Graduate school continues - value of.



  • Of course a moderator, as is their right, can close this thread before it gets started, but I thought the original topic is very useful for some, so I'm continuing this topic, hopefully devoid of rancor this time.

    First, I would encourage anyone interested, to read the content of the original thread and avoid redundancy. https://trumpetboards.com/topic/736/should-i-go-to-graduate-school

    There were pros and cons posted about going to music graduate schools. Does anyone have any further thoughts?


  • Global Moderator

    Thanks for continuing this topic. But please consider that graduate schools are a phenomenon of the USA only. I would like to ask those members who have non-USA experience in this field to contribure.



  • Yes, if I'm not mistaking, for admission to a European (or at least German) Conservatory or music school, someone would have to have an Abitur, which is roughly equal to American H.S. diploma plus two years of community college. So a European Conservatory grad would have the same amount, or level (and I realise this is arbitrary) as an American with a Master Degree.

    (Is this right barliman? It's kind of hard to adequately characterise or show parity.)

    So, in a sense, the question applies for both. In other words, what's the value of advanced higher musical education?



  • IN the prior thread, Kehaulani represented a viewpoint with which I do not entirely agree, but which is not uncommonly held, and which is the thinking of many who might come to this thread. I would like to post my own view relative to that, but for context, here is his well expressed viewpoint worthy of consideration

    "Just to give an alternate view, I have worked as a full-time musician all my adult life. Schooling was a definite advantage. Sorry it didn't work out for you but it's hardly universal. If the expected outcome is narrow, it's possible that one's cause and effect can be disappointing. If you are versatile and flexible the outcome of your schooling can be different.

    It's not a matter of what you can't do, but what you can do. Outlook on life.
    Apply yourself, be creative, be flexible and, very important, be ready.

    I learned to not let yourself say no but to let them say no.

    Just for the record, I have never used my degrees, as is, as a requirement for work. It helped but it was not a requirement. It is what I learned, how I can use that and what contacts I made.

    But the largest thing is that I did my Graduate work for me, not for anyone else. And since it was for me, my rewards were internal and I was wiling to live with whatever standards of living and income came as a result of it. That's just how I'm wired."

    While I agree with his direction, I dont agree that the only value is intrinsic.

    My first point of contention would be that Kehaulani , as his top-tier playing days drew closer to their end (something every player who lives beyond their 30s will come to understand), expanded in to exercising his musicianship in the role of military band conductor (moving from playing one voice in the chorus to playing all). Of course, exemplary musicianship, natural leadership, and dedication are all absolute requirements. But last time I checked, so was an advanced degree.

    We live in a "check-box" age. I worked for HRStrategies, the pioneer in psych-based computer pre-screening of job applicants. Today, you cannot apply for much of anything without convincing the robot you have the right degree - and then it electronically checks against the institutions named. How long before you can't book a wedding gig without making it past the wedding planner's pre-screen ap?

    It was true in education 30 years ago, you need a post-grad degree if you want to put food on the table. In a society where the auto companies wont hire a grease-monkey without a bachelor's, do we really think that advising against at least a masters is wise?

    I think I have unique perspective from which to comment. While one of my grandfathers eschewed his love of electronics to become a pioneer in music education (piloting recording of school bands at competitions with disc-cutters, and remaining the tech guy for the American School Band Director's Association from its inception till his last report on computer aided music education shortly before his 1990 death), the other grandfather built on a high school diploma as a draftsman to be one of 4 engineers behind the DUKW being brought from concept to production in 90 days and retired as a chief engineer. I have a degree in secondary education with teaching areas of social studies and music. My career had been in building-trades, Network engineering, application development, tailpipe emissions engineering, automotive regulatory compliance, and now electrification safety in a global role for a major automaker. I know better than anyone else just how hard it is, and how badly you take a hit in compensation, without the degree checkbox.

