When you look at music schools in today’s world, you often find schools’ philosophies and outlook on students comes down to one of two major paths.
There are those stuck in yesterday, and there are schools embracing today.
What do I mean by this?
When you look at the quality of a music school, you want to see that it is a constantly growing, ever-changing force continuously concerning itself with one simple question: how can we continue to provide the best education possible for our students.
In the Midwest, there is a widely known, reputable independent conservatory known as the Cleveland Institute of Music.
Cleveland Institute of Music Mixon Hall – Photo by Daderot via Wikimedia Commons
For those of you just becoming acquainted with music schools, I can tell you that Cleveland is among the leading conservatories in the country alongside the likes of Juilliard, New England Conservatory, and others.
In October of 2017, I sat down with their president, Paul Hogle, to discuss what the school is doing for their students recently.
What I expected was a straightforward interview to help inform young music students and their families about Cleveland as a possible option for them.
What I got, however, was a deep conversation about a small music school with incredibly large plans, including a guided path towards becoming tuition-free in the future as well as in diversifying its student body considerably.
The following is my interview with Cleveland’s president, Paul Hogle.
Bill: Something unique happening at Cleveland right now is an emphasis on diversity. Tell me about how this came about, and why is Cleveland becoming a leader student body diversity?
Paul Hogle: When it comes to changing the face of the American orchestra, the Cleveland Institute of Music is all in.
We are committed to this agenda because it is a moral imperative, because it is good for our art, and because it makes good business sense.
To start, we matriculated our most diverse class in school history this year.
This is a pattern that will continue.
When you come to CIM, one of the things you should expect is for the student body to represent the communities they will one day serve, whether it is in Boston or it is in Boise.
You will experience a diversity of humankind that has a feeling and understanding of the world in a safe environment for growing and exploration.
One thing we have done to increase our diversity is partnering with organizations who successfully champion minority artists.
Paul Hogle, President of Cleveland Institute of Music
We have recently partnered with the Atlanta Symphony’s Talent Development Program, a program whose mission is to identify and develop musically gifted and motivated, African American and Latino classical music students for acceptance in top music programs in preparation for careers as professional musicians.
Lastly, there is a vibrant and ongoing discussion surrounding the use of scholarship to recruit the best and brightest to CIM.
CIM’s awarding philosophy has shifted in recent years from being completely merit based to merit based – need informed.
This change in philosophy allows us to pursue a more competitive and diverse cohort of students.
On the next page, we discuss Cleveland’s decision to one day become a school that is tuition-free…