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Topic: OT: Music Education

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  1. #1

    Question OT: Music Education

    You guys all seem to come from a variety of musical backgrounds, yet here we are now with similar aspirations and objects. I'm curious: what level of music education do you have, and from where? It seems to me that serious composing requires some serious music theory training, as well as actual musicianship. But I've heard lots of untrained composers create amazing work. Those of you with a rock band background who gradually got into film scoring- how did you go about studying music? Did you learn notation, counterpoint, orchestration, form and analysis, etc. any traditional way?

    Part of the reason I ask is that I'm currently finishing up my B.A. in Music/Music Technology and I'm scoping out grad schools for composition. I'm willing to move pretty much anywhere in the U.S. Did any of you get M.M.s in composing, and if so, from where? Any recommendations?

    Thanks!

  2. #2

    Re: OT: Music Education

    Hehe- this is going to leave some people wide open, and especially me. But here goes:

    My education is having a good ear and listening to a lot of music for 35 years. My theory comes from 5 years of piano as a kid. When I started writing for strings I just talked to string players a lot and did a little checking around on the web. It was mainly checking range questions, then I'd ask the players "is this OK- is it playable?" and with that sort of feedback I've been learning. Owning sample libs like GOS and such is, IMO actually a great education because they are a remarkable tool to demonstrate the various ways of playing each instrument in a practical way. In fact, Gary G. could probably repackage a very lite version of GPO as a teaching tool / reference to show the important articulations of each intrument (you read it here first and if you do it, Gary, I get a cut )

    I do know that I am woefully lacking in many areas of theory and I have been meaning to read up for a long time, but frankly I'm getting by and I'm too busy so it keeps getting put off.

  3. #3
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    Re: OT: Music Education

    Quote Originally Posted by FredProgGH
    I do know that I am woefully lacking in many areas of theory and I have been meaning to read up for a long time, but frankly I'm getting by and I'm too busy so it keeps getting put off.
    I don't think so - there's too much made of theory. Listening is better.

  4. #4

    Re: OT: Music Education

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulR
    I don't think so - there's too much made of theory. Listening is better.
    Listening is key, yes, but the whole point of theory is to make you a better listener. Theory has done that for me, and now I can listen to some fairly complex (albeit tonal) music and usually pick out basic harmonic progressions. Knowing the theoretical underpinnings, when combined with avid listening, has helped me as a composer. It's not a one-or-the-other deal.

  5. #5

    Re: OT: Music Education

    Hmmm- I think appreciation can arise just as much from continuing exposure as theory. And I think a good ear and poor theory beats excellent theory and poor ears in many cases. But, I tend to think that even though I've got by well over the years a better grasp of the tools and fundamentals could never hurt. They may only reenforce what I've picked up intuitively through the years but more knowledge is always a helpful thing. And orchestration is definitely an area I'd like to explore more of the established guidelines as a basis to work from.

  6. #6

    Re: OT: Music Education

    I compose mostly by ear, but what I can pull out of my head now that I've had theory is so much more than what I could a few years ago before I had any more training than listening and participating in band and choir. Plus, I find it helps me sometimes when I'm stuck to think about what the natural progression would be, and sometimes when something sounds wrong but I can't quite pin down the problem spot by listening, looking at it via theory rules helps me track down the trouble. I like breaking the rules, too, though...

    I'm finishing up my B.A. in Music, and I'm applying to a couple of grad schools for compostion. The ones I've settled on are Columbia College in Chicago and the Steinhardt School of NYU in New York. I'm sure there are a lot of good schools out there you can find. I'm just lazy and don't know what to look for, anyway.

  7. #7

    Re: OT: Music Education

    I have studied and taught Music theory, to Composers and others. Theory is good, helpful and I recomend it.
    However, given the Nature of Music. It is the ears that have Primacy.
    It is perfectly possible, to arrive at the same point with or without a theoretical Background. Most people seem to get to that place a little quicker with theory study.
    Those who get there by the harder longer route, seem to completely own any ground they have gained.
    In the end, I suspect it all boils down to personal temperament.
    regards

  8. #8

    Re: OT: Music Education

    The only music ed I got was from the public school system. Grades 5 -12. Thanks Mr. Thier! College wasn't really an option for me. I started playing gigs in bars on alto sax at age 13 and started playing hammond in groups by 16. I'm 52 now. Music is all I've ever done and I don't regret my education and wouldn't change a thing. I read books and listen constantly. I quit being a player at the age of 42. So for the past 10 years I've made all my money by writing. Of all things, I fell into the jingle thing. It's not film or tv work, but at least it's writing....something I've always wanted to do. I've managed to live comfortably and put one child through college who now is teaching 2nd grade and my son is now in his 3rd year at college and is a music composition major. It's true what they say about the apple. I'm amazed at what he's learned so far.

  9. #9

    Re: OT: Music Education

    Quote Originally Posted by linwood
    The only music ed I got was from the public school system. Grades 5 -12. Thanks Mr. Thier! College wasn't really an option for me. I started playing gigs in bars on alto sax at age 13 and started playing hammond in groups by 16. I'm 52 now. Music is all I've ever done and I don't regret my education and wouldn't change a thing. I read books and listen constantly. I quit being a player at the age of 42. So for the past 10 years I've made all my money by writing. Of all things, I fell into the jingle thing. It's not film or tv work, but at least it's writing....something I've always wanted to do. I've managed to live comfortably and put one child through college who now is teaching 2nd grade and my son is now in his 3rd year at college and is a music composition major. It's true what they say about the apple. I'm amazed at what he's learned so far.
    The important thing is to acquire the knowledge, whatever way. I went to a conservatory and then studied orchestration privately. Mr. Linwood here apparently was more autodidactical.

    While the ear is primary, the more music and theory you have studied and know then the more colors in your crayon box and tools in your toolkit. If you are primarily interested in only one kind of music then this may not be important. But if you wish to do many styles well it is crucial.
    Composer, Logic Certified Trainer, Level 2,
    author of "Going Pro with Logic Pro 9."

    www.jayasher.com

  10. #10

    Re: OT: Music Education

    I agree with Jay. Nothing beats a good education. That's why I'm so happy that I'm able to swing college for my son and that he's a music composition major. That's the degree I always wanted, but it just wasn't in the cards for me at the time.
    Hey Jay, I went to your site and you do wonderful work, bro. I heard a voice that sounds really fimiliar to me. Cathi?? (Rosemary's niece) I work with her all the time. She's sung several hundred jingles for me. Small world.

    (i just checked my database, she's only done 363 of them for me. still, a lot of jing...)

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