Distance learning music training
through US School's international correspondence programs
Each distance learning music student at US School selects an instrumental major: guitar,
bass, piano, keyboards, violin, voice, drums, or horns such as
trumpet or saxophone - as well as a concentration in Performance,
Arranging, Songwriting, Multimedia Scoring, or Music Production
Engineering, which includes record producing and acoustics.*
Jazz, Popular, and other current commercial music styles form the
backbone of the curriculum.
In your US School program, you will start from your individual level
and strengthen basic skills; achieving a solid foundation in Eartraining,
(solfege or solfeggio, perfect pitch/absolute pitch, relative pitch,
intervallic pitch, voicing structures, and chord progression recognition),
Sightreading, and Music Theory, after which you will build a practical
understanding of melody and harmony, composition, counterpoint,
Distance learning materials
US School proprietary materials and programs have been carefully designed
for correspondence students. They guide you as you acquire and polish your skills.
For example, in 1977, USSCM subsidiary Freelance Music began marketing unique
music learning materials using new media, such as Freejam TracksTM,
and Complete Album TranscriptionsTM. Later, another USSCM subsidiary, Musicworks,
added software to the growing list of special learning tools. These and other
newly-developed materials are exclusively available to USSCM students;
this is a continuing process. For example, USSCM students now receive an expanded
version of the acclaimed Big EarsTM Perfect Pitch Method, which simultaneously
emphasizes Perfect, Intervallic, and Relative Pitch Recognition while imprinting
modern pop harmony and chordscales. Other USSCM-developed materials,
such as the Joy of Improv TM,which are published by Hal Leonard Music
Publishing, have been strategically integrated into the programs.
In addition, USSCM incorporates innovative third-party materials on a bi-annual
basis, as musical styles and technologies change rapidly. Through its research
at Trade Shows, such as NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants),
USSCM integrates the latest improved materials on a six-month cycle,
much more quickly than any residential college can or does do.
You do not need web access to study successfully at US School.
As a valuable perquisite, our web-connected students benefit from the
state-of-the-art online learning tools at www.EarGym.com and
www.BigEarsPerfectPitch.com. USSCM students also have access
to materials specially prepared for them, on the same websites.
Your advisor at US School
Once you enroll as a USSCM student, your advisor will monitor your progress
and work with you to tailor your US School program to your individual
strengths, weaknesses, requirements and personal goals.
*All students, regardless of their major, receive additional training with
all four rhythm section instruments. USSCM students often choose a major
from these (Guitar, Keyboard, Bass, Drums.) Or you may major in
any contemporary melodic instrument; experienced vocalists,
string or horn players may major on their own instrument,
but also will complete the rhythm section instrumental training.
Scheduling your distance music program
USSCM practice schedules thoroughly outline your level of involvement and
learning activity on a daily basis, leaving nothing to chance.
Your advisor is a professional musician and experienced teacher who will
suggest one of our proven schedules and encourage you to adhere to it.
Students proceed at their own pace, but the student willing to work fulltime
at an intensive rate can complete a program in eight months. Students unable
to work on their studies fulltime take longer to accomplish the program.
Some students take a little longer and major in several programs.
How does US School compare to a residential school?
You can afford an entire USSCM program for less than the cost of one semester at an
ordinary music school.
While there are valuable aspects to the social immersion and daily personal
contact available at a residential school, the costs can be staggering.
Location, existing commitments, or financial situation prevent many serious musicians from developing their music as they dream of doing. USSCM offers an affordable alternative with significant advantages for many students.
There are other disadvantages to studying a popular instrument in a large
student body, where there may be as many as 900 guitar students and 300
keyboard students. It is difficult for residential programs to deliver the
level of attention and guidance necessary so that each student achieves
personal musical success. At USSCM your success in music is our goal.
A hidden statistic of residential music schools is the low proportion of its
graduates who actually become career musicians. This is generally staggeringly
low, and typically 10%. That means that over 80% of your classmates at a
residential music school will probably remain amateurs for life.
Rehearsing and studying alongside them may not be favorable to your
musical future or be a good investment in it. In contrast, 80% of
USSCM alumni derive income from music related activity.
We feel this is due, in part, to our personally tailored programs,
the practical emphasis of our programs, our special attention to each
student's needs, careful evaluation of student incoming skills and goals,
and our special materials and tools.
A brief historical perspective on music schools
Early formal music education in the U.S. emulated the European conservatory
system. The rise of American Popular music, including Jazz and Folk, was
largely an untrained movement which did not depend primarily on written music.
Today, thousands of colleges have adopted a mini-conservatory approach to
their music programs, which has repeatedly proven to be dated and inefficient.
While they may call themselves colleges, in these conservatories adaptive
change is slow, and they stress hidebound materials and methods.
Such programs are completely insufficient to prepare modern musicians to
make a living in commercial music. Even the better conservatory-based
programs often become rigidly formalized; one school being much like any
other, with standards in basic skills training taking a back seat to less
important topics, such as learning the computer programs the school has
invested in, and emphasis on student retention rather than academic
standards. Many schools are so conservative that Jazz, Pop, and
Commercial Music are not even studied. Unsurprisingly,
only 10% of the graduates of traditional music schools actually
pursue careers in the music business. They often graduate and quickly
discover that they simply can't compete.
More on the the history of popular music schools
A financial perspective on musical training
Residential schools have a large investment in buildings and equipment,
and often need to sustain a very high enrollment to offset their expense.
This leads to another common flaw: these schools may not be very
selective of applicants, mixing serious students with those who
are not dedicated.
USSCM offers programs for people who are serious about their music.
The school is based in the United States, but international music students
are as successful as American students and in fact comprise the majority
of US School alumni.
See our catalog
for more specific
information about our programs, courses, and costs for
the distance and home-study music student.