Micah Howard, bass faculty
- US News Ranking: #24 (tie) in National Universities
- US News Overall Score (out of 100): 75
- Tuition & Fees 2016-17: $52,040
- Room & Board 2016-17: $13,270
- Total Enrollment: 13,648
- Acceptance Rate (from 2015): 24%
- Student – Faculty Ratio: 13:1
- 4 year graduation rate: 72%
- % of undergrads receiving Financial aid: 42%
- Average Financial Aid: $31,417
Double Bass Statistics
- Average number of bass students: 8-11
- Studio Class, Orchestral Repertoire Class, Bass Ensembles
What Alumni Are Doing
- In the past few years we have graduates who have won jobs with the Utah Symphony Orchestra , Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra, the Macau Symphony Orchestra (China) and the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. Graduates from last years are members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic and many others.
- Many of our graduates perform as substitutes with orchestras such as the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic and the San Diego Symphony Orchestra. Many current and former students are also regular members of many regional orchestras both in the Pittsburgh area and other locations around the United States.
Perspectives from Students and Alumni
Q: What are some favorite memories about studying at this school?
A: I love studying with Micah Howard. His knowledge of orchestral playing and producing an optimal bass sound is unparalleled by anyone I have ever met. He is extremely dedicated to teaching, which is greatly appreciated by all of his students. While preparing for an audition, I asked if I could play the audition list for him in addition to my usual lesson time. He not only listened to me and advised me on my playing for over two hours, but he even allowed me to play on the stage of Heinz Hall, giving me such an accurate depiction of playing an audition. Micah is incredibly selfless about giving his own time to his students. I also loved working with Peter Guild. His repertoire class has been extremely informative not only in preparation for auditions, but what is actually required of a bass player in an orchestral section. My favorite memory of studying at this school was the great camaraderie between the bass players in the studio. We worked extremely well together. It was an incredibly constructive and cooperative atmosphere. It was wonderful to see everyone work together and help one another get better in such a positive way. I formed great friendships with my studio mates and they helped me become a much better musician.
A: In general, my grad school experience was very fun. Living in the great city of Pittsburgh and being part of a small and tight-knit music school gave me plenty of opportunities to work hard and also to enjoy myself.
A: Studying with Micah Howard and watching the PSO.
Q: How did this school help prepare you for your future endeavors?
A: Micah has taught me so much about orchestral playing, excerpt playing, auditioning, and making music. In addition, he has served on several important orchestra committees, including the audition committee and chair of the musicians’ committee, giving him such valuable experience and knowledge of every facet of the orchestra. Peter has likewise expanded my view of excerpt playing, showing me so many different ways to make excerpts sound exceptional. The CMU Philharmonic is a great ensemble, and the Maestro, Andres Cardenes, has taught me so much about ensemble playing. Living in Pittsburgh has been a great learning experience, as I have been in close proximity to some of the finest musical institutions in the country, including the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Pittsburgh Opera, and the Pittsburgh Ballet. Simply attending a PSO concert is extremely educational and beneficial to my musical understanding.
A: The level of instruction is first rate at Carnegie Mellon. Micah Howard has been a great mentor for me and my interactions with other members of the Pittsburgh Symphony have provided me with a comprehensive musical education.
A: Fantastic teaching, driven students and a great atmosphere for learning.
Q: What advice would you offer others thinking about studying at this school?
A: I highly recommend anyone interested in CMU to go and have a trial lesson with Professor Howard. While you are there make sure to see a performance of the Pittsburgh Symphony and explore the city a little bit. You will probably find, like I did, that it is a very livable city. I often found myself so lucky to be able to live in a place with great museums, restaurants, etc… and also be able to see one of the great orchestras of the world nearly every week!
A: Do your best to attend the Pittsburgh Double Bass Symposium. It is a great opportunity to witness the great level of teaching and playing that occurs at CMU. Failing that, get in touch with Micah Howard and take a lesson with him. He is so genuine in lessons and will give you a great idea of the direction you are heading as a musician. Attempt to attend a PSO concert. This will give you a good idea of the exceptional musicianship that you will be constantly exposed to at CMU and in Pittsburgh.
A: Make a visit and you’ll see!
-Joe G, Jason M, and Ted M
Perspectives from the Bass Faculty
Q: What are some of your favorite experiences teaching at your school?
A: Pittsburgh is a great place to live, especially if you are a bassist. The students at Carnegie Mellon are all performing at a very high level, and they are a joy to work with. We have the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is a huge influence on the school of music with 22 members of the orchestra on the CMU faculty. While Micah Howard teachers the applied lessons for the bassists at the school, we are also lucky to have Peter Guild on the faculty, who teachers the Orchestral Lit. Class and coaches chamber ensembles.
All of the bassists of the Pittsburgh Symphony are also active with the students, giving master classes and private lessons. We also regularly have guest performers and teachers at the school. For the past four years we have hosted the Pittsburgh Double Bass Symposium with guests such as Hal Robinson, Tim Pitts, Max Dimoff, Kurt Muroki, Nicholas Walker and Alex Hanna just to name a few.
Duquesne University is right down the street where Pittsburgh Symphony Double Bassist Aaron White teaches. Both studios are invited and encouraged to participate in classes at both of the schools. Also, for the past two years we have held regional mock auditions in collaboration with the Cleveland Institute of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, Baldwin Wallace University, Duquesne University and Cleveland State. All of our schools coordinate repertoire for our Orchestral Lit. Classes.
About The Bass Faculty
Micah Howard enjoys a very rewarding career as both a performer and a teacher. He joined the world renowned Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in 1996 at the age of 25. As a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony, he has toured five continents, including Europe, Asia, Australia, South America and North America. Howard regularly performs as a recitalist, and chamber musician. He has also been featured as a soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
Howard has always been active as a music educator. In addition to private teaching, he regularly serves as lecturer for various universities, coaches youth ensembles, such as the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Youngstown Youth Symphony Orchestra, and in collaboration with the Pittsburgh Symphony’s outreach program, visits local grade schools and high schools to coach ensembles and promote music education. Since the spring of 2000, he has been teaching string bass as adjunct faculty at the Dana School of Music, Youngstown State University, and is also an adjunct professor at Duquesne University. At Carnegie Mellon, Howard serves as Artist Lecturer in Double Bass.
As a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony, Howard has served on several committees. Most notably, he was a member of the core audition committee for five years, serving as chair for two of those years. While on this committee, he played a role in hiring more than twenty full-time and substitute members of the orchestra. He was also involved in creating a new process, which was instituted in 2005, for hiring new musicians. Currently he is a member of the Orchestra and Artistic Committees.
Howard received his Bachelor of Music degree from Youngstown State University, and his Masters of Music degree from Duquesne University School of Music. His teachers include Tony Leonardi, Rodney Van Sickle, Edward Pales, Peter Paul Adamiac, and Jeffrey Turner. While still a student, Howard performed as a member of many regional orchestras, such as the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra, the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, and the Erie Philharmonic. He also played as a substitute with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Ballet and Opera Orchestras, and the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble. In 1995 he took first place in the International Society of Bassists Orchestral Competition.