In the fall of 2014, I started my first semester at the recently accredited California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley. Needless to say, it has already exceeded far beyond my expectations. The levels of music education here are strictly accustomed to the level of the musician. Unlike high school, where most teachers don’t even care if you fail or succeed, all of the instructors here are very well-known professional Bay Area musicians, who are willing to spend every second with you to help you improve and gain a higher understanding of the extremely intricate music known as Jazz. Going here has also given me a totally different perspective on what college is. It is literally the complete opposite of what many teachers in high school and students that graduated told me. (This is likely because everyone here has the same interest, and professers do not have to stress over teaching so many different subjects for so many different students.) The students here are the MOST RESPECTFUL, kind, and down-to-earth students I have ever met. A majority of them are older than me. Classroom sizes are decent -not too big and not too small. There are roughly 10-20 students per class. And like every other college, yes, we have mid-terms and finals, and yes, they are still tough, but fun. All ensembles within the conservatory also have a performance at the end of each semester, which counts as a final as we are graded on how much we have progressed. As a side note, I have had the privilege to personally work with the TOP Bay Area musicians and even meet a few famous people who were just coming in for lessons. To many of the musicians, afraid of “missing out” on the on-campus experience, -as that is what many mentors/teachers and olther students tell them- don’t be afraid. You are not missing out on anything. The conservatory itself is such a great school for musicians that by the time you get here, you won’t even care about “campus activities” and parties. Our campus is basically the city. You’ll get much entertainment there.
Overall, I feel I have definitely made the right choice, and couldn’t have it any better.
Also: WE NEED MORE HORNS!