right arrow
Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04

music composition for undergraduates in the west

composermomcomposermom 14 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
Hello all, I feel relatively confident that I have a good idea of the well-regarded music composition programs on the east coast and midwest. But am curious about such schools as Denver Lamont School of Music, Stanford, UCLA, UCSD, Chapman, UCSB. Does anyone have info to share about how robust their composition. programs are and how well their graduates do? I know UCLA is a BA and not a BM, but some have said they consider it to be relatively similar. I also know that USC is probably considered the best in CA other than possibly SF Conservatory. I have searched the forum and the most recent discussion seems a bit old now. Thanks!
5 replies
· Reply · Share

Replies to: music composition for undergraduates in the west

  • SpiritManagerSpiritManager 2815 replies66 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    What is your student looking for in an undergraduate composition program? There are so many routes that are possible at a multitude of schools. One program which would be right for one student, may not be the right choice for another. What does your student need at this point for their own development?
    · Reply · Share
  • WestOfPCHWestOfPCH 107 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @composermom - Some thoughts:
    - USC and SFConservatory are definitely tops in California.
    - IMHO, USC Thornton is definitely the best anywhere West of the Mississippi River, with expertise in both classical composition and Film & TV scoring and awesome faculty in both areas; they have both depth and breadth, older composers and younger ones. Of course, Thonton also the hardest school to get into and one of the toughest admits in the country
    - You should consider adding CalArts to your list, in fact I'd put it 3rd behind USC and SFC. VERY strong composition faculty, though the program definitely leans avant garde and some students aren't into that.
    - We had a family friend's son just get accepted to the UCSB College of Creative Studies. Most of his writing is rather straight-forward and melodic (not to mention electronic), so a more traditional conservatory was not the best fit for him. If you're interested in hearing some examples of his music just to see the level of composition of someone accepted into UCSB, send me a DM and I'll share his Soundcloud link with you.
    - I know UCSD's graduate composition program is strong, but not sure about undergrad side

    Good luck!
    · Reply · Share
  • Racingfan53Racingfan53 69 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I'm instate in California and recommend you check out the CSU system. While the UC's are definitely higher regarded schools academically, and UCLA has a great music school, many of the CSU's are phenomenal for arts majors in general and music majors specifically. Many of the very good musicians in the greater LA and SD areas teach at the universities because sometimes, private lessons and playing in symphonies/singing in choruses don't make ends meet in SoCal (at least, that is my guess.)
    Though I am not looking at comp programs, Bob Cole Conservatory at CSULB is well worth looking into. CSUF is on my own list (music ed). CSUN's music program is very well regarded. SDSU is great for some departments. I actually know someone who went to Cal Poly Pomona for music ed and thought it was great.
    · Reply · Share
  • compmomcompmom 10686 replies76 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    In addition to SF Conservatory, CalArts, UC's (Include Berkeley), Stanford, USC, Chapman, Denver and CSU's there are a few other possibilities. University of Washington, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Puget Sound, Lewis and Clark, University of the Pacific and in the Midwest, Oberlin, Lawrence, Michigan, U. of Chicago, Northwestern, College of Wooster, Macalaster, and St. Olaf come to mind. University of Victoria in BC is good too, as is McGill further east.

    As discussed elsewhere, a composition student does not need to do a BM to develop and do well for grad school. But if a student wants full immersion, a BM might be the best choice. The list I gave is mixed in terms of degree offered. For a BA composer it is sometimes better to attend a school without a BM program though there are exceptions (Oberlin just enhanced its BA program for instance).

    UCSD is one of the top programs for "innovative" classical composition, in the world, but I don't know much about the undergrad experience. There is also the ICAM program there. Stanford has a great program too.

    Honestly, students in the top composition grad programs come from all kinds of schools and backgrounds so I always hope folks can focus on the actual experience for the undergrad years, rather than future prospects :) Sounds like you are doing that.....

    · Reply · Share
  • composermomcomposermom 14 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thanks all!
    · Reply · Share
Sign In or Register to comment.

Recent Activity