Many students dream of spending a semester abroad – be it in Paris, London, Vienna or even Melbourne. However, few musicians at the Eastman School of Music realize that these opportunities are as readily available to them as they are to students pursuing academic degrees.
Eastman offers three distinct programs to enable its students to study abroad – the Conservatory Exchange program, the Institute for the International Education of Students and the Fulbright grants.
According to information handed out by the Academic Affairs Office, the Conservatory Exchange program “expands opportunities for Eastman students by creating student exchanges with leading European conservatories.”
With partnerships with schools such as the Paris Conservatoire, the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and the Staatlich Hochscule fur Musik located in Freiburg, Germany, students are able to spend a year at one of a number of European institutions.
Priority in the program is given
to students wishing to spend an entire year abroad, so the Conservatory Exchange Program is typically limited to juniors and graduate students.
“During the first two years at Eastman, an undergraduate is completing most of his core coursework. The senior recital marks the culmination of one’s career at Eastman, and most students need to spend the semester before their senior recital in residence here,” Associate Dean for Admissions and Retention Adrian Daly said.
In other words, undergraduate applicants to the program will find their junior year to be the easiest year to spend studying abroad.
When considering the enormity of the opportunity to study abroad, the application process for the Conservatory Exchange Program is fairly simple.
Students must submit an audition tape of three contrasting pieces, not exceeding 30 minutes.
There is also an essay that gives the applicant an opportunity to explain how studying abroad will benefit one’s education. Finally, a recommendation from one’s studio teacher and an official transcript are required.
For those wishing to participate in the programs in Paris, Lyon, Freiburg or Vienna, strong language skills are necessary, requiring a second recommendation from a foreign language teacher. The complete packet is due by the last day of classes in the fall semester of the academic year preceding the exchange.
Once the applications are received, the Professional Development Committee reviews them. The committee then chooses which applications should then be forwarded to the partner schools. However, the final decision of acceptance is left up to the partner school and is generally based on space availability.
While the exchange program is usually an exchange – meaning that for every Eastman student who goes abroad, a student from a partner school comes here – Daly added that “as long as things balance out over time, we are all happy.”
Students participating in the Conservatory Exchange pay Eastman tuition and receive their usual financial aid package. This year, there are three Eastman students abroad and four exchange students attending Eastman.
For many students, however, the Conservatory Exchange Program is not the best option. Participating in this program almost guarantees that one will still receive a conservatory experience, just in another location.
For those students desiring more of a cultural immersion during their time abroad, the IES program offered by UR provides this opportunity.
IES allows students to pursue studies in music education, theory, performance, composition or musicology at any number of locations around the globe.
This program also offers music-focused programs in Nantes, Amsterdam, Berlin, Milan, Adelaide, Melbourne and Santiago. Students can choose concentrations in any instrumental group, and most also choose to supplement their studies with performance classes and ensemble work.
As far as private lessons are concerned, the student must work with IES to coordinate individual arrangements.
Daly explained that, for example, the student will most likely not be studying with teachers from the Paris Conservatoire, but rather with other esteemed musicians from institutions within the city and surrounding areas.
For more information regarding any of the IES study abroad programs, students should either visit their Web site at http://www.iesabroad.org or contact Heidi Kozireski at x57532.
While the dream of studying abroad is enticing for many students at Eastman, many realize that their time here with their private teachers is very short and would rather not leave during their studies here. For these students, the Fulbright program provides another opportunity.
The Institute of International Education administers the Fulbright Program, which is funded by U.S. Congressional appropriations for the purpose of increasing “mutual understanding between the people of the United States and people of other countries.” Through the program, each year about 800 students are given the opportunity to study in more than 100 nations.
Awards are given to most qualified applicants regardless of their degree level, although preference is generally given to recent college graduates. A student must have completed a bachelor’s degree before the beginning date of the grant.
Since 1995, Eastman has produced seven Fulbright scholars. More information may be found at http://www.iie.com, or by contacting Professor Tim Scheie, Eastman’s Fulbright advisor.
Clearly, the possibilities for study abroad are limited only by a student’s individual desire. Daly says that international study is important for all students, including musicians.
A meeting is held every October for students who are interested in the opportunity. While a date has not yet been finalized for this semester’s meeting, students should watch for posters. In the mean time, students who are interested in learning more can contact either Daly or Director of Career Services and Academic Counselor Dr. Alexandra Nguyen.
Haynes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.