So, let's continue with some things to ask or at least ponder when choosing a school.
- Is the professor one which demands a certain brand of instrument, mouthpiece, ligature, etc be used by every student in the studio? This may be a deal breaker for you. It may not.
- How involved is the student in the selection of Repertoire? Look, there are some pieces considered 'standards' which the student is going to be expected to play. However, in my opinion, the student should be given some input into what is being assigned. How'd you like going into a senior recital with sixty minutes worth of music that you absolutely hate just because the professor assigned it to you? No thanks.
- Are there 'professional development' classes offered? Think things like billing, purchase orders, fundraising, skills you might need as a music educator but aren't generally taught in regular classrooms?
- For the education majors- are you being given assistance in preparing for the Praxis exams or are you basically on your own?
- What is the reputation of the school locally? Regionally? Nationally? This comes into play when applying for jobs or post graduate study.
- What are the marching requirements for undergrads? What are the scholarships there? Does marching band interfere with concert bands? I know of programs in the past that didn't even have a wind ensemble in the fall due to marching. THAT'S what I mean by interference. (By the way, I'm in no way bashing college marching bands. They can be a great and rewarding experiences with even some very cool travel from time to time!)
- What are the job responsibilities as a graduate assistant? Understand that there will be work and time spent on your part. However, make sure that you'll have time to do what YOU need to do first. You're there first and foremost as a student and you are there to improve as a musician. That isn't to say you cannot gain skills from your jobs as a grad assistant. Absolutely, you can.
- Is there time for YOU? You need down time. You need time to exercise (yes, as a musician you absolutely need exercise). You need time for your other classes, to socialize with friends. To not end up as a quivering, burnt out ball of anxiety? Ask current students tough questions.
This is a shorter one but I'll see if I can't put together a part three soon.