Last month, the data-based career site Zippia placed SUNY New Paltz at No. 10 on its list of the ten best colleges for music majors in New York.
The College ranked among prestigious schools like Columbia and New York University (NYU), which ranked fourth and fifth, respectively. SUNY New Paltz was one of four public colleges to make the list.
Zippia compiled the list using data from the National Center for Education Statistics and The United States Department of Education’s College Scorecard data. The career research company considered several aspects, including each school’s career results, music emphasis and school performance.
According to the site, this meant diving into students’ mean earnings six-10 years after graduation, percent of people working after 10 years and percent of music majors in each graduating class, along with basic information on each school like admissions and graduation rates.
The list reveals that 20 graduate music students attend SUNY New Paltz. Of the colleges on the list, only CUNY City College, CUNY Bernard M. Baruch College, NYU and University of Rochester have more than 20 graduate music students.
Being placed on Zippia’s list was no surprise to music department chair Vinnie Martucci, who has worked full-time in the department for 12 years.
“The biggest thing is that students are going out there, taking this degree in whatever capacity they’re doing it and getting those results,” he said.
Martucci believes that the students and faculty enter with an appreciation for music, along with an expectation for a career in music that is fostered by the school’s proximity to the booming arts metropolis of New York City.
“There’s a culture here of sophistication of the arts that students bring with them,” he said.
He pointed out that the school’s graduate music therapy program has been rated top in the nation, another honor that made this one come as no real shock.
Additionally, he spoke about the careers music students pursue after graduation. While some go on to jobs “centrally” focused on music performance, others continue in “peripherally” music-related careers. He still remains in contact with recent alumni who tour and produce music and hopes to get them onstage at SUNY New Paltz to inspire current students.
Many students, however, take the skills they learn in their music studies and apply them to careers elsewhere. Martucci argues that the music performance discipline teaches strong communication skills and demanding theoretical and compositional skills that challenge students’ intuition into the musical language.
In the future, Martucci hopes to make the music department even more interdisciplinary to provide students with even more career opportunities—for example, partnering with schools of business and education.
“Just by itself, music is inherently multi-disciplinary,” he said. “There are some plans to expand our programs to expand our interface, such as steering students who are motivated to go for graduate degrees in business and to foster and grow to a great degree and already thriving music therapy program.”