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Essays About Oberlin

Essays About Oberlin

Photo by William Roane

The Extreme Practicality of a Liberal Arts Education

It is now nearly four decades since the time I arrived at Oberlin as a freshman (as the term of the day had it) in 1976. I was both excited and terrified. The course catalog, which corresponded to a far more narrow curriculum than the one offered by Oberlin today, nevertheless presented endless possibilities.

I wanted to learn everything. But as someone of decidedly working-class origins, I was haunted by the need to make it all somehow “practical.” Like most anyone in my position, I had come to college partly in search of upward mobility. How could this smorgasbord of courses spread before me possibly help?

If I’ve learned anything in the intervening decades, it is that nothing is ultimately more practical than a liberal arts education.

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Thoughts on Educating the Musician in the 21st Century

Oberlin is committed to educating and nurturing the next generation of musicians, scholars, and artists. We will help you become an excellent musician, one who performs compellingly, thinks critically, writes persuasively, and speaks articulately.

We will encourage you to take creative and intellectual risks, and to be conversant (if not fluent) in a variety of musical styles and genres. And we will make it possible for you to have experiences that are usually reserved for professionals. For example, Oberlin ensembles have toured China on multiple occasions, and frequently perform in such major venues as carnegie Hall and Disney Hall.

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