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SUNY Purchase conservatory

xoxtinysingerxoxxoxtinysingerxox Registered User Posts: 193 Junior Member
edited April 2011 in Music Major
As another audition year come around I know many will have questions about specific programs. I have a wealth of information about the Opera Conservatory at SUNY Purchase, as I as a student there. If you have any questions, please send me a private message!
Post edited by xoxtinysingerxox on

Replies to: SUNY Purchase conservatory

  • Mezzo'sMamaMezzo'sMama Registered User Posts: 3,438 Senior Member
    Weren't you going to attend a school in Florida? Music Ed? Did you miss the terrible weather in NY?!!!
    I was not aware that Purchase had an "Opera Conservatory", per se. I know that they offer a VP degree within the Voice and Opera Studies Dept but that's all under the umbrella of the Conservatory of Music and that their advanced degrees and certificates are in Opera Studies within the conservatory. Just don't want younger students and parents to be confused.....
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 8,532 Senior Member
    My daughter is applying for dance, and I would be interested in any general comments you have about the Purchase programs in Performing Arts, or Purchase in general. Do you live on campus? How is dorm life? Do students from different disciplines mix? Do you go into NYC a lot? Etc. Thanks!
  • opera-momopera-mom Registered User Posts: 382 Member
    compmom...my dd looked at Purchase so we have been to the campus...can't tell you anything about the dance department...but here is what I can tell you...

    The school is in a fairly rural area, with nice homes surrounding it. The school has shuttles that will take you to a train station...train into Manhattan I think is around 30 minutes...so up to your child how often they make it into the city.

    Seems to be a little bit of a commuter school..in that a lot of kids go home on weekends...but not all.

    facilities are adequate (class rooms...dorms smallish so I've heard..did not see)....performance hall beautiful.

    Mezzo...as far as what tiny was saying about "opera conservatory"... okay so that is not the specific degree a vp major would get but opera is very much what they are pushing there....if it's not what you want to do...then it's probably not the place for you... they have some good teachers...but... if you don't live up to their expectations (one of the top students)...then you stand a good chance of getting pushed out...(as I've heard from more than one source).

    I have many thoughts about the pushing a performance student out of a program....are they really doing that student a favor it said student has little chance in "making" it in the highly competitive environment that VP is?


    Is this a hurting the student who might never perform but would benefit just from the rigor of the program...self disipline...

    My sister was a music ed major....never used it ... but never regretted it either...said it prepared her for life in many important ways....she is a major in the airforce....has great foreign language skills (I'm sure learned from her time as a music major)...ability to work well with others (from singing in choirs)...etc
  • Mezzo'sMamaMezzo'sMama Registered User Posts: 3,438 Senior Member
    Do they still have the "musical chairs" procedure of changing teachers in the VP program after freshman year? There was some question of a certain teacher "choosing" students after they'd been there a while and thus uprooting them from the teacher they began with- I've heard this from more than one person, so I suspect that it's based in truth as opposed to rumor.
    Personally, I don't find the campus nor the staff very welcoming. It's cold and grey,although the same can be said for a great many schools in the northern climates, but it was the most difficult of any school we dealt with to get information or to attempt to speak to anyone in the VP department. Opera-mom, I know you had a positive experience with faculty because you were fortunate to have contact with someone via another venue, but Purchase gave a new meaning to the term, "cold-calling"! It's been over a year, perhaps they've improved.
    compmom- has your D looked at Hartt? They have a terrific new (within the past couple of years) dance facility with state of the art flooring. I've heard nothing but positives from moms who have girls there.
  • xoxtinysingerxoxxoxtinysingerxox Registered User Posts: 193 Junior Member
    The program calls themselves a "conservatory" and it is just that. When it comes down to it, a conservatory is a program in which you are required to take VERY few general education courses. When the majority of your classes are major related.
    If you do not live up to their expectations, you will be asked to be a music minor. They can only ask you to leave the program if you have not failed a jurries, or have below a certain GPA for a certain amount of time. However, they way it is presented, you will not want to stay.
    As for the teacher thing. You get your teacher assignment freshman year. Certain teacher(s) like to have the "talented" students. Certain teachers are viwed to be the "top" teachers. This ends up being wrong, as many students leave and go to other teachers.
    Mezzo-I'm actually a double major now, Music ed and Voice. It's a wonderful program and I'm very very happy here. Much happier than I ever was there. Its a wonderful positive environment.
    compmom-the dance program is AMAZING! everyone is very talented. its a bit cut throat, but what program isnt? I know lots and lots of students who get jobs upon graduating the dance program.
    Dorm life isnt bad for the SUNY system. I spent 2 years in the dorms and got an off campus apartment the 3rd year. Conservatory program kids generally stick together. when you have classes 12 hours a day with the same people, those are the people you spend time with. The busy schedule doesn't lend to meeting a lot of other people.
    As for the staff? If you have any specific questions I would feel more comfortable answering questions in a private message :)
  • sagitersagiter Registered User Posts: 358 Member
    I didn't think Purchase offered a degree in Music Ed.
  • Mezzo'sMamaMezzo'sMama Registered User Posts: 3,438 Senior Member
    We've been debating the term "conservatory" for a while now, it seems! A major difference between a school like SUNY Purchase or say, CIM,Julliard or SF, is that is you don't live up to the expectation at one of the latter types of school, you are asked to leave, there IS NO music minor. So the state schools(and perhaps other music schools within LACs or Unis) have that "back door" option and students who find that the intensive study of music may not be for them are still able to take classes or 'minor' in it. Others, and I know Ithaca is one, offer what's called an "undeclared music major", where students who are not up to expected levels for performance areas spend some time catching up and then attempt to be admitted to a performance-based major.
    xsingerx (sorry, had to shorten it to avoid getting it wrong!), I'm so glad that you've found a major in which your're happy.
  • xoxtinysingerxoxxoxtinysingerxox Registered User Posts: 193 Junior Member
    Let me be clear. The option of a music minor is not for the benefit of the student. The only students this is offered to are students who members of the faculty simply don't like or haven't seen enough "progress" in. They have no ground to dismiss a student from the program based solely on "progress".
    Which begs the question; can you dismiss a students who gets A's and B's, has been cast, and passed all juries? And why would you when the student has only been in the program for 2 years? Who's to put a time line on progress?
  • Mezzo'sMamaMezzo'sMama Registered User Posts: 3,438 Senior Member
    It may not be fair, or kind, but it's routine for Musical Theatre majors and some drama/theatre majors as well. The student has an option not to attend a school that participates in such a practice, which is called "voting with one's feet". Most conservatories I am familiar with will allow a student a fifth year to complete the requirements.
    Personally, if all that you say is true, then it's not right, and the best way to combat that is to make it known. If the school doesn't list "cut policies" up front, then they aren't being honest with their potential students and an option is to file a complaint with the official accreditation agency overseeing the school. It's taking a risk, but there is a lot of money and time invested.
  • opera-momopera-mom Registered User Posts: 382 Member
    sagiter..I don't think tiny is still at Purchase...I think she was commenting on being happy in the music ed/voice program at the new school she is at
  • violadadvioladad Registered User Posts: 6,645 Senior Member
    Purchase has no music ed, it is purely performance based. xoxtinysingerxox indicated in past posts she was trying to transfer into UCF, although there I saw nothing posted that confirmed that as her current school.

