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#3183563 01/08/22 10:36 PM
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I’m seriously thinking about applying for the Advanced Diploma program with the Eastman School of Music’s community music school.

https://www.esm.rochester.edu/community/diplomas/#1630429552238-2c717ef7-317a

It’s about an hour’s drive from me, and it’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I’d be required to take weekly lessons there, which wouldn’t be an issue at all. There’s also theory and history, as well as performance requirements. I sent them a bunch of questions so I’d know exactly what I’m getting into. And I’m positive my regular teacher here would be more than happy to help me.

It would be a huge commitment. The advanced diploma is a 3 year program, but summer isn’t required, only fall and winter/spring. I’d continue to work with my regular teacher over summers.

I really, really want to do this, but I’m wondering if the distance would wear me out over time, though in reality it would only be 3-4 hours, one day per week (unless they say I have to be there more often, which would probably kill the idea, lol).

I’m on sabbatical from teaching and not even entirely sure I’ll be returning. I’d have lots of time. Life is short. I’ve always wanted to do a program like this.

Thoughts? ❤️


Lisa
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I think only you can make this decision, as only you know exactly your circumstances and how they would impact being involved in such a program and how the involvement in the program would impact your circumstances.

If your heart is in it and you can weigh all the parameters and come out ahead, then perhaps it is worth considering. Have you talked to your current teacher about this?

Regards,


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I am a little confused by what I read on the Diploma Program, as it only lists requirements for those who are "non-keyboard majors." What are the requirements for piano students. The entrance requirements for adults state:

As far as adults students are concerned:

Adult Students who enrolled in the diploma in Fall 2021 and have not previously taken theory at ECMS
Student who should follow the previous policies and requirements found in this brochure include:
[...]
Adult students who enrolled in the diploma program in 2019 or before.


it reads as though an adult has to have been part of the program before enrolling for the current year.

The requirements seem very elementary which, again, suggests that this is a program for non-keyboard students:

2-octave scales in at least 4 major and 4 minor keys, hands separately, plus chord progressions I – IV – I – V – I in the same keys
3 pieces of varying styles (memorization not required), of the level of difficulty of The Notebook of Anna Magdalena Bach, Bartók Mikrokosmos, Volume 2, easier etudes of Czerny, or children’s pieces by Kabalevsky, Norton, Schumann
a short sight-reading example, using both hands and both clefs.


Perhaps you have read the brochure more carefully than I have, and perhaps you can respond to these issues.

Regards,


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One should always try to fulfill the dreams and passion of life. I am not in position to judge the value of the program, but if you think it is a good one, and thats something you really want, then you should go for it.


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My first reaction is: do it!!

My second reaction is, think about various scenarios, and then do it. whome

My third reaction is: hopefully Sam will chime in.

Ok, enough of that… some things to think about: how would you feel if you only did a portion of the program and were unable to continue? If that is ok with you, then I would say go for it.

Another thing to think about if the time commitment. Get a weekly schedule template and write out what your week would look like, by the hour. Commuting time, time on the Rochester campus, time for practicing (maybe at home and on campus). And then write in other things, time commitments you already have, not connected to this program.

Does it seem doable? Does it seem enjoyable? (Not for every second of every day, but you know, for the totality of the program.) If yes, then there’s your answer!

Ah, one other big detail: are the goals of the program aligned with your goals for your own playing? The approach, the balance between theory and actual playing, the eras/repertoire covered… are there other details you overlooked? Are there any expectations for duets, accompaniments, ensemble playing? And if so, would that be 1) something you’d want to do, and 2) feasible given your commute?

Hopefully this is helpful and gives you some things to think about.

And btw… How exciting! I would love to do something like this! smile

Last edited by ShiroKuro; 01/09/22 08:57 AM.

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Originally Posted by BruceD
I am a little confused by what I read on the Diploma Program, as it only lists requirements for those who are "non-keyboard majors." What are the requirements for piano students. The entrance requirements for adults state:

As far as adults students are concerned:

Adult Students who enrolled in the diploma in Fall 2021 and have not previously taken theory at ECMS
Student who should follow the previous policies and requirements found in this brochure include:
[...]
Adult students who enrolled in the diploma program in 2019 or before.


it reads as though an adult has to have been part of the program before enrolling for the current year.

The requirements seem very elementary which, again, suggests that this is a program for non-keyboard students:

2-octave scales in at least 4 major and 4 minor keys, hands separately, plus chord progressions I – IV – I – V – I in the same keys
3 pieces of varying styles (memorization not required), of the level of difficulty of The Notebook of Anna Magdalena Bach, Bartók Mikrokosmos, Volume 2, easier etudes of Czerny, or children’s pieces by Kabalevsky, Norton, Schumann
a short sight-reading example, using both hands and both clefs.


