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Thread: How should I find a school for composition? Is careersinmusic.com trustworthy?

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    Senior Member Fredx2098's Avatar
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    Default How should I find a school for composition? Is careersinmusic.com trustworthy?

    I'm trying to get back into learning about music composition. I might prefer private lessons, but I think they would be more expensive in the long run (is that true?). I live in Elkhart, Indiana and I'd like to stick to schools around here.

    So far I've looked at Indiana University South Bend. The music program looks extensive. The professor of composition seems like a great composer whose music should go well with my own style, and he's active in contemporary music (in the next week there are 4 performances of his newly premiered opera in Spain).

    I'd like to know if there are any other options though. The website careersinmusic.com seems like it would do the job if nothing nefarious is going on there.

    Any advice for my situation?

    Edit: That wesbite doesn't seem trustworthy. It wants my personal information and it seems to be linked to Full Sail.
    Last edited by Fredx2098; Sep-07-2018 at 12:52.

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    If you don’t find a school in your area, I would highly recommend the Berklee School of Music:
    https://www.berklee.edu/composition/...SAAEgIS-_D_BwE

    The composition course covers…

    ISKB-211: Basic Keyboard Techniques 1
    ISKB-212: Basic Keyboard Techniques 2
    CP-311: Advanced Counterpoint
    CM-221: Techniques of Tonal Writing
    CM-398: Directed Study in Composition 1
    MLAN-311: Analysis of Classical and Romantic Music
    MLAN-312: Analysis of 20th- and 21st- Century Music
    CM-231: Instrumentation and Score Preparation
    CM-311: Contemporary Techniques in Composition 1
    CM-312: Contemporary Techniques in Composition 2
    CM-441: Scoring for Full Orchestra
    CM-497: Directed Study in Composition 2
    CM-498: Directed Study in Orchestral Composition 3
    Approved Specified Electives
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Sep-07-2018 at 12:58.
    ”Art is how we decorate space; Music is how we decorate time.”

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    Senior Member Fredx2098's Avatar
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    Of course I would like to pick from the best schools in the world, but most of them are out of my reach. My health keeps me from moving, especially so far away from my family.

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    Senior Member Vasks's Avatar
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    If all you want to do is study with a composer and do not need other courses, then finding one and taking private lessons is best. If you want to take other music classes, then you must apply and hope to be accepted by the university. I really don't know how they'd look on someone just wanting to be a part-time student. An applied professor (think of composition lessons as applied, since it's one-on-one & one-on-one instruction is extremely expensive for the college) has only so many teaching slots and if they usually are all filled I don't see how they'd let you sign up. But that may not be true for all schools, so I'd inquire with the composition instructor first to see if what you want to do is feasible at his/her institution.
    "Music in any generation is not what the public thinks of it but what the musicians make of it"....Virgil Thomson

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    Senior Member Fredx2098's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vasks View Post
    If all you want to do is study with a composer and do not need other courses, then finding one and taking private lessons is best. If you want to take other music classes, then you must apply and hope to be accepted by the university. I really don't know how they'd look on someone just wanting to be a part-time student. An applied professor (think of composition lessons as applied, since it's one-on-one & one-on-one instruction is extremely expensive for the college) has only so many teaching slots and if they usually are all filled I don't see how they'd let you sign up. But that may not be true for all schools, so I'd inquire with the composition instructor first to see if what you want to do is feasible at his/her institution.
    I'm planning to meet and speak with the composition isntructor when he's back from Spain. The reason I'm looking for a school rather than a private instructor is because the former seems to be less expensive in the long run. Am I wrong? I also need piano lessons. I was already enrolled in the music program at UIC, not for composition though. I think it may be easier to get in as I may be considered a transfer student.

