This one is a major argument in favor of conservatories.
At a conservatory, students are not easily tempted into greek life, attending NCAA football games, or even a plethora of academics outside of their chosen major.
Why? Because greek life and sports are practically nonexistent at independent conservatories, and the academic selection is never as magnificently broad as that of a full-fledged university.
Instead, students are encouraged to sleep, breathe, and eat music & the arts every single day.
For some students, this represents the ultimate form of dedication to their craft.
For others, it represents a missed opportunity to explore intrinsic passions and things outside of their major.
Universities do have their fair share of focused students as well, so this point can go in either direction depending on the student’s individual work ethic.
6. Dual Majors
One interesting thing to note about universities is the double major experience.
Many music students opt to do a second major such as engineering, math, business, etc.
There are two sides to the “dual major” coin.
On the one hand, if a student is uniquely passionate about two different fields, this can give them the opportunity to have a unique learning experience.
On the other hand, as the saying goes, if you have a backup plan, you will do your backup plan.
Dual majors are truly awesome options for those with the passion for both music and academic subjects.
Conversely, very unique double major options can happen at some conservatories…
At Berklee, double majoring in both performance and music production is a wildly popular combination.
The reason is that many students fancy their future not just in performing, but also in producing themselves so they can have ultimate creative control of their sound.
Other students at Berklee major in performance and music business, so that they can better understand how to better represent themselves from a marketing and management perspective once they hit the professional circuit.
5. “Classic College Experience”
There is no substitution for a classic “college experience” that a university would give you.
Even the most academically prestigious of universities participate in their fair share of social outings, parties, football, and opportunity to explore a variety of passions both academic and non-academic.
All of these factors, as well as other intangibles, set the foundation for the “classic college experience” many so fondly experience during their undergraduate years.
I’ll be the first to tell you the following…
Going to conservatory is not the equivalent of a “classic college experience.”
It is a rigorous, music and arts intensive curriculum designed for professional training of the highest level while cutting out those other aspects of a traditional university.
That does not mean it is bad. Look how many successful people went to schools like Juilliard, Curtis, and on the other end of the musical spectrum, Berklee.
I have seen the right student absolutely thrive and succeed inside the conservatory setting and beyond.
4. The Liberal Arts College
There is a type of school that blends the academic breadth of a university with the focus & smaller size of a conservatory.
The liberal arts college can be seen as a striking balance between these two kinds of programs.
What I like about the liberal arts college is that the student body is primarily undergraduate.
If you look at the student population at a classic liberal arts colleges such as Ithaca College, Oberlin, or Lawrence University, you will find that the graduate population is incredibly small.
At Oberlin’s music program, the only graduate program is Historical Performance.
Most universities and conservatories, on the other hand, have a blend of both undergraduate and graduate students. This has both negative and positive implications, and some students thrive with having graduate students to “look up to” during their undergraduate study.
Also, liberal arts colleges tend to be smaller than 5,000 total students. This may be an attractive option for the music student interested in a focused, well-rounded academic progam.