Sunday, August 30, 2009

New Goal

  Thanks to some convincing on the parts of my composition professor, family, and friends I’ve decided to take the plunge, both feet at a time, and apply to DMA programs for next fall.

  I was really struggling with the idea of applying this summer. There is all kinds of pressure I’ve built up around this goal. Not only is doctorate level composition a highly competitive field, but also highly subjective from school to school; different programs look for different things in your music and your background. I worry that I don’t have enough in my portfolio from undergrad till now, that it’s not strong enough to compete. I worry about the cost of applying; app fees alone range from $35-$100 and I’d be applying to 6-9 different schools and mailing in CDs and large scores (though I’m looking into emailing these things instead, which will help drive the costs down significantly). Also, it is the LAST degree I’m ever going to get—the last bit of “education” I’ll get to write on my resume. I want it to be a “good” school, but I also want to like what I’m doing there and feel like it’s useful to my future goals.

  Bit of a side note: that’s why I’m going for a DMA instead of a Phd. Usually, a Phd program in composition will require an extra written thesis on a more musicological topic, while a DMA usually only requires you to write a piece for your thesis, sometimes with a lengthy explanation of the piece. I don’t feel like an extra-long research paper will help all that much in getting a job in the future. Perhaps that is naive. Perhaps it is just lazy. I’m not sure. What I am sure of, though, is that I don’t want to do it. Sure Phd sounds cool, but I’ll be Dr. Sproul regardless.

  Anyway, there were some good arguments for going straight through. If I waited a year, would I really have THAT much more in my portfolio to show for it? Probably not. What would I do during that year off? Working some J.O.B. in something unrelated to music?
I’ve been assured that my portfolio is strong enough and that my background is extremely marketable. I’ve been assured by my parents (all SIX of them! what a wonderful thing!) that should application assistance be required, it would be gladly given. So, really, I have no excuse.

  Fear is a terrible reason not to do something great. Especially if you’re definitely planning to do that something anyway at some point in your life. Why delay your plans and allow room for any other life crises to get in the way?

Get the noseplugs and the goggles. I’m going in.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I think I have an ending.

Finally. The water went cold in the shower, but I think I worked it through.

I’ve got my first lesson of the semester tomorrow, though. So we’ll soon see if I really do have an ending or not. Or a beginning and middle for that matter.

I feel like I’m on the right track with this. I’ve thought long and hard about the drama and flow of the entire piece. It’s just all of the notes and little interludes that have yet to settle themselves.


I am very good at joining them. I am usually a little late in getting there, and stick around far longer than is probably appropriate, but alas, this is how I’ve resigned myself to be. However, I would like to separate myself from a mere follower. I am an extremist to the full degree—I will pour my heart, my soul, my being into this blog and make it my own. My dribble about being a composer, a musician, a baker, a knitter and all around domestic will be sung from the hilltops all because I said so.

And in the words of Milton Babbit (kinda1.), “who cares if you listen”? Because I will say it regardless of who may be reading, because I have an intrinsic need, like everyone, to express my opinions, thoughts, and emotions, to release them into the ether and let them go on their merry way to where they will.

I like this too, because it gives yet another dumping ground for one of my favorite websites out there: It’s a site for the goal oriented at heart. Part social networking, part self exploration, 43things allows users to list, order, prioritize, blog upon and remind themselves of (up to 43) things they are doing in their lives. It also allows users to cheer others on in their quests for self-betterment/enlightenment/indulgence and to create forums of discussion on how to accomplish certain goals they have in common. It is a great site, and I wish more people I know were on it. However, the fact that random people around the world are cheering me on, and that I am doing the same thing for others is also a nice feeling—a sort of paying it forward kind of thing. (ps I am not getting paid for this plug, although my many showers of praise might convince wary readers otherwise).

So this is where I shall stow short posts on my goals at, amongst other things I feel the need to chat about.


1. Milton Babbit didn’t coin this phrase, a magazine editor did, apparently. “Who Cares If You Listen” remains his most famous article on music, however, and the title is most certainly in the spirit of his ideas. I love learning new things from school!