Perhaps you have read the brochure more carefully than I have, and perhaps you can respond to these issues.

Regards,
Originally Posted by BruceD
I am a little confused by what I read on the Diploma Program, as it only lists requirements for those who are "non-keyboard majors." What are the requirements for piano students. The entrance requirements for adults state:

As far as adults students are concerned:

Adult Students who enrolled in the diploma in Fall 2021 and have not previously taken theory at ECMS
Student who should follow the previous policies and requirements found in this brochure include:
[...]
Adult students who enrolled in the diploma program in 2019 or before.


it reads as though an adult has to have been part of the program before enrolling for the current year.

The requirements seem very elementary which, again, suggests that this is a program for non-keyboard students:

2-octave scales in at least 4 major and 4 minor keys, hands separately, plus chord progressions I – IV – I – V – I in the same keys
3 pieces of varying styles (memorization not required), of the level of difficulty of The Notebook of Anna Magdalena Bach, Bartók Mikrokosmos, Volume 2, easier etudes of Czerny, or children’s pieces by Kabalevsky, Norton, Schumann
a short sight-reading example, using both hands and both clefs.


Perhaps you have read the brochure more carefully than I have, and perhaps you can respond to these issues.

Regards,

That’s just the keyboard proficiency class for non-piano students. I wouldn’t be taking that, obviously. And no, I haven’t discussed this with my teacher yet, she’s on vacation and I won’t see her for 2 weeks. It’s just something I’m thinking about right now. 👍

I’ll call them tomorrow and get all the info.


Lisa
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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
My first reaction is: do it!!

My second reaction is, think about various scenarios, and then do it. whome

My third reaction is: hopefully Sam will chime in.

Ok, enough of that… some things to think about: how would you feel if you only did a portion of the program and were unable to continue? If that is ok with you, then I would say go for it.

Another thing to think about if the time commitment. Get a weekly schedule template and write out what your week would look like, by the hour. Commuting time, time on the Rochester campus, time for practicing (maybe at home and on campus). And then write in other things, time commitments you already have, not connected to this program.

Does it seem doable? Does it seem enjoyable? (Not for every second of every day, but you know, for the totality of the program.) If yes, then there’s your answer!

Ah, one other big detail: are the goals of the program aligned with your goals for your own playing? The approach, the balance between theory and actual playing, the eras/repertoire covered… are there other details you overlooked? Are there any expectations for duets, accompaniments, ensemble playing? And if so, would that be 1) something you’d want to do, and 2) feasible given your commute?

Hopefully this is helpful and gives you some things to think about.

And btw… How exciting! I would love to do something like this! smile

Definitely a lot to consider! What I would like to do is get a Bachelor’s degree in piano/music, but there’s no way I could afford that. I’m looking for something that I could do and afford. Eastman is one of the most prestigious conservatories in North America. Their community music school is excellent. It seems like a good choice. I’m calling them tomorrow to get all my questions answered. I’ll let you know how it goes!


Lisa
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Yes, I'm familiar with the Eastman reputation. It's very exciting that it's close enough for you to consider going there.

Is the diploma course part of their community music school or is that (the community music school) a separate option you're considering?

Another thing to consider is what would be different doing the diploma course as compared to working with a teacher (either your current teacher or someone else) in a different way from what you're doing now.

For example, I have long thought that if I ever get to retire, or maybe have a summer where I have time to do this, I would love to have three piano lessons each week, each with a different goal. One would be Bach, one would be jazz, and the other would be repertoire like what I'm doing now. I would practice for each of those lessons separately, sort of like how a college student with several classes studies.

I could do this kind of pianistic pursuit without enrolling in a university or special program -- I would just need to have the time to devote to the lessons and to the extra practicing (which I definitely do not have right now!)

Last edited by ShiroKuro; 01/09/22 10:53 AM.

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The commute in the wintertime (basically November through April) in northern New York state might be your biggest hurdle. If you can get everything you need class-wise and lesson-wise on a single day, which you indicate might be possible, that would be good, but most classes (theory, history, etc) are scheduled for several days a week, in my experience.

That said, I think it would be better for you to try it and find out it's not working for you than to not try and always regret not having given it a shot. You have the luxury of your future livelihood not being dependent upon it.


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Sounds like fun and a challenge. I am definitely in favor of having goals and working toward them. One of my former teachers got her masters at Eastman - it's a great school.

