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Hey,

I'm auditioning for a few music schools at the end of the year, one being an extremely prestigious "only the best study here" school, the others not having such lofty reputations but with good teachers and good courses.

Does where I study affect other musicians first impressions of my skill level? or the potential work that I might get?

I ask because I know of some musicians who are massively influenced by the where their potential band-members have studied, and i worry that not being a graduate of a good school may affect first impressions or the manner of employment I get.
 

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IMHO, an artist --a fully developed artist especially -- can only be judged by his/her art. If only it really happened that way! People WILL judge you (or someone) by the school he or she attends, especially while you are there and for a period of time after graduation. And really, there is some justification for that, insofar as maybe you are not yet fully formed, and insofar as if you went to school A you will have studied with teachers B and C, who are known to be excellent teachers. But as soon as you put the horn in your mouth, all that should vanish (it won't, entirely -- there are those who can't hear what you play for the noise the diploma is making there in its frame on the wall).
 

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Parker and Coltrane didn't go to fancy schools...For that matter, Mule didn't really have a formal musical education. Having said that, I'm all about formal education. All you need to do is find a great teacher who's going to push you like the dickens and whom you personally like. It doesn't really matter, so long as you have that and a great work ethic.
 

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saxman_aja said:
Parker and Coltrane didn't go to fancy schools...For that matter, Mule didn't really have a formal musical education. Having said that, I'm all about formal education. All you need to do is find a great teacher who's going to push you like the dickens and whom you personally like. It doesn't really matter, so long as you have that and a great work ethic.
Saxman Aja is right. Don't let going to school (or the idea of it) interfere with your education. But very often your education happens very happily right there in school.

I am a university professor by profession, and though I don't teach music, I teach another art form. Therefore, I do believe, like Saxman Aja, in education in the sense of finding the right teacher and working intensely with him or her for a certain formative period. From the point of view of the art itself, the prestige of the institution or lack thereof is immaterial. However, from the point of view of getting a job later, the prestige of the institution might be useful. And there's often a reason why the good schools are considered good: they have terrific people working in them.

Deciding who to study with is a very important, and difficult, decision. A lot is riding on the question for you. But in looking at a potential university or college, look FIRST at the faculty. LISTEN to the faculty. Do you like what they do? Does their art inspire yours? If not, that school is probably not for you.
 

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Yes. Some will judge you. But, as others have said, if you can demonstrate your abilities, much of that will dissapear. Also, take into account that even the best teachers can only do so much. Music study is often very very independent, and as long as you push yourself, and the teacher pushes you, you're going to get excellent results.

There's other options too, even if you don't get into the school you'd like or a big name. For example...I've mentioned on here a few times that I study privately with Professor Trent Kynaston, of WMU. Among the academic ranks, he's got some pretty good credibility. In fact, you may quite possibly see his "Daily Studies For Saxophone" on your required materials list.

But...I don't go to WMU. I go to GVSU (Grand Valley State University). Most people have never heard of it, even though we're now nearly as big as WMU as far as kids (GVSU does have a much bigger, newer, and nicer campus). There, I'll study with Professor Laurie Sears. You don't see her name pop up all that much, but I still feel confident she's an excellent teacher.

I never really liked WMU's campus (lots and lots of concrete, lots of buildings from the 60's), and I didn't want such a competitive music program for the first couple years. I'm getting the best of both worlds. On my resume, I'm still a "student of renowned blah blah blah Trent Kynaston." He's not quite Sinta or Rousseau, but people know him, and it has gotten me jobs and benefited me in the past. I don't belittle him in anyway whatsoever, btw. I still think he's one of the most excellent saxophonists and teachers around, and would HIGHLY recommend him.

I'm already planning on pursuing a master's degree in performance. At that point, I'll go to a school with a big-name program. (If Kynaston is still teaching, I'd love to study under him for that). If I wasn't planning on getting my master's...I'd probably have gone to a big-name school right away.

So...lesson being...Study wherever feels like home. If you want to get something with a little bit more rep, try and get in contact with the prof from whatever school that might be, and take lessons privately with them. It's not cheap, but it's a good solution, and you'll probably end up with a better education overall. It varies a lot between schools, but some of the schools with "really really good" programs don't give their kids all that much attention. Although, music departments are often than other departments in that area.
 
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