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Info about some NE/NY music programs?

nightchefnightchef Registered User Posts: 1,450 Senior Member
edited June 2009 in Music Major
Can anybody give me some feedback about the following music schools/programs, with particular regard to these questions:

1) relative competitiveness of audition process, specifically for piano;
2) openness to/opportunities for development in jazz/pop genres;
3) possibility of BA/BM double major.

SUNY Purchase

Post edited by nightchef on

Replies to: Info about some NE/NY music programs?

  • VicAriaVicAria Registered User Posts: 295 Junior Member
    If jazz/pop are important to you, I would think Hartt and SUNY Purchase would have a slight edge over the other two. Pop, I'm not sure any of these four would offer that.
    You might also want to toss Ithaca into your mix. Again, it would be strong in jazz; not so sure about pop.

    What double major are you looking for?
  • nightchefnightchef Registered User Posts: 1,450 Senior Member
    //What double major are you looking for?//

    International relations. We know Bard is good for this, and BU is supposed to have a strong IR department as well though we're not as sure about the double major situation. We don't know as much about Purchase or U Hartford.
  • violadadvioladad Registered User Posts: 6,645 Senior Member
    The Bard BM is a classically based conservatory curriculum, but I believe you can craft a BA through the college and not the conservatory. A link to the Bard College BA music program is here Academics | Music

    Hartt's Jackie McClean Institute of Jazz may be worth a look from a jazz standpoint. It's an entity in and of itself under the Hartt umbrella. Again, it's rooted in jazz, not rock or contemporary popular music. The Barney School of Business and the Ward College of Technology are the best known of U Hartford's academic programs.

    Purchase has a strong jazz program, but I couldn't speak to contemporary genres. Purchase has a rep as a suitcase school. You might find specific academic info within the separate forum here http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/suny-college-purchase/

    Berklee is the go to school for contemporary/pop genres, but it is a conservatory, and you not find much academic depth or options. I was under the impression you could pursue an academic degree in conjunction with Emerson College, but I could not locate a link within Berklee's webpages to verify. You might wish to investigate that aspect further.

    BU may work from an academic standpoint, but I'm not familiar with the jazz aspect of the program. Others here might be.

    Beyond NE/NY, and besides Berklee, the major places I'm familiar are linked here:
    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/music-major/729957-does-any-school-teach-contemporary-music-music-performance-major.html The Jazz & Contemporary program at The New School may be worth a serious look.

    None of these are a shoe-ins from an audition standpoint. I'm not familiar with the admissions/audition aspect of the Bard BA program. The conservatory BM is highly competitive, as is Berklee for contemporary/pop genres.
  • VicAriaVicAria Registered User Posts: 295 Junior Member
    The logistics of navigating BU's campus between the School of Music and the other schools might be daunting. Besides which, as I said, I don't think BU is well known for jazz or pop studies.

    How serious is your student about the music aspect? Maybe you'd be better off looking for schools strong in IR, then see how active an extracurrcicular music program they have. I think Syracuse U is considered one of the leading IR schools for undergraduate. A school that size is almost certain to have active extracurriculars.
  • nightchefnightchef Registered User Posts: 1,450 Senior Member
    Hi everybody--wow, great answers already.

    //How serious is your student about the music aspect? //

    This is the million-dollar question. Nobody seems certain of this, including him. On the one hand, music consumes his life. He is a B student who would probably be an A student if he didn't spend so much time making music. On the other hand, his stated intention at present is to go a university or LAC and major in IR. I'm investigating music programs because I suspect he may change his mind. I think his heart is in music, but he's hesitating because (1) he has some self-doubt about the competitive aspect, and (2) he's 17, wants to save the world, and thinks music is too much fun and not enough world-saving.

    He's been taking piano lessons since age 8, and has progressed pretty far. He's technically a little behind where he should be, and the ship has sailed for him as top conservatory material, but his teacher has told us that he thinks six months of really focused work would put him in a position to audition creditably for a good university-based music program.

    The reason why I ask about the pop aspect is that in the past few years he has discovered an emerging gift as a pop singer/songwriter/pianist more or less in the Ben Folds vein. He's really quite good at it. While I can't give details without compromising his anonymity, he got a pretty dramatic affirmation of his talent this spring, involving a performance opportunity that a lot of adult musicians never see, and he knocked the ball out of the park.

    But even if his highest potential is as a pop musician, I think he needs to develop a little further as a pianist in order to realize that potential fully. So the opportunity that would be ideal for him is a music program where he would be pushed to refine his musicianship as a pianist, but where there would be open-mindedness and even encouragement about the fact that his ultimate goal and gift is as a pop musician. I'm not looking for a place that will train him as a pop musician; he's doing that on his own, very effectively.

