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Thread: NEED ADVICE: College (best ones for mandolin?)

  1. #1
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    Default NEED ADVICE: College (best ones for mandolin?)

    Hello everyone!

    I've been playing mandolin for years now, and just general 'music' for even longer, and I have pretty much decided music is going to be my life! (nice opening sentence right? ) So, this is my senior year in high school and I want to go to college for music! So I'll learn a fair share of music theory and other goodness I'm sure, However, what I really wanna know is, are there any good schools in the U.S. that have good mandolin programs? Or is it one of those things I just have to study myself, and learn the theory and then apply it to my own instrument with no middle-man-teacher along the way? (Which I've done for the past years, and has worked out very well, but having a university-level teacher would still be nice)

    Any help is appreciated!!


    Thanks Ahead of Time!

    ~Henry

  2. #2
    Jawzua
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    Default Re: NEED ADVICE: College (best ones for mandolin?)

    Hi Henry,
    I'm a music major and I play mandolin. I have nothing against the big name schools like Berklee (who wouldn't want to study with John McGann), but they are very expensive and there might be other good solutions. If you don't have a private instructor, that would be your first step. I think it's really important. Depending on where you live, there are some really good music teachers, the instructor classifieds on the mandocafe are a great place to start. Send me a message and we'll have a chat

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    Registered User swain's Avatar
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    Default Re: NEED ADVICE: College (best ones for mandolin?)

    Hazard Community Technical College, or Berklee. It would be tough to choose.

    UK has a good music program, and some excellent local instructors.

    And the School of Hard Knocks works for some.

    swain

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    Registered User Hal Loflin's Avatar
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    Default Re: NEED ADVICE: College (best ones for mandolin?)

    Hey Henry...You didn't say what style of music you play, or are interested in, but if it is Bluegrass check out East Tennessee State University. They have a major in music with a focus on Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music. ETSU is located in Johnson City, Tennessee and is a melting pot of bluegrass...close to Knoxville and Nashville and 100s of opportunities just "over the mountain" in North Carolina. The tuition is not that high and you would have an immediate opportunity to meet and play with musicians that share the same love for music you do.

    See this link:

    http://www.etsu.edu/das/bluegrass/

    Google ETSU Bluegrass and you will get tons of info and music by the students. It was founded by Jack Tottle who is an expert in these forms of music and has even made presentations at Harvard.

    Good luck...
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    Default Re: NEED ADVICE: College (best ones for mandolin?)

    Wow, thanks for the advice so far guys!

    And as for music I'm interested in TONS of things, VERY much Bluegrass, but also I'm very interested in Classical, and Gypsy-Folk mandolin as well, I'm quite eclectic. And I'm right now residing in New England, but if I found the perfect fit school, anywhere would be wonderful!

    @Hal Loflin: That Tennessee school actually looks pretty amazing, I'm DEFINITELY going to look into that.

    @Joshua: Well, I am self taught, but at my high school (its a private school) I have one on one classes with my music teacher who graduated from Berklee so I do have some instruction, I'll still send a message your way though!

    @swain: Hazard looks like it could be on a list, definitely a possibility, thank you!

    Anymore throughout the states that are good for some consideration??

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    Registered User Brett Byers's Avatar
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    Default Re: NEED ADVICE: College (best ones for mandolin?)

    Indiana University has one of the best music programs in the country, but I don't think they have any programs with a focus on mandolin. Bloomington is just down the road from Bean Blossom though, and there are a ton of pickers around southern Indiana.

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    Default Re: NEED ADVICE: College (best ones for mandolin?)

    Two things to consider are networking after school and exposure to technology. Berklee has several campuses now (One in Nashville) and state of the art gear that state funded schools may have trouble keeping current on. It seems many Berklee students these days are Film Scoring majors. I think it's less a desire to score films but it affords the greatest exposure and experience with the equipment. Making money playing is getting harder and harder to do and more and more people want to do it. You'll probably make more far reaching connections from classmates at Berklee than a smaller school.

    I'm in Boston and the constant flood of graduates are saturating the music lessons market. You can practically get someone with a masters degree to drive to your house for an hour lesson for $25 bucks. Music school is expensive and paying down loans in a worsening economy will be tough for a mandolin major to do. I'm not trying to be discouraging, just wanting you going in with both eyes open. When I was in Berklee in the 70s, most people stayed a few semesters and went out gigging. I was playing 5-7 nights a week with doubles on the weekends and travelling for decent money just playing clubs. That world is like vaudeville...it's just gone. Now a club expects the bands to pull the crowd, you need three or four bands to do it and you all split the door at the end of the night and hope the person collecting the dough is honest. If this is what you have to do then find a way to do it but it gets harder every day and more and more people want to try.

