Topic: College studio recruitment and retention

College applied faculty, what recruiting and retention practices have been productive for your double reed studios?
Share your tips here.

Last edited by Dwight Manning (2013-01-13 11:56:11)

Dr. Dwight Manning
Teachers College, Columbia University
Box 97 525 West 120th St. New York, NY 10027
212-678-8252  <dm2723@tc.columbia.edu>

Re: College studio recruitment and retention

248 views since Feb. 10th (4 months ago) but zero replies. College professors, any comments?

Dr. Dwight Manning
Teachers College, Columbia University
Box 97 525 West 120th St. New York, NY 10027
212-678-8252  <dm2723@tc.columbia.edu>

Re: College studio recruitment and retention

Maybe you could share your tips to start the ball rolling!
Nancy (not a college professor)

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Re: College studio recruitment and retention

HA!  Everyone's afraid to share their secrets smile

As far as recruiting, I've had the best luck holding events that bring recruits to campus.

Retention, well that's a two-way street.  Despite your best efforts, students sometimes just don't work out.  I approach my job always thinking of the costs of tuition current students are paying.  With that in mind, I try to give 100% of my efforts to make sure they are getting the best education I can give them with as many extracurricular activities as possible, most of which are certainly not credited in my "load" assignment.
It's a ton of work, but helps me sleep at night.

Scott Pool

"The Ornaments look pretty, but they're pulling down the branches of the tree." - Cake

Re: College studio recruitment and retention

Scott, thanks for jumping in! My inquiry in this forum is part of a larger study on recruiting and retention, partial findings of which were presented at a College Music Society Regional Conference in March. To continue our dialogue, I'll share here one of the published studies on recruiting.

In 1996, researcher Michael Straw studied the perspectives of 117 high school seniors who had participated in Missouri All-State Ensembles. He reported on how they perceived the effectiveness of various recruiting practices on their decision to participate in collegiate music departments. It was deemed likely that these students had experienced the efforts of collegiate music departments to recruit them to their programs. Following are the seven most frequent recruiting practices he found followed by a ranking of the most effective.

Seven most frequent recruiting practices (ranked most to least)
Music dept. publications           91%
Letter from music faculty          82%
On-campus interview or audition      73%
Received performance scholarship 68%
Music dept. visit                      65%
Phone call from faculty          50%
Private lesson with faculty          37%

Ranking of seven most effective practices
1) Received performance scholarship
2) On-campus interview or audition   
3) Letter from music faculty
4) Music dept. publications, Music dept. visit, Phone call from faculty, Private lessons (equally distributed in 4th place)

Are these practices still common today at your institution? Would today's students respond in similar manner 16 years later?

-looking forward to reading your comments,
Dwight

Dr. Dwight Manning
Teachers College, Columbia University
Box 97 525 West 120th St. New York, NY 10027
212-678-8252  <dm2723@tc.columbia.edu>

Re: College studio recruitment and retention

I think I would agree; not much has changed. 
I always poll high school students when they visit and they most always say the most important aspect of their decision will be in the form of scholarship $$.  Sad.
It usually takes a nice chat to get them to see other aspects of their decision-making process that are far more important to their success in college.
I'm currently teaching at a high school band camp and may ask a few students these very questions to get some informal results for you.

Scott Pool

"The Ornaments look pretty, but they're pulling down the branches of the tree." - Cake

Re: College studio recruitment and retention

Scott -

As the father of a graduated applied music major, I appreciate what your feelings are, but the reality is that my son (and many like him) probably wouldn't be able to study in college at all if it wasn't for the scholarship $$.  I understand all the other factors are important too, but, as my father used to say, it boils down to a dollars and cents decision.

Bryan Cavitt
Bassoon Dad

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Re: College studio recruitment and retention

Given the recent economic environment and the reality that most parents pay the tuition, it would seem logical that recruitment efforts should also be aimed at parents. In both college-level institutions I have taught at recently, I'm aware that there are dedicated sessions for parents during recruitment days. Applied faculty should know what parents are told in those sessions so that their own recruitment efforts are not at odds with the institution's.

