School Profile: Is the Artistic and Academic Community of Juilliard Right for You?

The Juilliard School was initially founded in 1905 as the Institute of Musical Art. By 1946 it had become the Juilliard School of Music, and included both undergraduate studies and a graduate program. Today, the school is named The Juilliard School (known informally simply as Juilliard) and includes music, dance, and drama curricula at both undergraduate and graduate levels. It is an urban school, located in New York City’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and trains just over 600 students. It reflects an exclusively artistic education where students specialize in their artistic major in combination with liberal arts.

Over the years The Julliard School’s curriculum has evolved with the school. Initially, it was exclusively a music school with a traditional curriculum focusing on music theory, ear training, and music history. From there it embraced a program designed for composers to teach, which left the classroom application of the previous elements up to the discretion of the composer-instructors. By the 1960s, even that was abandoned in favor of the solfege pedagogy, which forms the basis for today’s music education. The dance curriculum was added in 1951, and drama in 1968, although music remains the dominant division at the school. The Juilliard School offers undergraduate degrees in music, dance, and drama; and graduate and doctorate degrees in music.

Once Juilliard students are accepted, which is through a rigorous audition process, they may choose from among several majors. Students may earn a B.F.A. in dance, which is equal parts ballet and modern dance with a three semester, 24-credit liberal arts program. The drama B.F.A. program accepts 8-10 new students per year by audition into acting or playwright programs, which also include the liberal arts core curriculum. There are 14 music majors from which to choose in the undergraduate B.M. Instrumental and B.M. Voice programs, which again include the three semester liberal arts curriculum. Multiple performance opportunities are available both at The Juilliard School and at venues in and around New York City.

The Juilliard School also offers cross-registration for students wishing to take courses at either Columbia University or Barnard College. Juilliard students are limited to one class per semester; they must be in good academic standing at Juilliard and able to demonstrate the ability to take on the enhanced academic rigor of the two schools. Approved credits earned count towards Juilliard’s liberal arts requirements. Additionally, Juilliard students have the opportunity to participate in a rigorous year-long research program to earn “with scholastic distinction” on their degrees and transcripts. A select number of students pursuing music degrees can apply for the accelerated M.M. program where they are allowed to take courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels during their final undergrad year.

All first-year students of the Juilliard School are required to live in campus housing. Juilliard has provided housing for approximately 350 students at their Meridith Willson Residence Hall in the top thirteen floors of the Rose Building next door to the school. The unique resident hall offers million-dollar views of Broadway, Central Park, and the Hudson River. It’s in the heart of Manhattan, close to the Metropolitan Opera House and only blocks from Times Square. The lobby floor has a student lounge, kitchen, laundry room, and vending machines. There is a student fitness center on the 22nd floor and a student computer and study lounge on the 19th floor.

Each floor has four student suites and two soundproof practice rooms. Each suite has five bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a living room with an amazing view. All suites are fully furnished and provide cable and Internet. Students can choose specialty housing options like gender specific, quiet, or substance free. Only first-year students are guaranteed housing. Older students can live off campus or participate in Housing Selection for a shot at staying in the residence hall. Juilliard assists students with off-campus housing resources. There are meal-plans available to students regardless of living on or off campus. Residence Life hosts over 100 activities including, Midnight Breakfast and Halloween Haunted House.

Students can participate in the relatively new independent student newspaper, The Yard, or just read it to stay in the know with what’s happening socially, academically, and with peers, staff, and alumni. There are no college sports, fraternities or sororities, and no traditions to speak of. What you can find is a ton of reasonably priced options for eating and hanging out in the East Village and Hell’s Kitchen neighborhoods, the opportunity to rub shoulders with the most artistically brilliant and talented people you’ll ever meet, and the chance to live and learn in the most exciting city in the country.

If you think you have what it takes, the Juilliard School is waiting for you to share your talents.

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By Colleen Hill