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    The Jacobs School at Indiana University in Bloomington is probably your best bet, if you wish to stay in Indiana and can make that work. But you'd have to be a fully matriculated student, I imagine (?). I don't know anything about the South Bend campus.

    https://music.indiana.edu/department...c/composition/

    If you could get yourself to Chicago?, Augusta Read Thomas teaches composition at the University of Chicago. She studied with the late Alan Stout at Northwestern University (who studied with Vagn Holmboe & Henry Cowell), and others. But again, it's probably a full degree program.

    https://music.uchicago.edu/page/augusta-read-thomas

    There's also John Harbison at MIT and Martin Boykan at Brandeis University, if you could make Boston work, as well as Joseph Schwantner at Yale University in New Haven.

    However, from what you're saying, getting out of Indiana isn't really an option for you--so I'd suggest looking into the Jacobs School in Bloomington. Is that too far from you?

    I'd also stay abreast of any composition masterclasses being given by any of the current Scandinavian composers, such as Magnus Lindberg, Ib Nørholm, Per Nørgard, Paavo Heininen, Harri Vuori, etc., as there might be one you could attend in the states at some point (maybe even at the Jacobs School, for instance).

    Hope that helps.
    Last edited by Josquin13; Sep-07-2018 at 17:09.

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    Senior Member Vasks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josquin13 View Post
    The Jacobs School at Indiana University in Bloomington is probably your best bet, if you wish to stay in Indiana and can make that work. But you'd have to be a fully matriculated student, I imagine (?). I don't know anything about the South Bend campus.

    https://music.indiana.edu/department...c/composition/

    If you could get yourself to Chicago?, Augusta Read Thomas teaches composition at the University of Chicago. She studied with the late Alan Stout at Northwestern University (who studied with Vagn Holmboe & Henry Cowell), and others. But again, it's probably a full degree program.

    https://music.uchicago.edu/page/augusta-read-thomas



    There's also John Harbison at MIT and Martin Boykan at Brandeis University, if you could make Boston work, as well as Joseph Schwantner at Yale University in New Haven.

    However, from what you're saying, getting out of Indiana isn't really an option for you--so I'd suggest looking into the Jacobs School in Bloomington. Is that too far from you?

    I'd also stay abreast of any composition masterclasses being given by any of the current Scandinavian composers, such as Magnus Lindberg, Ib Nørholm, Per Nørgard, Paavo Heininen, Harri Vuori, etc., as there might be one you could attend in the states at some point (maybe even at the Jacobs School, for instance).

    Hope that helps.
    The problem with all those great composers is that they usually teach a handfull of graduate students. And even if they did any undergrads, they would do so only if they knew that the student was unbelievably gifted.
    Last edited by Vasks; Sep-07-2018 at 19:12.
    "Music in any generation is not what the public thinks of it but what the musicians make of it"....Virgil Thomson

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    Senior Member Vasks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredx2098 View Post
    The reason I'm looking for a school rather than a private instructor is because the former seems to be less expensive in the long run. Am I wrong?
    I don't know, but my gut says paying an individual every time you have a session may be cheaper or no more expensive especially if you meet once in a while when needed (as in you've got plenty of music written to share) and not weekly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fredx2098 View Post
    I also need piano lessons. I was already enrolled in the music program at UIC, not for composition though. I think it may be easier to get in as I may be considered a transfer student.
    That sounds like you'll be fine then.
    "Music in any generation is not what the public thinks of it but what the musicians make of it"....Virgil Thomson

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    Senior Member Fredx2098's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vasks View Post
    I don't know, but my gut says paying an individual every time you have a session may be cheaper or no more expensive especially if you meet once in a while when needed (as in you've got plenty of music written to share) and not weekly.



    That sounds like you'll be fine then.
    I've only had an experience with one private composition instructor for a short time. He charged $100 for each hour of lessons, and even charged money to have text conversations. I would like the intereact with my composition teacher as much as possible and have an unihibited personal relationship with them. I feel like a school would be the place for that. Unless somehow there is a private composition teacher near me who has a similar style to mine and doesn't charge money to be friends. My options are probably limited around here.

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    Perhaps the best place to start is to keep up with your keyboard studies, which can be helpful in composition exercises, and do your own independent studies along the way until you can find an affordable school. A school that does not require advanced prerequisites might be the way to go. Best wishes.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Sep-07-2018 at 21:17.
    ”Art is how we decorate space; Music is how we decorate time.”

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