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UCSD Music department?

0RayLee00RayLee0 Registered User Posts: 158 Junior Member
Hi, I will be applying next year and I'm considering the music composition major at ucsd. However, I don't have any info for this department ( requirement.. audition..etc) I will also be applying to USC. does anyone know anything about the music composition at ucsd? is it mostly classical or contemporary ( commercial-music)? and what are the requirements?): thank you!

Replies to: UCSD Music department?

  • DmitriMauricioDmitriMauricio Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    I was a music composition major at UCSD. First, I would advise you to go to UCSD especially if you have either a passion for contemporary music or are open to gaining an appreciation for it. Youtube some current UCSD faculty composers' compositions and see if the type of music performed is a genre you could see yourself writing (you don't have to be able to write it now). UCSD has an outstanding new music department, but don't come thinking you'll wow the department with your Bach and Beethoven or tonal or commercial-sounding compositions-- though you can still write these types of compositions abd major in composition. If you can't stand the sound of Xenaxis and Ligeti, I would probably say go elsewhere.

    There are no audition requirements to enter the music curriculum (though to get lessons there are). Because of this, classmates have very different musical backgrounds and talents. Expect to meet a lot of double-majors in disciplines such as biochemistry, engineering or physics. Because of this, music is not always the top priority and thus the environment is not musically competitive at the undergrad level. If you go, think ahead if you want to be competitive at the master's level. Apply for the Honors Program junior year and this will allow you to have the equivalent of a senior recital since students don't have one unless they participate in the Honors program.

    The grad students at UCSD are top-notch, often internationally recognized new music performers and composers. It's a good thing they are because, as an undergraduate music major, you will have many classes taught by them.

    Depending on your level, you are first placed in an almost cohort-like year-long sequence of either, 1, the lower division basic musicianship that pretty much assumes illiteracy or, 2, the upper-division theory course starting from counterpoint. The second-year upper division theory is mostly contemporary music theory. You can expect to have most of the same 10-15 classmates enrolled in these classes for two or three years, so if you want a small, friendly, environment within a large public research university, it might be a good choice.

    As a composition major you also enroll in a two-year long, also cohort-like composition major sequence in addition to lessons. It is a seminar-type format usually around six or seven students where you bring in compositions and classmates and the teacher comment on them. It's not too structured and there were different composing styles represented. The first year it is usually taught by grad students and second year it is taught by faculty members. You make a recording of your pieces at the end of each quarter.

    If you go, definitely take advantage of the amazing Cognitive Science and Psychology courses on Music and the Mind, Psychology of Music, etc. if you have any interest. Also if you have perfect pitch, participate in an absolute pitch research study going on.

    Good luck!
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