I've always felt that campus visits and a face-to-face meeting with the applied teacher were vital recruitment components. I still believe those are important, but echnology since 1996 (viz. Dr. Manning's message) has changed a LOT. With Facebook and Twitter, for example, potential students are obviously getting a lot of information from sources other than institutional publications. For example, I wonder how effective it would be if each prospective student were to have a Facebook friend who is a present student.

Christopher Weait,
Principal bassoon, Toronto Symphony (1968 - 1985)
IDRS Honorary Member; Emeritus professor Ohio State University
www.weaitmusic.com

Re: College studio recruitment and retention

Getting to know the music teachers in my area has been essential to successful recruiting. Students often
rely on their teacher's recommendation for school visits and auditions as well as the final choice .

Dale Clark
Arkansas State University
Clark Bassoon Reeds

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Re: College studio recruitment and retention

Thanks to all for the lively dialogue! The question of parental support, particularly related to recruiting undergrads to any institution receiving federal US funds, may be a sensitive matter for applied faculty. When talented students are in high school, university faculty may discuss all aspects of institutional support, academics etc. with a prospective student's parent(s). However, according to FERPA (aka the Buckley Amendment) once a student is enrolled at an institution of higher education and is no longer a minor, university faculty may not discuss academic or financial matters with parents without previous written permission of that student. This transition may prove challenging for students, families and applied faculty in US colleges.


-looking forward to reading your thoughts on this topic affecting many IDRS members,
Dwight

Dr. Dwight Manning
Teachers College, Columbia University
Box 97 525 West 120th St. New York, NY 10027
212-678-8252  <dm2723@tc.columbia.edu>

Re: College studio recruitment and retention

Dwight, to be clear, this statement in my message "Applied faculty should know what parents are told in those sessions so that their own recruitment efforts are not at odds with the institution's." was intended to mean "know what the parents are told" prior to the student entering. All best wishes, Chris

Christopher Weait,
Principal bassoon, Toronto Symphony (1968 - 1985)
IDRS Honorary Member; Emeritus professor Ohio State University
www.weaitmusic.com

Re: College studio recruitment and retention

My experience with recent cuts in the middle and high school "extracurricular" programs makes me think college staff will have to use many new methods to get and retain students.  It may actually be that the pyramid (of many students wanting few places) is actually turning upside down and will reflect few students being courted by many music departments.  Our county-wide school system has cut all music programs in the middle and high school level, which means community orchestras, colleges, and semi-professional organizations will have zero recruits coming out of the schools in a decade.  A sad story.

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Re: College studio recruitment and retention

Nancy, you raise a pertinent point. In my experience, applied double reed faculty in the majority of US institutions have struggled for years to recruit and retain students. Only a small minority of institutions enjoy the scenario in which many applicants are vying for a few places. But by and large, this struggling majority has succeeded in recruiting undergrads, even with fewer and fewer high school music programs. According to one estimate in the General Topics section of this forum--How many bassoon students are there?--US institutions are training roughly 7000 bassoon students. Is the college applied studio a valuable end or merely the means to a greater end? How many jobs are available in the international musical community if even one fourth (the annual senior class) of those 7000 bassoonists graduate each year? Perhaps applied faculty do need new methods to attract and serve their students. Do institutions also need to re-examine the music curricula designed to serve students and broader social/artistic needs decades ago?

-best wishes to all,
DM

Dr. Dwight Manning
Teachers College, Columbia University
Box 97 525 West 120th St. New York, NY 10027
212-678-8252  <dm2723@tc.columbia.edu>

Re: College studio recruitment and retention

Dwight, you bring up a good point - there aren't enough jobs for these students. Between orchestras folding, the military bands taking a pop music emphasis, and the public schools cutting music programs, where are these 1750 graduating seniors going every year? I find it incredibly unethical to charge students tens of thousands of dollars in tuition knowing full well they won't find a job simply because "we need people to fill the ensembles."

