Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers
Georgia

Difference between Conservatory and University

Recommended Posts

hushinfazen

Bobbypinfinder,

 

My dd will be a senior next year but has many friends who are going away to different colleges. The good news is that with the friends that we have direct knowledge of, the audition is what counts. If that Dept wants you, your GPA or test scores will not be the only factor. Your dd should take the usual college required courses but just like athletics, If they want you... your in. We saw this happen at UC Irvine, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, UCLA, and even NYU.

 

:blushing::thumbsup:

 

hushinfazen

Share this post


Link to post
b1

I am a graduate of BCM with a BFA in dance pedagogy. A conservatory is a small school specializing in the arts. Julliard is a larger school, but could easily be called a conservatory.

 

Within the school are smaller, special departments. Within the dance dept is a track that specializies (or at least did ahem, 22 years ago) in teaching, one for performance and the general overall dance degree without specialization.

 

As far as academics, I was not the "straight A" student. However, I always tested well. The academics of BCM are challenging. Anatomy and Kinesiology were extremely challenging and extremely rewarding. Solfege was absolutely horrible. I can't carry a tune in a bucket. This is a required class for dance majors. Labanotation is another challenging required course (though, now I think they offer sutton notation, not sure).

 

I loved the intimate quality of the school. I am the type of student who does much better when the teacher quietly observes me (speaking academically...ok, probably dance-wise as well, lol), and is available to mentor/tutor me. A larger University was not for me. However, my sister was a dance major at University of Massachusetts (very large school) and the dance dept was small/intimate enough for her. She now teaches ballet and modern for a public performing arts middle school. I still prefer the smaller, more intimate studio setting :)

 

Georgia, I would highly recommend going to check out BCM. There are many modern dancers who come out of there and right into performing companies. There are also a lot of small companies formed by graduating seniors (think Cambridge area). As your daughter makes the college rounds, also check out U MA Amherst as well. Perhaps she may like it better (I also think it is financially easier for the parents, lol!).

 

Good luck! I am anxious to hear where she ends up!

Share this post


Link to post
balletbooster

I'm not sure that the size of the school is really part of the definition of a conservatory. While Juilliard may be a more well-known, well-endowed school than other smaller conservatory programs, the size of the dance class is quite small (I believe 12-16 in the freshmen class). However, I'm not sure that class size is of import in determining what makes a program a conservatory either. Many university programs have classes that are of similar size and with very exclusive admission requirements as do other programs that are deemed 'conservatories.'

 

I think that the real definition of a conservatory program is one that focuses strictly on the study of an art form, with minimal course requirements outside that art form, and those related to it, in order to obtain either a degree or a diploma.

Share this post


Link to post
balletbooster

Yes, I think that is a pretty good (albeit high level) definition. Unfortunately, it focuses on a music conservatory only. Too bad they did not expand that definition to include the other arts. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Taradriver

Recently sat through a session with the Dean of the Fine Arts College where dd will be a freshman next month. To paraphrase, a BFA program is considered a conservatory program because of the number of performance courses required for the degree.

Share this post


Link to post
Georgia

Thanks for all the good information. What started me wondering was the schedule at the Boston Conservatory. I didn't think you could get a Bachelor's without the basics like English, history, etc. Is a conservatory BFA enough if you decide to get a Master's Degree in something like social work, or business?

Share this post


Link to post
e'smom

I hope someone will clarify this question too - is the only choice after a BFA, an MFA? or are other graduate options open?

 

By the way, when we were researching schools a couple of years ago, I was impressed with the Cincinnati CCM BFA curriculum for dance, because it really seemed to emphasize the "fine arts" in BFA - foreign language, art history, music, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Pierrette
I hope someone will clarify this question too - is the only choice after a BFA, an MFA?

Pretty much, with a few exceptions, such as Arts Administration. Most graduate programs require a minimum of undergraduate credits in the specified area. A ballpark figure is about 20-30 credits. These can be earned with a minor in a subject, but your typical core distribution of liberal arts classes in a BFA program, even one at a university with higher academic requirements, won't cut it.

 

Most graduate programs also require standardized tests such as the GRE. So if BFA students have been away from math for a while, it's likely that the math portions of the tests are going to be tough. Then again, given the level of writing skills that I've seen in many dancers, including some faculty members, the verbal sections of the tests could be tough, too. But at least there are test prep classes for brushing up. The tough part would be earning those required undergrad credits.

 

Many graduate programs also require letters of recommendation and my guess is that they prefer ones from professors in the field of study. Masters of Education programs typically require an undergraduate teaching certificate. Writing programs like to see a portfolio of writing samples in addition to undergraduate English courses. And so on. Just like few college dance programs accept beginners who just got the idea to study dance at the college level, so too do graduate programs rarely accept beginner scholars in the field. That's what an undergraduate degree is for. I'm sure there are exceptions for certain kinds of programs, and it also can't hurt to talk to program heads, directly, to discuss personal situations.

