Jacobs School of Music vs. Manhattan School of Music

Edited: March 31, 2020, 2:09 PM · Can anyone offer pros/cons of the schools? How do they compare overall? (assuming tuition cost is out of the equation)

Replies (8)

Edited: March 31, 2020, 10:36 PM · I think they offer a fairly similar level: some truly impressive, top-notch international competition laureates, a lot of really solid players and then some OK players that pay full tuition. There is one huge difference... MSM is in New York City, where the cost of living is WAYYYY higher than in Bloomington, IN. There are pros and cons. I lived in NYC (Harlem & Inwood/) for 12 years as a freelance violinist. NYC is not as dangerous as it is made out to be, but I did have to live in some fairly sketchy apartments/neighborhoods to be able to afford rent during my undergrad, and spent so much time gigging/babysitting/waiting tables that I wasn't left with much time to do homework or practice (or sleep! or date!) resulting in a very stressful and not entirely productive or healthy undergrad experience. You will easily pay $800+ per month in a CRUMMY neighborhood for a single ROOM in a shared apartment in NYC vs $500 per month for an entire 1 bedroom apartment in a nice-ish area near Bloomington all to yourself (according to friends that went to IU.) I kick myself for not accepting a full ride to IU for undergrad because I wanted to move to NYC/stay with my current teacher at the time (Mannes) and thought Indiana seemed really boring. It's true that I had a lot of incredible experiences in NYC that could have only happened there- like getting to play with Paul McCartney and Alicia Keys, recording soundtracks for films and doing studio work for pop and rock artists - but at the same time, I never was able to save any money and was always living paycheck to paycheck, and had very little time to relax. I was always hustling for the next gig! I wonder where my playing would be now if I had taken the full scholarship at IU, found a cheap room in a shared apartment for $200 (possible back then) and only had to do one or two gigs a month to pay rent. I could have practiced so much more!
Edited: April 2, 2020, 9:29 AM · Jacobs slightly outranks Manhattan on the prestige scale, in my opinion. Manhattan may be in NYC but it isn't Juilliard. But it really comes down to the individual teacher you end up with. There are fine teachers at both schools.
Edited: April 11, 2020, 10:42 PM · Dear Liz,

In terms of location you’re right that they’re about as opposite as they could be. IUB does have a bit of a Pleasantville/ cultish vibe, and when I was there I wondered how many months it would be before I’d tried all the restaurants and stuff lol. It’s too secluded, but it’s definitely beautiful and sort of “wholesome” compared to a big city. It was a shock arriving there straight from NYC after my MSM audition.

Despite that, MSM has done more to catch my attention since my audition. My assigned teacher reached out over email very soon after I got my acceptance, which I thought was really nice. I had a lesson with him today and he was friendly and super helpful. I wrote down everything he said afterward because I don’t want to forget anything!!

IUB, on the other hand, hasn’t given me a studio assignment yet and I’m having trouble getting in contact with the teachers. Until I manage to do so, I’m in a state of limbo, having no idea where I’ll end up. Right now IU looks more likely, though, since the disparity in price is so huge. I don’t think I’d handle the stressful situation you were in (having little time to practice and everything) very well.

I guess I’ll just have to wait and see how everything pans out and what the final financial results will be.

If you don’t mind me asking- How long did you stay in NYC after you finished your undergrad years? / What did you think about the general experience of living in the city?

Edited: April 11, 2020, 11:03 PM · Dear Mary Ellen,

Thanks for your response! I already spoke to my private teachers about who to contact at IU, and naturally they recommended the three probably highest requested teachers (Fuks, Kerr, and Kaplan).

Mr. Fuks already let me know his studio is full, and I haven’t had any luck contacting Alex Kerr over email/ phone. I might give Mark Kaplan a try, but I’m getting the feeling that I’m just not at the level of the students these teachers take on.

I’m trying to research all the other teachers, but I’ve been struggling to get an idea of who their students are and what they go on to do after graduating. Do you happen to have any advice for my situation?

I’ve already gotten my studio assignment at MSM and had a great lesson over FaceTime. The problem is that MSM isn’t even close to being affordable for my family and it’s highly unlikely it will work out financially.

April 11, 2020, 11:05 PM · I don't have any advice for your situation, sorry. But I think it is highly unlikely you would get a bad teacher at Jacobs.

I could not in good conscience encourage anyone to take on debt to get a performance degree. *Especially* not now.

April 12, 2020, 8:20 AM · As someone who has a fine art degree that she took on debt for, I wholeheartedly agree with Mary Ellen to NOT take on debt for an arts (performing or fine) degree.

Edited: April 15, 2020, 10:41 AM · I am an IU grad and can agree with Mary Ellen. There aren't any "bad" teachers there. Couple others that are great and worth reaching out to.

Mimi Zweig, Runs the Pre-college string academy and is an EXCELLENT teacher. She also teaches one of the pedagogy classes and is probably one of the most proficient "teachers" on faculty.

Brenda Brenner, She is a music education professor so if you are set on performance you would not study with her, but if you are open to pursuing a degree in Music Education then she would be your teacher. She is AMAZING.

Jorja Fleezanis, Is very intense and specializes in orchestral playing. She often is in orchestra rehearsals on the back stand coaching the section.

Grigory Kalinovsky, I didn't personally work with him but did attend a masterclass and he did a great job with those students. Very focused on proper setup and posture and how the body interacts with the instrument.

If you want to chat more about IU or if you have questions about what it was like to study there let me know!

April 15, 2020, 12:10 PM · having a teacher who you work well with is probably the most important factor in choosing a school - if both schools are financially feasible you shouldn't decide before you know who your studio teacher is at IU and how their style meshes with yours. Also, keep in mind that the financial aid schools offer is a first offer, and you can bargain. How much it will change depends on the school and how much the professor wants you / how much sway they have, but it's worth asking - the easiest way is to usually bring the numbers from a school they consider competition and ask if they could match it.

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