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Author Topic: a composer's education  (Read 11220 times)
pianoblack
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« on: May 17, 2005, 07:59:54 AM »

Question for Jason here; I'm entering my junior year at the University of Western Ontario for music composition and I must say that the profs there are really strict on the timeframe of music that they will mark as 'acceptable'.  Schoenberg seems to be the great hero there, along with anyone else significantly radical that falls after him in history.  Of course this eliminates any chance of having one's 'movieish', 'gamey' or programmatic music looked at seriously, whether it's for an assignment or not.

Seeing as I'd like to work in the game or movie industry, I find this a bit frustrating (there's nothing wrong with Schoenberg if you know what he was trying to do - which the general public usually don't!)

I was wondering if your education at the University of North Texas was anything like this, and if so, how did you get any feedback on your truly excellent work?  I'm sure you didn't get to where you are without having the input of a superior ;)
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quote]CARE MORE ABOUT THE ART YOU ARE CREATING THAN THE RESPONSE IT WILL RECEIVE.[/quote] -Tom Servo
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« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2005, 11:29:21 PM »

there are other schools, you know.  :wink:
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Melda
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« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2005, 04:06:54 AM »

Aye, if a conservatory or normal university isn't going to work for you, there are many film music schools in America.

I know that because a heap of people from around here (I mean country-wise) nick off overseas because America's one of the best places for film composition education at the moment.

And Canada's not nearly as far from America as Australia is.

Obviously you'd want to make sure the places are legit before doing anything major, but I think it's probably something worthwhile checking out.
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pianoblack
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« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2005, 09:16:21 PM »

I have considered heading off to some faraway place to take up a different education... I know there are some schools quite close to me across the border :O  Only problem is, I'm Canadian!  And that means an American school would cost me not only an arm and a leg, but probably my firstborn as well.  Not to mention the money.

Maybe I should stop playing games to hear their music and get two more jobs to raise funds... lol :P
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quote]CARE MORE ABOUT THE ART YOU ARE CREATING THAN THE RESPONSE IT WILL RECEIVE.[/quote] -Tom Servo
kuni
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« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2005, 10:52:31 PM »

Yeah, I was going to suggest a technical college.  I went to UVic and had several friends in the music program there, and they had the same complaint.  I think it might be difficult to find game music-type courses in universities, because most of our universities are more "classically" oriented.

I say this because I'm inschool for game art & design, and I had the same quandry: university art departments in Canada are mostly focussed on classical art styles, and not so much on applying them for character design, set design, etc.  Ended up in a technical college, and it's perfect.  My instructors are actually working part-time in the industry (instant networking!), so they know exactly what's out there, and we're using state-of-the-art equipment that you just can't get at university.  As well, my school has internship opportunities with local gaming companies afterwards.  If there's a program that specific for art, there must be one for music somewhere, because music has been a big part of games even way back when the graphics were all done by the programmers.

Just another alternative, and a cheaper one than paying an arm and a leg for American tuition. Sad

At any rate, if you're close to finishing your course, it's probably worth it to stick with it and specialize later.  A university degree goes a long way for employment, and demonstrating that you have a university music background is a great thing for your CV. Smiley

Hope this ramble was somewhat helpful. Shocked  Good luck to you!
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pianoblack
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« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2005, 11:36:34 AM »

Thanks for the reply!  From what you've said a technical college just might be what I do when I'm done my program... it's four years and I'm registered for my third, so why not finish this off and get some instant networking?  (that sounds REALLY good!)  

Just out of curiosity, what college are you attending?
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quote]CARE MORE ABOUT THE ART YOU ARE CREATING THAN THE RESPONSE IT WILL RECEIVE.[/quote] -Tom Servo
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« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2005, 06:05:49 PM »

Hey PB ... we meet again. I've read your posts here and you are not the first to think that your education is doing you an injustice.  To the best of my ability I want to assure you that is not.  Even though I've never gone to school where you are (and maybe it's not the right school for you, but hear me out first)  ... please allow wherever you are to stretch you, challenge you, and even change your mind about things.  You already know how to write tonal music ... so start writing atonal music.  Then bring the two together ... or use elements of what you've just learned in your tonal music.  Your ability to soak up other styles and other procedures will make you an outstanding composer.  The drive to get into an educational system where you are catered to and learn how to write music that you are already writing will ultimately weaken you.  

What I'm saying is that even though the music you strive to write for a career may be frowned upon at your university (as it was mine) you need to focus on the primary factor: you are a composer.  Place that before being a film composer, or a video game composer, or a TV composer.  Write music for the sake of writing music and not to supplemement other things.  When a gig comes along to be a film composer then, yes, you should jump at it.  But never lose the desire to write a woodwind quintet, or a bassoon solo, or a tuba concerto.  Study forms.  Study orchestration.  Study technique from Bach to Berlioz to Bartok.  In my mind, there is no such thing as a good film composer ... there are good composers who work in film.  To me, John Williams is a pretty dang good film composer, but I am more impressed with his classical works that are NOT film music ... they're brilliant, and sound nothing like what you would expect if you'd only heard his film music.  To me, it's the difference between a short career and a long one.  Some may disagree, saying that spotting a film and the ability to enhance onscreen drama is an art that not all composers have.  That's a valid point.  But my point remains the same ... all film composers are composers at the core.  Out of twenty composers, five may go on and do a film or two ... but that doesn't change the fact that all twenty are composers first.  Just that five chose to branch out a bit.  So become the best possible composer you can while you still have the resources at your disposal.  Then start to branch out into film and video games.  Your career will have a MUCH broader and more stable foundation if  you do.

Anyway ... those are my thoughts.  If they help, cool .. if not, then I apologize for making you read all that.  Cheesy

-tom servo
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After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." -Aldous Huxley
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