Music Composition?

<p>Is anyone here a music composition major? Would you mind just talking a bit about what it's like? The classes, audition requirements, good schools... all that stuff. I'm currently a junior, but I'm thinking about majoring in composition once I graduate. </p>

<p>The only school I'm looking at currently is University of Oregon, so a few more suggestions would be nice.</p>

<p>It's great that you are thinking about majoring in composition. It might help if you could tell us a little more.</p>

<p>Do you think you want to study composition at a conservatory/music school (BM degree) or at a college/university (BA degree)? For conservatories, you would generally submit a portfolio of scores and CD's of 3-4 works, then attend an "audition" if you make the prescreen. Auditions for composition may or may not include playing an instrument, and sometimes are simply an interview. For colleges, it is optional and often helpful to submit a score and CD of what you consider your best work, as a supplement to your main application. Colleges usually do not have auditions for admission, though often there are auditions once on campus, for instrumentalists anyway.</p>

<p>At colleges, composition is part of academic music study which includes theory, history, musicology, ethnomusicology, and so on. You take 50-75% other types of courses in humanities etc. In conservatory you also do theory and history classes etc. , with maybe 25% humanities classes, but there is more intense focus is on developing your craft. Some schools offer double degree programs in which you get a BA and BM, or BA and MM, taking, on average, 5 years.</p>

<p>Do you currently have a composition teacher? </p>

<p>What kind of music do you write and hope to write?</p>

<p>Have you attended any summer programs? (Strongly recommend for this summer; if you are interested there is info in this forum on summer programs and you can search application deadlines.)</p>

<p>Do you play an instrument and would you want this to be part of your study?</p>

<p>What part of the country would you like to be in for school?</p>

<p>Do you have other academic interests besides music?</p>

<p>I think I'd rather go to a college as opposed to a conservatory. I'm probably going to minor or double major in something else (maybe a bit more practical, as opposed to something I enjoy).</p>

<p>I don't have a teacher</p>

<p>I mostly do marching percussion music. I haven't actually written a full piece yet, just various bits and pieces. Like I said I have no actual composition training, so I'm mostly just messing around - not entirely sure what I'm doing. I am planning on taking a music theory class at my high next year, though. </p>

<p>I haven't attended any programs, and honestly I won't be able to do any summer ones. I marched drum corps last year, and I'm planning to the next few years, so that takes up my summer.</p>

<p>I play a lot of percussion. Drumset, marching, concert. I messed around on baritone for a few weeks, but I don't really know how to play it beyond very basic stuff. Definitely not how to write for it.</p>

<p>The midwest would be nice, or maybe the west coast. Probably not Washington, as I don't want to stay in-state. Only place I really don't want to go is the South (GA, LA, TX). </p>

<p>Uhhh... I'm pretty good at math. I also really like Japanese, currently in my 3rd year of taking it.</p>

<p>It sounds like applying to a college or university with a marching band (and drum corps) would be best for you. You could participate in the band or drum corps, and write music for them as well. Taking theory next year will tell you a little about what a music major is like.</p>

<p>Some colleges have composition as a major, but most have a general music major, though often with enough wiggle room to do composition a lot. The music major is honestly no picnic, with theory and history classes, musicology, score analysis, etc.</p>

<p>You could also major in math or Japanese or some other subject you discover an interest in, and either do music as an extracurricular or take a few music classes as electives or a minor.</p>

<p>Most likely, you would not have to audition at all to get into a school, but probably you would audition to get into band or drum corps.</p>

<p>Others can come on here and suggest schools in the Midwest.</p>

<p>Music can be a practical major. Like any other BA, it gives you entry to the job market and to grad school, including law and med school. Potential jobs don't have to be related to music, but there are also music-related jobs of all sorts out there.</p>

<p>Overall, I think you could just explore things for a couple more years while also participating in the percussion, and "messing around" with writing for percussion, that you enjoy so much.</p>

