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  1. #1

    Default Help with becoming a music composition major?

    I plan on becoming a music composition major and will soon be sending out transfer applications for the December 1 deadline at most conservatories. I have scores to submit, but many of the schools that I want to attend require recordings of works (which I don't have!).

    What are some good ways to get compositions recorded, especially with only four or so months available?

    Some additional info:
    -I just finished my first year at a local community college and will be going back in the Fall.
    -I already have completed Music Theory I-IV (tested out of I-II), Ear Training I-II, Music Composition I, Honors Choir (I rehearsed the chamber choir for several weeks and conducted a piece at our spring concert), Applied Piano I-II, and will be taking more music classes in the Fall.
    -Ideally, I want to transfer to USC in the Fall of 2013 after completing my second year of community college.

    I'm well-rounded musically. I have plenty of theory and ear-training under my belt, got a I rating at State Solo Contest for voice in high school, have attended a music composition camp, am familiar with classical, jazz, and rock harmonic idioms, and have been composing for years. It would be frustrating to have come this far and not make it as a composition major because I don't have live recordings of my music. I do have MIDI Mockups using quality sample libraries, (East-West Symphonic Orchestra) but many colleges want real recordings. I could probably put $300 toward recording but that's it, and I don't even know where to start finding good performers.

    My other frustration is that these conservatories seem to want compositions in a variety of orchestrations. I can find a pianist, but am I expected to submit a recording of a full-orchestral or even chamber piece? Would it lesson my chances if I just submitted solo pieces or something like piano/violin?

    Any advice would be very appreciated.

  2. #2

    Default

    I would think your best bet is to e-mail the composition faculty directly to ask them what they would like to see/hear from you, and possibly how to go about doing something like that. My school's theory/comp major is very hard to get into, but the portfolio only has to consist of a few different contrasting pieces -- of any ensemble size.

    Anyway, just e-mail them.

    Milchh's Transcription & Arrangement Request Thread!


    Repertoire
    Bach: Prelude and Fugue in Bb minor, WTK Bk. II
    Schubert: Piano Sonata in A minor, D. 845 Op. 42
    Satie: Desiccated Embryos
    Debussy: Étude No. 1, 'pour les cinq doigts' L. 136
    Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No. 7 in Bb Major, Op. 83
    Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 1 in F# minor, Op. 1


  3. #3

    Default

    I'm going to second Milchh here. By far the best way to figure out (and occassionally, work around) their expectations is to contact them personally. They may even make compromises/special exceptions if you can explain your situation etc. Best of luck!

  4. #4
    Dildoman Member Thorn's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
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    London, UK

    Default

    Pretty much as above.

    In terms of recording full orchestral works, any sensible composition department won't expect that. For my dissertation I wrote a piano concerto and sequenced the whole orchestral part using Logic which was as close to realistic as you could get (then played the piano part on top of it). That was accepted and I didn't get any criticism over the fact it wasn't a real recording.

    Write something for instruments you have access to/have friends to play? Messiaen's Quartet for the end of time was written for clarinet, violin, cello and piano because they were the instruments he had at his disposal when he wrote it. The conservatoires here in the UK are very big on contemporary music and that sort of thing would go down really well- I imagine the US is the same because composition is about making music right now, it's not about ability to write a genuine sounding classical string quartet or something. The US has more skilled contemporary composers than we do in the UK, so I would be very shocked to hear of their conservatoire composition departments churning out a bunch of traditionalist mimics.
    1/4 of the IRC Pyro Quartet

    <Gekkeiju> I doubt sperm would taste good on your cereal=]

    Currently practicing
    Various things, totally smitten with Albeniz's Iberia suite

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorn View Post
    The conservatoires here in the UK are very big on contemporary music and that sort of thing would go down really well- I imagine the US is the same because composition is about making music right now, it's not about ability to write a genuine sounding classical string quartet or something. The US has more skilled contemporary composers than we do in the UK, so I would be very shocked to hear of their conservatoire composition departments churning out a bunch of traditionalist mimics.
    Exactly -- (I forgot to mention this) schools don't really care about how well you write in "classical" or "romantic" styles... so long as you have your own sound in mind and also direction for your craft.

    Milchh's Transcription & Arrangement Request Thread!


    Repertoire
    Bach: Prelude and Fugue in Bb minor, WTK Bk. II
    Schubert: Piano Sonata in A minor, D. 845 Op. 42
    Satie: Desiccated Embryos
    Debussy: Étude No. 1, 'pour les cinq doigts' L. 136
    Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No. 7 in Bb Major, Op. 83
    Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 1 in F# minor, Op. 1


  6. #6

    Default

    Thank you everyone for the helpful information! I feel significantly less stress now.

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