    The global population is exploding. Even with all of the disincentives, there are plenty of new players every year competing in the market. As impersonal non-human screening takes over virtually every aspect of our interaction as a society, you are going to have to be able to check the box to get the gig. The days of practical merit are (sadly) behind us.


  • Global Moderator

    @Kehaulani First of all, there are up to three different types of institutes of higher education in music. I'll detail the system in Germany.

    Lowest professional school of music is the "Musikalische Fachschule" which you only need a basic level of education to enter, together with a musical audition. This school is primarily for the training of music teachers for primary schools.
    Then, there are the Music Conservatories that usually take up students - musical talent provided as soon as they have completed their first high school diploma (after 10 years of school).

    And finally, there are the Music Universities which require Abitur (which is after 13 years of school).

    However, there are loopholes. Adequate talent will be the key to what they call "junior studentships". About 10 % of students fall into that categories, starting as early as age 12.

    And the best thing is: University Education (including Music Universities) in Germany is free (for German residents).



  • Barliman, I was talking about Conservatory graduates. I certainly don't reflect an exhaustive group, but in my personal experience, the ones I've known all had Abiturs.

    OldSchool, maybe I missed it, but does your post relate to the value of higher music education?


  • Global Moderator

    @barliman2001 said in Graduate school continues - value of.:

    Thanks for continuing this topic. But please consider that graduate schools are a phenomenon of the USA only. I would like to ask those members who have non-USA experience in this field to contribure.

    Please expound as I am not familiar with the situation in Europe.



  • @Kehaulani said in Graduate school continues - value of.:

    OldSchool, maybe I missed it, but does your post relate to the value of higher music education?

    Higher education in general. Music is just one more field rapidly succumbing to the impersonal and often tone-deaf, world of check-box selection.



  • I don't mean this in an uncharitable way at all, but I think you must have had a bad experience but I don't think it's universal. I've worked with all kinds of musicians and of all different kinds of backgrounds, some with little formal education to those with PhDs and I have never known one that didn't get something out of their education.

    Now, some just got an opportunity to play in some great ensembles and make some valuable relationships, while there where others who really increased their knowledge. It was really personal, depending on their level when they started school and what their goals were.

    One day during a composition lesson, I looked out the window and across the street at the main entrance to the building and said to my professor, "That's sad. There should be a sign over the entrance that says, "Caveat Emptor". He looked at me, took a pregnant pause, and said, "You have to create your own vacancy".


  • Global Moderator

    @administrator I've already explained the system three posts ago.



  • @Kehaulani said in Graduate school continues - value of.:

    I don't mean this in an uncharitable way at all, but I think you must have had a bad experience but I don't think it's universal. I've worked with all kinds of musicians and of all different kinds of backgrounds, some with little formal education to those with PhDs and I have never known one that didn't get something out of their education.

    Now, some just got an opportunity to play in some great ensembles and make some valuable relationships, while there where others who really increased their knowledge. It was really personal, depending on their level when they started school and what their goals were.

    One day during a composition lesson, I looked out the window and across the street at the main entrance to the building and said to my professor, "That's sad. There should be a sign over the entrance that says, "Caveat Emptor". He looked at me, took a pregnant pause, and said, "You have to create your own vacancy".

    Just the opposite actually - I have been very fortunate. But like you, I am no kid. I see that the path that my grandfather faced only the challenges of working hard and being skilled enough along, which for me evolved over time into ever greater, though not insurmountable with the respect of peers, political/practical hurdles, is rapidly becoming a wall of unthinking check-box filtering. Its not like it was just ten years ago - in any field from engineering to fast-food. Everyone pre-screens today - even the educational side of the arts. The performance branches of the arts are the last bastion of true meritocracy perhaps , but sooner or later the wave breaks and covers all.

    Also please do not interpret this as devaluing education in any way - professional or personal. I am, at the end of the day, a teacher and historian - I do appreciate the personal value of learning


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