June 17, 2012 at 1:52 am #114891
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.September 25, 2012 at 2:59 am #114892
Is this thread dead? Does Professor Williams, Bassoonist Ordinaire, all around nice guy, have the last word?
-looking forward to your contributions,
DMDecember 22, 2012 at 1:41 am #114893
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,
DMApril 1, 2013 at 11:04 am #114894
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,
DMApril 9, 2013 at 2:24 am #114895
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!September 5, 2013 at 3:17 am #114896
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.
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.September 6, 2013 at 1:44 am #114897
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.
ShawnFebruary 12, 2014 at 3:21 am #114898
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…
DMApril 21, 2014 at 2:56 am #114899
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.April 23, 2014 at 1:35 am #114900
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-musicians-find-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,
DwightApril 23, 2014 at 1:55 am #114901
I too am finding that the biggest concern and draw is scholarship $$. Teaching at a private college, who is slowly diminishing money available for scholarship, while steadily increasing tuition…its a huge concern for parents and students. One recently who audition on bassoon at over 10 schools (yes, you read that correct…over 10 schools) said the determining factor would be that “he would attend whomever gave him a full ride”.
With the rising cost of higher education, this seems to be the largest concern from parents and students, which bleeds into we college professors.
On a lighter note, a personal email to the student with the offer of a free lesson seems to go a long way.
ShawnApril 23, 2014 at 1:56 am #114902
PS. The other HUGE draw at my school is the amount of recruiting done by the college band director. He is GREAT at it and seems to get a lot of students through guest conducting at honors band festivals. In the big picture, the largest draw for recruitment and retention at my current position and another adjunct position I held several years ago, is the band program and the ban director.
ShawnJune 10, 2014 at 1:52 pm #114903
Inside Higher Ed has published a free, downloadable 32-page booklet and offers a forthcoming webinar on Strategies for Recruiting Students that may be of value to some applied music faculty. http://www.insidehighered.com/content/strategies-recruiting-students#sthash.6T2f5akq.dpbsJune 10, 2014 at 2:31 pm #114904
Thanks Dwight!June 11, 2014 at 9:10 pm #114905
As a parent of a HS freshman oboist (actually I have triplet freshman & an 8th grader, so tuition is an unavoidable topic of concentration – it is guaranteed not just to rain, but to pour in our situation). My point I’d like to bring to the discussion is that although my oboist is entering a very strong and highly acclaimed HS band program, for an oboe player it is not ideal as she has to play another instrument for the half year of marching. So we are taking pre-emptive steps to build her exoeriences with regard to music because of her college aspirations. The thing is, she’s also interested in following it he family trend by going to medical school. So, the approach I’m taking is contacting the few physicians that I know who are also part-time mucisians and asking them how they went about being a double major, when things got tough and when & if their came a time where things were too demanding to be a significant participant in the institutions music program. There seems to be a common thread that, yes, there is a time where you have to put aside your instrument or your scalpel. But the communication with the institutions music department right from the start, being upfront with regard to your goals seems to be what helped many of the current physicians and professional mucisians decide where they chose to attend.
HS bands, at least as far as I can tell, are not necessarily the best for bassoonist & oboist in preparation for their college careers. I’m trying to start early. I wasn’t going to have her participate in the HS program because of this, but they recruited her with gusto. I guess that’s good, but I’m still not convinced it’s time best spent during marching season. She’ll continue her weekly lessons with her private, professional instructor and participate in as many additional activities (the IDRS Teen Workshop) that we think will be advantageous for her when the time comes so she will, with any luck have a greater range of options than she’d otherwise have.
It’s a tough call, tough predicament particularly for double reed instruments considering the middle and HS programs – and we live in an area that, fortunately has a very dedicated parent community that contributes financially to keep them on the leading edge.
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