What Exactly Do Students Learn In Music School?

J.K. Simmons, Nate Lang, and C.J. Vana in Whiplash (2014)
( Photo by Daniel McFadden – © 2013 )

And 5, 6, 7, 8! If you’re like most people in the 21st century, there’s a good chance that when someone says they go to a conservatory or music school, you smile and nod and have absolutely no idea what they’re actually talking about. Perhaps you imagine people dancing on tables and singing in stairwells. Or maybe you envision lonely pianists furiously practicing in windowless rooms until their fingers bleed.

In pop culture, we take the fascinating lives of “the other” and spin them into exaggerated vignettes. You may not know anyone pursuing a medical residency, but you can picture the drama and thrills of their everyday life thanks to shows like Scrubs. Similarly, we all have romanticized ideas of “the artist” in our brains. And while music students would attest to the fact that the fantastical scenes we see on screen sometimes truly do occur (albeit typically in a less film crew–ready form), they would also urge you to consider the facts of their everyday education through a more practical lens. Full story.
Heather O’Donovan (WQXR) / July 12, 2019

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