Schoolwise - Where would you go if you were in my shoes?

Posted by: Igor Stravinsky

Schoolwise - Where would you go if you were in my shoes? - 08/31/04 12:13 AM

My family will probably have the opportunity to move and live in the US maybe in May 2005. It is not yet certain but let me ask you this question.

My eight-year-old son is studying the piano at the National School of Music in Sofia, Bulgaria which is the best in the country. He played the piano for a year and afterwards was accepted to study in the school after passing successfully entrance examinations in piano, music theory and ear training.

During the second year of his training (2003-2004) he played etudes by Duvernoy, Lemoine, Koeler and pieces by Bach (A Little Notebook for Anna-Magdalena Bach), Beethoven, Maykapar, Tschaikovsky, Diabelli, Kuhlau, Clementi, Kabalevsky, etc. He passed his final exam
for he year with an excellent mark.

Is there an equivalent school somewhere in the US and if you were me, where would you enroll your child? That provided that you have the freedom to choose and live anywhere. Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.
Posted by: Igor Stravinsky

Re: Schoolwise - Where would you go if you were in my shoes? - 09/02/04 11:13 AM

C'mon, please say something!

Peter
Posted by: kathyk

Re: Schoolwise - Where would you go if you were in my shoes? - 09/02/04 11:25 AM

I have never heard of an 8-year old child taking entrance exams for conservatory-style schools in the US. Maybe that's why no one has responded to your post. Was your son enrolled there fulltime, or just for private piano lessons? If you move to any urban area, you could seek out a good private piano teacher. I think that that is the path most people take with their children here in the US - even incredibly precocious ones. There is a wonderful music school in at Interlochen, Michigan for high school kids. I doubt that they admit children as young as yours.
Posted by: piqué

Re: Schoolwise - Where would you go if you were in my shoes? - 09/02/04 11:28 AM

if your focus for your choice of where to live is on the cultural and musical development of your son, the obvious place to live is new york city.

the great conservatories there have programs for children that are superb. there are so many other opportunities as well.

the u.s. is a culturally and economically and topographically and meteorologically a very diverse place.

are there any other considerations that should go into your choice? climate? job opportunities? population density?

new york is, in many ways, the cultural center of the world, especially when it comes to the arts. but there are many other considerations involved in living there. it's expensive, for one thing. there are lots of job opportunities, but it depends on what you do. and the logistics of day to day living can be extremely challenging.
Posted by: Phlebas

Re: Schoolwise - Where would you go if you were in my shoes? - 09/02/04 01:53 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by piqu:
the logistics of day to day living [in New York] can be extremely challenging. [/b]
Especially if you have a young child.
Schooling - not talking about music, just regular elementary schools - are expensive in NY because public schools are not very good unless you live in a handful of districts. So, the alternative is private schools, which are expensive.

However, Pique is correct, NY is a great city for culture, and there are lots of good piano teachers. There are other cities that would be good as well.

Your son souds like he's pretty talented. We don't have schools like you describe in Bulgaria here, but there are lots and lots of talented young piano players. It's none of my business, but there are a lot of issues to consider when it comes to where you want to live in the US. I'm not saying it isn't, but quality of life for your family should be at the top.
Posted by: piqué

Re: Schoolwise - Where would you go if you were in my shoes? - 09/02/04 09:35 PM

actually, phlebas, i believe mannes college has a program like the one peter describes for school children. julliard may also have a program, at least, i seem to remember hearing of young children attending programs at julliard.

i agree with phlebas that quality of life is very important. if i didn't feel that way, i'd probably still be living in new york city.
Posted by: Igor Stravinsky

Re: Schoolwise - Where would you go if you were in my shoes? - 09/03/04 04:07 AM

Thanks for all the responses. Yes, my son is studying full-time at the school of music in Sofia and is on his way to becoming a pro. Of course if he still wants to, when he grows up.

I could choose a place to live anywhere because I don't have any job restrictions posed on me - my wife won in the DV lottery. So it is my son's school that we are considering first.

The music schools here in Bulgaria incorporate both music and general education classes. The classes consist of 14 children, all of them musicians, playing different instruments. My son has three individual piano classes a week (one of them private) plus two lessons in music theory, a lesson in musical literature, a lesson in rhythm and a lesson in choir singing.

Every school year finishes with an exam in the instrument and during the school year there are concerts showing everyone's development.

All students who want to remain in the school take entrance examinations (instrument and music theory) once again in their fourth and seventh year. Due to this manner of studying when they graduate, most of them are ready to enter the state conservatory without any special preparation.

