February 2019

2019 Best Music Schools: Isn’t It Special

Certain colleges have earned especially high marks of specific aspects of music education.

National Standards: 7, 9

Prepare: Before reading, have a class discussion about their goals as a musician moving forward. For those interested in pursuing graduate school, ask what they would like to specialize in and why. Ask students to create a list of concentrations they would be most excited about pursuing. Advise them to use this list when discussing options with their counselor or consultant.

Begin: Have the class read 2019 Best Music Schools: Isn’t It Special (page 2 of the student edition). The article explores the special programs from a handful of music schools.

CATAWBA COLLEGE: Popular and Worship Music

  • The popular music program is the school’s largest concentrations
  • Curriculum includes: solo performance, ensemble performance, songwriting, music technology and audio recording, music business

“While Catawba maintains key relationships in the music industry, we emphasize students learning to blaze their own trails professionally — and provide them with the tools to do so. The beauty of the music industry is that opportunities are only limited by the creativity and drive individuals bring to it. The education our students receive provides them with real-world knowhow in terms of performance, technology and business — and that serves as a competitive advantage.”

Dr. David Fish, Founder of the Popular Music Program

Detroit Institute of Music Education (DIME): Contemporary Music

  • You can earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Commercial Music Performance, Commercial Songwriting or Music Industry Studies
  • Students are immersed in popular music business, trends and artistry

“In a typical day, a student might have a Repertoire and Hit Song Analysis class with Antea Birchett, our head of songwriting, who has penned songs for Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige and Jennifer Lopez, as well as currently GRAMMY-nominated for her work on the recent H.E.R. album. Afterward, they might go down to our onsite music venue for a masterclass with someone like Kern Brantley (the bassist and musical director for such artists as Lady Gaga, Ne-Yo and Chris Brown.”

Elise McCoy, Dime Group Head of Recruitment and Admissions

FROST: A Musical Method

  • Possible concentrations: jazz, popular music, classical music, audio engineering, music business
  • C.R.E.A.T.E. Through Lines philosophy fosters comprehensive skill sets for all students

“Students regularly participate in real-world activities, like national television productions, film scores, major-label recordings, etc. In a recent survey, 90 percent of our alumni reported being in the job or graduate program of their choice within six months of graduating.”

Shelton G. Berg, Dean of FROST

OBERLIN: Vocals and Composition

  • Vocal program includes courses in music theory, language and even acting to prepare students for tackling the international art-song repertoire and operatic performance
  • Composition majors take two years of introductory courses and supplementary private lessons before receiving private instruction from the professor of their choice

“The goal of the department is to train aspiring composers to hone their skills at presenting their musical ideas as clearly and efficiently as possible through written notation, and to broaden their creative horizons through the close examination of a broad range of musical repertoire.”

Cathy Partlow Strauss, Director of Conservatory Communications

SETNOR: Music Industry

  • Setnor graduates have become music publishers at Sony and BMG, studio engineers, music archivers, artist and venue managers, record label marketers and songwriters
  • Curriculum includes: Music Industry 1 and 2, Music Industry Marketing, Music Industry Law & Ethics, Music Enterprise Lab

“We have 35-plus years of alumni who not only come and speak to current students in the Soyars Leadership Lecture Series but also provide internships and notify us of potential job opportunities.” – William DiCosimo, Program Coordinator

VANDERCOOK: Music Education

  • The nation’s only college dedicated solely to music education
  • Over 100 years of training K-12 teachers specializing in band, choral, string and general music education
  • Curriculum requirements: performance on multiple instruments, singing with choir, performance in band and orchestra, and various jobs during the Midwest Clinic

“More than simply attending and waiting, the opportunity to work at events like the Midwest Clinic is essential to learning the inner workings of the profession at a deeper level.” – Cindy Tovar, Assistant to President