Monday, November 9, 2009

What it takes to get in

It is said that classical music is inaccessible to low-income citizens based on concert ticket pricing, but what is said about its accessibility to study it?

Here you will find information on what is needed to get into some well known institutions (I am using piano majors to unify this example)

New England Conservatory:

Eastman School of Music:

Oberlin Conservatory:

To sum it up, you need to have certain skills before these colleges take a second look at your application. Most people aren't born with these skills, and therefore have to learn them from a teacher. With years and years of study, one can get these skills.

Lets look at how much this education could cost. 5 years, $30 a lesson, one lesson a week. With 52 weeks in a year, that comes to $7,800. Now imagine if I used a number that actually approximates the actual price of a lesson.

It is simply not possible for a person interested, but not educated in music, to decide to attend music school half way through senior year of high school. You need years worth of skills and the money to pay for them. A public school student with good grades and various math / science courses under his/her belt has a fair shot at engineering school. The math / science courses needed to get into engineering school are provided by the public school, the music education is not.

We, the lucky ones, owe so much to our parents. They gave us the option to choose music school. Unfortunately, not all parents posses the resources needed to provide such options.

At the very least, early education must provide every student the option to move on to higher education, in all fields, free of preliminary costs. Hard work is the only thing it should take to get in.

1 comment:

Lindsey said...

I agree with you on this, as most of us would I assume. If it werent for my mother's insistance that I "just try" an instrument in 4th grade, I wouldn't be where I am today. My family has supported my music making dreams from the beginning. But it takes years of work and money and support from others, not just from family - music in schools play a large role.

Early education forms a large part of early musical development in children, at least it did for me, and lately with the economy such as it is, and with everybody trying to weed out the unnecessary subjects in schools, often it is the music courses that are the first to be cut.

If I hadn't had Mrs. Larson in 1st grade make me play the recorder in music class, I wouldn't have ever had any interest in starting piano lessons the following year, or flute lessons later still. It is troubling that many kids today are not given these opportunities at this young age. It takes years to develop skills that will be acceptable to schools like Eastman or Oberlin, and without the support in schools it wouldn't be possible.