    Honestly, good luck.
    Steve

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    Default Re: NEED ADVICE: College (best ones for mandolin?)

    You might check out South Plains College in Levelland, TX.
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    Mano-a-Mando John McGann's Avatar
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    Default Re: NEED ADVICE: College (best ones for mandolin?)

    We have a fantastic program at Berklee; if you want, you can PM me and I will give you some student emails so you can ask them directly without any vested opinion...Boston has become quite a hotbed for the acoustic music scene.

    Also, Berklee has upwards of $40 million (you read right) in scholarship money available.

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    Default Re: NEED ADVICE: College (best ones for mandolin?)

    Probably a little late to this thread but the University of Michigan offers a degree program in music performance and music education with mandolin as a principal instrument on one of it's campuses. I'm currently a student here studying mandolin. The instructor is Francesco Cavallini, a classically trained Guitar and Mandolinist from Italy profiecient in a range of styles and genres from Classical to modern. He is quite skilled and performs in many venues in the Greater Detroit area as well as in many Italian Festivals. Some notable alumni include mandolinist, builder, and luthier, Dan Voight (Voight Mandolins). The tuition is fairly inexpensive and many scholarships are available.

    Here is a link to the schools audition page: https://www.umflint.edu/music/auditions-procedure

    And a link to Francesco's youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCY5...w=0&shelf_id=0

  11. #11

    Default Re: NEED ADVICE: College (best ones for mandolin?)

    New England Conservatory has a fantastic program called the Contemporary Improvisation department. Students from all over the world study and are able to play their instruments that wouldn't normally be seen in a western conservatory. I completed my Masters of Music at NEC as a mandolinist and was able to study and play a huge variety of music ranging from folk to choro to free jazz to klezmer. Definitely worth checking out!!

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    Default Re: NEED ADVICE: College (best ones for mandolin?)

    Just posting to follow the thread.
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    Default Re: NEED ADVICE: College (best ones for mandolin?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Hal Loflin View Post
    Hey Henry...You didn't say what style of music you play, or are interested in, but if it is Bluegrass check out East Tennessee State University. They have a major in music with a focus on Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music. ETSU is located in Johnson City, Tennessee and is a melting pot of bluegrass...close to Knoxville and Nashville and 100s of opportunities just "over the mountain" in North Carolina. The tuition is not that high and you would have an immediate opportunity to meet and play with musicians that share the same love for music you do.

    See this link:

    http://www.etsu.edu/das/bluegrass/

    Google ETSU Bluegrass and you will get tons of info and music by the students. It was founded by Jack Tottle who is an expert in these forms of music and has even made presentations at Harvard.

    Good luck...
    I've seen some Youtubes of its students performing, and they're phenomenal. The big advantage, of course, is that it's right in the lap of acoustic string country.

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    Default Re: NEED ADVICE: College (best ones for mandolin?)

    I think folks may have chosen not to add any new posts after John McGann's passing. Might be wise to start a new thread.

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    Default Re: NEED ADVICE: College (best ones for mandolin?)

    ETSU is a great school, as is South Plains College in Texas. Belmont University in Nashville has as good a music program as there is. I don't know if they teach mandolin in particular, but this is Nashville. We have more mandolin players per square mile than about anywhere in the world. Good luck on your search
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    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: NEED ADVICE: College (best ones for mandolin?)

    Another exhumed 7 year old thread on music college. Seeing a trend here. So Henry how'd it go? Did you end up in music school? Did you graduate? What're you doing now?

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    Default Re: NEED ADVICE: College (best ones for mandolin?)

    See my post in this current similar thread. Is a college major in mandolin a realistic career choice?

    How many mandolinists are there who maintain a middle-class lifestyle with a degree in mandolin performance? Couple thousand, or more? We all aspire to be Thile, Skaggs, Bush or Grisman (well, I don't, not any more), but most of us won't get there.

    Don't wanta party-poop, but every now and then a faint, chilly breeze of rationalism has to sneak in.
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    Default Re: NEED ADVICE: College (best ones for mandolin?)

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    See my post in this current similar thread. Is a college major in mandolin a realistic career choice?

    How many mandolinists are there who maintain a middle-class lifestyle with a degree in mandolin performance? Couple thousand, or more? We all aspire to be Thile, Skaggs, Bush or Grisman (well, I don't, not any more), but most of us won't get there.

    Don't wanta party-poop, but every now and then a faint, chilly breeze of rationalism has to sneak in.

    I too, like OP, wanted a musical career, despite limitations in talent, understanding the industry, or life's demands. I attended Berklee for the equivalent of one year, and, went to college, then law school. Not my hearts path, but, was able to support a family, kid in ivy league school, and, afford desired instruments, but, rarely, time off.