I think a possible solution to this is to find ways where applied faculty can recruit and teach talented music minors, double majors, and others who love music but want to pursue it avocationally. Not everyone who takes an English class is an English major, why does everyone who takes bassoon lessons or plays in wind ensemble have to be a bassoon major?

The late Hugh Cooper said that he knew that only the top few students in his studio would be able to feasibly find full-time employment in music and that it was his responsibility to "gently guide" the other students toward other careers and pursuing music avocationally. He said that many of his former students are now doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc, who still enjoy playing the bassoon in the various civic ensembles and appreciate the instruction they received from him. Is there anything so wrong with this scenario? And this is at a school like Michigan where presumably he'd have a very high level of talent from which to choose. I imagine at a smaller school, this scenario is even more viable.

When I was in graduate school, my bassoon professor suggested I consider getting my education certificate "just in case." Even though I ended up getting a job in military band, I'm glad that i did that because now if the Army decides to cut bassoon players, I will have another way to feed my children without having to get back on the audition circuit. Is there anything so awful about suggesting to your performance majors - 'hey, think about staying an extra year and getting an ed degree, or a computer science minor?"

Thanks for starting up this conversation. It's one we as a field desperately need to have.
Derek

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Re: College studio recruitment and retention

Dwight, This sentence in your most recent message is possibly the most important one, "Do institutions also need to re-examine the music curricula designed to serve students and broader social/artistic needs decades ago?" Further, I believe Derek's comment "we need people to fill the ensembles." reminds us that requirements to fill studios and ensembles often drives the recruitment effort.

Christopher Weait,
Principal bassoon, Toronto Symphony (1968 - 1985)
IDRS Honorary Member; Emeritus professor Ohio State University
www.weaitmusic.com

Re: College studio recruitment and retention

If a student wants to study bassoon, who am I to stop him, discourage her, or say to someone else that they will never get a job?  In the end, students are usually bright individuals who learn very quickly whether or not they will ever work in the field.  And in the end, usually that musical education that they receive will be used somewhere down the line.  I am one of the many who started in a music program, and then realized that I could never be a professional musician.  However, I, like many thousands of others, play and sing and perform in many many different ensembles, and I do not regret either the time or the money that I invested in my musical education.  It has served me very well.

I believe that if a student is registered in a school, it is the responsibility of that school to prepare him or her for the real world with all of its problems and pitfalls.  If a student is still willing to continue in the program even though they know that their chances of getting a job are slim to none, it is their choice.  As a professor, it is your job to prepare them as well as they possibly can be prepared.  Unfortunately, many people seem to believe that a university degree, even in music, is a guarantee of a job.  It is not, and it never has been, and if students are prepared for that reality, you have done your job.

The only problem that I have seen is the money.  University tuitions in the US are incredibly high, and I believe that this leads many people to believe that major investment and received degree = successful career.  At 20,000 to 50,000 dollars, it's easy to understand why people do think that.  But if you were to stand at the doors with a crystal ball and tell each student their future, stating baldy that only three of the 120 students that entered in that year would get jobs in music, do you know what would happen?  The other 117 would still walk into the door.  They'll take their chances.  They will spend huge amounts of money, US and UK students spending far more than Canadians and other Europeans, but it is their choice and I will respect it.  If either of my kids wants to go to school in music, I will encourage them, and yes, I will pay for it.  It is an honourable profession, and they will learn about dedication, teamwork, how to deal with stress, how to deal with people, and so many other things that will make them very employable.  Your students are no different.  Is it ethical to ask for that tuition and not be able to assure a job?  To me, the answer is neither yes nor no.  Simply put, it is not your decision to make.  The parents and students must make that call.

To recruit students, you have to let them and their parents know exactly what they will learn. I believe that you have to get into the high schools and local music schools, so that when a parent asks a high school teacher about prospective universities, that teacher will  immediately and unequivocally answer with the name of your university.  You have to build a relationship, so that both the teachers and the students know you and what you have to offer.  If the students and the teachers know and trust you, their choice of a university becomes very easy.

