Marching Music

Choose the Right Music School for You
November 27, 2007, 3:04 am
Filed under: music schools

This seems like a very relevant topic for this time of the year.  I am now going through the process of choosing a college for the second time and I think that you may find my insight quite valuable.

gcc band marches across the quad

 First, the subject that I know MUCH more about: undergrad.  Basically, if you’re going for any music degree, you have two choices: big or small. 

Big schools have big music departments with graduate programs.  They are usually public schools with well-known names attached to them. 

Small schools naturally have smaller music programs without graduate students.  They are often private or branch campuses and can sometimes get you the “you go where?” or “is that a community college?” response when you bring them up in conversation. 

If you are a performance major, I suggest immersing yourself in the more competitive environment associated with a big school’s music department.  The more conservatory style schools may be in your best interest if you’re looking to avoid the tedious liberal arts core. 

If you are an education major, you may want to look for a smaller department with no graduate program.  These offer the undergraduate student opportunities which would only be available to graduate students an a larger school.  For example, I am a teacher’s assistant, a student director of my college jazz band, and the leader of my college’s only standing jazz combo.  I would never have gotten these incredibly valuable (not to mention resume-building) teaching opportunities as an undergraduate student at a big school with a graduate program.  I sacrifice a bit of name recognition when I talk about my school, but what really matters is the education and experiences that I’m getting.

The search for a graduate school is a new experience to me.  Size is not as much of an issue in this case.  Most schools which have graduate programs are comparably large.  I am looking for the right graduate assistantship.  With an assistantship I will gain more valuable teaching experience while also  a pay check.  If I am not in a teaching job right away, then I will need a way to support myself in the mean time.  Please feel free to share your thoughts on this matter.