campus encounters

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Archive for the tag “Music Performance”

Eastman School of Music

Eastman School of Music (visited 10/19/15)

~Eastman exterior

Exterior – you might recognize this from The Amazing Spiderman 2!

Eastman is technically part of the University of Rochester, but is located downtown, about a mile and half from the River campus. It also has its own admission requirements (and provides its own financial aid, as well). However, students can take classes at the River Campus (they can even complete a minor there) and Eastman students can take advantage of any of the social and athletic opportunities, as well.

~Eastman main hallway

The main hallway in the main building

Eastman is mostly housed in an old, large building with a newer modern building across the hall (among other things, this houses offices, the bookstore, and the Sibley Music Library – the 2nd largest music library in the world after Oxford). The dorm tower and quad located across the street. Students are guaranteed a single room after freshman year.

~Eastman Kodak theater

Kodak Theater

The main building is a 3-story building (4 if you include the basement) with classrooms, concert halls, and practice rooms. Kilbourne Hall is one of the oldest, built in 1924, and has been maintained to look the way it was when it was built. It holds chamber groups and senior recitals as well as other small concerts. The Kodak Theater (previously the Eastman Theater before the renovations) is their major theater; it used to be a silent movie theater. The renovations brought the back wall in away and created a space for a lobby and a café as well as box seating within the theater. Hatch Hall is acoustically adjustable and acoustically isolated. The curtains in the walls can be adjusted based on whatever is happening in the theater: “a solo oboist is very different from a drum ensemble. Same with the isolation. When you have the number of concerts that we have on campus every year, that’s crucial. You can have a drum ensemble here and a Verdi opera happening next door and you’d never know.” (There are also a couple other recital spaces including an Organ Recital Hall).

~Eastman theater 2

Hatch Hall

Theaters are wired with high-tech recording devices as well as skyping and other technology. All performances are recorded and kept in the Sibley Library. The technology also allows them to connect to master classes and other musicians around with world without ever getting on a plane.

~Eastman Miller bldg

Miller Building which houses the Sibley Music Library

The annex is a practice building that is open from 7am to 11pm. There is no practicing allowed in the dorms. Low brass, piano, bass and harp players have their own locked practice rooms due to the size of the instruments. For others, it’s first-come, first-served. There are rush times for rooms “but you learn quickly when this is and work around it.”

Students will practice 3-8 hours a day. Kids were walking around with Eastman sweatshirts that said: Eat. Sleep. Music. They aren’t lying. “I wish I knew that before I came; I think it’s one of the things that surprised me the most. What took me a month to prepare in high school takes me a week here,” said the tour guide.

~Eastman staircaseIn terms of admissions, “the best thing I did was take private lessons with one of the professors here.” On the application, they can put down their first and second choice for their faculty member. “Do your research: if you aren’t happy with your faculty member, that can make or break your time here.” Selectivity depends on the instrument and how much space each faculty member has. “One faculty might be graduating 6 seniors, another none, even for the same instrument.” The most popular instruments must send in pre-audition screening CDs; if the faculty like it, they will be invited to the on-site audition. This audition matters; they have to pass that before the admissions office looks at transcripts and other things. “Good grades won’t get you in but bad grades can keep you out.”

Performance is the biggest major on campus, but Composition, Conducting, and Music Education are also popular. All classes that the students need are offered at Eastman, but they can choose to take the education classes on the River Campus if they’d like. Education majors must gain proficiency through 4th grade level for all orchestra instruments. However, not all Eastman students continue on into music: lots of people actually go onto law or medical school. “We do pretty well getting in; I think they recognize the level of commitment needed to play at this level, and they know we’re dedicated and will get the work done.”

The tour guide wanted people to know that “this isn’t a sterile, boring, cold conservatory. It’s a welcoming place. There’s a robust social life and a lot of stuff going on right on the block.” Students also go skiing in Bristol, apple picking, hiking. They also take advantage of things on River Campus such as clubs, sports, and Greek Life. “There’s a tremendous amount of respect because we know what it takes to get in here.” The competition is with themselves, not with others. “We want to make ourselves and our professors proud. We help each other out and will give each other honest, helpful feedback.”

