We encourage you to compare Shepherd University to other schools, and we are confident the Shepherd advantages will be clear. Here are some questions for you to ask.
What size music department and university do you want?
Larger schools can have more resources and prestige, but students might lack opportunities to perform. Smaller schools can give you the individual attention, but might not have the resources necessary for a good education. We at Shepherd University believe we have the best of both worlds: large enough to stage high-quality concerts and shows (we have 80 instrumental majors and 45 voice majors), but small enough where every faculty member knows every student's name.
Does the school have a performing graduate program?
Shepherd's highly acclaimed graduate program is in Music Education. At the graduate level, we are interested in training the best teachers in the world. Therefore, at Shepherd University, the undergraduates wonít be waiting in the wings while the graduate students perform and conduct. Here, our students receive all of their lessons and classes from faculty members, not graduate students. As an undergraduate, you want a program that's focused on you. Master's students in Education meet only at night and during the summer, and take no opporunities away from the undergraduates. While youíre at Shepherd University, you will have all of our attention.
Will my classes be taught by faculty or other students?
At Shepherd University, 100% of the classes you take will be taught by fully-trained highly competent professional faculty. Exactly none of your classes will be taught by a graduate student or teaching assistant. Anyone can present the material, but a lifetime commitment to teaching and learning informs every lecture, every discussion, every course delivered by our highly trained professional faculty.
What are the performing opportunities for the students?
Beyond the importance of going to a school that is focused on undergraduates, are there enough resources there to give the student enough opportunities to master their craft? Most schools offer young conductors only lab courses and artificial ensembles, but at Shepherd University, all Music Education students conduct one of the actual ensembles in concert, including one of four choral ensembles, the wind ensemble and the youth orchestra.
Shepherd University has two resident orchestras, one professional and one student. Recent large works include Verdi's Requiem, Beethoven's Symphony No. 1, and Bach's St. John Passion. An opera is staged every fall, including most recently Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado, Gluck's Orfeo et Euridice, and Mozartís The Magic Flute. A full-blown musical is produced every spring, most recently Into the Woods, The Secret Garden, and Guys and Dolls. We also have two jazz ensembles, chamber ensembles, and the best small-school marching band in the country! And to top that, the music department travels internationally every other year, including to Germany and Austria in May 2009, Spain in May 2011, and France in May 2013.
What is the total cost of a four-year education?
Music is a wonderful career, full of great rewards and satisfaction. And while there are plenty of opportunities to make a living as a full-time musician (more than you probably think), the early years can be challenging. Shepherd University costs on average less than half of what the big-name conservatories and private institutions charge, and thatís for out-of-state students! For in-state students, the cost drops to 20%.
What percentage of graduates are working in the field of music?
At Shepherd University, 100% of our Music Education graduates get jobs in the field, and that has been true for over 50 years. Very few other schools can match that, and Shepherd graduates are some of the most sought-after in the country. And while it's important for students concentrating in Performance or Musical Theater to dream those big dreams, we focus on preparing students to make a realistic living in the field of music as a performer. Our students go on to some of the finest graduate schools in the country, and end up with life-long careers as musicians.