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I'm a freshman in college now at a state school with a relatively small jazz program. The program isn't bad, just smaller than many and doesn't have quite as many options as many. I'm considering what I should do in the future. I am considering transferring to the conservatory at SUNY Purchase, or finishing my degree here and getting a masters at Purchase or another jazz school.

Sooooo, my question to you all is what do you think is more important: A really solid undergraduate program or a really good masters program?

And just for the heck of it, where did you go to school? Do you think it had a big influence on where you are now?

-Josh Kinney
 

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I didn't go to school for music but I play with and know many folks who have. My first inclination is to say it depends upon what you want to do. If you want to perform/ play for a living it's going to come down to how good a player you are and experience is likely to mean as much or more as education. The Masters will come in handy if you want to teach especially at the college level.

Judging from what I've seen and read where you go can be very important mostly because of the connections you make at college and the opportunities those connections may provide for you in the future.
 

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Get your undergrad at your current college/university. Get your Masters at a bigger name school.
A BA will get you a decent job, IF you can find a job, and the Masters will get you a bigger paycheck.
 

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It's kinda funny to me how you worded your question. IMO, both the undergrad and the grad are very important. You go to the very best programs (for you) that you can.

Your other question: BM, MM University of North Texas (Univ. of Hawaii transferee).
 

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Stay there and get as much experience as you can ...especially if you are a "big fish in a little sea" ... learn from me though, DON'T REST ON YOUR LAURELS IF YOU ARE THE BIG FISH " .... I did exactly that (when I was in HS) and when I went to college (Syracuse), I was blown away terribly...not quite sure if i ever got over the insecure feeling of incompetence once i went through that trauma ...

Is Al Hamme still the saxophone professor there at SUNY Bing?? ... I had a short acquaintance with him when he temporarily took over the saxophone teaching position at Mansfield after my teacher just upped and quit in the middle of my final semester there as I was preparing for my senior recital. Didn't get to know him ...

Myself ...BM at Mansfield State ....MM at FSU
 

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What do you think is more important: A really solid undergraduate program or a really good masters program?-Josh Kinney
I forever regret spending as many as 5 years in University and 3 years on a PhD program. If it weren't for the universal requirement that software engineers need at least a bachelor's degree, I would have much rather learned the basics from the school's professors, join the workforce at 20, get my mind busy and my hands dirty with real work and learn what I need as I go. An engineer is rarely asked to do something nobody needs. By contrast, you will never need 90% of what you learn in many graduate courses.

What goes for engineering may not be applicable to music, although it's usually the other way around: plenty of first-class musicians got a basic education at best, while high-school-only computer prodigies (Edward Snowden comes to mind) are extremely rare.

I side with Keith. Unless the career you have in mind (such as teaching) requires a certain level of education, get your butt off the classroom bench as early as you can and make something of yourself as musician.
 

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Is Al Hamme still the saxophone professor there at SUNY Bing?? ... I had a short acquaintance with him when he temporarily took over the saxophone teaching position at Mansfield after my teacher just upped and quit in the middle of my final semester there as I was preparing for my senior recital. Didn't get to know him ...
Al has retired from SUNY Binghamton but is still playing locally in one of the Big Bands and runs the Monday bi-monthly Jazz Jams in Johnson City. Mike Carbone (monster player and really helpful guy) is running the SUNY B Jazz Ensemble, don't know if he is teaching sax at SUNY B, b/c he also has a full time teaching gig at Johnson City HS plays a lot of local gigs and runs the Wednesday bi-monthly Jazz Jam.
 

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Josh,

If you want the flexibility (and regular paycheck) of teaching in the public schools, keep in mind NY State will ultimately require you to earn a masters to keep your job. If that isn't in your potential portfolio, then ignore what I just said. BTW, are you related at all to Dr. Mike Kinney?

Scargo
 

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I'm a freshman in college now at a state school with a relatively small jazz program. The program isn't bad, just smaller than many and doesn't have quite as many options as many. I'm considering what I should do in the future. I am considering transferring to the conservatory at SUNY Purchase, or finishing my degree here and getting a masters at Purchase or another jazz school.

Sooooo, my question to you all is what do you think is more important: A really solid undergraduate program or a really good masters program?

And just for the heck of it, where did you go to school? Do you think it had a big influence on where you are now?

-Josh Kinney
It's good to consider WHAT to do to achieve your goals, but you aren't telling us what that goal is. Do you have one?

Are the faculty, at the colleges that you are considering, well-connected with the path that you intend to take? Are they successful in helping graduates find good jobs?

Colleges: UTEP, UCD. The experience at UC definitely set the course of my career. Connections made during grad school can be everything - unless you do nothing.
 

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I should also add that my vision was to teach college level Theory and Comp ... that never happened ...instead I worked my way up in the Construction management field (the attraction of the Construction management income vs the teaching income kept me in the field for 25 years) ..

One of the best questions/replies/and comments was from the largest, national company I ever worked for ;

Question : Why didn't you put your education on your resume`?

My answer: Because I didn't want anyone to profile, stereeotype or try to jusge me on my education... I want my past successful experience to speak louder for me

Question; .. Well what is your education??

My answer: Master of Music from Florida State University

Comment: Great! So you learned how to learn! When can you start?
 

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If you end up teaching in public schools, a masters is pretty much required everywhere now. If the program lacks education credits, you may even need more credits past the masters. If you want to be a player, definitely be in a place where there are other student players to learn from and play with. You want a little healthy competition to grow as a musician. Unless the school you are studying at is known for it's performance program, you would be better off practicing as much as you can in undergrad and get your degree in something like music ed, business, production, etc. It is very difficult to get out of school and start earning a living playing, let alone pay back loans if that is an issue. Best of luck on your endeavors, please give us a few more details about your path. I have a BM and MM from Umass.
 
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