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Composition portfolio private instructor?

hedgekwonhedgekwon 1 replies2 threads New Member
I am a student from community college planing to transfer Fall 2015.
I had played piano when I was 3 til 14
and I recently restarted taking lessons this past year (age 20) in hopes of transferring into a liberal arts school for piano performance. However, I realize my piano ability is not as solid as of those my peers who have been studying and performing with many distinguished awards.

Thus, I was hoping to transfer as a composition major which would require less piano skills.
I have taken classes in musicianship & harmony and have perfect pitch so I have basic knowledge of how notes work together.
Can you give advice in how to find an excellent music composition teacher to build my portfolio this summer?
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Replies to: Composition portfolio private instructor?

  • compmomcompmom 10907 replies77 threads Senior Member
    edited May 2014
    Have you written any music as yet? Do you feel compelled to write music? Composition, like any art, results mainly from the person's drive to do it. You may have some talent in it so I am not being discouraging at all. You can start studying with someone to see how it goes, and it may go very well. But motivation should perhaps not be to compose because you feel your piano skills aren't top notch: composition is not a backup major and is very competitive. It certainly sounds like you have potential so just start writing some music, listen to many composers, including contemporary "new" (classical) music, check out Alex Ross' book "The Rest is Noise," and definitely find a teacher. A portfolio for a music school or conservatory is usually 3-4 pieces and it helps a lot of have live musicians play and record at least a few of them. Fall 2015 transfer leaves the summer to get some of this done, but it could get stressful. This may not even be necessary....

    You mentioned a liberal arts school for piano performance...if you want to compose, and are not applying to a conservatory or music school, you can just go ahead and apply to a university or liberal arts college like anyone else. Many won't have auditions or require a portfolio at all. You can enter as an undecided and try music out, or enter as a general music major w/an interest in theory and composition and some piano skills that will help. This would be the least stressful route with the timing you have. A state university will have a music school, and some liberal arts colleges have conservatories but for the most part, you can apply and send an arts supplement with the common application that shows talent or skill- but that is optional. You can just do the common application and leave it at that.

    General music majors involve theory, music history, composition, ethnomusicology and technology in music, usually. Composers really do have the option of a general music major. If you want to perform piano, you can do that as an extracurricular, still take private lessons etc. without a performance major. In fact, you don't even need to major in music to do those things.

    I'll come back with a post to an essay on different ways to study music in a few minutes.

    Come back here anytime with more questions and good luck!
    edited May 2014
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  • compmomcompmom 10907 replies77 threads Senior Member
  • hedgekwonhedgekwon 1 replies2 threads New Member
    Thank you so much compmom!
    You understood my situation so well and your advice guided me to a clearer path to get my BA in music!
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  • compmomcompmom 10907 replies77 threads Senior Member
    edited May 2014
    Glad it helped. Just to be clear, I was suggesting applying to a college or university and not a music school or conservatory (you got that I think) which would mean the common application only and possibly an "arts supplement", which is part of the common application, but would be very optional and not necessary unless it helps with admissions. Audtions and portfolios could be avoided entirely.

    One of my paragraphs was not very clear so just wanted to clarify.

    People on this forum can also help with suggestions for colleges, and there is a thread about that as well. Good luck!
    edited May 2014
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