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Rebecca Darnall

Orchestral Research PART 1. Music Schools and Conservatories that Offer Orchestral Repertoire Classes

November 2, 2012 at 1:25 AM

Hello friends,

I've been trying to figure a way to post this orchestral information/research I've been doing. There's not an easy way to do it really since it's formatted to a lot of Word documents, but if you don't mind the constant barrage of blogging I'll do my best to post the information in the most viable way possible. So here it goes!

This part is the easiest to post. I perused 100 four-year accredited university/conservatory music programs in the USA. They had to have either a B.M. and/or M.M. I looked for three things: firstly, which schools required orchestral excerpt classes for the B.M/M.M degrees? Then, of those schools that didn't require any excerpt classes, I looked at which ones offered them in the B.M./M.M. curriculum. Then, of those schools that neither required nor offered excerpt classes, I emailed one professor from each school and asked them if they taught orchestral excerpts as part of their standard private lesson curriculum. I received quite a few answers. I also asked some professors from some of the "offered in curriculum" schools just for some comparison.

**Notes: Firstly, actual names of professors in this document will not appear. Secondly, a few schools did not have the most recent information posted online, but no program was more than a couple years behind in this way. Thirdly, keep in mind I chose 100 programs and did not look at every single program, but tried to hit the most obvious ones. However, this is in no way a representation of all the USA university/conservatory programs.**

So, here are the schools that REQUIRE excerpt classes for the following degrees:

B.M.:
Juilliard, Boston Conservatory, Shepherd School of Music, University of Austin, Lamont Denver School of Music, Hartt School of Music, DePaul University, Cincinnati Conservatory, Boulder University, Vanderbilt University, Chicago Performing Arts, St. Olaf College, Eastern Washington University, Brigham Young University, Duquesne University, and University of North Carolina.

M.M.:
Juilliard, Boston Conservatory, Northwestern University, Shepherd School of Music, University of Austin, Lamont Denver School of Music, Hartt School of Music, Longy School of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, Bowling Green University, Florida State University, Manhattan School of Music, Brigham Young University, and University of North Carolina.

Here are the schools that OFFER excerpt classes for the following degrees:

B.M.:
Eastman School of Music, San Francisco Conservatory, New England Conservatory, Northwestern University, Curtis Institute of Music, New York University, University of Washington, Jacob School of Music, Peabody School of Music, Long School of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, Cleveland Institute of Music, Bowling Green University, Lawrence University, Mannes College, University of Maryland, New York State University, University of South Mississippi, California State University LA, and California Long Beach.
M.M.:
Eastman School of Music, San Francisco Conservatory, New England Conservatory, New York University, Jacob School of Music, Peabody School of Music, Longy School of Music, DePaul University, Oberlin Conservatory, Cincinnati Conservatory, Mannes College, University of Maryland, New York State University, University of South Mississippi, California State University LA, California Long Beach, University of Memphis, and Virginia Commonwealth.

Here are the schools that neither require nor offer but have at least one professor that TEACHES excerpts in the private lesson capacity (in this list the B.M. and M.M. are in one list, because I assume the same teacher would teach excerpts regardless of level):

Urbana-Champaign, Ohio State University, Ithaca College, Michigan State University, University of California LA, California State University (Northridge), Iowa State University, University of Maine, Louisiana State University, University of the Pacific, Virginia Commonwealth, Oklahoma City University, Middle Tennessee State University, University of Illinois Chicago, University of Alabama, University of Louisville, Appalachian State University, University of Memphis, University of North Texas, Carnegie Mellon, and University of Houston.

As part of an experiment, I came across one school who had two professors who, by their profile, both seemed like good people to inquire about teaching excerpts in lessons, and I couldn’t decide which one to email. As it turns out, both professors answered, and one of these professors does teach excerpts and another does not.

Here are the statistics on the 100 schools:

Among 100 schools, I found only 9% actually required the classes for both the B.M. and M.M degree. The percentage of schools that required orchestral classes for the B.M degree was 17%, while the schools requiring orchestral classes for the M.M degree was down to 14%, equaling a total percentage of 31% schools requiring classes for either the B.M. or M.M. degree.