© 2015

College of St. Rose

College of St. Rose (visited 7/29/15)

~St. Rose sign 2Have you ever dreamed of producing your own CD? Come St. Rose, win the yearly Battle of the Bands, and you’ll be able to do just that! St. Rose runs its own label: Saints and Sinners.

Or perhaps you want to work in a biology lab with animals like Skittles the tarantula and Bradford the mystery lizard. You can do that, too, at St. Rose!

The Meditation garden room in the chapel is used by people of all faiths

The Meditation garden room in the chapel is used by people of all faiths

One of the biggest surprises for me about St. Rose is that it’s no longer under the Diocese of the Catholic Church. It was started by four Carmelite nuns in the early 1920s; men (veterans primarily, at least at first) were admitted to evening and graduate programs after WWII; in the 1970s, the decision was made to go coed; the Diocese said no, but the Board of Trustees felt strongly that this was the way to go so they broke ties with the Church. “There’s still a relatively strong sense of our history, but there is no affiliation,” said the rep.

The St. Rose TV Studio

The St. Rose TV Studio

The school is still approximately 2/3 women, and almost 90% come from New York with New York City (about 2.5 hours south) strongly represented. More than 20% self-identify as ALANA, so the student body is relatively diverse.

The St. Rose Recording Studio

The St. Rose Recording Studio

Much of the work done at St. Rose is cross-disciplinary and based in real-world experiences. For example, it’s not unusual to see musicians working with Communications majors to produce work. The Hearst Center for Communications and Interactive Media is the only communication building in the US with the Hearst name attached to it. Students can study journalism as well as TV, video, and film with lots of hands-on experience. The school runs its own broadcasting studios and students then move on to intern at local stations. Jimmy Fallon is one of the most famous alums coming out of here; although he had dropped out of St. Rose 1 semester short of graduating (surprise – he took the SNL job instead of sticking around!), they gave him his honorary degree in 2009 (they figured he had enough life experience to qualify at that point).

Concert Hall

Concert Hall

Music is a fairly big major here. Music Education, Music Industry (they rank in the top 10 nationally for this degree), and Music Performance majors all must audition to get in. These degrees are either BA or BS degrees; they do not offer BFA in music (but do offer one in Studio Art and Graphic Design). They have a full music library in addition to an Educational Curriculum and the main libraries. Currently, they’re “80% Steinway,” said the rep.

Classrooms are left unlocked; students can go in to study or use the technology for presentation

Classrooms are left unlocked; students can go in to study or use the technology for presentation

Education is another large, strong department here. Options range from Early Education (birth – 2 year) all the way up to high school. Speech Pathology has become increasingly popular in the last several years.

Unusual majors include Forensic Psychology, Bioinformatics (part of the Computer Science department), and Biology-Cytotechnology. They also have a new Public Health major.

~St. Rose Business

The Business department

There’s a great deal of school pride here both from students and staff. Alumni donate a great deal to the college. The school does a wonderful job of creating community through their Freshman Experience classes as well as through Residential Life. Housing is guaranteed; 90% of freshmen live on campus, but that drops to about 50% after that. Campus is located in a residential area of Albany, so housing is easy to find. The college is actively trying to get those numbers up and have just built new campus apartments with a burger station in the building.

The main quad

The main quad

However, even those who move off campus remain active in campus life. Sports (DII) bring out a lot of fans (and Women’s soccer recently won a championship title). There are several traditions that the students rave about including Rose Rock (aka Spring Fling) which brings live music to campus. The favorite tradition, however, seems to be TPing the big tree on the Quad every Halloween. The President, after learning the hard way that this wasn’t going to be something that could be stopped, now throws the first one: “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!”

© 2015

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