What to look for in a conservatory teacher
We already have a lengthy, profound, and ferociously enthusiastic discussion on selecting teachers hosted here at V.com. In interest to the hundreds if not thousands of young musicians who audition for conservatories and otherwise music degree programs every year, what should an aspiring professional musician look for when selecting a conservatory teacher?
Again, the information on conservatory teachers that is publicly available to the prospective student, especially the prospective undergrad, is primarily the name of the school at which the teacher has a faculty position. For instance, Juilliard may list 8-16 or so faculty names under each string instrument, but how many high school string players who audition each year can say that they know what each teacher's style and methodology are? I am guessing that it would be only students who have studied at Juilliard Pre-College, or perhaps another pre-college program in the region. There is the risk for students not in-the-know that they may choose their auditions for the name and reputation of the school rather than for the faculty, and many students could miss out on valuable experiences at lesser-known institutions this way.
So how do you think a young student should select the teacher who will guide their learning during four crucial and fertile years of his or her transition to professional performing? What skills, methodologies, and qualifications should talented high school students seek in a conservatory professor?
If a student is studying with a teacher that routinely prepares students for conservatory auditions, they are often graduates of major conservatories themselves, and will generally have a network, and consequently some notion of what conservatories and teachers would be a good next step.
What Lydia said.
I study at the Conservatoire in Paris, we have about a dozen or more violin teachers, and each has about 6 to 12 students.
It could hurt your career if you publicly and under your full name criticize teachers at the conservatory where you're studying, in a way that allows anyone familiar to figure out who these teachers are.
One thing that might be helpful is if someone were to set up a forum, similar to Yelp, where current students and former students review their teachers, where screen name usage is encouraged so that the reviewers are as open as possible. I know that there are course evaluations and Rate My Professor, but the former are never seen outside of the music departments they are directed to, and the latter, while completely anonymous, and full of information on more academic professors, seems to be sorely lacking in the music teacher review department.
For my frame of reference: how many one-to-one instrument-teaching hours do conservatory students typically get? And do students stay with one and the same teacher for four years?
"Here? In France?" Roman, you've got to be kidding. Sexual harassment is absolutely everywhere, in every walk of life, every industry, every profession. It's precisely those relationships that are more intense, more personal, more long-term, more stressful, and more power-imbalanced, that the soil for harassment is the most fertile. Athletic coaches, ministers, government leaders, etc.
Roman, I would guess the definition of "sexual harassment " is different in France than in many Anglo-Saxon countries.
To some extent this is like choosing one's graduate advisor. How often will you get a lesson? Do they travel too much? Not enough? Do their students leave with jobs or at least solid opportunities? Do their students feel inspired to work hard?
Hey Roman, I second the poster who suggested you might want to reconsider such obvious reviews in a public, searchable forum.
Han I don’t really care. And besides I’m not criticizing anyone, just describing what is.
I second Paul’s last point, some teachers really compel their students to work harder, just by sheer inspiration rather than by forcing.
Roman, I strongly suggest you edit or delete your first comment. You may not care at the moment, but simply being a student puts you on the losing end of an unequal power structure. Classical music is a very, very small world.
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