Conservatory Alumni Survey
In 2012, a survey was conducted of music alumni that attended the Conservatory of Music at the University of the Pacific to assess how or if the program experience assisted them in the field. Out of 1783 Conservatory alumni, 24% (424 alumni) completed the survey.
For the analysis, survey participants were divided into two categories: "All Participants" (everyone who completed the survey) and "Recent Alumni" (participants who attended Pacific during any period from 2000-2012). The only required fields on the survey were first and last name. As a result, not all of the questions were answered by all participants.
The findings revealed that most Alumni continued their education after leaving Pacific and of those, over two-thirds continued their study in music. The 2012 unemployment rate for all survey participants was 3%. A majority established careers in music-related fields and most were satisfied with their profession regardless of whether or not it was related to music. The Alumni responses made clear that performance majors should prepare for self-managed, flexible combinations of activities such as performing, teaching, conducting, composing, arranging, administering, public engagement activities, and other pursuits rooted in music. When asked what advice they would give to current music students in regard to preparation for a career in music, Alumni encouraged students to follow their passion but be realistic and have a backup plan, learn outside of their area of focus including the business of music, and stay current with the latest technology trends. Networking was also seen as important especially if working as a freelance musician, along with the ability to create your own opportunities. The amount of dedication and practice needed to succeed was also highly emphasized.
As a final measurement, Conservatory Alumni were asked if they would recommend the Conservatory of Music to prospective students; 96% said yes. Some cited their experiences at Pacific while others wrote about the importance of music in one's life. Specific reasons given included receiving a quality liberal arts education, the small class sizes and personal attention, the quality of the faculty, a supportive and nurturing environment, opportunities to perform, and a beautiful campus.
The Conservatory compares favorably with the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) survey in many areas. Alumni consider their overall education experience to be excellent and would attend Pacific again; the 3% unemployment rate for Conservatory Alumni is lower than arts alumni in the SNAAP survey; and most Conservatory Alumni participate in music-related activities in their personal (non-work) time.
In spite of the huge challenges facing music professionals, many consider the field a special calling. As David E. Myers states in "Initiative, Adaptation, and Growth: The Role of Lifelong Learning in the Careers of Professional Musicians", large numbers of young people are not discouraged from pursuing music careers by the lack of guaranteed jobs after graduation. Based on the outcomes measured, a majority of Alumni validated the Pacific educational experience as relevant to the training needed to be successful in the field.
Thanks to all Conservatory alumni who participated in the survey. For more details, please click on the links below.
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