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Music Schools, in Transition…


  1. If we define the value of an education in classical music in terms of finding a job that can recoup a $200,000 investment in tuition, then there are no “selling points.” The vast majority of students will not get good jobs. The average income for a ROPA orchestra member is only $13,000 per year and with very little job security and virtually no benefits. ICSOM orchestras pay better, but wind and percussion positions only open a few times a decade and hundreds apply. In addition, very few “entrepreneurial” activities in chamber music are profitable, so that is also not a selling point.

    The philosophy of entrepreneurship in classical music has now been emphasized for at least two decades. Can you provide us with convincing evidence that it has produced concrete results such as a significant increase in the number of classical musicians making good livings? If you can’t, I think we have no choice but to accept that an education in classical music can only be an end in itself.

    Your question itself actually reveals the problem. We live in a time where most endeavor is defined in market terms. Hence the drop in students applying to music schools.

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