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And then there were seven: An historical case study of the seven independent American conservatories of music that survived the twentieth century

James Gandre, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This study provides an historical case study of the seven American independent conservatories of music still operating independently at the turn of the 20th century, and why they, as opposed to more than 40 other conservatories, survived as independent entities. Historical background is provided about other institutions created as private and independent conservatories, but, due to financial exigencies and/or lack of enrollment during the 20th century, ceased to exist or became part of more comprehensive institutions. ^ A variety of chief administrative officers, as well as key, long-term current and former faculty members were interviewed regarding each of the seven schools' history, mission, leadership, and the nature of faculty and students related to the respective institutions. The data collection process involved use of unpublished books and dissertations, and archival materials, including school catalogs and accreditation reports. ^ Historical information was analyzed for similar patterns or clusters of historical circumstance (e.g., founding, endowments, faculty, etc.) which existed among the seven conservatories studied. Case study transcripts were coded and analyzed to determine whether there were emerging themes and whether it was possible to discern ways to reduce data to recurring themes. ^ Future research is warranted on those 40 or more conservatories which did not remain independent, student satisfaction at the present seven remaining independent conservatories of music, as well as contrasting those findings with students matriculating in music schools associated with or part of colleges and universities. Further study also is warranted on the full-time faculty of those seven remaining institutions, most of whom are underpaid in relation to their college and university counterparts. Also, it is important to learn what happens to the seven surviving music conservatories as their current faculty retires and faculty positions need to be filled. Finally, study of the application, enrollment, and outcome patterns of students matriculating at independent conservatories and college/university conservatories and music schools would help in understanding the differences, attractions, and relative appeal of the two types of institutions. ^

Subject Area

Education, Administration|Education, History of|Education, Music

Recommended Citation

Gandre, James, "And then there were seven: An historical case study of the seven independent American conservatories of music that survived the twentieth century" (2001). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3028657.