Vandercook College of Music (Chicago, IL)
If you hope to pursue a career as a music teacher, Vandercook College of Music is the only conservatory dedicated solely to the training of K-12 public school music teachers in the U.S. You heard it here – Every student at Vandercook is a Music Education major.
Should you wish to go to a school to solely study classical performance, or essentially any performance discipline solely at all, then Vandercook is likely not appropriate for your needs.
Looking at data available from the U-CAN-Network, more than 90% of their students find a teaching position within a year of graduation. If you aren’t “in the know” about music education, I can tell you that not only is it the most popular music major in the country, it is also the most promising in terms of potential job outlook.
So why is this school just so successful? I can think of a few reasons.
First of all, the state of Illinois has always been a haven for music education. In terms of K-12 music education, the Midwestern US (Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, and Minnesota) simply have tons of music in their public schools. Because of this, schools are constantly hiring choral teachers, band directors, high school orchestra conductors, and elementary school music teachers.
Second of all, students at Vandercook are provided hands-on experience in teaching while in college. Having job experience as a student is critical to gaining success in the real-world.
If you do wish to double major in an academic area, the school does have a reciprocity agreement with the very fine Illinois Institute of Technology, whose campus actually houses the Vandercook College of Music.
Founded in 1909, the school was incorporated as a non-profit educational institution in 1928. Given the need for quality teachers, especially in the arts, Vandercook offers a noble profession while pursuing your love for music.
Longy School of Music of Bard College (Cambridge, MA)
Longy is among the most historic music schools in the US. So why is it a hidden gem?
The answer is simple. The school is, in our opinion, frequently overshadowed by four other excellent & prominent music schools just miles away, including the Berklee College of Music, Boston Conservatory, New England Conservatory, and the Boston University School of Music.
Walking into Longy is an experience; the Zabriskie House, Longy’s main campus building and a noted landmark in greater Boston, feels like a bustling, youthful mansion with a century’s-old musical charm adorning the classrooms & hallways. Historically, famous composers such as Elliott Carter, Daniel Pinkham, and Nadia Boulanger studied and/or taught at this hidden gem conservatory.
At this time, Longy does not have too much of an undergraduate program, although students who truly wish to study at the school for undergraduate can receive their core academic credits at the nearby Emerson College while doing their music credits.
Rather, Longy sees itself as mostly a graduate school. Some of the noted faculty members at Longy include Robert Willoughby, one of the world’s most distinguished flute professors who was once dubbed by Flute Magazine as the American Grandmaster of Flute. Another reputed faculty member is trumpet player Steve Emery, a highly-regarded teacher holding appointments not just at Longy, but also at the New England Conservatory and the Boston Conservatory. I have personally worked with Steve for one of my trumpet students and I can tell you he is a great teacher.
In 2012, Longy officially merged with Bard College. One interesting result of their collaboration with Bard has been the introduction of the Master’s of Arts in Teaching program, which is actually located in Los Angeles. In fact, the Los Angeles Philharmonic is a partner in this program, and students get first-hand teacher training at Hearts of Los Angeles, an El Sistema inspired program.