Of 100 schools, only 14% offered orchestral rep classes for both the B.M and the M.M degrees. 20% of schools offered the classes for the B.M. degree, and 18% of schools offered the classes for the M.M. degree. It should be noted that because it is acceptable in most programs for a masters student to acquire a few undergraduate credits, most of the percentage of classes offered for the M.M. degree were assumed upon this understanding. The reason for there only being 18% as opposed to 20% were because some programs did not have a M.M degree. Very few schools actually explicitly listed an offer for orchestral rep class for the M.M. degree.

After surveying the schools for their degree programs, I contacted the violin instructors who had email addresses at the schools that neither required nor offered orchestral repertoire classes. This is 59% of the schools. I chose one professor from each school carefully by reading their profiles. I chose the instructor with the most orchestral experience to email. I sent each chosen professor an email inquiring as to whether they taught orchestral excerpts as a part of the regular lesson curriculum (undergrad or grad students). Many responded, and if I did not receive a response I chose another professor from the school to email. Some schools of course only had one professor, and if they did not respond I did not send another email. So far, 33 professors out of the 59 schools that did not require nor offer excerpt classes responded, and the answers were varied. Out of the 33 that responded, 42% they did not teach excerpts in the lessons. While the question was stated so the answer would be a yes or no question, I invited the responder to elaborate should a more thorough answer be of better help. The responses were everything from “yes this is crucial” to “no, there isn’t enough time” or “my students are still working on basic techniques”. Some simply responded yes or no. I also asked a dozen other professors who teach at schools where excerpt classes are offered the same question. I did so because it was not always obvious from the program if a class was offered. Some of their answers verified they did indeed offer orchestral excerpt classes at that school. An important note is that while many professors answered “no”, they stated that they did teach them if an audition was pending, the student expressed desire, if an excerpt helped with technique, and for various other reasons.

While some schools did not have excerpt classes specifically, they had orchestral musicianship classes, orchestral techniques class covering a wide variety of topics, and orchestral seminars (not to be confused with orchestral or symphonic literature). There were other schools that not only had required/offered excerpt classes, but had an orchestral instrumental performance degree (Jacob School of Music) and a Concertmaster Studies diploma (Cleveland Institute of Music). Also another interesting note is that some schools, while not offering orchestral training to violinists specifically, offered classes to other instruments, strings and non strings alike.

WHEW!!!! OK...so that was the easy blog. This must be a total of a couple hundred hours of research. Enjoy!


From Karis Crawford
Posted on November 2, 2012 at 5:19 AM
Thank you SO much for doing all that research! I am looking to do my M.M. in Germany, but I'm sure this will be great for someone studying in the States!
From Nathan Cole
Posted on November 3, 2012 at 1:09 AM
This is great! I haven't seen this info compiled anywhere else. As an orchestral musician and a former faculty member at one of the schools on your list, I think many students will be interested.

I'm curious how you put the question to the teachers that you wrote to. I'm surprised more of them didn't respond, actually. Do you think they just weren't interested in someone who wasn't applying to their school?

From Rebecca Darnall
Posted on November 3, 2012 at 5:52 PM
Thanks Karis, and thank you Nathan!

@Nathan btw I have very much enjoyed watching your excerpt videos. Please keep those coming!

I thought I should put an addendum to this research on more of what I noted from schools who did not require or offer excerpt classes, including the question I posed to the professors.

The "yes or no" question I asked the professors was this:

Do you as a violin instructor teach orchestral excerpts as a regular part of the private violin lesson curriculum to undergraduate and/or graduate students?

I am not exactly sure why some didn't reply and others did~I actually received more answers than I though I would! Also I haven't stated yet which 100 schools I looked at, so to be fair I could have really missed out on including a school that meets one of the profiles (required, offered, taught in lessons).