Thank you again for the answers, I really appreciate them.

Peter
Posted by: Igor Stravinsky

Re: Schoolwise - Where would you go if you were in my shoes? - 09/03/04 04:52 AM

No idea what happened to my reply - I can't see it! Can you?
Posted by: Phlebas

Re: Schoolwise - Where would you go if you were in my shoes? - 09/03/04 05:08 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by piqu:
actually, phlebas, i believe mannes college has a program like the one peter describes for school children. julliard may also have a program, at least, i seem to remember hearing of young children attending programs at julliard.

[/b]
I thought the Mannes was more like a prep division, and for high school students, like the Juilliard prep division. I wasn't aware they took elementary school kids. Never looked into it, and I could be wrong though.

Cephas, another thought. If your timing is late Spring 2005 - close to the end of the US school year - do some travelling. Contact some teachers in a few areas you might target as good places to live - NY, Rocky Mountains, San Francisco, Washington/Oregon, whatever, and get a feel for those areas, while having your son meet with and play for those teachers.

Good luck.
Posted by: Candywoman

Re: Schoolwise - Where would you go if you were in my shoes? - 09/03/04 09:17 PM

If it were me, I'd keep him in the school he is at. It will be easier for him to fit in, and I'm told children admire and respect their teachers in places like Bulgaria, Austria, Romania, and other European countries. Here (North America), I'm afraid he would be infected by a certain lazy attitude from his peers. Naturally there are exceptions. I've met very few people with the right attitude, and they are usually immigrants.
Posted by: Igor Stravinsky

Re: Schoolwise - Where would you go if you were in my shoes? - 09/04/04 02:25 AM

Thanks for the replies, they are very helpful.

Candyman, you are quite right - I really like the school my son's attending. My personal opinion is that students are the same everywhere - even in my son's class there are students who do not plan to become musicians and they don't spend so much time playing. They are so little, but some of them already want to be IT specialists, others designers, artists, etc. Only three of four of the children know that they will be musicians (not urged by their parents) and my son is among them.

Yeah, I am aware of peer pressure, but I will never forgive myself if I don't offer him the opportunity to study in the US.

Teachers in Bulgaria are respected but that respect is usually earned through fear (there are exceptions to this, naturally). Teachers of music are the strictest of all teachers and if you do not keep up with the pace they set - they kick you out. For example my son has to prepare ten different pieces for his next lesson!

Peter
Posted by: piqué

Re: Schoolwise - Where would you go if you were in my shoes? - 09/04/04 10:13 AM

sounds like he might get a chance to have a childhood if you come over here!

if i were you, i would research which of the great u.s. conservatories have children's programs, and then of the best of those programs, pick the place i'd most like to live.

get back to us with that info, and we can tell you more about what it is like to live in those places.
Posted by: Igor Stravinsky

Re: Schoolwise - Where would you go if you were in my shoes? - 09/07/04 02:34 AM

Thanks for the replies.

Pique, I have some friends in Dallas, TX and hope to find someone in NYC. Our choice would be I guess New York - The Manhattan School of Music and The Juilliard School have pre-college programs for children. If all goes well with our visa applications perhaps we'll try there.

I am still in the process of doing some research for schools in Dallas, but somehow I feel that NYC is the right place to go. I know life is going to be difficult there at first (If I can make it there I'd make it anywhere ) but I am ready for anything. After all it won't be the first time we have moved because of my son's piano playing.

Greetings!
Peter
Posted by: Igor Stravinsky

Re: Schoolwise - Where would you go if you were in my shoes? - 09/08/04 03:46 AM

How does one report posts as being offensive?
Posted by: Phlebas

Re: Schoolwise - Where would you go if you were in my shoes? - 09/08/04 04:10 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Cephas:
How does one report posts as being offensive? [/b]
There's a "whistle" at the bottom of the post that you can click on to report the post. I already reported it.
Posted by: Igor Stravinsky

Re: Schoolwise - Where would you go if you were in my shoes? - 09/08/04 04:56 AM

Thanks - This post kind of upset me and I deleted all my messages containing personal info. Didn't want jerks like that to read about my kid.
Posted by: Phlebas

Re: Schoolwise - Where would you go if you were in my shoes? - 09/08/04 05:54 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Cephas:
Thanks I deleted all my messages containing personal info. Didn't want jerks like that to read about my kid. [/b]
Excellent advice.
This is a great community, and is very popular. The disadvantage to it's popularity is the occasional trolls who try - but always ultimately fail - to ruin it for everyone.