Going to Major in Music -- and Guitar in New York City?

Well, the info is 20 years old, but still interesting.



Lotsa Good Stuff!

Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx




Guitar New York

No. 3

Fall 1983


Fall, by nature’s reckoning, is the time for end­ings. The days shorten, the leaves turn Drown, nature prepares itself for re—birth in the Spring. The winter months are desolate, cold and dark, devoid of all life.

Man, always questing to cheat the natural order, has devised a way to trick himself into believing the exact opposite of what nature, in its infinite wisdom, has planned for him. This trick? The Academic life. The average college educated person (Bachelor’s degree) has spent sixteen years (formative ones, at that!) in the educational system. This leads to a certain amount of permanent academic conditioning. Among other manifestations of this conditioning is the feeling that the year’s natural cycle begins in the Fall and ends in the Spring, leaving the Summer as the lifeless void.

In my case, I spent seventeen out of a total of twen­ty—six years in the academic world. No matter where I am, or what I’m doing, when August comes to an end, I get a nagging sensation that I’ve forgotten to register for classes! As this will be appear­ing in the Fall issue of Soundboard, this should be the column in which I list and discuss the colleges and universities in the New York City area offering degree programs for guitarists.

No matter where you may be planning to attend college, there are a few Points I think you’ll want to consider, and some questions you must ask yourself and the prospective college. (Most Soundboard readers have already been through this. If you have stud­ents who are thinking of majoring in music, have them read this.) There is a psychological prerequisite one must meet before deciding to pursue a degree in music, regardless of one’s instrument. A very wise man, who was most assuredly paraphrasing some other equally wise man, once told me “If anything discourages you from making music your career, let it.” In other words, if you are bothered by the prospect of sitting out a number (from one to one hundred) of lean years, don’t make music your career. Many people are happier having music as a hobby, becoming very proficient, I may add, who majored in a more marketable field. In this way they support themselves and their first love — music.

If you are considering music as a career, there are two paths you may follow. Put quite basically, these two paths are per­formance and non—performance. As an instrumentalist, the only real non—performance field that allows for any hands on playing time is teaching. The world’s greatest guitarist without the proper credentials, will be barred from the classroom. One will need a decree (or degrees). Of course, this degree fixation protects the students from the quacks with no knowledge who would otherwise make their way into the classroom. So, on the whole, it’s a useful practice, this judging a man by the alphabet soup after his name. If you decide to play the teaching game, go by the rules.

For the recitalist, the degree may help open doors, but a bad recital will close them right up again. ~y the same token, a great recitalist will eventually create his own demand with or without a degree, but it will undoubtedly take more time and ingenuity to “get a break” without it. The prospective recitalist should ask himself one supremely important question.: “Do I have sufficient talent ~ patience to take this education and build a career that will feed and cloth (not to mention shelter) me?” If you can look yourself in the eye (do use a mirror) and truthfully answer “yes” (taking into account the previously mentioned lean years), by all means, go for it!

I had written a lengthy sermon on the topic of who should pursue a degree and why, however, many people might have asked “who does he think he is?” Anyway, it’s all been covered in these pages before in John Duarte’s article “Careers; A Handbook”, found in the Fall 1982 Soundboard (Vol. IX, No. 3). Mr. Duarte does a much better job of answering this question than I would have.

When choosing a college from your list of maybes, one of the most important things to do is visit the prospective institutions. (By this time you will have found out who is teaching at the college.) Don’t make your only visit to the college on an open House day. Let’s face it, they’re going to put on their best suit and happiest face. Visit the school on a regular “business” day. Talk to students --lots of students. There is always one crank, though. There must have been one fellow aboard the Titanic who thought the cruise was fun, so takeeverything you hear with a grain of salt.

Find out who has graduated from your prospective choice. Are these people generally good ~musicians? Are they on the dole? Did the college help them get where they are today? Without any further procrastination, here is a list of colleges and universities offering degree programs for the classical guitarist.

Columbia University

Columbia College

212 Hami1ton Hall

N.Y., N.Y. 10027

Columbia offers degree courses in both performance and teaching. The Columbia University Bulletin does not list courses by instrument, so I would suggest contacting the Office of the Dean of Studies, 202 Hamilton Hall, for information on course and faculty availability.

Concordia College

171 White Plains Road

Bronxville, New York 10706

Located in the beautiful residential setting of the Village of Bronxiille, one of the most exclusive suburbs of New York City, I included Concordia in my list of New York City area colleges since it is one of the few, if not the only, colleges in the area where one can major in lute.

Concordia offers a B.A. with an applied music emphasis for those who wish to be performers and a B.A. degree program for those who wish to become certified as music teachers in elementary and secondary schools.