In my situation, I commuted about 40 minutes 3-5 times a week for lessons and classes. I was retired, so I was able to make the time commitment. It was an easy commute for me, in the opposite direction from Atlanta, through farmland - very different from the commute I did to Atlanta when I was working.

Here are some questions I thought of:

Would you be taking the same classes as the music majors? And graded the same way, with the same access to teachers and labs and so forth? In other words, not a person auditing for no grade with restrictions. Grades are a big motivator...

Do you take lessons from one of the piano professors? Or do you get a student teacher? Not that there is anything wrong with a student teacher - I had to do a couple of semesters of that, but I was learning as I went along. Something I never thought to ask - can you switch piano teachers if there is a personality conflict? Thankfully I only had short-term misunderstandings with my teacher.

Sounds like a great opportunity - hope it works out for you!

Sam


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Originally Posted by Sam S
Sounds like fun and a challenge. I am definitely in favor of having goals and working toward them. One of my former teachers got her masters at Eastman - it's a great school.

In my situation, I commuted about 40 minutes 3-5 times a week for lessons and classes. I was retired, so I was able to make the time commitment. It was an easy commute for me, in the opposite direction from Atlanta, through farmland - very different from the commute I did to Atlanta when I was working.

My commute would only be a bit longer, but less times per week. I'm pretty sure I can schedule my lesson to be on the same day as the theory class (these are once a week, from what I can see on their schedule). There is history, as well, so that would be another day, maybe a twice-a-week drive, I'd have to see how that works out.

Originally Posted by Sam S
Here are some questions I thought of:

Would you be taking the same classes as the music majors? And graded the same way, with the same access to teachers and labs and so forth? In other words, not a person auditing for no grade with restrictions. Grades are a big motivator...

Do you take lessons from one of the piano professors? Or do you get a student teacher? Not that there is anything wrong with a student teacher - I had to do a couple of semesters of that, but I was learning as I went along. Something I never thought to ask - can you switch piano teachers if there is a personality conflict? Thankfully I only had short-term misunderstandings with my teacher.

Sounds like a great opportunity - hope it works out for you!

Sam
No, the classes are not with the music majors, the community music school is a separate entity with its own instructors, some of which are also faculty at the college. They also have interns that teach, and those are all students at the college. So I would be doing private weekly lessons, and then the theory and history classes. They also have other electives you can take, such as Conducting, Composition: Film Scoring, Composition: Computer Music, and Composition: Orchestration. What an opportinuty!!!!

Here's the website, they also offer online lessons. https://www.esm.rochester.edu/community/

I'm calling there tomorrow to get all the info, I'll let you know what I find out!


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Originally Posted by ebonyk
I'm calling there tomorrow to get all the info, I'll let you know what I find out!

You sound happy and excited, and I keep my fingers crossed that the info will make you apply! heart


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Originally Posted by Animisha
You sound happy and excited, and I keep my fingers crossed that the info will make you apply! heart

Thank you, I'm quite excited!!


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From the opening post seems like you have thought through the pros and cons and virtually made up your mind. Go for it I say

Last edited by Wayne2467; 01/09/22 03:17 PM.
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When you call the program administrators tomorrow, you might want to ask for a few references of adults who have finished the program. That way you can get several perspectives and honest feedback about the program.



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PianogrlNW that's a great suggestion.

Lisa, can I ask about the expense? Also, what's the monetary commitment? For example, if it seems like it's not working out, can you get a refund for the unfinished/unattended portions? (if that's relevant)


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Gyaaaa! Lisa, I've just been poking around the Diploma webpages, it looks soooo coool! I'm so jealous!!!

I hope you do it, so we can live vicariously through you!!


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What would be the purpose of taking this course vs. just continuing with your present teacher or a different teacher?

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What would be the purpose of taking this course vs. just continuing with your present teacher or a different teacher? I think that has not been made clear.

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Thanks for the input, everyone! Expense is about $200-300 per semester per class, with the semesters being 17 weeks long. You pay per semester, 2 per year, and they let you pay monthly. I would definitely finish a semester, even if it turns out I’m not crazy about the program, so I’m not worried about refunds. Weekly private lessons are also by semester and depends on how long the lesson is, and if you’ve chosen an instructor (some of whom are professors at the college) or an intern (all current students at the college). Here are the prices, I think it’s quite reasonable. https://www.esm.rochester.edu/community/course/private-instruction/

So basically I’ll be paying about $50/week for the lesson (45 min with an instructor) and $15-17 for a class. That’s WAY more doable than college tuition and, since I already have 2 college degrees, I don’t see the need to get another one. I’m semi-retired.

Asking for references is a great idea, I’ll definitely do that!

Thanks, everyone, for the encouragement! 👍🙂❤️


Lisa
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