Share this post


Link to post
Treefrog

Our experience is different from some of the impressions that have been cast so far.

 

I didn't think you could get a Bachelor's without the basics like English, history, etc.

 

Requirements vary widely for Bachelor's degrees. My elder daughter is at Brown, which has ZERO requirements, outside of a specified number of credits and the requirements set by whichever major a student chooses. (Granted, schools like Brown pretty much guarantee the basics have been covered at the time of admission, as most entrants have studied these subjects at the AP level in high school.)

 

 

Most graduate programs require a minimum of undergraduate credits in the specified area. A ballpark figure is about 20-30 credits.

 

Again, it depends on the program. I entered one of the top PhD programs in Evolutionary Biology with only two undergraduate biology courses on my transcript (plus a little more anthropology and a good deal of psychology). My impression is that good programs want good students, regardless of their undergraduate concentrations. The important thing is whether they think you have the smarts and the background to pursue the particular course of study. In graduate programs -- in the sciences, at least -- having the sponsorship of a department member who is willing to take you on can be an important factor.

Share this post


Link to post
Taradriver

It wouldn't hurt to talk to some of the grad programs you're interested in. Let them know about the BFA program you are coming from and its requirements. See what they say about possible grad admission.

 

Not all BFA programs are created equal.

Share this post


Link to post
Taradriver

I am rejuvenating this thread, as seniors are now applying to colleges with ballet programs. My dd is in a BFA program, auditioned for acceptance to the ballet major and had to have good academic credentials. She started with 15 units this semester but was chosen for the fall performance and now is carrying 17.5 units. The extra units are for performance. She is dancing 6 days a week, 2-3 hours a day. Freshman who were not chosen for the performing group have less ballet at this point, and fewer units. DD feels she is in a very intense pre-pro track. Even in the same university, there can be a difference within the BFA program.

Share this post


Link to post
musicgal23

Just so that you all know- to enroll in a MSW program normally requires some science and math undergrad courses as well as the usual complement of liberal arts courses. If at all possible, I would advise anyone even remotely interested in rigorous graduate level work to get a BA or BS rather than a BFA. The BFA and the BM are performance degrees and not worth much academically until and/or unless the perfomer is firstly successful in their chosen field. If the performer is that successful then they can be hired even without a Master's at all, due to their reputation as an artist. But beware of universities that claim that a BFA is even remotely equivalent to a BA, and especially a BS.

Share this post


Link to post
Taradriver

Welcome to BT4D's Higher Education forum, musicgal23!

 

Last year dd and I spent quite a bit of time on researching colleges, BFA programs in particular. Many BFA programs require students to complete the same undergraduate core requirements in science, math, English, etc. as the rest of the students. As for sufficient preparation for graduate school, that depends on the graduate program(s) of interest. As I said in a previous post, contact the grad program directly, to see what their requirements are and how they view BFA preparation.

Share this post


Link to post
balletbooster

If there is one theme that runs through this thread, it is that you cannot lump programs offered by different schools together and make too many broad generalizations. The terms BA, BS and BFA do separate degrees, but it is the universities offering them that separate the requirements. As taradriver has noted, there is a world of difference from one school's BFA to another and for that matter, one school's BA or BS to another. There are schools where the requirements for a BA or a BS are surprisingly similar. There are schools where the requirements for a BA and a BFA differ only by a couple of courses.

 

How a BFA, BA or BS is viewed in the outside world is also going to vary widely, depending upon who is doing the evaluating! In the world of corporate business, entry-level employees who are going into some kind of training program usually only need a college degree - the type is not important. What is important is that they see the personality traits and proven track record of success that the company is looking for in future employees.

 

In my first years out of college I worked for two of the largest firms in the country in the computer industry. They didn't care what your degree was in or the type. They just wanted a degree. They then put the new recruits through their own training programs and I got the equivalent of a degree in computer science from them for free! Prior to that I had not had ANY computer or math courses in my entire college curriculum. :P Over my career, I've been a systems analyst, technical writer, computer programmer, program administrator, eSecurity administrator, quality control manager, corporate audit liason and IT Governance administrator. I've worked as a branch and a national manager in more than one of of these jobs. I didn't have one course in college related to any of these jobs (except the technical writing one), nor did I have any courses in business at all, but my college degree (BA) is what got me in the door and past the resume stack. My ex's BA in psychology led to a director position at one of the Big 8 accounting firms and a Sr. VP position at one of the nation's largest corporations. He had no courses in Finance, accounting or business in his college curriculum either.

 

Of course there are careers for which a specific degree is required. But, there are a vast array of companies out there that are selling, manufacturing, consulting and providing services that do not care what your undergrad degree is in. By the same token, there are grad programs that expect a certain type of undergrad degree, but there are also a vast number that accept undergrads all the time who have degrees that are very far afield from the masters course of study. It is a good idea not to make too many generalizations, but rather to investigate thoroughly and think outside the box!

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×