Music educator Robert Freeman on conservatory training and the job market

Posted on: April 17, 2015

In Tuesday’s (4/14) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (New York), Matthew Daneman interviews Robert Freeman—former director of the Eastman School of Music and president of New England Conservatory, and current professor at the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Fine Arts—about his 2014 book The Crisis of Classical Music in America. “Crisis is Freeman’s attempt at kickstarting a broader discussion in the classical music universe about the oversupply of classically trained musicians and the dearth of jobs waiting for them.” In the article, Freeman comments: “When you’re in school, you’re hoping to be the principal oboe. Then you get out of school and it turns out there are 500 candidates for the job, 100 of whom are perfectly well qualified. Young performers need to know not only how to play the instrument well but learn how to read and write and think and speak in public. In addition to those, business skills, computer literacy. In the history of music, before the French Revolution, musicians were generalists. Then musicians turned to specialization—‘I’m a violist, I don’t play the violin and I certainly don’t play the piano.’ What I’ve been pushing is in the other direction.”

Posted April 17, 2015