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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My son just got his masters in music comp at Louisville. He is looking to continue his studies and getting his DMA in Comp. Can any of you recommend schools he should apply to? Thanks
 

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He basically has a ton of research ahead of him. I am talking at least twenty hours of school/professor searching. Considering it is composition I can see it being a lot more like fifty hours. At that level the student really needs to find the right teacher/s.
And then money is an entirely different issue that needs to be added to the equation.
People may of course have some suggestions, but there is likely a long road of research ahead.
I wish him good luck!
 

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Well, if he is looking for a career as a composer I would go for Juilliard or Cleveland Institute of Music. They have tough but respected DMA programs that have the potential to open a lot of doors.
When I was coming up years ago the hot comp grad schools were USC and Eastman. They are still great.
Personally, I think it would benefit him to attend a program in one of the bigger cities like NY, LA or Boston that has an active and competitive music scene.
I would suggest he research the heads of the composition departments at several top schools and find one whose style is appealing, then try to schedule a personal appointment. No point in spending time (and money) under the tutelage of someone you cannot get along with.
 

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I don't think at this point a specific recommendation can be given. I'm sure they are good schools with good teachers, but it depends on what kind of music he wants to write in choosing a teacher. And, frankly, what kind of background he got.

There are a multitude of styles, does he want to learn about electro-acoustic music, lots of synthesized sounds vs. mostly acoustic instrumentation, movie music vs. more concert oriented music? I think more specifics would be more helpful.

Frankly, if I could afford it, I would head straight for Europe or Japan and study for a year or two between degrees, probably working as somebody's assistant in their studio in the process. Could be very broadening.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
He hates putting music into a category (Jazz, Rock, etc). To him, it's just music--all different. Another thing--he has dysgraphia. He could sit in a room and write music for a week, but writing an essay is tough for him. He's 25 yrs old, and writes mostly what I would consider classical music. I've heard a couple of pieces he wrote for a string quartet. They were really good too.
 

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there is likely a long road of research ahead.
I don't know what you're talking about. I have a doctorate in composition and the amount of research was significant for my major thesis but, at the same time, I only focused on the research for my thesis and there were no other research projects to compete. The actual research time didn't consume much more than master degree's combined research. It was just a matter of distribution. What took the most time, actually, were the concerts and rehearsals. This is not to imply that there was little research. I'm just pointing out that the time was manageable.

Also, I'm not sure the location is as critical as it would be for a performer. The quality of players and the number of playing opportunities are what's important. That certainly comes with the major cities, but can also hold true with more minor cities but still high quality musicians and opportunities. I went to Univ. of North Texas and was absolutely spoiled. A modest remote city but with killer musicians and plenty of opportunity.

He needs to pick a combination of good teacher and a place where he can get his music played by high quality musicians. Also, not mentioned that I see, but there's the financial component. It's easy to say Juilliard, but there's the financial aspect of the schooling plus living in New York City. I was lucky in that I finished my Bachelor and Master degrees debt-free. But OTOH, it took me ten years to pay off my doctorate.
 

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He basically has a ton of research ahead of him. I am talking at least twenty hours of school/professor searching. Considering it is composition I can see it being a lot more like fifty hours. At that level the student really needs to find the right teacher/s.
And then money is an entirely different issue that needs to be added to the equation.
People may of course have some suggestions, but there is likely a long road of research ahead.
I wish him good luck!
I don't know what you're talking about. I have a doctorate in composition and the amount of research was significant for my major thesis but, at the same time, I only focused on the research for my thesis and there were no other research projects to compete. The actual research time didn't consume much more than master degree's combined research. It was just a matter of distribution. What took the most time, actually, were the DMA concerts and rehearsals. This is not to imply that there was little research. I'm just pointing out that the time was manageable.
I'm reading Andre's post to say that the prospective student needs to invest a lot of time to find a good match between the student and his advisor. 20-50 hours is not so much time to invest in writing letters, making phone calls, and interviewing professors (and their students), when it could influence one's career path and ultimate success.
 

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I meant research exactly as Dr. G described. As you stated Gary, we would need an idea of what his son wants to study. At this point he NEEDS to focus on a specific type of music. Cool, yeah, it is hip to say, "there are only two types of music, good and bad" (Miles Davis). At this point if someone wants to offer real recommendations, they need to have real information. Throwing out Juilliard, Eastman, or NYU is really not helpful suggestions at this point. Due to the amount of mentoring and 1 on 1 time a student gets with a graduate degree, they NEED to put in the time and research finding the school, city, program, teacher they really match with.
This is a long and hard process. When I earned my DMA there were only nine schools that offered a DMA in jazz, and I still put about twenty five hours into the research.
I am sure many of us here want to help. We need something to go off of. For composition in particular, Gary would be a great resource. We just need more info and your son needs to do more research.
 

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andre's right about getting more specifics. There's an old saw, blunt but contains truth, "garbage in- garbage out".

Regarding specializing, though, I was just the opposite. Wrote concert music, (pure art music), sacred church choir music, music for the theater, jazz bands and combos, even jingles. Just depends, I guess, on your inclination.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
By the way, he got his master's from Louisville. To give you an idea of his writing, he's been to June in Buffalo. He was the only undergrad accepted. He likes to write classical most, although he's never played a string instrument, and played piano for only the 4 semesters required.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
A little more about him--He got his Masters in Music Comp at Louisville. He was selected to go to June in Buffalo (some composers should know about this), only 1 of 22 people, and the only undergrad. He enjoys writing classical music, and can sit and write for hours on end. Some of his best pieces have been for string quartets and entire symphonies/orchestras. The other thing, if you like music or like chess, you'll get along with him. He also likes to camp in a hammock out in the mountains. Says it relaxes him.
 
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