<p>Compmom is right about you going to a college with a marching band. My son also did drumcorp and loves marching band, so he selected a major university where he could do marching band and perform in front of crowds of 80,000+ people.</p>

<p>She is also probably right that you do not have enough composition or music experiance yet to major in composition. You may want to very seriously consider a performance or music ed major where you will take likes of music theory (usually a prerequsitiion for music comp anyway). Music ed may really be your strenght though. Instrumental (as opposed to chorus) music ed majors get to concentrate a lot on their primary instrument, but also learn multiple instruments. I can't think of a better background for a composer than someone who knows percusion inside and out and cap play on at least a begginer level: piano (required classes for music ed), woodwinds and brass instruments and maybe even some string instruments.</p>

<p>After finishing your first few music theory classes, if you still think that you want to be a comp major, then you should be able to change your major. If you just want to specialize in writting percussion parts, there is a big market for such (many composers do not write percussion parts, or they farm them out). A BM in percussion performance, taking electives in composition, would be just about as valuable to a percussion only composer/arranger as would a comp degree.</p>

<p>You don't have to declare your major immediately, correct? I know I'm taking music theory next year, so would I be able to begin college just taking various music classes, and decide from there if I want to go to composition, performance, music ed, etc?</p>

<p>That varies from school to school and from degree program to degree program. If you are talking about a BM degree or a Music Ed degree, then there will likely be auditions and, for Music Ed, an interview. If you do not start those programs as a freshman, it may take an extra semester or two to be able to satisfy all the degree requirements even if you do take music theory both semesters of freshman year. There may even be different theory classes for majors and non-majors, so be careful there as well.</p>

<p>If you are talking about a BA program with an emphasis on composition or performance, then you may well be able to get by without having to declare a major your first year. In fact, at some schools, you cannot declare a music major (BA) until the start of your second year.</p>

<p>My parents are bugging me about college visits, so any suggestions for schools with a good music program? I honestly have no ideas. I'd prefer state schools, mainly for the marching band. I don't really want to go to the deep south, but I'll take suggestions for basically anywhere. Thank you!</p>

<p>you said midwest?</p>

<p>I know University of Michigan is a top music school, and it's a state school.</p>

<p>It's a school of music though, not department, meaning there is no BA and you have to audition and there is a bigger focus on music.</p>

<p>Could you explain what a BA, BM, all that stuff is?</p>

<p>BA is Bachelor of Arts, and a major is often 10-12 classes, sometimes more, but generally around 1/4- 1/3 of all classes taken to graduate. BA's are usually not performance, but for academic music subjects such as theory, history, composition, ethnomusicology and music technology. Usually students do not audition for admission, but may audition for ensembles and so on once there. Samples of work can be sent to help with the application as a supplement, however.</p>

<p>BM is Bachelor of Music, and is generally offered in conservatories and music schools. many state universities offer a BM, actually. BM's include performance degrees, for instrumentalists, vocalists, and composers, and also some major in theory. Music classes for a BM make up more like 2/3-3/4 of coursework. Application involves auditioning, often very competitively.</p>

<p>Some schools offer both, in a double degree program over 5 years. Some schools offer a BA/MM (Master of Music) degree over 5 years.</p>

<p>Double major is different from a double degree, of course. You can do a BA and major in two subjects, or major in one and minor in another. Some also do this for the BM.</p>

<p>Sorry to repeat myself here.</p>

<p>It sounds as if you already feel as if a state school would work for you. You could probably go for a year and sample classes and then decide on a major, and decide on how you want to continue your music. You may even end up doing something else entirely, academically, while participating in band and drum corps. Or, who knows, your music could become more of a focus in school. Good luck!</p>

<p>The Ohio State University marching band claims to be the 'Best Damn Band in the Land.' The university's music school is top notch if you are percussion, brass or classical voice. The marching band is a big sound and only has percussion and brass (no woodwinds).</p>


<p>If you have not already done so, might I suggest that you read the first dozen or so articles in the thread <a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>