Re: Let's Talk About College

Subject: Re: Let's Talk About College
From: Michael Gogins (
Date: Fri Sep 30 2005 - 21:11:26 EDT

Theory and performance are quite different, no?

What is about about _theory_ that scared you?


----- Original Message -----
From: "Morgan Sutherland" <>
To: <>
Sent: Friday, September 30, 2005 6:41 PM
Subject: Re: Let's Talk About College

> I'm afraid of music theory because I've taken piano lessons in the
> past and I really didn't like it. I ended up just noodling a lot. It's
> the playing of other people's music that I hate the most.
> I'm also terrified of being an inferior instrumentalist and struggling
> to keep up. I can improv alright... but the only thing I can half play
> is Stairway to Heaven.
> Maybe that doesn't mean anything.
> On 9/30/05, Michael Gogins <> wrote:
>> You should probably get a degree in composition at a school where
>> computer music is valued, such as Columbia, Princeton, Stanford, NYU,
>> University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (sure about those, no doubt
>> there are others).
>> Some schools teach 'music technology' which has little to do with what I
>> call computer music, though that is not always true (NYU has computer
>> music in its MT program, as well as in the composition degree in the
>> music school). I get the vague feeling that MT programs try to split the
>> difference between educating producers (a sort of composer) and educating
>> recording engineers. Usually the MT program offers a master's degree
>> (graduate education for professional practice) and the music program
>> offers a master's (graduate educaton for artistic practice) and a
>> docorate (graduate education for teaching and research).
>> Berklee might work for you.
>> Prove to the admissions officers that you will make the cut by sending
>> them pieces and software that make the cut. Good references will help.
>> What's so scary about theory? Sometimes these fears tell us something,
>> and we should do what we are afraid of -- sometimes not! We recognize
>> that traditional music theory, as well as contemporary often mathematical
>> music theory, has little to say to some composers these days, but to
>> other composers it may be vital. In any case a theory course may come
>> with ear training, analysis, and music history which are invaluable. I
>> myself find contemporary theory fascinating because I am interested in
>> algorithmic composition.
>> If in fact you do not make the cut but still want to make music, move to
>> a region where these good schools exist, get a day job, and just make
>> music and hang out with people. If you do good work you'll find a place
>> and be respected even if you don't go the academic route.
>> In any event shoot for the top first, because if you do make the cut they
>> will help you out with money if you need it.
>> It might be a good idea to bum around and visit campuses and talk people
>> up, listen to their music.
>> Regards,
>> Mike
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Morgan Sutherland <>
>> Sent: Sep 30, 2005 3:45 PM
>> To:
>> Subject: Let's Talk About College
>> It's a little early, but soon it's going to be time for me to start
>> looking at colleges. Here's what I want in a college:
>> I live in Massachusetts. This means that anywhere not in New England
>> is a plane ride away pretty much. This adds a few thousand dollars to
>> the tuition price. I'm not rich. Let's essentially disregard this for
>> the moment however. California for all extensive purposes is not going
>> to be out of the question. The U.K. however, is.
>> Fields of study. The short unspecific answer: Computer music.
>> I'm not sure exactly what field of study I want to enter, but I know
>> what I don't want.
>> I don't want to be a music major. Music theory isn't a passion for me.
>> I'm afraid of it.
>> I get the feeling that doing something along the lines of
>> Computer-science major/Music minor or vice versa wouldn't be what I'm
>> into. I'd be into the combination of it.
>> What does an electroacoustics major entail? Is that essentially a
>> "computer music" degree?
>> Clarifcation in this area would be appreciated.
>> What I want to do:
>> Make music throughout my whole life. Hopefully make money from it.
>> Design software/hardware for the creation of music. I'm very
>> interested in interfaces. My mind could change of course completely,
>> but this is where I want to aim. That general area.
>> Combining computer science and music, but not as mutually exclusive
>> entities, that's where I want to go.
>> My grades are good. B+/A-. My GPA is currently a 3.65. It should go up
>> to a 3.7 this year. I've been getting better grades than in the past.
>> My PSAT scores have been good (haven't taken SATs yet). They've been
>> very good: A's.
>> My grades have fluctuated a lot however. There are a few C's and an F in
>> there.
>> I would like to go somewhere with research opportunities. Because of
>> this, many of the top universities are interesting, but I'm not sure
>> I'll make the cut.
>> What I've been interested in so far:
>> Concordia in Montreal
>> Art Institute of Chicago
>> MIT (Mass Institute of Technology)
>> Columbia University in New York
>> Stanford University
>> CalArts (CREATE program)
>> University of Washington (DX Arts)
>> University of Santa Barbara (Create with Curtis Roads)
>> Add to my list!
>> I'd also looove to attend MIT (Media Lab) or Dartmouth
>> (electroacoustics) for their graduate programs.
>> Recommendations? Comments? Questions?

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