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USC Thornton School

USC Thornton School of Music Trains Undergraduates for Classical Music as Career

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Showing students how to thrive with the gig economy in today’s diverse music profession

The classical music profession has changed and so their masters and students from time to time. Today, there is a need to spread traditional music taste with modern ingredients. As globalization results in mixing cultures with each other, music become one of the most affected fields around the world. For instance, somewhere among shared music culture, classical music has been blurred. But not more! Following the current need, the USC Thornton School of Music is preparing undergraduate students for the Classical Performance & Composition Division, called “New Classical.”

It’s been observed how musicians have long earned a living off short-term and freelance contracts. However, they usually learn how to navigate the gig economy after graduation. To prepare newcomers for music as a career, USC Thornton School of Music will provide training to students to succeed in the gig economy.

The continued commitment to rethinking music education

USC Thornton School of Music has created a new model of classical music education for undergraduates by rethinking what if means to be a virtuoso in the 21st century. To empower with artistic vision and entrepreneurial skills to lead a vibrant career, the redesigned model includes:

  • Give every student the flexibility to shape their artistic path, discover their unique voice, and graduate as a well-rounded artist.
  • Develop multi-dimensional musicians followed by restructured lessons, rehearsals, and classes.
  • Faculty identified eight components that define professional virtuosity and consider what it means to have a fulfilling musical career addressing in every class, lesson, and rehearsal across a student’s four years of study.

The new model’s goal is to equip students with professional skills before they graduate so they can lead a fulfilling career in music, and this is what separates USC Thornton from its predecessors.

Robert Cutietta, Dean of USC Thornton, said, “Our students are highly successful in all the traditional ways. They are winning auditions, competitions, and finding fulfilling careers. It’s exactly because we are successful that we feel an obligation to lead a change to ensure a vibrant future for our profession.”

The result of classical symphony so far

USC Thornton’s curriculum change reflects a fundamental shift in classical music. Classical musicians are performing and monetizing music in exciting new ways, and traditional conservatories, clinging onto century-old curriculums, are failing to prepare students for the realities of life in classical music after school. Many conservatories are hesitant to change, which has led to many schools adopting almost identical curricula for classical music students.

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The Educational landscape is changing dynamically. The new generation of students thus faces the daunting task to choose an institution that would guide them towards a lucrative career.

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