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Author Topic: low cost music study in America  (Read 1141 times)
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bigbassbone1

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« on: May 08, 2017, 04:18PM »

Hi all.

Me and my girlfriend (both trombone players) are currently looking into free or low cost universities in the states which have good brass programs

I have very fortunatly been recently accepted into a school which covers all tuition costs as well as accommodation in  L.A , and my girlfriend is looking for a similar arrangement. From word of mouth and our own research, it seems like you can get free or low cost tuition at Curtis, Rice and Yale. She is not really interested in schools which do not cover tuition, as for us we really cannot afford much past standard living costs.

Are there other schools which advertise or boast generous financial aid for (international) students? Any suggestions for us to look into are welcome. She does not have a particular preference for a certain teacher just a good school.
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MikeBMiller
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« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2017, 11:24AM »

I don't know much about Rice (other than I like it with gravy), but Curtis and Yale are very competitive. I think Curtis actually has the lowest admission percentile of any college in the USA. Most lower cost schools in the US are state schools where you have to be a resident of that state to get reduced tuition. Good luck in your search.
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jalapeno

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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2017, 01:01PM »

I visited Rice and sat in on my friend's lesson with Alan Barnhill. Now THAT was a good lesson.

anyway, apparently Rice has only one ensemble: just the orchestra.

It's in a nice area of town. the music building is very minimalistic: two long parallel halls with plain white walls. it's quite cool
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bigbassbone1

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« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2017, 02:09PM »

I don't know much about Rice (other than I like it with gravy), but Curtis and Yale are very competitive. I think Curtis actually has the lowest admission percentile of any college in the USA. Most lower cost schools in the US are state schools where you have to be a resident of that state to get reduced tuition. Good luck in your search.


Thanks, yes of course we are very aware that the kind of programs we have been looking at are competitive. As I mentioned, I have already been very lucky to have been accepted into a low acceptance rate school so we know its possible, (of course with a little bit of luck too!). We are extremely fortunate in that we have both had a reasonable amount of success in music where we are from here in competitive situations, and both of us make enough money from music performance work to support ourselves  (just!)
I wouldn't be trying to help her in her search if I didn't think she had a good chance of getting in to one of these schools, but we have to be realistic cost wise when considering a program.

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bigbassbone1

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« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2017, 03:25PM »

Had some great advice on this in the last few days for opportunities we are looking into. I am  a little surprised I haven't really had any suggestions here? Perhaps it is less common than I assumed?

To clarify, she is also of course open to looking at institutions that might not advertise free or cheap tuition, but perhaps have scholarships that are audition awarded or based on academic merit? Basically any avenue that might make study in America affordable.

Ideally in California  (because thats where i will be) but of course not limited just there!
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Le.Tromboniste
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« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2017, 04:21PM »

Check you inbox
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Maximilien Brisson
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« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2017, 04:52PM »

UCLA has some good opportunities for aid and an excellent trombone teacher (James Miller).
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renbaroque
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« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2017, 05:43PM »

At graduate level, I think most schools would have an option to give out full ride scholarship if she's good enough. I have never paid a dime for my graduate education. Chance is even better if she knows theory, has good ears, etc. In California... Colburn, perhaps?
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bigbassbone1

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« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2017, 05:49PM »

At graduate level, I think most schools would have an option to give out full ride scholarship if she's good enough. I have never paid a dime for my graduate education. Chance is even better if she knows theory, has good ears, etc. In California... Colburn, perhaps?


Thanks, yeah Colburn is where i am going. I dont think they have another spot open soon from what i hear unfortunately.

Yes, I have been sent a few pm's basically saying what you mentioned. It seems that if you are good enough you can get it at most places. I think from the sounds of it, she will just have to apply for as many things as possible and inquire about help in the application.

Reaponses have been appreciated thus far! :)
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« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2017, 05:15PM »

You could do worse than the Shepherd School (Rice U) in the USA. Plus if you make the orchestra, you get to play for Larry Rachleff (although he just retired from the Rhode Island PO) and that alone is worth the "price of admission".  Don't know anything about the trombone studio there, but that school has been highly regarded for years.
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Daniel De Kok
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« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2017, 05:35PM »

You could do worse than the Shepherd School (Rice U) in the USA. Plus if you make the orchestra, you get to play for Larry Rachleff (although he just retired from the Rhode Island PO) and that alone is worth the "price of admission".  Don't know anything about the trombone studio there, but that school has been highly regarded for years.