    I probably shouldn't have mentioned jazz, either; that's really a red herring here. I don't think he's terribly interested in jazz, though he has worked in jazz bands in the past couple of years and has developed some basic comping and soloing chops.
  • VicAriaVicAria Registered User Posts: 295 Junior Member
    A little bit out of left field, but based on what you've written ... have you looked at the website Colleges That Change Lives? It's a listing of liberal arts colleges around the country that tend to fly under the radar of the more corporate listings of "top colleges". I think their website is www.ctcl.org; but if you Google it, you'll get it for sure.

    It sounds as though your son might thrive in an environment that helps him develop as an individual. A lot of these colleges also have a significant IR or study-abroad component. Also, since they tend to attract a different type of student, they tend to have significant creative opportunities, as well.

    And, based on what you've written, I would continue to encourage him to look at Ithaca.
  • nightchefnightchef Registered User Posts: 1,450 Senior Member
    Hi, VicAria. Yes, the CTCL schools have been very much on our radar. A lot of them are further from Boston than he wants to go, but Clark, Hampshire and Goucher are all on our short list.

    For some reason he has a strong negative impression of Ithaca College. I've tried to get a sense of the basis for this, but haven't been able to get much out of him about it.
  • musicamusicamusicamusica Registered User Posts: 6,468 Senior Member
    Loyola New Orleans might be worth a look. The music school is Jazz and Classically based, but it might be a place where he would find like minded students and plenty of places to gig.
  • musicprntmusicprnt Registered User Posts: 6,253 Senior Member

    As far as saving the world goes,tell him he might as well go into music, as given the state of the world, International Relations experts don't seem to have more of a clue then the rest of us (and obviously that is meant as a joke) and maybe music can really save the world, as in the popular cliche...

    I would agree with you, even if he is thinking of going the pop music route being able to play the piano at a technically higher level would only make him a better musician and performer I believe. And despite the popular image of pop and rock music (which does have some truth to it) of the three chords and an attitude and the honky-tonk keyboardist who learned in a garage or something, there are a lot of people in that world who have classical training and have said it helped them be better musicians and to do better work. I saw Billy Joel on a program recently, and he said that his study of the piano growing up helped him a great deal in his career (interestingly enough, Billy Joel in these later years is listening only to classical music and is working on writing classical piano pieces, least acording to what he said), and he isn't the only one.
  • VicAriaVicAria Registered User Posts: 295 Junior Member
    He may also want to look further north, to McGill University in Montreal. They have an excellent music school, and music students have a lot of latitude in what academic courses they can take. McGill does get a lot of American students, but there is a nice international vibe in Montreal, with a very active music scene.

    Also, University of Toronto, for many of the same reasons. I'm pretty sure UT is considered a "biggie" for IR, and its academic program is considered very rigorous. But Toronto is a great city, and the campus has a good vibe.
  • RunningtheBassesRunningtheBasses Registered User Posts: 109 Junior Member
    nightchef, a bit off topic, but your son sounds like someone who would find the Youth Orchestra of America documentary "The Legacy" interesting. It deals primarily with classical music, but speaks to how music changes lives on the international level. I've been trying to find somewhere nearby where it's being screened.

    Google YOA and Legacy to view the trailer.
  • BassDadBassDad Registered User Posts: 5,381 Senior Member
    Speaking of music and saving the world, make sure he reads Welcome Address, by Karl Paulnack
  • stringkeymomstringkeymom Registered User Posts: 457 Member
    Bassdad, thanks for posting that link.

    Just to put the record straight about BU, you can easily take courses in the different colleges/schools as a College of Fine Arts student--it's the converse that isn't true. Practice rooms, lessons, ensembles, etc. are not really available to non fine arts students. The buildings of the various schools are all in a row within a few blocks of each other and the campus is easily and quickly traversed even in the snow.
  • Mezzo'sMamaMezzo'sMama Forum Champion Music Major Posts: 3,559 Forum Champion
    If he's looking for the "Change the World- for the Better" type of school, take a good look at Marlboro College in VT(Marlboro College: Welcome). They are always on the every list of the "best" colleges, and encourage self-designed, interdisciplinary majors. It is very small and each student is important to the "community" upon which the school is based. My eldest loved it there!
    Plus, Marlboro is known internationally for its summer music festival and school (Marlboro Music: Richard Goode and Mitsuko Uchida, Artistic Directors
  • Mezzo'sMamaMezzo'sMama Forum Champion Music Major Posts: 3,559 Forum Champion
    Just wanted to add that Marlboro, does indeed, have a music "major" now and has performance opportunities too- not to mention all of the great places to hang out in nearby Brattleboro!
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