However, I have to admit that around here, it's a moot point.  With one English language university in the city, guess where most kids go.  The French speaking students have a better choice, with a university and a conservatory, but usually, the choice usually rests on who your teacher will be.  If you pass the auditions, and you have already worked with a given teacher, you can be very sure that you will be well served.  That is why it is so important to get into the high schools and know the people who are playing the instruments that you want to recruit.  You have to make their choice easy.

As for re-examining the curricula, it should be done as a matter of course, but in the end, any given curriculum in a music school is designed to produce top-notch professional musicians.  That is how it should be.  Before changing or even re-examining the curriculum of a school, you have to define the goals of the school.  This is both easier and harder than it appears, as you have to question the very relevance of the institution that you value so highly.  Are you doing justice to the students by educating them in this manner at this time?  Should we teach something else? Can we prepare them better by forcing students to take more courses in other subjects? (a double major)  The answer to each of the questions requires a change at a different level, and none of the changes are easy.  Some institutions have to do it, and will be better for it, but it is a very painful process, especially if the changes end up being major.

Last edited by Dean (2014-06-12 17:33:53)

Bassoonist Ordinaire, all around nice guy.
If anyone needs a damn fool, I'm your man!

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Re: College studio recruitment and retention

Is this thread dead? Does Professor Williams, Bassoonist Ordinaire, all around nice guy, have the last word?

-looking forward to your contributions,
DM

Dr. Dwight Manning
Teachers College, Columbia University
Box 97 525 West 120th St. New York, NY 10027
212-678-8252  <dm2723@tc.columbia.edu>

Re: College studio recruitment and retention

The dialogue continues... My proposal to the College Music Society 34th Northeast Regional Conference, Keene, NH, March 15-16 was accepted. Double reed performers, pedagogues and researchers are invited.

Recruitment and Retention in the Applied Studio: A Panel Discussion
A panel of full-time, tenured applied faculty who teach in music departments and schools representing public, private, four-year, graduate, and historically black universities will discuss recruitment and retention in the applied studio. Six panelists have been confirmed including professors with applied voice, string, woodwind, brass, piano and composition studios at colleges and universities in the Northeastern states of Connecticut, Delaware, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont. The moderator (Dr. Dwight Manning) is currently an instructor and administrator at a private institution in the Northeast Chapter of CMS and had twenty years of experience as a full-time applied faculty member at public and private universities in another CMS Chapter.

-see you there,
DM

Dr. Dwight Manning
Teachers College, Columbia University
Box 97 525 West 120th St. New York, NY 10027
212-678-8252  <dm2723@tc.columbia.edu>

Re: College studio recruitment and retention

There are two revealing studies posted on Inside Higher Education suggesting that college recruitment and retention practices disadvantage low-income students http://bit.ly/YN9vTl  http://bit.ly/10glIzd

I'm also curious why since first posting this thread almost 14 months ago there have been 2,238 views but only 19 replies, 8 of which are my own. YOU are invited to participate in the dialogue!

-best to all,
DM

Last edited by Dwight Manning (2013-04-01 04:08:52)

Dr. Dwight Manning
Teachers College, Columbia University
Box 97 525 West 120th St. New York, NY 10027
212-678-8252  <dm2723@tc.columbia.edu>

Re: College studio recruitment and retention

I would think hosting events (double reed days, woodwind days, etc) would be a good way to help with this.  Not only is it bringing new students to the campus, but it also gives current students something to be involved with while they are there.  Other than great teaching, retention seems to be student dependent (grades, determination).  Sometimes, no matter what you do for a student, if they don't have the drive to become a musician or educator, they won't make it and don't stay in school. 

I often wonder how some of the larger studios (clarinet, flute) keep so many students, other than the fact that there are more of them.

Not a professor yet, but a hopeful DMA student looking to build a studio where ever a job takes me!