Larry retired from the RI Phil in order to spend more time at home in Houston. I don't think he's planning on retiring from Rice anytime soon.

It's true that Rice is not technically tuition-free but graduate students rarely pay tuition. Yale and Curtis (and Colburn) are tuition-free.

There are assistantships at many state universities that are advertised as tuition plus stipend. This is very late in the admission cycle to be considered for one for this coming fall, however. It's very late to be considered for scholarship money of any kind, in fact, unless a school is in a serious shortage of students to fill its ensembles.

There is an orchestral studies program for graduate students at (I think) the Royal Conservatory in Toronto that I believe is free and might be worth a look even at this late date. Last year I believe they were trying to fill the bass trombone spot fairly late in the spring.

I feel I should warn you that leading your communication with a teacher with questions about finances can make a bad impression. "I want to study with you, but only if I don't have to pay anything for it" is not a particularly good message to send. I'm not saying to hide your financial situation, just to get to know the teacher a bit first, before you make it clear that you can't afford to do it without significant help.
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Gabe Langfur
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« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2017, 05:44PM »

I had success with Shenandoah Conservatory with financial assistance in order to fill their Euphonium spot.  Matt Niess (and at the time, Wayne Wells) were both great to study with. Definitely worth considering!
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bigbassbone1

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« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2017, 07:11PM »

Larry retired from the RI Phil in order to spend more time at home in Houston. I don't think he's planning on retiring from Rice anytime soon.

It's true that Rice is not technically tuition-free but graduate students rarely pay tuition. Yale and Curtis (and Colburn) are tuition-free.

There are assistantships at many state universities that are advertised as tuition plus stipend. This is very late in the admission cycle to be considered for one for this coming fall, however. It's very late to be considered for scholarship money of any kind, in fact, unless a school is in a serious shortage of students to fill its ensembles.

There is an orchestral studies program for graduate students at (I think) the Royal Conservatory in Toronto that I believe is free and might be worth a look even at this late date. Last year I believe they were trying to fill the bass trombone spot fairly late in the spring.

I feel I should warn you that leading your communication with a teacher with questions about finances can make a bad impression. "I want to study with you, but only if I don't have to pay anything for it" is not a particularly good message to send. I'm not saying to hide your financial situation, just to get to know the teacher a bit first, before you make it clear that you can't afford to do it without significant help.


Thanks very much for the post Gabe, of course she wouldn't want to lead a dialogue saying that finances are a main factor in school choice, that was mainly why I put a post up here about it, hoping to get clear info on that without sounding disrespectful. This way we can just get a good idea of which schools would be possible to attend in a best case scenario  :) there are some schools in the US that she would like to attend, but even if she were accepted to some of them there is simply no way we could afford to get her to them, so there is not much point in applying to those schools.

If she were to put in applications, we would probably not be looking at this next entry season coming up (as that is very soon and she is currently on contract with an orchestra until the end of this year) would probably be looking more into the following season. Just getting as much info together as early as possible to hit the ground running.
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Gabe Langfur

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« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2017, 07:26PM »


Thanks very much for the post Gabe, of course she wouldn't want to lead a dialogue saying that finances are a main factor in school choice,

The only reason I mention it is I've seen it often. I don't particularly take offense, but I have heard other professors talk about not liking when the first questions are about scholarships and assistantships, not the program itself.
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Gabe Langfur
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« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2017, 01:07AM »


I have already been very lucky to have been accepted into a low acceptance rate school so we know its possible, (of course with a little bit of luck too!).


I don't think luck has much to do with it. You must have played to a high standard, so well done.

However, scholarships and fee assistance are often correlated with instrument rarity, so bass trombonists have a better chance than tenor players.

Never having been a student in America, I can't give any advice about courses there. In contrast to some of the posts above, I'd warn against investing money and time in a performance-based post-graduate course. At that level, playing the horn is something one should have learned to teach oneself, with not-so-intensive guidance from an instrumental professor. If I had my time again, of course I would still have practised a lot anyway but I would have spent the actual fees mainly on learning better compositional and arranging skills, more technical and computing savvy in digital composition and sound particularly for screen/games, and also learning about making websites and publishing. I scrambled to catch up in all these areas but they are useful to create my own commercial activity rather than solely relying on an ensemble to volunteer to accompany me while I play my trombone part.
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