The Oberlin Conservatory of Music aspires to provide its students a transformative educational experience that expands their intellectual and artistic capacities and fosters individual growth, thereby preparing them to lead fully engaged lives.

As a professional school, Oberlin Conservatory offers a curriculum that embraces a variety of modalities, from the disciplined acquisition of technical skill and the academic foundations of formalized music study to the nurture of exploration, experimentation, and discovery, both creative and intellectual. In sum, study in Oberlin Conservatory is designed to inspire artistic achievement of the highest order, educate students who can shape and create the musical profession anew, and animate lifelong work of breadth, significance, and impact.

In particular, students who attend the conservatory should:

1. Achieve a degree of professional competency in their major fields, a competency that in performance majors embraces both artistic attainment and mature technique, as well as entrepreneurial awareness.

The training of professional musicians is foundational to the Conservatory’s mission, and the attainment of a high level of vocational competency lies at the heart of much of its instruction. Though focused and often specialized, this competency is not narrow in its application, but rather reflects the requirements and opportunities of a dynamic professional world.

2. Achieve a fluency in engaging music historically, theoretically, critically, and culturally.

The paths towards understanding music are varied, and the cultivation of this understanding has traditionally been an important aspiration for students, both professionally and personally. Accordingly, the Conservatory curriculum grounds students in diverse historical, theoretical, and critical approaches to music to broaden perspective, foster creative and analytical thinking, and inspire and enable dialogue. Effective written and oral discourse is essential, and the development of this fluency a robust aspect of the curriculum. Historical, theoretical, and critical work in part involves exploring a diverse range of music in different stylistic, geographic, and social contexts. This not only dramatically shapes perspective, but also increases professional flexibility.

3. Achieve a mature perspective on music’s place in the world and develop a reflective consideration of their role in this cultural matrix.

The complexity and fluidity of today’s musical world requires perhaps more than ever before an openness to possibility, a re-evaluation of traditional roles, and a reflective capacity to guide one’s path to societal and personal fulfillment and to professional viability. While not rooted in any one experience or course of study, the perspective necessary to discern and enact one’s role is formed in the cumulative experience of study and the broader experiences of Oberlin itself.

The Conservatory of Music thus envisions its graduates as creative and imaginative individuals of high professional attainment and personal depth.  A multi-faceted curriculum helps shepherd students toward these outcomes. And, it is in the intertwining of these curricular strands—their counterpoint one with the other—that the richness of the study becomes most distinctively Oberlinian.

Updated and affirmed by the Conservatory Faculty in October 2017.