Does anybody here know anything about or have experience with the music school at the University of Maryland, College Park?
How does it compare to conservatories in the United States?
It is still quite early for me to be thinking about college, but I am curious. I think that I want to pursue a double degree if possible, (a BM in piano performance and something else, probably mathematics-related).
I know that this is a violin forum, but I thought that some of you might have information.
I don't know about that program specifically. University of Maryland is a large, comprehensive, state-funded university that probably has a sizeable music department. The only name I recognized immediately among their violin professors is David Salness, who was formerly a violinist with the Audubon Quartet, which operated out of the town where I live (Blacksburg VA). Looking at their
Since you said "math-related," I'd like to encourage you to consider Virginia Tech, which is where I teach. I teach chemistry. We have really good piano teachers here, I've met them all because I'm a pianist too. Our music department also does a lot with electronic music, which might interest you if you are into computers. Plus, we have a really cool undergraduate degree program that might interest you, called "Computational Modeling and Data Analytics" (CMDA) which is blend of math, comp sci, and stats. Our CMDA seniors often do very well in the top-level modeling competitions. There are a lot of international students in the program, and there's a really strong sense of community among the students.
UMD is a credible music school, much better than it was when I was looking at colleges 40+ years ago. One of my colleagues did her undergrad in violin there and went on to Rice for her MM. But you really need to look at who the individual teachers are.
You might not get a "full ride" to one of the schools Mary Ellen mentioned, but what you really need is a scholarship that will bring it into the same ballpark as your in-state school, which is already a fairly hefty award. My gut tells me that the private colleges are hurting right now and will not be especially generous with financial aid. Normally I would advise against taking out large loans for music college, but if you can find a place where you can get a serious music education AND a degree in some area of applied math, then you'll have a secure basis for repaying your loans. With a double major like that, having a job during college to help pay the bills is going to cut into your academic performance big-time.
Thank you for your input, Mr. Paul Deck and Mrs. Mary Ellen Goree! I am not fully assured that I will pursue music/math yet, but I will look at the schools that have been mentioned.
I double majored in 2 sciences and finished in 5 years, going to summer school for some of my core curriculum courses such as anthropology and geography (we had a core curriculum of a class in every subject and I had trouble finding a laboratory science that wasn't part of my majors and ended up taking meteorology). There was also a writing component to each class. For example in a chemistry class I was given a paper without an abstract and was instructed to write an abstract. I graduated summa cum laude but I had considered myself a full time student and worked at the school work for about 40 hours a week. Due to cognate requirements I was short just one class each of a double minor in math and physics.
The BS in music at IU indicates a less intense focus on music than one would get with a BM in performance.
There are also specialized scholarships available from some schools, to just make one up for an example, for children of firefighters.
I majored in chemistry and I had minors in math and physics. I started college as a pre-med but learned that I hated biology (despite winning an award for it), and I decided that I didn't have the right personality to be a physician. But fortunately I really loved organic chemistry and thought I could make a career in that, which I did.
UMD College Park is an excellent state university. The three violin profs are James Stern, David Salness, and Irina Muresanu. Salness and Muresanu have good reputations but I don't know anyone personally who studied with them. I do know people who studied with James Stern back in his U of the Pacific days. (I know very little about the piano faculty there, though I have friends who got piano performance degrees there.)
Thank you for your input, everyone!
Your backup should be, in my opinion, something that has readily-accessible jobs that can be done part-time as a sideline to a music career, or as a flexible "day job".
My backup plan was to teach high school math. Plenty of those jobs available.
Out of curiosity, Mary Ellen, does that mean you would have preferred teaching high school math to teaching high school strings? (I think the two jobs pay similarly, or at least they used to; these days, AFAIK, some districts offer bonuses to math teachers.)
Yes, absolutely, if I were teaching high school, it would be math.
I think I agree with Lydia, if you get some sort of math degree at a place like UMD or VT, also get a comp sci certificate. At NCSU (very similar school in my area, limited music though) it would be 6 classes in addition to things you already would have taken. I'd also add a database course if not included. In pretty much any major metropolitan area, after just a couple of years the salary will be six figures easily.
Lydia wrote, "I always question the value of a dual degree in music + an unrelated subject, unless the other subject is for backup purposes (as in Mary Ellen's case)," and "One of the dangers of a double-major is that you're not necessarily putting enough time into either major to be outstanding in that major. That's not just time spent on coursework or on rehearsals/practicing but it also involves what you do with your summers."
You may want to consider taking summer courses if you are pursuing a double degree. I thought of that when watching a documentary on Michael Jordan. He took summer courses at UNC to complete his degree in Geography a year after he had turned professional.
Mary Ellen's answer is an interesting answer, indirectly, to the question of why people who get performance degrees but want a safety net don't necessarily considering getting a BME qualification"just in case". (I have to say that I, at least, cannot remember even a fraction of the math I took in college -- almost enough for a math minor -- or for that matter, much of what I learned in my undergrad years, period!)
Lydia, The disadvantage to a six figure salary is the overtime that is expected. The higher the salary the more of your personal life is owned by your employer. This is what "exempt employee" means.