August 27, 2023, 8:02 AM · Any recent experience with Bard Conservatory or thoughts in general? My daughter is just a HS Sophomore and is very early in her research about where she might want to apply, or whether a dual program is on the table. But I find the online info and references to the program kind of thin compared to a similar school like Oberlin, so looking for recent grads or alumni stories...

Replies (16)

Edited: August 27, 2023, 8:46 AM · My daughter applied to the college, not for music. The place caters to people able and willing to be quite off center. Make sure the culture will be helpful to your daughter.

More of a concern to everyone, the place is the creature of their President. He brings in money, and that supports programs they can do. It has a lot less institutional memory than many older schools, and will probably evolve quickly even before he is out of the picture.

August 27, 2023, 8:58 AM · My son knows a cellist who goes there who really likes it. She definitely is not fully focused on her instrument, though, and does a wide variety of different activities there. I believe that all undergrads have to do 5 years and a double degree.

Bard is fortunate to "borrow" several good NY-area teachers. However, the level of student is not as high as many of the other conservatories. I've heard of a lot of middle-level violinists going there for grad work in order to get lessons with a really good teacher.

August 27, 2023, 9:04 AM · Violin faculty include-
Adele Anthony
Gil Shaham
Luosha Fang
Yi-Wen Fang
Erica Keisewetter
Weigang Li
Hongganng Li
Todd Phillips
Daniel Phillips
Mira Wang
Carmit Zori

The openness and liberal arts program of the school is an attractive feature to the parents, and the proximity to the city without being in it. But again, just surveying the possibilities and gathering info to pass on to kid.

Edited: August 30, 2023, 11:19 AM · Matthew, we visited there. (Our daughter is a cellist, a high school senior.) Bard offers a very progressive environment. My overall impression is that Bard would be a great place for an introverted or even withdrawn person without much vocational motivation to find some kind of career direction and come out of their shell. Many of the "pillars" of their program seemed designed specifically for that ulterior purpose. And, that's a reasonable niche to have, but it's not what our daughter needs. One thing we learned on the tour is that Bard's music degree is a five year program because you have to take a regular degree program with it -- this information came straight from the director of admissions during Q&A. The same is not true of Oberlin.
August 27, 2023, 2:47 PM · Thanks, Paul and Susan.
I was aware of the dual degree requirement- no idea at this point what daughter will do.
There is some possible funding out there connected to my wife's University and related to Bard which drives parental curiosity:)
Edited: August 27, 2023, 9:05 PM · We are at Oberlin this weekend moving our daughter in. Really good school for double degrees. Sibbi Bernhardsson I hear is an excellent violin teacher and chamber music coach; same with Kirsten Docter for viola. If your daughter does not want double degrees and wants to focus entirely on music then your preferences might change. Several schools talk the talk about double degrees but very few walk the walk as well as Oberlin does. (Look at Northwestern too.)
August 27, 2023, 9:32 PM · I second the recommendation for Sibbi!
August 27, 2023, 9:48 PM · The cello professor at Oberlin, Dmitry Kouzov, is also known as a chamber musician and coach.
Edited: August 30, 2023, 1:26 PM · My daughter's teacher is Kouzov; she really likes the vibe in his studio and thought his teaching style will work well for her. Was able to work with the faculty there in a campus visit, through her summer program, and through her teacher's organization. Paul if you'd like more info send me an email, and I can also introduce my daughter to yours if she is considering Oberlin.

Especially for you guys as a Northwestern alum she should also talk with Hans Jensen there. An even greater percentage of Northwestern conservatory students get double degrees (something like 70% start and 50% graduate that way) but me and my daughter felt that excelling at both music and chemistry there had a greater chance of taking a greater toll on her mental health.

Edited: August 28, 2023, 10:19 PM · Stan you're saying she did that stuff after she was enrolled? Or before? So far we've done one trial lesson. Mr. Kouzov was not available during the summer, as one might expect.
August 29, 2023, 1:26 AM · Greetings,
this is a warm and interesting discussion but I can't help jumping in right now with a reminder that this is a completely public forum and there is such thing as too much information.
Just a thought,
Edited: August 29, 2023, 5:15 PM · Buri you're entirely right. So far I think everything we've discussed openly has been positive. I'm certainly very positive about Oberlin! There is a pro chamber violinist in my town who has performed quite a bit with both Bernhardsson and Kouzov and thinks the world of both.
Edited: August 29, 2023, 6:02 PM · Greetings,
Yes Paul. You are always constructive and positive, as is everyone else on this thread. It’s not uch a big deal but there are mean spirited youngsters and monster parents who may do nut job stuff like complaining that so and so got an audition here and there or whatever. I see no harm whatsoever in saying teacher X is great but a little caution about when, where and why a son or daughter took an audition is worth keeping in the back of one’s mind,
August 29, 2023, 8:49 PM · Buri, I would be in favor of a situation where personal experience about applications and auditions for conservatory is shared so freely that there's no longer anything special about it. Instead the situation for many of us is just the opposite -- a feeling approaching paralysis, like being in the middle of blindfold chess game where any small mistake might spell disaster.
August 29, 2023, 11:24 PM · Totally agree. If musicians can’t lend a hand to other musicians then what’s the point of it all?
Edited: August 30, 2023, 7:38 AM · I am very grateful for this site, and the contributions of parents like Susan, Paul, and Stan. For non-musician parents, Paul's description of parenting an aspiring classical player as negotiating a blindfolded chess game is apt.
I have no clarity as to whether my kid will choose to do this- either in college, or as a career. It's what she wants now, and hopefully music will be part of her life whatever she does. Conversations on here have helped us get her to the point where she has real choices.

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