was a low, metal folding chair. I didn't get in.
Posted by: Auntie Lynn

Re: Which conservatory /university? - 11/19/12 09:55 AM

I did a post on this over at the Amazon Classical, etc. and a trusted poster said: A tyrranical teacher to age 5, then the Gnessin School, and then the Moscow Conservatory. Makes sense...if I had it to do all over again, I would probably take Curtis or the University of Vienna...but then, that's just me...
Posted by: newport

Re: Which conservatory /university? - 11/19/12 06:44 PM

Originally Posted By: gooddog
Potsdam ... Fredonia


I love Wikipedia (just made another contribution donation) and Google Earth smile!
Posted by: MiguelSousa

Re: Which conservatory /university? - 11/26/12 03:11 AM

Thanks for your help

Between Northwestern Univ and Univ of Illinois, which one do you prefer?

Also, about Boston COnservatory, does anyone know anything about the school and the faculty?
Posted by: AldenH

Re: Which conservatory /university? - 11/27/12 02:17 AM

Northwestern.
Posted by: Peter K. Mose

Re: Which conservatory /university? - 11/27/12 11:41 AM

Miguel, you shouldn't base your future on our limited knowledge and biases.I believe you would grow and have a great time at any one of these schools. Each has some wonderful teachers and some duds. Some great fellow keyboard students and some annoying ones.

The best solution would be to go visit these schools. Otherwise, don't fret this decision. A big part of these years will simply be living in a new country for you, the famous US of A.
Posted by: carey

Re: Which conservatory /university? - 11/27/12 01:00 PM

Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
Miguel, you shouldn't base your future on our limited knowledge and biases.I believe you would grow and have a great time at any one of these schools. Each has some wonderful teachers and some duds. Some great fellow keyboard students and some annoying ones.

The best solution would be to go visit these schools. Otherwise, don't fret this decision. A big part of these years will simply be living in a new country for you, the famous US of A.


Excellent advice !!!!!! thumb

Miquel - I don't know what part of the world you currently live in, but if you aren't used to dealing with extremely COLD weather on a day to day basis the locations of some of the schools you are considering might be challenging. grin

I'm going to put in a plug for my alma mater (MM '73) the University of North Texas. Yesterday, I received their annual magazine highlighting the recent accomplishments of selected faculty and alumni from the School of Music. Very impressive !!!! The piano faculty has always been strong there. When I attended, it was fairly easy to get a graduate teaching assistantship (I taught private and class piano), scholarships, etc. (however, I don't know how easy it is now) and opportunities to play chamber music, accompany instrumental recitals, etc. were plentiful. There's lots of of musical activity in Dallas (half hour's drive) - The Dallas Symphony, Dallas Opera, Meyerson Sympnony Center, etc. and Fort Worth (40 minutes drive) - Cliburn Competition, Fort Worth Symphony, Bass Concert Hall. The music school facilities are excellent. Granted, the weather gets hot and humid in the summer - and sometimes you get a dusting of snow and ice in the winter - but otherwise it is fairly mild - and the cost of living in Denton is quite reasonable. Back in the day, I was accepted for grad studies at both Northwestern and North Texas. In retrospect, I'm grateful that I chose North Texas.
Posted by: daviel

Re: Which conservatory /university? - 11/28/12 06:18 PM

+1 North Texas. No matter where you go don't say 'applicate' to anybody - it's ok here.