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Music ed vs performance

akapiratequeenakapiratequeen Registered User Posts: 468 Member
My son, who originally was looking at jazz-heavy performance programs, recently commented that he is thinking of applying for music ed instead. He's interested in "the psychology of music" and likes playing a wide range of instruments, and has met music Ed faculty at a couple of schools who were very encouraging. Is this a good idea even if the goal isn't necessarily to teach young kids? Can you recommend schools that are better for music ed? So far he's looked at Berklee and Ithaca, plans to check out Temple, Northwestern, JH Peabody -- definitely open to others. He doesn't want to be in NYC or anywhere south (loves the cold!).

Replies to: Music ed vs performance

  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 9,878 Senior Member
    He seems to have a good list.

    He might be more interested in music therapy. He can study that as a grad student Berklee has a great program for music therapy. I know a flute player who did a BM in performance, then the grad music therapy program at Berklee and is now involved in research in the neurology field at Harvard relating to music.

    He might also want to look into ways to combine music and psychology, as a double major or double degree. He does not have to go to a conservatory to accomplish this either: a BA in music with a performance component either in the classroom or extracurricular, might be good for his undergrad.

    An interest like "psychology of music" would seem to point to some grad school to specialize and focus :) That leaves many choices for undergrad.

  • akapiratequeenakapiratequeen Registered User Posts: 468 Member
    Those are great ideas!! I know that music ed has some psych and sociology courses, at Ithaca at least. That may be driving his interest. Also he's interested in continuing to learn new instruments as well as doing voice work, whereas before he was honed in on jazz/tenor sax. I love the way the search process is opening his mind to the possibilities.
  • ScreenName48105ScreenName48105 Registered User Posts: 517 Member
    You son might find it useful to look at actual course lists for the various degree programs and concentrations. Music programs are constantly evolving. Not so long ago, the choices were "composition", "performance" or "education" but that's no longer the case today. Even programs with the same title can have surprisingly different course/subject lists and focus. "Jazz studies" is a great example; you might be surprised how different the course lists are from school to school.

    U of Michigan, for instance, has a degreed "musical arts" program that's intended to be multidisciplinary and allows for a lot of flexibility to combine music with liberal arts concentrations. They also have a BFA program in "jazz and contemplative studies" that focuses on creative development and musicology.

    Note that at Berklee, the only jazz-specific major is "jazz composition"; there is no "jazz studies" per se. Performance majors are encouraged to explore a wide range of genres, and many students play many instruments. Also, you don't declare your major until sophomore year or beyond, so not something you have to decide at application time.
  • MomofbassistMomofbassist Registered User Posts: 698 Member
    If he is interested in music ed and wants to teach in NY, the best values are the SUNY schools: Potsdam's Crane and Fredonia. You can't beat 'instate" tuition and now NYS will offer free tuition for students with family income up to 100K and will soon be expanding to $125K. Both Crane and Fredonia also offer academic and talent scholarships which can offset room and board costs, too. Most of the students at Crane annd Fredonia were accepted at other conservatories but chose the state schools for their over all value.
    Crane has a very strong jazz concentration and a well regarded music ed program. Many of the grads go on to well respected grad programs for performance. They have a special ed music concentration that prepares students for a Masters in music therapy as well as music education. In addition, their music business grads do very well after graduation. Plus, if he likes cold weather, Potsdam is only about 20 miles from the Canadian border!
    If he is not interested in music ed,and wants performance then SUNY Purchase shares many of the same faculty as the NYC conservatories and is a well regarded Jazz school.
  • akapiratequeenakapiratequeen Registered User Posts: 468 Member
    We don't live in NY so this doesn't apply to us.
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 9,878 Senior Member
    Just want to add that perhaps he can apply to several different options for pats of study and decide in April. One of mine did that. There was more clarity at thT point
  • akapiratequeenakapiratequeen Registered User Posts: 468 Member
    Thanks! Hoping he doesn’t have to decide right away.
  • JerseyParentsJerseyParents Registered User Posts: 424 Member
    You want to check out Syracuse and Oberlin
  • akapiratequeenakapiratequeen Registered User Posts: 468 Member
    Oberlin is on the list...hadn’t heard about music at Syracuse though, is it a good program?
  • musicwindmusicwind Registered User Posts: 28 New Member
    Oberlin Conservatory does not offer undergraduate Music Ed degree.
  • akapiratequeenakapiratequeen Registered User Posts: 468 Member
    I am aware of this, thank you. My son is considering and education degree among other options.
  • uskoolfishuskoolfish Registered User Posts: 2,923 Senior Member
    Oberlin has BM students apply to their MM music ed program in their 4th year of undergrad. They are able to take some of the graduate requirements in their senior year and apply them to their MM degree. It is a 14 month program for anyone with a BM degree, but seems undergrads at Oberin get to take some classes early if time allows.
  • PAPDADPAPDAD Registered User Posts: 28 Junior Member
    Music education degrees also often involve less applied study than performance degrees. Ithaca performance students take 4 credits of applied study per term, while music ed students take 2 (they also have a combined degree with 4 credits that takes 4.5 years). Music ed students at SUNY schools also take fewer applied classes. Eastman gives one hour lessons (4 credits) but with a limited choice of teachers in some instruments. Music ed students also usually don't have full recitals. Music ed students are usually held to a lower standard than performance students.

    Peabody is different. Music ed students take the same music classes as performance and are held to the same standards. The problem with Peabody is the music ed program is tiny (4-6 students a year). In addition, since it is only 4 years, it has very few music ed classes (almost nothing for secondary instruments.
  • Parentof2014gradParentof2014grad Registered User Posts: 782 Member
    edited November 2017
    I also have a son who is considering both music ed and music performance. To further complicate things he's also has two instruments he's pursuing--voice and cello. He's a junior and soon I need to make a thread with my questions! Anyway, we've been pondering the pros and cons of music ed vs performance as well. He's always wanted to be a teacher, but he's not wanting to give up performance either, and he's had some success in high school. We recently visited a local university and spoke with the directors of music ed and voice performance programs.

    The music ed director emphasized that there are big differences between a performance degree and an education degree: The education degree prepares you to be a k-12 teacher. Most K-12 music teachers start in elementary or junior high, not high school. The skill set needed to teach well is in many ways different than the one needed for performance--a great teacher doesn't necessarily have to be a great performer. The music ed degree, as others have mentioned, has 30 min lessons, and the performance degree has hour lessons at this school. Music Ed takes 4.5 years by itself and does not have a light course load. At this school, double majoring in both was not encouraged. There were also substantial differences between the choral and instrumental music ed emphases although they lead to the same certification. At some schools there seems to be less of a difference. It did sound like he could audition for both programs, on both instruments, and make a final decision later (or have it made for him by audition results!). It also sounded like he could maybe take lessons on cello while majoring in voice but not vice versa at this school. There's quite a bit of variation between schools we've researched in the coursework required for music ed and whether double majoring is possible. It does make putting together a list of schools more challenging! We've also been told that a bachelor's and a master's is not necessarily a good combination for a brand new teacher. Districts prefer to hire just a bachelor's degree at a lower salary and it's adivsable to go back and get the master's later, both for hiring reasons and so you better know what you'd like to pursue for a masters. This makes a bachelors in performance combined with a master's in education seem less positive.

    We've been looking for programs that allow a double major. DePaul in Chicago looked like a possibility. I haven't gotten that much further in making a list. Son is also thinking more critically and more realistically about his options after those conversations. So much to consider.
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