Why it’s so hard to recommend a college for a voice major

This is the time of the year when voice teachers of graduating high school students inquire on boards something like the following:

“My student has been accepted into Michigan, New England Conservatory, Northwestern, and Maryland. Can anyone recommend which schools and which teachers at those schools to pursue?”

I’ve been there myself. Usually, both student and teacher have never seen any of the faculty teaching, which is a problem because the most important part of an undergraduate voice degree is the work done in applied lessons with that one faculty member to whom the student is assigned. You can get into a “good school” and have an unproductive experience with your voice teacher. Conversely, there are some relatively “no name” schools with excellent teachers that could be better for the student.

The ideal process would include taking lessons from a couple of teachers at each school. This is almost impossible to accomplish if you apply to many schools. It would be ideal to take a gap year, take lessons with a dozen different teachers, and then apply to the schools that had a teacher you felt was effective. The applied teacher, your primary partner in cultivating your singing for four years at the most important time of your life, is that important.


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