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Is Oberlin Conservatory in trouble?
#2995418 06/26/20 12:04 PM
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Some of the past students of my daughter's piano teacher have gone there, and a few recent ones are planning to enroll in the fall. But I've read news that Oberlin is doing significant cost cutting including letting go of tenured faculty and reducing funding for academic advising. The news did not say if the conservatory itself was being targeted, but the "body language" of the admins seemed to suggest that the conservatory would be less of a priority in the long term since the school made less money from it. Also, it is being suggested that the conservatory will act more as a tool to attract musically inclined non-conservatory students.

Is Oberlin's position as a music conservatory in danger?

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Re: Is Oberlin Conservatory in trouble?
Forest_Hills_Daddy #2995794 06/27/20 09:51 AM
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You have a lot of speculation in your post which you are not likely to get resolved here. Since your daughter’s piano teacher has contacts through former students, why don’t you have an Oberlin graduate contact a former professor?


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Re: Is Oberlin Conservatory in trouble?
Forest_Hills_Daddy #2995798 06/27/20 09:55 AM
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If they want to use the conservatory to attract students, wouldn't they need to look after it?

Re: Is Oberlin Conservatory in trouble?
dogperson #2995840 06/27/20 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
You have a lot of speculation in your post which you are not likely to get resolved here. Since your daughter’s piano teacher has contacts through former students, why don’t you have an Oberlin graduate contact a former professor?

They've corroborated the activities going on but they can't tell what the outcome will be - ie, the conservatory being used as a tool to attract and teach to musically inclined non-conservatory majors. So yes, it is speculation.

Last edited by Forest_Hills_Daddy; 06/27/20 11:26 AM.
Re: Is Oberlin Conservatory in trouble?
Forest_Hills_Daddy #2996078 06/27/20 08:39 PM
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IMHO, your daughter should pick the program she likes best and is not in danger of closing or faltering during the coming years.

Fortunately, Oberlin reported an endowment of $950 million FY2019, so has some, but not a lot, of firepower.

On the downside, we see plenty of 2019 news where Oberlin is restructuring away from the music programs. The 2020 human malware situation will add significanlty more financial pressure. The Bakery scandal will probably cost another $40m in the near-term.

IME, even the universities with the biggest endowments will be struggling with finances for the coming years due to the human malware situation and financial crisis. So nobody is exempt from the pain.

https://www.insidehighered.com/news...demographics-oberlin-pushes-do-more-less

Re: Is Oberlin Conservatory in trouble?
Forest_Hills_Daddy #3018343 08/27/20 02:20 PM
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My wife and I are Oberlin alums. We visited in 2018 after a 30 year absence and heard the college president speak on the cost cutting needed over the coming years. As with any business, revenue and expenses must stay in balance. Oberlin's employee count has to drop. Anyone in the corporate world hears this speech regularly.

As for facilities, the conservatory had doubled in size. My favorite piano practice rooms had been converted into office space. I was pissed. I had to climb to the second floor to find a piano. I did not enter the new building but I assume that's where most of the teaching and practice happens today.

Anyway, covid 19 has accelerated restructuring plans at small liberal arts schools like Oberlin. It's a wonderful school and from the student concerts I attended is chock full of extremely talented artists. Oberlin isn't going away anytime soon. It was a great school back in the 70s and everyone I met there indicated to me that it is still a great school.

However the tuition is obscene. The student pool Oberlin draws from is finite. Something has to be done to make Oberlin affordable. The current president knows what is required. When she's done, Oberlin will be in a more sustainable position.


With new students Chopin was chiefly anxious to do away with any stiffness in, or cramped, or convulsive movement of the hand, thereby obtaining the first requisite of fine technique "souplesse" (suppleness). -- Carl Mikuli on Chopin the teacher.

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