With diversity and entrepreneurship initiatives, sometimes people who have been teaching in a very certain style for 20-30 years can feel this is too much change or not the right direction.
What has been the reaction from some of your most established senior faculty?
This is one of the great beauties of being at a conservatory…
Our faculty teach here because they want to pass onto the next generation the performance of music.
When I first communicated with faculty, inviting them to forums, discussion groups, sharing aspiration statements of diversity, I didn’t know what to expect.
My inbox became flooded with people – even the most well-known of our faculty – saying “it is about time. Count me in.”
This tapped into a refreshing sense of openness.
Remember, I work at a school that has no faculty tenure.
People choose to work here on a year-to-year basis.
Preparing our students to be as well-rounded as possible is such a priority.
I did not expect this reaction. I expected a few people would say “great, congratulations.”
But that wasn’t the case. I received long outpourings of heartfelt communications.
Short of a donor giving you $100m to fund tuition-free programs (like what happened to Yale School of Music in 2005), what is your plan for becoming tuition-free?
There is nothing mysterious about it…
Our progress will be the result of the blocking and tackling of relationship building and fundraising.
We are fortunate to live in a community that is extraordinarily generous and sophisticated when it comes to philanthropy.
There are 100s of millions of dollars endowed to the Cleveland Museum of Art, The Cleveland Orchestra, Case Western Reserve University…
This is a city that punches way above its weight in terms of charitable sophistication.
I don’t have to convince the city of Cleveland the value of what an endowment of our program would mean for the future of music…
What I have to do is involve them in the journey, to make sure they understand the why, why this has to start now.
We are going to get there…
This is a question that makes a lot of people at conservatories uncomfortable…
When students and families are looking into music schools, their number one consideration is what is going to be the outcome of going to that school.
I get asked this a lot…
90% of our parents last year had no background in music.
The number is similar this year…the super majority of parents have no musical background.
Parents ask me about outcomes all the time. They tell me other schools won’t answer the question “what will my son or daughter do after they graduate?”
This is not a question we are afraid to answer. I often talk about the range of jobs that our graduates are winning.
I can talk about concert stars, orchestral players, soloists, chamber musicians, even executives who all came from CIM.
What we offer is an education. A Bachelor’s degree, a Master’s degree, a Doctorate…
These never return a void. They never lead to a life less developed, less curious, less informed about the world.
Then you get into the discussion of the discipline and intrigue of studying music that has all kinds of universal applicability.
But in reality, it would be quite a shame if their son or daughter wakes up every morning passionate about making music at the highest level and ends up doing something else.
This would rob the world of their unique voice.
Our mission is to empower the world’s most talented classical music students to fulfill their dreams and potential.
Their dreams are their dreams…
Our job is to work with them and to develop it.
Cleveland is right for the student who wants to be in a competitive environment, as competitive as any other in the country, but also embraces the collaborative spirit of the American Midwest.
My distinguished, independent conservatory “competitors” on the coasts are right for some students.
They are really fine schools.
But if you, as a student or a family, desire, crave, and are intrigued by our mission, CIM is exactly where you want to be.
On the next page, we ask Paul what makes CIM different from other schools…