My child is very interested in the Blair School. One of its appeals is that it’s part of Vanderbilt, which is known for having a vibrant community and campus life. (This is why they’re not going the conservatory route.) However, I read something about the “Blair bubble” and now I’m wondering to what degree Blair students are isolated from students in the other schools? My child is a “music kid” who has always had diverse friends. I also read something about Blair faculty encouraging students to eat/live/socialize together, and discouraging them from things like rush? Can anyone weigh in? If you’re in a frat/sorority, for example, is there representation from the Blair school?
You might want to post this question on the music major forum.
I am always intrigued by what people mean by the term “conservatory.” Many people use it to refer to freestanding conservatories but in my mind, there is little difference between “schools of music” and “conservatories,” which both offer BM programs.
I can understand faculty might discourage extracurriculars that could possibly take time and focus away from practice and study and also create scheduling conflicts with rehearsals, lessons and performance. But I think you will get answers from folks who have direct experience with Blair on the music major forum.
My D went to Indiana’s Jacobs school of music where they used the term the “Jacobs bubble”. My understanding was most of the faculty would discourage joining Greek houses as well. There was no faculty opinion about eating/living/socializing together, however.
Music degrees are time consuming. In many schools, you have to do “ensembles” as part of the degree. Those ensembles are often for performances (opera, orchestra etc) and rehearsals are in the late afternoon and evening as well as weekends. These requirements conflict with Greek expectations of service etc. So I don’t know that the school is trying to “control” the students as much as give realistic expectations. The worst outcome is to go to a music school thinking that you can “do it all” and be disappointed. Again I have never heard of an expectation to all “hang together”…my feeling is that is rumor…but I don’t know Blair.
The term “Jacobs bubble” was used often for some music students who would practice obsessively and never leave the music school. IMHO, it’s a little bit of “drama” about how dedicated some students are (compared to others) and should be ignored. I’m sure all schools have a bit of that.
My D had friends outside the music school, particularly the first 2 years….over time she did hang with mainly music students but that was her choice. The first year, she went tailgating (surprised me), went to a frat party (surprised me again and only went once), joined a fashion merchandising club (for 2 years) and had a variety of friends and did many activities/traditions over 4 years. She had a music girlfriend who did rush and was part of a sorority. She did have to make choices about performances. They are not choices my D would have made (nor most music students)…but she did and it worked out for her.
Some teachers are more accepting of a student doing a “variety” of activities. And some schools are more “loose” about outside activities. So if variety is important to your student, they should be checking with schools about the atmosphere for extracurricular activities (or Greek activities if important to her). A great way to do that is try to talk with a student representative (music admissions can help with that). They can give you the inside scope…but be aware they can be biased. So trying to communicate with admissions, teachers and a student can give you a full picture. It’s a LOT of people, but you still have a good chunk of time ahead.
And, I would not take a school off the list due to that statement…if you did, you would need to remove a lot of schools with BM degrees…imo.