Re: Looking for a Mentor

Subject: Re: Looking for a Mentor
From: Linda Seltzer (
Date: Thu Sep 15 2005 - 21:30:04 EDT

First on the issue of academic vs. non-academic music: the important
thing is to follow your heart and compose the music that is in your
heart and express the feelings that are in your heart. If this
involves intellectual subjects, then the music is still real,
academic or not. Sometimes the feelings will not be about academic
or intellectual subjects (such as literature or politics) and will
arise from personal experience. The important thing is not whether the
subject is academic but whether it is what you want to express.
The main problem about music in academia is that some established
composer harbor very definite opinions about what kinds of music
they want their students to compose, and that results in the
occurrence of musical "yes-men" and that is when you have academic
music and real music. So just know that you are composing what
you are really interested in and not just following what you think
you need to compose in order to please an authority figure. I
became very turned off by aspects of the NY music scene in which
people would learn who were the judges for various competitions
and then write the music they knew a judge wanted to hear.

On the issue of mentoring, I think it is courageous and wise
to seek a mentor. In the history of computer music, women have
lacked the opportunity to obtain mentoring, because there was
an absence of women professors, and sometimes there can be women
professors who do not care about women students. Sometimes there
will be different mentors at different times. It is important,
however, to not have too much dependence on a mentor or to believe
that a mentor can always have the right answer ready. It's necessary
to be very limited in what you can expect from a mentor.

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