I hope this question is relevant to this site's themes, if not let me know and I will delete it.I have started to plan the plot for a story that takes place in a music conservatory. The problem is I have little to no idea when it comes to how it actually is and what it feels like to be a student there and I don't even know where to begin my research. If anyone has some advice or first hand experience I would really appreciate it!
Music conservatories vary greatly: by era, by location, by reputation, by the level of demand placed on students, by the instrument or type of music being studied, etc. So your answer will ultimately depend on the time period, location, and personal specifics of your character (e.g., what instrument?).
That said, here are some resources (in no particular order) that might get you started:
- Ruttencutter, Helen Drees. 1979. Pianist's progress. New York: Crowell.
This started out as an article in The New Yorker (Sept. 19, 1977), describing pianist Robin McCabe's journey through the Julliard Ph.D. program.
Rosen, Charles. 2002. Piano Notes. Chapter 4, "Conservatories and Contests." The Free Press.
There is some first-person discussion here.
Look up biographies of musicians who are a close-enough fit to your character. For example, here's a list of names of famous attendees (and faculty) of the New England Conservatory.