The Core Music Curriculum includes Traditional Theory I, II, & III, Contemporary Theory, History & Literature of Music, Conduct­ing and Music Seminar.

Richard Ullman teaches both classical guitar arid lute. Remo Palmier teaches jazz guitar.

Address all correspondence to: Janet Jockwer, Director of Admissions, Concordia College, 171 White Plains Road, Bronxville, New York 10706. [Please note, Bronxville is in no way connected with that part of N.Y.C. known as The Bronx.)

Hofstra University

Admissions Office

1000 Fulton Avenue

Hempstead, N.Y. 11550

Hofstra University offers a Bachelor of Science in Music. 128 semester hours are required, plus junior and senior year recitals. Stanley Solow and Wi11iam Zito teach guitar. Hofstra has dorm facilities for interested students.


Hunter College

(City University of New York)

695 Park Avenue

N.Y., N.Y. 10021

Hunter’s Department of Music offers four major programs to fit individual interests and requirements. A 24 credit major is available for those students who wish to study music~ in the context of a general liberal arts education, but do not plan to pursue music as a career. A Bachelor of Arts is awarded.

The 42 credit major also awards a BA, however, this program is deigned for students who will make professional careers in music their goal. It is foundation for graduate study in any specialized aspect of the field.

The Bachelor of Science is the degree awarded for completion of the 59 credit major. This program is geared towards the student intending to teach music at the secondary level. This program provides automatic provisional certification: for teaching early childhood and in elementary through secondary schools in New York State.

Sixty credit Majors are the performers. This program is for professional performers or teachers of music performance. It provides intensive instruction in the student’s instrument as well as solid training in music history and theory. One must pass an audition, demonstrating a high level of skill in performing, to be placed in this program.

Hunter students are allowed to take elective music courses at the Mannes College of Music.

Manhattan School of Music

120 Claremont Avenue

New York, N.Y. 10027

The Manhattan School of Music is one of four colleges one should definitely consider if one is planning on coming to New York to study guitar and pursue a degree. Manhattan has a very distinguished faculty of performers such as Manuel Barrueco and Sharon Isbin.


The Mannes College Music

(Mannes is in the process of relocating in a larger building on the West Side. The flew address will be, as of January 1984: 150 West 85th Street, New York, N.Y. 10024.)

The Mannes College of Music offers a four year Bachelor of Music program and a five year Bachelor of Science program. A Diploma course is also available, which deletes Liberal Arts courses from the B.M. program. This course DOES NOT award a degree. Two guitarists I knew while I attended Marines were registered for the Diploma course — one already had a Bachelor’s degree, the other contin­ued for an extra year after receiving the diploma to make up the Liberal Arts courses necessary for the Bachelor’s, so unless you already have a degree, take the Liberal Arts courses and get the degree.

Guitar Faculty members include violinist Leonid Bolotine, Albert Valdes—Blain, guitarist and lutenist Roslyn Diugin, Fred Hand, Michael Newman, and Bob Secrist.

Mannes’ Curriculum is what is referred to as the “Old European Tradition”. During one’s first and second years at the college, one takes exhaustive credit loads of theory, ear—training, score—reading, and other general music courses, In the third and fourth year, the student finally settles down to his or her instrument. Of course, this was my experience; I graduated over three years ago. I certainly feel I benefited from this curriculum and would, to coin a phrase, do it all again.

Direct all correspondence to the Office of the Registrar, The Mannes College of Music, l57 E 74th St. N.Y, 10021, before January 1984.

Marymount Manhattan College

221 East 71st Street

New York, N.Y. 10021

Major Requirements in the music concentration pro­gram are given through the Marines College of Music. Applicants to this program are required to take placement exams and will audition before the appropriate juries at Marines. There is an additional charge for the private lessons required as part of the program.

There is a Special Interest Sequence in Music, which is a less intensive program than the Concentration program. It is intended for those who wish to minor in music. Address all correspondence to: Director of Admissions, Marymount Manhattan College, 221 East 71st St., N.Y., N.Y. 10021


Mercy College

555 Broadway

Dobbs Ferry, New York 10522

Mercy College offers a Major Concentration program in music in cooperation with the Westchester Conservatory of Music. Full time students who are music majors are required to take a minimum of ten credits per year at the Westchester Conservatory.

Applicants must pass basic competency requirements in music theory and in his or her “Area of Specialization” (instrument or voice).

Guitar faculty includes James Lorusso, Robert Mamary, and Jamie Williams.

Direct all correspondence to: Andrew G. Nelson, Dean for Admissions, Mercy College, 555 Broadway, Dobbs Ferry, New York 10522 ~ Doris Davidson, Assistant to the Director, Westchester Conservatory of Music, 20 Soundview Avenue, White Plains, New York 10606.


Harry Pellegrin

Soundboard Magazine Fall 1983