As an independent college consultant, I travel around the country to visit colleges. Recently I had the good fortune to visit Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. I put together this short video to describe the strength of both its liberal arts college and its conservatory of music. A beautiful combination!
So Lawrence University is a small liberal arts college that is a member of the Associated Colleges in the Midwest, and the thing that really distinguishes Lawrence aside from the fact that it’s got great liberal arts generally, is that it has one of the few undergraduate conservatories of music. So a lot of its identity is wrapped in the fact that it is a very fine music school that is linked inextricably with the liberal arts.
Now why would that be important to someone who is a music student? Well most conservatories are really focused in on music. So Eastman School of Music, Julliard, they do nothing but music. As was one kid who listened to a presentation today, this one kid said, ‘you know, I didn’t want to go a college where I just would have to take remedial English for drummers.” He really wanted to be challenged academically. The thing about Lawrence, and there are a few others like this as well, Overland for example, but Lawrence really integrates the liberal arts with the music experience so that the conservatory students are taking quite a few classes with the regular undergraduate college students. But in addition, the fact that this is an undergraduate institution, full stop, gives students who want to the opportunity to do both a bachelor of music and performs in the conservatory and also to do a full bachelor of arts in the college. So there are students who are doing in five years getting two degrees; bachelors of music and a bachelor of arts. So that’s one of the most distinguishing features about this place.
I would say also that it’s possible here at Lawrence for students who are really, really good at music but who don’t want to major in music, and don’t want to participate in the music conservatory on this campus. We listened to a jazz jam today in the conservatory where they were auditioning students for the jazz studies program and the guitarist who is student here; he’s not in the music program. He’s not majoring in music, and yet he’s in all of the jazz programs. He plays a lot on campus. So for students who really want fine music, whether or not they want the bachelor degree in music, this is a really great place to consider. If you really want that academic, that solid academic background in liberal arts and the music, Lawrence is the place.