So, to add the addendum I will end this comment and start a new one with more information~~~~~~~

From Rebecca Darnall
Posted on November 3, 2012 at 6:04 PM
The 100 schools I looked at were:

Juilliard, NY
Eastman, NY
San Francisco, CA
University of Michigan, MI
New England Conservatory, MA
Boston Conservatory, MA
Northwestern University, IL
Shepherd School of Music, TX
University of Austin, TX
Curtis Institute of Music, PA
New York University, NY
Lamont Denver School of Music, CO
University of Washington, WA
Washington State University, WA
Colburn School of Music, CA
Berklee School of Music, CA
Jacobs School of Music, IN
Loyola University, IL
Hartt School of Music, CT
Yale School of Music, CT
Peabody School of Music, MA
Longy School of Music, MA
DePaul University, IL
University of California in LA, CA
University of Alabama, AL
Urbana-Champaign, IL
Oberlin Conservatory, OH
Cincinnati Conservatory, OH
Cleveland Institute of Music, OH
Bowling Green University, OH
Boulder University, CO
Ohio State University, OH
Lawrence University, WI
Florida State University, FL
Vanderbilt University, TN
University of Hawaii, HI
Central Washington University, WA
Butler University, IN
Chicago Performing Arts, IL
Ithaca College, NY
Manhattan School of Music, NY
Mannes College, NY
Michigan State University, MI
St. Olaf College, MN
University of Minnesota, MN
McNally Smith College, MN
Northern Illinois University, IL
University of Maryland, MD
Syracuse University, NY
University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK
University of Houston, TX
University of Florida, FL
University of Delaware, DE
Concordia College, NY
Eastern Washington University, WA
New York State University, NY
Brigham Young University, UT
West Virginia University, WV
Arizona State University, AZ
University of Arizona, AZ
University of South Maine, ME
University of Oregon, OR
University of Idaho, ID
University of Maine, ME
University of Montana, MT
University of Iowa, IA
Iowa State University, IA
University of South Mississippi, MS
University of the Pacific, CA
California State University LA, CA
California State University, Fullerton, CA
California State University, Northridge, CA
California Long Beach, CA
Wheaton Conservatory, IL
University of Illinois, Chicago, IL
University of Louisville, KY
Louisiana State University, LA
University of Missouri-Kansas City, MO
Oklahoma City University, OK
University of Oklahoma, OK
Oregon State University, OR
New Mexico State University, NM
University of New Mexico, NM
University of Alaska, Anchorage, AL
Mason Gross University, NJ
Carnegie Mellon, PA
Appalachian State University, NC
University of Memphis, TN
James Madison University, VA
George Mason University, VA
Virginia Commonwealth, VA
University of North Texas, TX
Texas Tech University, TX
Middle Tennessee State University, TN
Gettysburge College, PA
Duquesne University, PA
Baldwin Wallace University, OH
University of North Carolina, NC
Youngstown State University, OH
University of Kansas, KS

The schools that replied to my question were:

Urbana-Champaign, IL@
Indiana University, IN
Ohio State University, OH@
Ithaca College, NY@
Lawrence University, WI
Butler University, IN@
Michigan State University, MI@
University of California LA, CA@
Arizona State University, AZ@
University of Iowa, IA@
University of Oregon, OR@
California State University, Northridge CA@
Iowa State University, IA@
California state University, Long Beach CA
James Madison University, VA
University of New Mexico, NM@
California State University, Fullerton CA@
University of Maine, ME@
Eastman School of Music, NY
Louisiana State University, LA@
University of the Pacific, CA@
Viriginia Commonwealth, VA
Viriginia Commonwealth, VA
New Mexico State University, NM@
Oklahoma City University, OK@
University of Oklahoma, OK@
Middle Tennessee State University, TN@
University of Illinois Chicago, IL@
University of Alabama, AL@
Colburn, CA@
Peabody, MA
Wheaton Conservatory, IL@
San Francisco Conservatory, CA
University of Washington, UW
University of Louisville, KY@
Appalachian State University, NC@
University of Memphis, TN
University of North Texas@
Central Washington State University, WA@
Washington State University, WA@
University of Michigan@
Oberlin Conservatory
Carnegie Mellon@
George Mason School of Music@
University of Houston@
Loyola University@

The schools with the @ sign by it signify which schools fell into neither the "required" or "offered" profile.

The @ schools that had a professor that answered "yes" to the question are:
Urbana-Champaign, IL
Ohio State University, OH
Ithaca College, NY
Michigan State University, MI
University of California LA, CA
California State University, Northridge CA
Iowa State University, IA
University of Maine, ME
Louisiana State University, LA
University of the Pacific, CA
Oklahoma City University, OK
Middle Tennessee State University, TN
University of Illinois Chicago, IL
University of Alabama, AL
University of Louisville, KY
Appalachian State University, NC
University of North Texas
Carnegie Mellon
University of Houston

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