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Usefulness of Conservatory Education? (Read 1267 times)

Offline pianowelsh

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Usefulness of Conservatory Education?
« on: December 16, 2004, 04:46:01 PM »
Hi all you pianists out there! I am currently a final year undergrad student and am currently researching the effectiveness of Conservatory-style education. As it seems many of you have been through or are going through Conservatories around the world I would be very interested to know how you guys feel the training you have recieved has helped you in your career ( or indeed hindered - if that is the case?). It would also be really cool to hear from some of you who are established in careers who havent been to Conservatory!!     Those of you who have it would be interesting to know which aspects, if any, of your training have prepared you best for the kind of work you do now professionally.     I look forward to hearing your fab responses - I am looking partic at undergrad curriculum in performance but anyones insight would be valued. :D

Offline Goldberg

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Re: Usefulness of Conservatory Education?
«Reply #1 on: December 16, 2004, 11:15:32 PM »
I think the most important thing about going to a proper conservatory is building a list of contacts and relationships in the musical field. In my experience (read: quite limited...I'm just 16 now), it's rare that one particular conservatory is going to be SO much better than all of the others as far as skills and abilities go--afterall, much of the learning process, at least in my mind, has to do 85-90% with the student himself. But, I believe someone who goes to a prestigious school such as Curtis would have reasonably higher chances of succeeding professionally than someone who simply got a degree in piano at *enter random non-conservatory, non-ivy league school here*; surely someone can correct me, but the key difference is being able to say "I was taught by so-and-so, one of the greats, and he introduced me to yadda yadda yadda, who got me a gig at Carnegie Hall." Ok, so it won't exactly be like that, but I'm just talking about exposure in general.

With that said...

Recently, my philosophy has been that it's quite possible for someone to develop "professional" skills outside of a Conservatory or even outside of intense practicing in a school environment. Right now, I think if we took away the importance of musical contacts--not possible, but hypothetically if we could--a degree in music would not be important at all in pursuing a performance career, as long as the pianist practiced long and hard and had that talent and determination that we speak of so much here. In fact, I'd even go so far as to say that having a degree is really only "good" for one thing in general: getting a teaching job at a college/conservatory/university. The rest of it depends on how your background has resulted in your development as a pianist...and how aggressive you are.