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#1925191 - 07/10/12 07:29 PM Young Composer, Options for Next Summer and College
darb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/25/04
Posts: 123
Hi, I am the parent of a young composer (junior in high school). I have 2 question areas:

1. Summer program: We're looking for a summer program for next summer. There is some information on the web, so I have gone to some sites such as Interlocken. There is a local summer conservatory in Houston called American Festival of the Arts that has a composer track. We live near there. Does anyone have knowledge of that program or other summer options?

2. College: She is thinking about going to college for music and is working toward being able to pass college auditions. Her current activities are composing pieces primarily for piano or small emsemble, and songwriting /recording /producing. She's interested in orchestration, film scoring, production and business. Since her interests are pretty broad I'm not sure where to start in guiding her in her college choices. I would think a music school with a composition and theory degree would be suitable, but I don't know very much about music schools.

Thank you.

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#1925381 - 07/11/12 10:17 AM Re: Young Composer, Options for Next Summer and College [Re: darb]
JorgeBol Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/22/11
Posts: 123
What Country do you live in?

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#1925675 - 07/12/12 01:50 AM Re: Young Composer, Options for Next Summer and College [Re: JorgeBol]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: JorgeBol
What Country do you live in?


Originally Posted By: darb
There is a local summer conservatory in Houston called American Festival of the Arts that has a composer track. We live near there.
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#1925678 - 07/12/12 02:15 AM Re: Young Composer, Options for Next Summer and College [Re: darb]
Sand Tiger Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1068
Loc: Southern California
I don't have much direct information, but dislike seeing questions like this go unanswered.

from the list at:
http://education-portal.com/top_music_colleges.html
Top schools from that list for composition might be Harvard and Berklee School of Music, both in the Boston area. Columbia University in New York has a partnership program with Julliard. Mind you, these tend to be tough schools to get into and can be very expensive.

As an aside, a friend's kid applied to Berklee for undergraduate songwriting. The kid made it into the program. However the parents vetoed the idea, because both parents agreed that the value of a songwriting degree is questionable at best. Most working songwriters go out and do it, almost always with a degree in another discipline, or no degree at all. I don't know if that is also true for working composers, but it is a question that needs to be asked before spending four years and what might be big money on an undergraduate degree.

As for some less costly schools, the following list was posted on another forum when a question was asked about state schools with good music programs. Some state schools are up there in costs if a person is from out of state, but still likely less than some on that first list.
U. Washington, Seattle
U. Oregon
UC, Berkeley
UCLA
UCSD
UCSB
U. Arizona, Tuscon
U. Colorado, Boulder
UT, Austin
U. North Texas
U. Missouri, Kansas City
U. Minnesota, Twin Cities
U. Indiana, Bloomington
U. Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
U. Michigan, Ann Arbor
Florida State University
U. Virginia
Rutgers
SUNY, Buffalo
SUNY, Stony Brook
SUNY, Postsdam

Good luck and report back if the kid does apply and/or get in.

Both of the Texas schools from the above list offer composition:
UT Austin
http://www.music.utexas.edu/

Univ North Texas
http://music.unt.edu/


Edited by Sand Tiger (07/12/12 02:27 AM)
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#1925687 - 07/12/12 03:23 AM Re: Young Composer, Options for Next Summer and College [Re: darb]
JorgeBol Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/22/11
Posts: 123
I guess I should have read more carefully. I was going To suggest the music school in Vancouver at UBC. But that doesn't seem to be an option.

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#1925750 - 07/12/12 09:28 AM Re: Young Composer, Options for Next Summer and College [Re: darb]
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2760
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
Originally Posted By: darb
Hi, I am the parent of a young composer (junior in high school). I have 2 question areas:

1. Summer program: We're looking for a summer program for next summer. There is some information on the web, so I have gone to some sites such as Interlocken. There is a local summer conservatory in Houston called American Festival of the Arts that has a composer track. We live near there. Does anyone have knowledge of that program or other summer options?

I spent a summer at the Aspen Music Festival. The composition teachers there may be looking for someone more advanced (college level), but then I was there a long time ago. It was an awesome experience and environment.
Originally Posted By: darb

2. College: She is thinking about going to college for music and is working toward being able to pass college auditions. Her current activities are composing pieces primarily for piano or small emsemble, and songwriting /recording /producing. She's interested in orchestration, film scoring, production and business. Since her interests are pretty broad I'm not sure where to start in guiding her in her college choices. I would think a music school with a composition and theory degree would be suitable, but I don't know very much about music schools.

Thank you.
For film music there's really only one choice, USC. The film school there is legendary and the music school has a symbiotic relationship with the film school. You already have a lengthy list of schools for theory and composition. For learning recording and production buy a computer with good software (Mac + Logic, PC + Cubase or Cakewalk). In general the pros tend toward very high end Macs. There's also the industry standard, Pro Tools but that's owned by Avid and anyone can go to Yahoo financial and get a chart of the stock's (symbol AVID) last 5 years and see a trend (if it's ticked up in the last few days it's because they sold off M-Audio, good for M-Audio). In general it's a tough business and it's very hard to make a decent living. If she likes to live comfortably she may want to think hard about her choices.

The fact is learning recording and production is too large a subject to learn in 4 years. The market is also changing because the availability of relatively inexpensive computer recording systems has taken a lot of business from recording studios and many, many, many of them have gove out of business in the last 15 years. The prevalence of piracy and free MP3 downloads and cheap technology has made it much easier for amatuers to get into recording and harder to make money at it. Truth be told I'd suggest engineering, math, science, law school or an accounting degree.

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#1925992 - 07/12/12 07:52 PM Re: Young Composer, Options for Next Summer and College [Re: Steve Chandler]
JorgeBol Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/22/11
Posts: 123
Originally Posted By: Steve Chandler
Truth be told I'd suggest engineering, math, science, law school or an accounting degree.


As disappointing as it might sound, I believe there is quite a bit of truth in this statement. At the same time, for some of these areas of study, it is becoming more and more difficult to find work. For instance, there are not many jobs that you can get with an undergraduate Math degree. On the Other hand, if the student proves to be truly promising, they can continue in music studies all the way to the graduate level, and become a music professor. There are still some options within this field that can still promote a comfortable income.

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#2295993 - 06/27/14 11:30 PM Re: Young Composer, Options for Next Summer and College [Re: darb]
darb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/25/04
Posts: 123
Hello, it's been a while since I posted this question regarding my daughter, but I wanted to share this update. She applied to several music schools and was accepted into the theory/composition programs at U Michigan Ann Arbor, USC Thornton School, Florida State, Berklee College of Music, and UT Austin. The applications, portfolio, interviews, and auditions required so much work and commitment; I'm very proud of her. She fell to the floor when she got the USC letter because that was a program that she just didn't think she'd get into.

As a busy parent of 4, having one child that wants a career in the arts, I sometimes didn't know what to do to help her navigate. I really appreciate the helpful responses offered on this forum. The professors at our nearby universities were also very helpful. It's been a challenging parenting experience, but also very interesting and fun.


She will be getting a business minor, and hopefully 2 additional certificates for digital media and film. She is very interested in the intersections of music with business, law, medicine, and engineering, so she may go for a graduate degree outside of music. Who knows, but for now she's very happy that she is going to get a composition degree.

I just posted a new question about what laptop she should get for college, so if you have any advice about that, please click over there and share it with me.

Thank you.

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