Society of Composers, Inc.

Posted: February 10, 2015 in opera

Society of Composers, Inc..


This essay offers advice to students interested in attending graduate school in music composition. It is mainly geared toward undergraduates looking for a master’s degree program in composition, but many ideas would also help students considering their options for a doctoral program. Rather than simply providing a list of schools, I hope to encourage students to think about their options and ask good questions regarding their choices. If there appears to be a bias in favor of smaller (non-elite) schools for the master’s degree, it’s mainly because I think that, across the country, many smaller schools have underappreciated potential — especially for students who do the research necessary to ensure a good fit between themselves and the school. Information (and opinion) about large and/or elite music schools is abundant and readily available. I don’t think I can add much of value here. [For the record, I have two graduate degrees from one of the largest music schools in the country (Indiana), which provided me with a wealth of opportunities and a great education … so I am absolutely not personally biased against big/elite schools.] If you are a prodigy who has the composition portfolio, talent, rec. letters, awards, transcripts, etc. to get admitted to elite music schools, you will have more options regarding your choice of schools. But you will still have much to gain by thinking about the issues addressed in this article and by doing some research to ensure the best possible personal fit between your needs/interests and the strengths of your chosen grad school. For students who are not prodigies, who may have only begun composing a couple of years ago, whose current portfolio of scores may only hint at their potential as a composer (and who may be years away from realizing it), you will likely find it necessary to cast a wider net as you consider these issues….

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