    tiny, if your willing, let the board know where you are.
  • xoxtinysingerxoxxoxtinysingerxox Registered User Posts: 193 Junior Member
    Oh sure no problem violadad. I am now a happy double major at UCF in voice and music education. I would like to be in a more intense program. I was extended offers from other programs that are more reputable voice programs. But due to my... situation I am completely financially independent. I need to work to pay for rent, bills and school. I'd rather take longer to finish school, then have tens of thousands of dollars in debt. I'm not only going to school but I'm learning to be an adult. Will I graduate on time? Not a chance, but I'm not putting myself on a time line for....life. My year off between programs proved good time for me to... solidify my goals. With the economy the way it is, it seemed irresponsible to graduate with only a voice degree. It offers no security. While the goal of being a successful performer is a respectable one, I do not want to be 40 and wondering where my next paycheck will be. It simply isn't the life I envision for myself. But I don't plan on using teaching as a backup plan. I cannot tell you how many freshman I hear say "oh if It doesn't work out, I'll just teach". This is how we end up with bad, bitter teachers in the school system. I don't know what I will be when I "grow up". Right now I have my own voice studio (mostly children and high school aged kids who just like to sing), I attend as many classes as I can afford every semester and I work 30 hours a week.
    Who knows what will happen.
    Sorry for the long and seemly unrelated post!
  • violadadvioladad Registered User Posts: 6,645 Senior Member
    tiny, thanks for sharing.
    The school is in a fairly rural area, with nice homes surrounding it. The school has shuttles that will take you to a train station...train into Manhattan I think is around 30 minutes...so up to your child how often they make it into the city.

    opera-mom, I don't know your definition of rural, but a bit of clarification: it's in suburban Westchester county, a stone's throw from Westchester airport (HPN) and the major arteries into metro NYC. It's a suburban bedroom community. Been years since anything grazed on any greenery (except maybe the deer). When I was a wee tyke, maybe. ;)
  • sopranomom92sopranomom92 Registered User Posts: 1,339 Senior Member
    Congratulations, tiny. Sounds like you are well on your way to a satisfying career. Good for you!
  • opera-momopera-mom Registered User Posts: 382 Member
    LOL Violadad....I guess there just wasn't much directly surrounding the school....Nice homes....on very large lots and the street where you entered the school grounds was quite a drive before you got to the buildings...guess that gave me the impression of Rural....but I had just driven up from Manahttan...so that could have clouded my impression!

    While I was out today...thought of something and just wanted to clarify...the two possible thoughts I had thrown out about why a school might choose to cut kids loose..was just something I have wondered about.....but....I want to make sure Tinysinger didn't think I was directing that to her situation...I've seen some of your stuff and I think you are talented...so?? anybodies guess...

    Glad things are working out for you...sounds like you've made some hard choices and have come out with some maturity in doing so...
This discussion has been closed.