I am considering
I think it’s a good idea to have lessons with the teacher first, not so you have help getting in, but to find out if you want to study with that person. If you want to look at the value, I have the experience of attending a college that was well-regarded and has since risen to the top ten, thus increasing the value of my degree, so to speak.
As I have said before, I chose my graduate school based first on the teacher, and second on the school, as she had three I could choose from at least. I chose the larger school to be part of a department of several, not the only student. In retrospect, that may have been an error, though I loved the school I did choose.
I think a liberal arts degree is a great enhancement to a musician, but you should ascertain how many credits you would get for lessons and practice, what course load would be required, work study, and how much practice time you would realistically have. With a four-course full load of sixteen classroom hours per week, at least twelve hours a week of work study, two or three hours of practice time was the most I could manage, and I didn’t have enough study time left to really keep up or excell, unless I could study during my work-study hours, and it took a while to find those positions. So, I’d advise making sure you could do only three courses per semester if possible, up to 12 hours of classroom, so you can do 20 hours of practice and 20 hours of study, presumably. Time management was the biggest challenge of college, aside from money management. By contrast, a conservatory course was three hours a week and about three hours of study, as they want you to practice.
Also, take note of the entrance audition requirements, as you must plan ahead to learn all the repertoire for each school, starting in junior year.
P.S., I assumed that after going to college, I could attend conservatory for graduate training, moving up the ladder step by step, so to speak. I didn’t realize how unusual that actually was. It is not necessarily that easy to go to conservatory after a college or university, or maybe I’m wrong on that, or it changes from one period to another.
There are colleges and universities with conservatories within, or conservatory-type programs, so you can look for those.
I attended Macalester College and Manhattan School of Music. I strongly considered a doctoral program at various times.
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