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Estonia Pianos
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Joined: Mar 2007
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I took private lessons with a Manhattan School of Music faculty member when I was younger and also studied briefly at Robert Thurnauer School of Music in Tenafly, NJ. I have never studied composition formally, but have done plenty of independent research on the subject and have had some success with popular songwriting and scoring for independent films. This has been something I've wanted to do all my life, but always ignored because of family pressure. I will probably have to pursue this on a part-time basis, but would like to study through the doctoral level.

What should my next step be? What obstacles might I face given my history?

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well there are two ways to compose:

1) the theoretical path in which you use knowledge of chords, keys, and phrasing, melodic development etc...

2) the improvisional way in which you sit at the piano and put together whatever sounds good, then bring it all together into a piece.

Both methods can and will result in musical compositions, but they will be quite differnt in many ways. You can decide to do either or both.

Given your background and what your goal is...I would say take some classes on composition, and do some reading to get a theoretical footing on the subject.


"A Sorceror of tonality; the piano is my cauldron and the music is my spell, let those who cannot hear my calling die and burn in He11."

Check my videos @:
http://www.youtube.com/user/chopinlives81
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Where should I take these classes? And are you suggesting that I ONLY take these classes and do some reading (as in forget getting a degree), or take these classes IN PREPARATION for auditioning at a conservatory/university?

Thanks for your help.

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Saying that you want to study through to the doctoral level says that you want to get a formal degree in composition. Have you decided what career you wish to pursue that will require that doctoral degree?

Assuming that you want a doctorate in composition, you are going to have to start looking at degree requirements at various institutions and compare those with what formal education you may already have. Some work that you have already completed may help fulfil some of those requirements. If you already have an accredited Bachelor's degree, then at some schools you may be able to do a shortened BMus program, but I think that is dependent upon individual schools and what they require. I would think, however, that any program leading to a doctorate in composition would require you to have a BMus to start with.

Do you have the resources, financial and otherwise, to carry you through the years of study that it may take to acquire the pre-requisites as well as those required to complete the doctoral program? Or are you planning on spending a couple of decades working up to the doctorate on a part-time basis? That would be a long haul!

My suggestion would be to find an educational institution that offers a doctoral program in composition and then schedule an interview to find out what the avenues of approach might be. That would, at least, give you some ideas of various starting points from a professional point of view.

I suppose you could try going it on your own and try doing some freelancing, since you already have had some experience in that. That route, however, is not going to get you a doctorate.

Regards,


BruceD
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I considered switching to music halfway through college...I was thinking of doing either piano performance or composition. I decided to finish my degree in computer science though because I concluded that the world really didn't need more professional musicians or composers. There are way too many, and I felt it would be exceedingly conceited of me to believe my music would really stand out that much amongst thousands of equally if not vastly more talented competitors. I didn't want to subject my music to the forces of capitalism---so now I have a job as a programmer and do my music at home, totally free. Nobody tells me I can't do it. A paycheck or lack thereof never tells me I can't do it. I just do it, enjoy it, and share it (for free) on the internet, where any of the millions of people on the planet who like music can find it if they feel so inclined. Thus, if my music REALLY DOES generate enough interest that I could make a living off of it, I will have done so having never compromised who I am as a musician, having never felt a moment of defeat at the hands of a harsh professor. For me, that was definitely the right course of action...but if you believe you've got "it" and can withstand placing your heart in the grasp of capitalism (selling your music) and potentially harsh professors who think they know everything...that's a decision only you can make. Good luck!

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I never completed an undergraduate program of any sort, as I never knew what to study and my family thought conservatory was a waste of money. So, these questions are more about getting into an undergraduate composition program. Now that I am not taking my family's opinion into consideration, however, I plan to learn until every school refuses to teach me.

What career do I want to pursue? Ideally, I'd like to make all of my money from composing, but if that doesn't happen, I would be happy to perform and teach---anything so long as it's music. Also, I should state that I am more interested in the education than the credential.

As for the resources, I will do all I can. If it takes decades, so be it. I am considering this journey my life's work.

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Quote
Originally posted by Uhnonimus:

What career do I want to pursue? Ideally, I'd like to make all of my money from composing, but if that doesn't happen, I would be happy to perform and teach---anything so long as it's music. Also, I should state that I am more interested in the education than the credential.

As for the resources, I will do all I can. If it takes decades, so be it. I am considering this journey my life's work.
While it is good to focus on the journey, the journey needs a goal, otherwise it's aimless wandering that can be as much waste time as it is a learning experience. You have to make some important decisions along the way, and it seems to me that the first decision you have to make is to decide what you really want to end up devoting most of your time and energy doing. If you're not sure what you want to do - or if you feel you'll do "this" if "that" doesn't work out - then how are you going to choose which route to take?

If you find you need to make your money from teaching, then you are going to have to have the credentials. There aren't teaching jobs without credentials unless you hang out your shingle as a private teacher. Even there, people will eventually want you to show some credentials to prove your background and your worth, or you'll just be teaching sticky-fingered kids who'd rather be anywhere but in your studio.

If you want to perform, know that that's the hardest line to get into in the music world. You haven't said what you would like to perform, but if it is anything in the classical performance world, you're probably out of luck already at 24, unless you have hidden the fact that you have conservatory training, a jaw-dropping technique and an impressive repertoire long enough to show an agent that you're worth his/her investment in you.

Many of us get side-tracked from our original goals somewhere along the way, that's often called "Life"; but at least we started with well-defined goals and with organized plans on how to attain them. If you don't know where you want to go then how are you going to even plan on getting there?

Regards,


BruceD
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