    Now, playing several times each week, jams, rehearsals, gigs. Less lawyering.

    To live an artist's life....will be challenging, more so with a family.

    In my long life of lessons, my teachers have been awesome musicians. Sometimes too, awesome teachers. I have learned, the two are different skills. (I now seek teachers with teaching degrees.)

    I see them struggle. Tolerable , if uncomfortable, in your 20's, less so later.

    Id be thoughtful about your goal, and, business plan (yup what a terrible intrusion into a happy dream). I dont know poop, industry-wise, but id bet youll make as much $$$ with or without a music degree, in the long run. I would think if you play with a band, work on theory, harmonies and arranging, and, .....reading music, youll be...closer and debt free.

    You can perform, teach, or write....what else?

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    Default Re: NEED ADVICE: College (best ones for mandolin?)

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    See my post in this current similar thread. Is a college major in mandolin a realistic career choice?

    How many mandolinists are there who maintain a middle-class lifestyle with a degree in mandolin performance? Couple thousand, or more? We all aspire to be Thile, Skaggs, Bush or Grisman (well, I don't, not any more), but most of us won't get there.

    Don't wanta party-poop, but every now and then a faint, chilly breeze of rationalism has to sneak in.
    Oooopsbdouble posts

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    Default Re: NEED ADVICE: College (best ones for mandolin?)

    I, too, play devil's advocate with myself from time to time especially in this field. It's true that it's a risky business but I've sorted out a career plan that is definitely worthwhile. It is definitely possible to maintain a "middle-class lifestyle" at the very least with this degree. Think about it, as a private teacher, many potential students will likely want a teacher with the most to offer in terms of knowledge and experience; and what better way to say "I know a lot more than that guy" than by proving it with skill in addition to a degree in music. In the right economic environment, say a big city like New York or LA, there's a huge potential for students. Meeting individually for lessons with at least 30 students in your studio once a week at $45 (at the minimum) for an hour lesson is $1352 weekly and equates to roughly 70,000 a year. Additionally, a degree could spark positions in college music departments with a starting Lecturer pay of $30,000 at the least, plus benefits. It's very possible if you work hard enough, find the right opportunities, never give up!

  24. #21

    Default Re: NEED ADVICE: College (best ones for mandolin?)

    Are you pretty sure you'd like a career teaching? Seeing students in/out all day is a rigor all its own. Many folks pick up students on the side to generate some income, probably not for the love of teaching. Like anything, it has its drawbacks. Likewise, a career in academia has its own Faustian dimensions. While it may seem an all-upside proposition - a career teaching instrumental music may present 'another side' as well.

    Many degrees lead logically to careers in academia. You may get there then decide, like a lot of folks, that it's less fulfiling than you'd imagined.

  25. #22

    Default Re: NEED ADVICE: College (best ones for mandolin?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Gean Vincent Almendras View Post
    I, too, play devil's advocate with myself from time to time especially in this field. It's true that it's a risky business but I've sorted out a career plan that is definitely worthwhile. It is definitely possible to maintain a "middle-class lifestyle" at the very least with this degree. Think about it, as a private teacher, many potential students will likely want a teacher with the most to offer in terms of knowledge and experience; and what better way to say "I know a lot more than that guy" than by proving it with skill in addition to a degree in music. In the right economic environment, say a big city like New York or LA, there's a huge potential for students. Meeting individually for lessons with at least 30 students in your studio once a week at $45 (at the minimum) for an hour lesson is $1352 weekly and equates to roughly 70,000 a year. Additionally, a degree could spark positions in college music departments with a starting Lecturer pay of $30,000 at the least, plus benefits. It's very possible if you work hard enough, find the right opportunities, never give up!
    As a lawyer, it has been a constant worry to keep a consistent, dependable work load. If im not working, i beat the bushes for new clients. It is my second job. Like a restaurant, etc, working for yourself means, you have to be available, when your clients want you. If you are gone, they may find another provider. Not always, but it can happen.

    Do not under estimate the job of getting and keeping students. Personally, even when i have time and money, its rare to stay with a teacher six months straight. Either i need a break, or, i get interupted. I doubt i am unusual in this regard. And, without hubris, affording lesson has not been an issue. Im not certain this always is the norm either.

    I too wish you good luck.

  26. #23
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: NEED ADVICE: College (best ones for mandolin?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
    Another exhumed 7 year old thread on music college. Seeing a trend here. So Henry how'd it go? Did you end up in music school? Did you graduate? What're you doing now?
    OP has not posted anything for well over a year. I wondered too on one of the multiple exhumed threads.
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