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Topic: Thinking about school again...

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  1. #1

    Thinking about school again...

    ok, I am thinking again about going back to school to pursue bachelors and Masters of music composition. Will I go through with it? Yet to be determined. My question for you guys.. WHERE? Obviously Berklee has been on my list for a long time. But its far away from home, expensive and the town is expensive to live in also. Any other decent schools in cheaper locales such as Texas or something? What do you guys/girls know about?

    Me, I'm 40 year old frustrated software engineer with 2 years of composition degree completed a LLOOOOONNNNNGGGG time ago and various private studies since then. I'm fully prepared to go back to square one and take as long as it takes to do this. But I'd also like to find somplace that is really good for composition in particular. I would also prefer to not have to spend a lot of time and energy becoming proficient at classical piano performance (many schools require pretty substantial instrument performance and that is my primary instrument). My focus is about composition. Though if a school allowed me to do Piano jazz performance I would be more into it...as long as the composition side did not lean too heavily towards jazz..

    K...so tell me what you think. Think cheap cheap locale. I'm gonna try to live off savings for a few years...be an honest to god starving student musician..
    "Music is a manifestation of the human spirit similar to a language. If we do not want such things to remain dead treasures, we must do our utmost to make the greatest number of people understand their secrets" -- Zoltan Kodaly

  2. #2

    Re: Thinking about school again...

    For undergrad, you have to have applied lessons on an instrument, so be ready for that.

    Plenty of schools in your area. A state university is probably best for what you want to do. Just practice your piano and show up with a portfolio of neatly notated music. If you want to ge the Masters, you will need to go to an accredited school and the piano will be a necessity. Another good thing about going to a larger University is a large number of people to play your stuff.

    I am getting my masters at UT in Knoxville, TN right now. It is a lot of fun and I am composing a hell of a lot right now.
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
    Personal Website

  3. #3

    Re: Thinking about school again...

    Can you please be a little more specific when you say "Piano will be a neccessity"?? I have played piano on and off since 8 years old. When I was studying composition in the university in my younger years I was doing the work with piano as my main instrument. However, I felt that it was highly distracting as I was spending 3 hours or more per day perfecting classical piano pieces which had absolutely nothing to do with the direction I want to go in composing. That is precisely what I want to avoid. Now, if there is a school that will allow me to learn jazz piano instead, and they don't expect me to be a concert level pianist in order to graduate, then that will be more applicable to me since jazz piano playing involves a much deeper understanding of music thoery and improvisation, which will help my writing.

    If I am only dreaming, then forget it, school is out because I don't want to spend the next 3 years proving to professors that I can play the piano in order to get them to teach me how to compose..
    "Music is a manifestation of the human spirit similar to a language. If we do not want such things to remain dead treasures, we must do our utmost to make the greatest number of people understand their secrets" -- Zoltan Kodaly

  4. #4

    Re: Thinking about school again...

    ps - The SF bay area is too expensive. I need to find someplace cheaper to live while I do this... uh... I think. I could be talked out of that notion with good reason...
    "Music is a manifestation of the human spirit similar to a language. If we do not want such things to remain dead treasures, we must do our utmost to make the greatest number of people understand their secrets" -- Zoltan Kodaly

  5. #5

    Re: Thinking about school again...

    Hey Dewdman!

    You mentioned Texas and right now I'm in Austin, TX going to a private university, Southwestern U in Georgetown, for my degree in composition and theory. I'm sure the living will be a lot cheaper here than in San Fran, but the universities are still pretty expensive. Since my university is a private school the cost is sky high, but I love the school. We have UT here which is a really good school for music and we also have North Texas which is good for jazz theory and comp. I'll be going to UT for my grad school in comp and theory.

    Every school I looked at required the student to take piano the whole time which involved barriers and juries, etc to prove that progress is being made. I know how you feel, I have to practice the piano AT LEAST three hours a day to keep up. If, you want more specific info on any schools over here let me and I can search around for you. Good luck in your search!
    http://www.jamesjumonville.com

    Captain Hook (if you see Pan let me know!)

  6. #6

    Re: Thinking about school again...

    yea yea. maybe I'll just have to buck up and do the 3 hours a day...(sigh)..I would feel better about it if they would let me do contemporary piano instead of classical though. Some universities are more flexible than others. I actually have more experience with classical, but I feel that contemporary piano studies would augment my writing much more.

    Please do tell me more about the various Texas universities. I am in a situation where if I can get my expenses for the year down to a certain size..I can squeak through without loans, etc. I'd be curious about tuition costs for various different schools and living expenses. For me, Berklee would be the perfect school, but sheesh, tuition is like $30k a year and Boston is an expensive city to live in. So that is kind of the top most I would consider paying and frankly...I don't know if I could do it without going into a bit of debt. I'd rather find a way to pay half that much per year (including living expenses)...for someplace that is still half decent.
    "Music is a manifestation of the human spirit similar to a language. If we do not want such things to remain dead treasures, we must do our utmost to make the greatest number of people understand their secrets" -- Zoltan Kodaly

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Re: Thinking about school again...

    North Texas State College in Denton is a HIGHLY regarded music school, particularyly for jazz. It also would be cheaper living than in Austin because there isn't much around it to cost a whole lot.

    I personally think it is as good as Berklee in the jazz field. Pete Rugolo, who did a LOT of the Stan Kenton arrangements along with a fair amount of film music, got his education there.

    The only problem is you will have to adjust to the climate, which is a lot hotter in the summer than the Bay Area is.

    Tom

  8. #8
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Re: Thinking about school again...

    There are many fine universities I suggest contacting those of which you feel may be well suited within your own finances. Send requests for information from the colleges of most interest to you!
    All I can do is offer my deepest "best of luck" in pursuing your goals! I went back at age 40 and although it was the hardest goal I ever pursued, it was quite worth every penny!
    Wishing you much luck!
    Styxx

  9. #9

    Re: Thinking about school again...

    Hi Dewdman,
    have you had a look at the EIS [Equal Interval System] method of composition? Many prominent artists give this very high backing as a method for music study in relation to composition as you'll see on the webpages.
    Here's the link..
    http://www.equalinterval.com/
    They also have a forum for this with examples of the work based on the method....
    http://www.vi-control.net/forum/view...0d9caf575ae542

    I've been in communication with David Blumberg, and the good thing about this course is that these guys, David and Craig Sharmat, are working in the music industry and have their hand pretty much on the pulse of what happens with the industry. David is pretty way up there, recently involved in arranging music for a recording that received a grammy award, plus a quite large list of achievements in the music world etc.
    heres a link to his page of mp3 examples..
    http://homepage.mac.com/WebObjects/F...cty=US&lang=en

    There is no particular "style" of composition taught, rather practical concepts etc that relate to down to earth music composition.
    just thought I would give it a mention to you.

  10. #10

    Re: Thinking about school again...

    That's very interesting and something I may look into eventually, but right now I am really interested in going to an actual brick and mortar school and working with teachers and other students and being pushed, and coming out the other end with diplomas. Interesting though...I had not heard of that before...I will keep my eyes on it.
    "Music is a manifestation of the human spirit similar to a language. If we do not want such things to remain dead treasures, we must do our utmost to make the greatest number of people understand their secrets" -- Zoltan Kodaly

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