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California State University - Northridge

How this student rated the school
Educational QualityC Faculty AccessibilityB
Useful SchoolworkA- Excess CompetitionA-
Academic SuccessB Creativity/ InnovationC
Individual ValueB- University Resource UseB
Campus Aesthetics/ BeautyA FriendlinessA
Campus MaintenanceB+ Social LifeA+
Surrounding CityC Extra CurricularsC+
Describes the student body as:
Friendly, Arrogant, Approachable, Snooty

Describes the faculty as:
Friendly, Helpful, Unhelpful

Lowest Rating
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Highest Rating
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He cares more about Safety than the average student.
Date: Jun 14 2010
Major: Music - Performance (This Major's Salary over time)
I am a MUSIC STUDENT: PERCUSSION PERFORMANCE Major. For many years growing up, I've always heard of the great percussion program at CSUN—it seemed to be producing many great players who went on to have very successful careers. The department, for a very long time, had a great reputation.

However, I'd say my experience here as a percussion major has been overall average (Grade = C). Unfortunately, budget cuts have made the administration and departments within the music school make decisions that generate not-so-good quality results. For example, they don't have enough money to pay teachers, so they result to having teachers teach classes that they are not good at teaching (i.e. the choir teacher teaching music history). There have been many complaints from these kinds of classes. So when you are picking classes (no matter what major), go to—it helps a lot.

Also, because the percussion department needs money, they tend to accept people into the program that should NOT be in there. The Percussion program is filled with a lot of BA, non performance majors (like Music Industry or Music Education), that can barely play, never practice and never take anything seriously—all they do is take up space in the practice rooms the week before juries when the people who really DO practice a lot need to practice also. This gets really irritating after awhile.

However, on the up side, the percussion department HAS accepted many great undergrad students who are very talented, work very hard and who are serious. But these people of course, are in smaller numbers.

JURIES - (These are basically "finals" for your lessons—you prepare very hard pieces and perform them in front of all your percussion teachers and peers and you get a final grade for every semester). For most instrumentalists at CSUN, juries are very, very high-pressure. You cannot miss a note without getting marked down. However, in the percussion department, they are very lax about everything. If you generally practice, and you can play through your pieces without stopping, you'll probably get an A. A lot of people are happy about this, however, to me—they need to have HIGHER STANDARDS.

LESSONS - You get out of them what you put into them. If you half-ass everything, that's what you'll get out of it. If you practice a lot and work hard, you'll do fine. If you slack, you'll be able to get by (if you're talented) for a little while, but not for long. So work hard. If you want to play something harder than what your teacher is giving, TELL THEM, or you'll be bored out of your mind for 5 weeks.

Anyway, to sum this all up. Here are my complaints:


The percussion department professors/teachers need to have HIGHER STANDARDS when it comes to who gets into the program, ensemble auditions, juries, lessons, people not practicing in percussion ensemble, and more. DO NOT wait for anyone to push you to not be lazy- you need to take care of that yourself. You are on your own- Don't depend on teachers or students to push you to practice and be motivated. Nobody will hold your hand.


The student body in the program has been amazing—I have made so many friends. We all work together for many, many hours each day, and we're all in the same ensembles, etc. You get close to people FAST. Sometimes of course, that can lead to drama like anything else, but overall it has been so much fun. But don't let that distract you from practicing. Sometimes, however, people talk behind each other's backs and get competitive. But compared to other schools, it's very mild. Socially = amazing

commentCSUN's music department is supposedly one of the top twenty-five in the country. After going there, I find that very hard to believe. People tout that all the time, but nobody has ever shown any evidence that the music department is considered all that. Nobody can articulate which study/survey says that, how the study was conducted, who conducted it, who did the surveyors speak to (students vs professors vs administrators) or as to what questions were asked.

Since none of that information was ever presented to me, I can't take it seriously. Besides, for music performance, it is all
About the relationship with your main teacher. If your main teacher is bad or not a good match, it doesn't matter how the music department as a whole is ranked.

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