Theses Doctoral

How Much Do We Practice?: Defining a Course of Study for the Applied Pianist

Nimetz, Janice

Histories of higher education isolate the conservatory/music school from their purview by omission, while histories of music education and individual music schools give overviews but do not address in depth the traditions, development, effects, and tensions buried within courses of study and the particular needs of the music student. That consideration is the purpose of this study. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, professional music education emerged as independent schools, or schools and departments within university settings. As the university accepted and acknowledged a broad and diverse range of fields of study, it developed new areas of specialization in its curricula. Concurrently, `art' music as a cultural pastime was finding its place in the American social consciousness and inviting, as a consequence, a means of education directed to this pursuit. Encouraged by European immigrants who themselves were musicians, or those for whom art music was a cultural tradition, and also by responsible philanthropy of new wealth acquired from the Industrial Revolution, America began to embrace the currents and interests of its immigrant population. In so doing it created a need for teachers of music, for improved instruments and organizations to engage in music-making, and for performers to provide entertainment. The recognition of professional education in new university institutions made it an opportune time for music to establish itself as a viable part of American higher education. Music schools proliferated, standards notwithstanding with regard to courses of study, faculty, and student requirements. Gradually, however, America pooled its resources and called upon its own ingenuity to clarify the ideology of the professional musician and to define how the training and education for that ideology might be accomplished. By the twentieth century America could offer professional study for the applied musician on a par with its European counterparts. This thesis considers the environments of three prominent music schools founded in the 1920s, the Eastman School of Music, The Juilliard School, and The Curtis Institute of Music. It reviews the administration, faculty, and the evolution of their curricula for the applied major from their inception to 1945, and observes how each defined and clarified its course of study. Thus it serves as a foundation for understanding the trajectory that brought these schools to their present place of recognition. In so doing it offers one perspective of professional education, that of training and educating for performance, and contributes to the narrative of the history of higher education.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
History and Education
Thesis Advisors
Waite, Cally Lyn
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
February 20, 2013