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Music Dept. Questions

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Jan. 29th, 2006 | 02:21 am
posted by: ninja_princess in cornishcollege

Hi, I am applying to Cornish and have some questions.

1. What is the music department like?
2. Is the "classical" voice department for classical works/opera/musical-theatre/something else?
3. Do you know if the voice teachers are trained in opera?
4. Do you know of anyone who has graduated from the college and recieved jobs in musical theatre/operas?
5. Do you think the BA in Music Program is so good that it's worth paying so much for tuition?
6. How much more quality training do you think students at Cornish get as opposed to University students?

Thank you! I plan on seeing an advisor, but am hoping for some student opinions!

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from: letmeblowya
date: Feb. 10th, 2006 02:04 am (UTC)

1. The music department is okay.

2. The classical voice department focuses on opera and diction, primarily. It's hard to "major" in musical theatre without learning opera as a prerequisitie. As a classical vocalist, you have to take diction classes your first two years (English, German, Italian, French); studio (1 hour weekly with the faculty and students to perform or hear lectures); and private lessons (which you can do some musical theatre). Music students can audition for spring operas, even as freshmen.
Theatre majors must wait two years before being in shows. And with theatre, if you want to "major" in musical theatre, you have to really learn straight theatre first. Only few theatre students, with permission, get to take the opera workshop class offered by the music department.
Generally, Cornish is not the way to go for musical theatre unless you don't mind learning the complex fundamentals of opera and theatre first. If you're seeking musical theatre training, go to a school that actually has a major in that. (Boston Conservatory, AMDA, etc.)
Or you could major in voice as an undergraduate and in acting as a graduate. Remember, the more you know, the better.

3. All three teachers are trained in opera: Natalie Lerch (D.M.A., Eastman), Jeff Moidel, Michael Delos.

4. Do not know. Usually at Cornish, unless you're exceptionally talented and really grow here, you'd have to go to graduate school before landing a job in professional theatre/opera. Brenden Frasier went to Cornish. John Cage was a resident composer here. It's not so much the school as it is the student and his or her private instructor that really make the future of the student. Whatever you do, be sure you NEVER get a crappy teacher that can cripple your studies here. You want the best. Get the best teachers they have, and study with them and only them. Never stray. And at the same time, be the best student you can be. Cornish is a small school, but you have many many resources: the public and university libraries, very many theatres, shows, and operas happening every week in Seattle. Go to them, study them. Go to the library, check out music, listen and read, practice, go to Cornish music series events. In other words, be your own school!

5. The poorer and more talented you are, the lower your tuition is. If you're not very talented, but are quite poor, go through all the necessary financial aid paperwork to get as much aid as possible, and if necessary, loans too. If you're very talented, and maybe kinda rich, do your best to audition for scholarships from outside sources that you find. And Cornish can also grant some scholarships based on your audition. And if you're talented and poor, get financial aid as well as scholarship and you can practically go to school for free, or very cheaply. You'd have to get a job to pay for rent (no campus housing), but other than that you'd be good.

6. Students are Cornish get incredibly focused attention from some amazing instructors. Eric Banks, Bern Herbolsheimer, Roger Nelson, Michael Delos, Natalie Lerch, April Denonno (Humanities dept.), Dawn Clement, Jarrad Powell, Beth Winter & Becca Duran (jazz), ETC.
At Universities, it's almost as if they don't care about your personal life or your progress. At Cornish, the classes are tiny. My musicianship class, for example, is 11 people big. If anyone is lagging in progress, the teacher focuses on them and brings them up to speed. The teachers are more available to help. They're nicer, it's very easy going, quieter, smaller, and you learn a lot in intimate settings.

Anything else?

PS, anyone who isn't a piano major has to take piano classes to learn piano up to intermediate levels.

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Katie Kennedy

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from: ninja_princess
date: Feb. 10th, 2006 08:03 am (UTC)

Thanks for your reply! I want/need to study opera so I'm really glad to hear that it is a main component of the music program. I'm also very poor and rather talented. I applied for Financial Aide but need more information on scholarships. My audition is in 2 weeks so I guess I'll find out more about them soon. My voice teacher as well as my drama teacher have told me that with my voice/talent I deserve a full scholarship based on my talent and need to find one. However, I'm not sure where to research and apply for such outside scholarships. Perhaps I will ask them what websites to go to. Personally I think they're silly, but it'd be cool if I got a grant. Luckily I'm married so my husband can work full time to pay rent and for me to see operas! His Mom used to be in all the Seattle Opera shows so we got in for free and for as little as 15 dollars...but she recently retired. I'm currently studying piano, almost at the end of my last basic piano book. Hopefully I'll cover some intermediate before September. Sounds good.
I guess my only question is if they are okay with you studying voice with someone outside the school. I imagine lessons with their teacher are mandatory, but can you study with someone else priovately as well or would they sat it interferes with their training??? thanks! - katie

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