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Music Schools in Transition, VI.i

bookThere’s a bit of a scramble on: to create co-curricular programs and to add value to the BMus by facilitating double (even triple) majors and double degrees.  Part of the reason for these developments results from the undergraduate degree in performance being so tightly packed, and with so many other needs have been identified, that the only way to address the situation is with these options.

And the old “sell points” of faculty, location, price, core curriculum and alumni network are not enough anymore.  Competition demands that even more value be present, and well-communicated.

Even at my age I am still surprised by how small the higher education music school world it, by how quickly information is spread and opinions formed.  And within this context, I am consistently impressed by how students ferret out value.  I say this because if a school develops a co-curricular program, it must know that it’s going to be evaluated quickly by present and potential clients.

At the National Orchestral Institute and Festival, at which I’m the artistic director, I hear students in intense discussions about their schools and about their decision making process in considering graduate schools.  I am often asked for advice.

If I go to XYZ school, I might not study with the teacher I would most want, but I can afford it, and I get to double major in music and economics.  If I go to ABC school, yes, it’s in a city I would never want to live in, but the program they offer in LMO is the best in the country and the ensemble program is excellent.

I share these fictitious statements to illustrate my point: in almost every conversation I hear, a co-curricular program or option is mentioned.  Things have changed.  Ten years ago the discussion would have been around the private instrument (voice) teacher, then price or core curriculum, then location.  Now these deliberations include co-curricular options.

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