This article was first posted on the original HTML Horn Notes Blog way back on 11/1/04. It is timely again–today was the last day of auditions where I am at Arizona State–and there are certainly many students out there thinking about colleges and their options for further horn study.
Again and again I find myself talking about the subject of what school is best for horn study with prospective students, current students looking toward further studies, and with parents of prospective students. There are a lot of good schools out there and while I don’t want at least online to make specific suggestions (other than ASU! A great school) I do have one general recommendation to consider when weighing options and programs.
First, before I state my recommendation, I must admit that I am biased toward a type of teacher, as my teachers at Emporia State, Eastman, and Indiana were all of this same type. This type of teacher is found at many different schools of differing price ranges and quality levels, but I feel that in general this type of teacher is best equipped to give students the best educational experience.
My main recommendation is to attend a school with an experienced, full time horn teacher. Not that you could not have a great experience with a fine player who teaches part time, but, speaking generally, I still feel that you are probably better off on the whole with a teacher who views teaching you to be their main job, not just one of the jobs they do as a part of a busy performing career.
Besides that, go anywhere you feel is a great fit for you. Don’t let $ guide you totally, go to the best school and program that you can be at.
The only major exception I would make to this is if your goal is to “break in” to the performing scene in a city like Los Angeles or New York you may find that you need to study with a busy professional player who is part-time faculty at a school in that town. This really can be OK, just chose schools and teachers wisely! If on the fence, though, I would chose the full time teacher as the best choice.
As a brief update to the above I would add and emphasize that there are fine teachers who are part time faculty at colleges and universities out there, don’t take me wrong! As I noted in another prior article, you above all want to study with a teacher that can teach effectively and those can obviously be part or full time and affiliated with a school or teaching independently. But I still like as an ideal situation the general idea of studying with someone who is full time at that school and there for you literally every day.