Ronnal Ford
DMA Oboe Performance '16
Multiple Woodwind Performance/Theory Cognate
Adjunct Professor, Guilford Tech & Forsyth Tech

Re: College studio recruitment and retention

As Fall academic terms begin, some may be interested in findings from a study posted on the Institute for Education Studies' What Works Clearinghouse: "Helping Students Navigate the Path to College: What High Schools Can Do".  College applied faculty can engage in the two practices found to be most effective, Engage and assist students in completing critical steps for college entry; Increase families’ financial awareness, and help students apply for financial aid.

Summary
Access to higher education remains a challenge for many students who face academic and informational barriers to college entry. This guide targets high schools and school districts, and focuses on effective practices that prepare students academically for college, assist them in completing the steps to college entry, and improve their likelihood of enrolling in college.

http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/PracticeGuide.aspx?sid=11

Dr. Dwight Manning
Teachers College, Columbia University
Box 97 525 West 120th St. New York, NY 10027
212-678-8252  <dm2723@tc.columbia.edu>

Re: College studio recruitment and retention

Hello,
I'm actually finding a larger problem: a lack of oboes to recruit to! I am a middle/high school band director by day and college faculty in the evenings. My studio is the smallest its been in 12 years with only two majors. My norm is usually 3-4 majors each year with a minor or two thrown in there.

I am finding it harder and harder to find oboists from high schools within a 70 mile radius due a sheer lack of them. Seems it is getting harder and harder to recruit oboe and bassoonists these days in middle and high schools. I myself am not having that issue since I am a double reed player and my double reed program in my MS and HS is thriving. However, trying to get those students into the field of music is next to impossible these days with all of the cuts and mandates politicians and state officials are making in education. Discouraging most students to go into music, or education at all for that matter.

Shawn

Shawn Reynolds
Professor of Oboe/EH - Youngstown State University
Howland Schools - MS (director of bands); HS (Asst. Dir of Bands, Marching, Symphonic)

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Re: College studio recruitment and retention

I posted this thread 2 years ago, we've had 5,125 views but only 22 posts (and 10 are my own).  Join the conversation--we look forward to reading your contributions...

DM

Last edited by Dwight Manning (2014-02-11 20:23:29)

Dr. Dwight Manning
Teachers College, Columbia University
Box 97 525 West 120th St. New York, NY 10027
212-678-8252  <dm2723@tc.columbia.edu>

Re: College studio recruitment and retention

I am a private teacher in Virginia with a large studio of middle and high school students and would love to find a resource for colleges and universities looking for oboists. Our larger music schools in VA seem to do pretty well in building their studios, but I am always looking for out of state schools for opportunities. Many of my students are military dependants and are not locked into having to attend VA schools.

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Re: College studio recruitment and retention

Laurel, your students are fortunate to have your input in finding that important right fit between student and teacher--mentor and mentee. Most public and private music education programs now have well-developed websites providing details about the institution, program, instructors, performance and financial aid opportunities, etc. Only a few private institutions turn away serious, qualified applicants and even fewer public institutions do so. As you’ve read in this long thread, many applied faculty must recruit and retain a studio to justify the continuation of their positions, and are consequently always looking for next year’s incoming class. So if your students send an inquiry to an institution of interest in another state, they are likely to draw attention from the respective applied oboe instructor. (If not, you may want to think twice about your recommendation.) Other ways to network out-of-state are by attending summer camps or festivals, networking in person or through social media and attending performances and master classes of oboists who visit your home state.

Forum member Patty Mitchell has long maintained a good reference that lists several sources related to your question. Her impressive website, blog and reference titled “oboeinsight” includes extensive lists of double reed musicians—both personal and institutional pages http://www.oboeinsight.com/double-reed- … d-em-here/ As there is turn over in this volatile and competitive profession, the listings may be dated in some cases.

Good luck, let us know how it goes, keep the dialogue going.
Best to all,
Dwight

Last edited by Dwight Manning (2014-04-22 18:37:56)

Dr. Dwight Manning
Teachers College, Columbia University
Box 97 525 West 120th St. New York, NY 10027
212-678-8252  <dm2723@tc.columbia.edu>