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Electroacoustic Composition Programs

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Replies to: Electroacoustic Composition Programs

  • kmcmom13kmcmom13 Registered User Posts: 3,915 Senior Member
    Hi again! On the way to work my son and I discussed this thread and he gave me a bit of a history lesson/lecture about electro acoustic form (claims is not a genre, rather, an approach integrated in much composition), the history of electronic and computer music in Ann Arbor, and the abundance of opportunity and e/a + electronic comp flavor available to students at U Mich. He feels it's a pretty robust environment for same both in class and out of class/extracurricularly (eg. his adviser does a candlelight Cage concert every year; the electronic chamber group recently performed a Cage piece entirely on vacuums, very popular underground electronic label there, etc.) ;)

    At any rate, he said to let you know he'd be happy to talk to your son if he'd like more info about the ways to get the right combo or his interests inside the PAT disciplines at UMich ;)
    Just thought I'd let you know!
  • musictechdadmusictechdad Registered User Posts: 46 Junior Member
    Compmom, I think our thinking is evolving a bit. Initially I think he wanted to only consider places with an obvious tech focus because he didn't want to end up somewhere that rejects electronic/computer music out of hand. That led us to look at Timara, PAT, Frost and to start to consider straight music tech programs. In that exploration process he was able to clarify that he didn't want music tech (as in recording engineering and the like) but wanted composition without giving up his passion for e/a, electronic, computer music.

    Thanks to this thread I am starting to see that his fear of the anti-electronic focus is probably unfounded. I do remember reading at least one program description that said something like, "If computer music is your focus, there are other schools more appropriate for you."

    I agree with you that he needs a strong foundation in traditional composition/theory at the undergraduate level. I think our best strategy is to find a place that provides a good foundation but also has good electronic offerings. I think I am convinced that it doesn't have to be specific tech program like Timara to provide what he is looking for. The Bard BA Composition program looks to be a good example of what would be a good fit.

    I also agree that specializing at the graduate level makes a lot of sense.

    In 24 hours I have gone from wondering if we had any options to realizing that we have lots of options. The biggest change is the realization that the BA path has a lot of merit.
  • musictechdadmusictechdad Registered User Posts: 46 Junior Member
    Thank you again kmcmom13! I will pass that info and offer from your son. I think he just ended up with a group of mPulse PAT campers that were not lined up very well with his interests. He says he is the only one out of 13 campers that would be interested in the "B" track so the camp has been very heavy into recording. It doesn't help that the general mPulse camp itself is very strict about computer use, electronics use (they confiscated his laptop and iPad at the beginning) and very tight and controlled overall. He describes it as worse than military school.
  • SpiritManagerSpiritManager Registered User Posts: 2,819 Senior Member
    I think there certainly are music departments/professors who won't be supportive of electroacoustic music - and some departments will be more firmly (even conservatively) rooted in MAX/MSP and less open to different ways to work with electronic music. Often if a professor was a pioneer in the field they're holding tight to what they wrought.

    We also found that certain departments were less enthusiastic about traditional classical music than they were about electro acoustic!

    In other words, your son needs to really do some research - both online, and in conversation with the professors in the department, to get a true sense of their aesthetic and openness.

    Other universities, not mentioned yet, which offer programs in electro-acoustic music include University of Virginia, Univ. of Illinois, and CCM at Univ of Cincinnati. And that's just scratching the surface.
  • kmcmom13kmcmom13 Registered User Posts: 3,915 Senior Member
    ^This is totally true, and true (surprisingly to me) of *some* tech programs at some places where there is otherwise an appreciation for the E/A form. I won't name names, but at one tech program the director made a comment in response to a question suggesting that their dept historically didn't work with the "airy-fairey-electro-acoustic-comp" department ;)
  • SpiritManagerSpiritManager Registered User Posts: 2,819 Senior Member
    Another school to check out is Wesleyan University. Alvin Lucier and Paula Matthusen are there.
  • musician34musician34 Registered User Posts: 72 Junior Member
    CCM might be worth looking into; electroacoustic music is definitely supported and there are specific concerts devoted to it. There was an electronic music tour following my interview that gave me the opportunity to see the equipment and facilities, listen to a doctoral student talk about the program, and hear some recent projects. I'm required to take an electronic music course as a freshman composition major next semester.

    There is some information on the website if you look at "Center for Computer Music" and its subcategories:
    http://ccm.uc.edu/music/cmt/events/computermusic.html
  • mamakinmamakin Registered User Posts: 85 Junior Member
    I have a son in the Future Music program at University of Oregon. It is a sub-section of the Music department. The first two years will be mainly traditional music, and you do have to be accepted into the Music department on a "traditional" instrument.
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