StudentsReview :: California State University - Chico - Extra Detail about the Comment
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California State University - Chico

How this student rated the school
Educational QualityC- Faculty AccessibilityB-
Useful SchoolworkB Excess CompetitionA
Academic SuccessB Creativity/ InnovationB
Individual ValueB University Resource UseA-
Campus Aesthetics/ BeautyA FriendlinessB
Campus MaintenanceA- Social LifeA
Surrounding CityA+ Extra CurricularsB+
Describes the student body as:
Friendly, Approachable

Describes the faculty as:
Friendly, Unhelpful

Quite Bright
Lowest Rating
Educational Quality
Highest Rating
Surrounding City
He cares more about Educational Quality than the average student.
Date: Aug 11 2008
Major: Music - Composition/Theory (This Major's Salary over time)
I had no idea where I wanted to go to college after high school. All I knew was that I wanted to go to college. My best friend's brother had been at Chico State for 2 years and his parents suggested I apply there as well. Chico was the only school I applied to as I had really no idea of what I wanted to do with my life. I spent seven awesome years of my life there, experiencing all kinds of different things. I discovered my passion for music, my passion for musical people, amazing friendships and opportunities etc. I would say the greatest thing about Chico State is the community. There is such a diverse range of people to meet and experience from church, student groups, the arts, and of course the bar scene.

I was a bit like Van Wilder there in my last few years, but I just took the opportunity of being older and more experienced to make more opportunities for myself and enjoy myself. The PAC (Performing Arts Center) is the building that houses the music and theatre departments, where the two often intermingle through musical productions, opera and other things that pop up in the community. The music and theatre communities are vast and varied, but fun to be a part of.

I guess my major complaint lies with the glaring lack of a certain seriousness when it comes to the wholeness of the music program as far as the classical side is concerned. The recording arts department seems to gorge itself on any thin resources the music dept. gets and is impacted with tons of guys who are in bands or want to be in a band or once recorded themselves playing guitar in ProTools so now they decide to be in the recording arts program or music industry program. If I sound bitter it is because I sat through my lower level basic music courses like ear training and theory with recording arts majors or industry majors largely showing a total lack of respect or interest in it. I will never forget one guy eating a very crinkly bag of chips while a piano professor played a beautiful Chopin etude for the class. Real cool dude. That wasn't the case for all of them of course, and that's just the way it is: everyone takes the lower level courses together.

Another thing specifically for Music Composition majors would be the utter lack of an orchestra, orchestral program or even an above-beginner-level string curriculum. As a composer, I basically could not write for strings unless I wanted to pay a local musician (local being within 60 miles) to practice and perform it. Even when I did that I was not satisfied with the results. This brings me to another important point, there are almost no opportunities for composers to have their works performed, unless you make them yourself. That's all fine and good, because you learn a lot when you gather a group, rehearse and perform one of your own pieces. A lot. However, when I graduated there was only one "concert" a year for student composers to have their pieces performed, which was generally poorly represented and poorly attended in favor of the guest artists and faculty concerts on previous nights. Depending on how you look at it, you could see it as prep for the real world, where breaking into music composing is more like breaking into acting or pop music than anything else. Traditionally, you pay your dues first by performing with a shoddy band in a shoddy venue with a tiny audience, and work your way up from there. I would say that my professional experience at Chico has embodied my shoddy band and shoddy venue and tiny audience several times, and I do fantasize that there are better opportunities out there professionally for me.

Now, having said all that, I don't want to put the department in a bad light. It really is great, there are wonderful people who genuinely want to be your friend. A few faculty you can trust to give you your money's worth, a few you like because they are interesting and nice, a few you connect with because they are smart and capable, and a few you just avoid because they bring you down. Chico is a beautiful town, lots of beautiful people, sunshine, etc. There are ugly parts. Drugs are there I'm sure, although I never personally saw anything more than people smoking pot. The biggest crime problem in Chico as far as I can tell is NOT drunk college kids. It's theft. I personally had things stolen from me on more than one occasion. The worst being my first apartment broken into over the winter break. Chico has got some bad areas tacked on to it and some really bad theft rings. People would have things like laptops stolen right out of their house! While they were home! I became paranoid while I was there, double and triple checking locks on my car and front door when I left the house. As far as I can tell the police do little about it. You can guarantee though that on the first few weekends of the school semester they will be out there busting those young kids for having a cup in their hand.

Keep yourself out of trouble, watch who you associate with and Chico can be a great experience. It has an awesome bright side and a dark, ugly underbelly if you go that way. You make your own opportunity, don't let the obstacles of indifference from the university get you down, and have fun with people you genuinely like, then you will have a great experience at Chico.

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