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uarts for music performance?

jazzguitar19jazzguitar19 Registered User Posts: 43 Junior Member
edited March 2010 in University of the Arts MT
Hello, I'm aware this is a musical theatre forum; but I have asked about it on the music forum and this univeristy seems to be off of most people's radars for instrumental performance. I'm currently a music major at a small university and am looking to be somewhere a bit more urban and more focused, though I am not neccesarily looking for a conservatory (though I would like a conservatory-level of intensity and similar courseload). I was wondering if someone here knows any music majors who can speak to the strengths and weaknesses of the music (and particularly guitar) program? I know it seems very contemporary, which is a good thing in my book but I was also wondering if classical instruction is available? I was also wondering about the general upkeep of the facilities and the dorms and what the neighborhood is like.
Any help, answers, or advice would be greatly appreciated.

(I'm also going to audition and visit in a few weeks, I was just hoping to hear a bit about it first)
Post edited by jazzguitar19 on

Replies to: uarts for music performance?

  • MichaelNKatMichaelNKat Registered User Posts: 4,298 Senior Member
    My daughter is in the MT program so I can't convey to you a student's perspective about the music performance program. However, I happen to work professionally with musicians who play with the major professional ballet, opera, chamber, pops, theatrical and symphonic orchestras in Philadelphia and have had occasion to talk to them about UArts' music program. The feedback I have gotten is all positive. The professors/instructors are all working musicians, including musicians who play in the orchestras with which I am involved. While there is a slant towards jazz and pops, there is also excellent availability of classical instruction from musicians who play the kinds repertoires you would expect from some of the orchestras I mentioned. I can't, however, comment specifically about guitar since none of the musicians I work with are guitar players in these orchestras.

    The neighborhood in which UArts is situated is in the heart of the business and performing arts district of the city. There are 7 main stage performing arts venues within a 5 minute walk from any of UArts' buildings which regularly stage performances of the type mentioned above. There are other performing arts venues within a 15 minute walk or 10 minute taxi ride. The area has a dynamic night life with restaurants, cafes and clubs on virtually every block, many of which provide small more intimate venues for musicians. If you venture out of the UArts area of the city over to the area around Univ. of Penn., there are additional smaller venues for contemporary music including the New World Cafe. In many ways, center city Philadelphia could be characterized as a mini-NYC; it is a dynamic center for all sorts of performing arts, but on a more intimate, manageable scale.

    The dorms at UArts are all apartment style living ranging from 2 person studios to multi-person suites, all with private bathrooms and kitchenettes. The is no meal plan but that is really not an issue given the plethora of food courts, cafes, restaurants, neighborhood markets and supermarkets in the area. housing is guaranteed to freshmen only; after that, there is a limited lottery. Most students live in "off campus" housing, of which there is an abundance, after freshmen year.

    Hope this is helpful.
  • jazzguitar19jazzguitar19 Registered User Posts: 43 Junior Member
    thats almost exactly what I wanted to hear. UARTS looks great, I was just a bit disconcerted with the fact that i had not heard of it and when I was looking at it last year, no one i talked to in high school (music teachers + guidence councelor) had heard of its jazz program and I read a few negative reviews on the internet (i didn't end up auditioning as I got a scholarship at the school I'm at now and was sick and tired of auditions--kind of stupid and short sighted). I really can't wait to see the school for myself. I was also wondering how seperate the schools are--is there much intermingling between the school of music and the fine arts and theater programs (both in students talking to each other and interdisciplinary work)? and do music students have opportunities to play in the pit orchestras for the shows?
    EDIT: also, is it more expensive then a school with a meal-plan foodwise or sort of comperable if one is frugal but not willing to live off of ramen for 3 meals a day?
  • MichaelNKatMichaelNKat Registered User Posts: 4,298 Senior Member
    Good question about the food :). If one takes the time to shop at the area supermarkets and avoid buying prepared food from food courts and local eateries, the food budget (excluding social meals out) should not be anymore than a meal plan at another school and may be less. It's when a student grabs prepared foods for all 3 meals or eats at restaurants a lot that costs start to spiral.

    The curricula in all the majors includes varying amounts of liberal arts classes so students from all the majors take liberal arts classes together. There is a tendency, I think, for students to socialize with others from their own major because between the class and studio time, that's who you are spending most of your days and nights with involved in school endeavors. You kind of get synced on the same rhythm of daily life with those in the same major and for all of the performing arts majors in particular, the days are long. From what I've observed as the parent of a MT student, dance, MT and music majors do occasionally put on joint school concerts and do collaborate occasionally on joint performances. There are shows where music majors play in the orchestras. UArts website has calendars of performances for the various performing arts programs which could give you a better idea of the school performing opportunities.

    I think the "name recognition" problem you encountered with UArts' music program is that it gets over shadowed by the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Curtis is, of course, a pure music conservatory and has a national if not world reputation. Because UArts is not limited to music, like a school like Berklee is, I also think it often gets overlooked in the public perception when thinking about a school of music. Just my opinion on that though.
  • jazzguitar19jazzguitar19 Registered User Posts: 43 Junior Member
    yeah, I think part of the 'name recognition' issue is most more contemporary programs (that are not Berklee) are not really on the radar of most classical musicians (or the ones who ran the program at my high school and the --very nice and helpfull-- people on the music major forum). The fact that it is not straight music, but is a very driven arts school is extremely attractive. Thanks for the help and advice.
  • jazzlibjazzlib Registered User Posts: 20 New Member
    Jazzguitar19, please check your email, I sent you a PM regarding UArts.

This discussion has been closed.