Author Topic: Howdy  (Read 1526 times)

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« on: June 20, 2013, 08:32:22 AM »
Hello all!

I come from the Mid-West of the US. I've mostly lived in Tennessee, but earned my Bachelor's degree (in composition) from a university in Missouri. So I've been in the Mid-West my entire life, however, in the fall I'm moving to East Tennessee to pursue my Masters in comp.

I've been out of undergrad for two years now working as the assistant band director at my old middle school. My hometown is fairly devoid of serious music art so I've basically been going through withdraws for intellectual conversations about music, no matter how shallow. Thankfully, I stumbled across this forum a couple days ago and it pretty much fits the bill for something I've been looking for.

For whatever reason I'm feeling compelled to share my arduous (and, believe it or not, abridged) story of how I became a composer:

My history with music started when I was about 10 when I chose to play the violin (I have since switched to viola and plan to never go back!). At the time my decision to do this was to impress/surprise my parents, that is to say, I really had no intention of seriously being a musician. In the final years of my high school career I dramatically improved as a musician (which isn't saying much for this region) and I decided to continue on to University to obtain a degree in music, specifically composition.

When I arrived I was steered away from the degree by my strings professor. I believe he wanted me to stay in and focus entirely on his studio, which was paltry at best at the time. I forsook my dream of writing music and slaved away at Music Education with a Performance mindset (I really wasn't good enough to perform, but I didn't have any desire to teach). In the end I got burnt out and began resenting my choice, so I dropped out of the program and looked at some other degrees. Turns out I wasn't prepared to do any of those either. After a really rough time I finally stood back and looked at what I wanted to do with my life. The only answer I had for myself was to write music. So I did what I should have done in the first place. I spoke directly to the department head and the comp professor and the following year I picked up where I left off, only this time with my focus on comp.

Unfortunately, it had been many years since I had formal theory training, which really hurt my development as a composer since I had pretty much dumped all that knowledge once I left the music department. Now, most of my music has very little depth, something I'm desperately trying to improve, and honestly, I'm extremely surprised I was even accepted into a Master's program. I'm hoping I can get some great guidance from the people that frequent these boards as well as in the coming years from my professors.

I really am extremely introverted, but I ramble about myself in introductory posts like a narcissist. So I'm really sorry about the wall of words above. Hopefully that's all out of the way and I can begin contributing to the community.


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Re: Howdy
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2013, 08:54:51 AM »
Welcome, Brian.

I am glad your found your way past the advice of teachers and am finding your own way. Don't worry about the rambling. I enjoyed reading the details. I think that you'll find on this forum we tend to get to know each other fairly well.

The advice one of my composition profs told me was: forget the theory and write what you know is right. Let the grad students figure out the theory behind your writing.

Bets of luck with your studies and I hope that now that you know where you are going that the courses work for you.
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Re: Howdy
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2013, 09:43:25 AM »
« Last Edit: April 14, 2014, 11:45:55 AM by M.Wiktor »


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Re: Howdy
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2013, 09:52:34 AM »
I enjoyed reading about your journey thus far too so no worries. 

You sound like a determined person so don't worry about what some may say you're capable or not capable of doing...just put your head down and do it.  Let the results speak for themselves. 

Anyway I'm glad you found the forum.  Looking forward to hearing some of your music and your contributions. 
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Re: Howdy
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2013, 10:57:36 AM »
... and I wandered into the composing/arranging world from a math degree and work as an actuary (read "uber-nerd"). If you want jokes about introverts, google "actuary jokes" and you'll find plenty. I'll give you the first one free: Q: How you tell an introverted actuary from the extroverted actuary? A: The extroverted actuary looks at YOUR shoes.

Welcome aboard, Brian!
Terence Martin

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Composing/Arranging output: mostly sax quartets
Goal: Improve quantity and quality of concert band compositions.
Play: Saxophones (all, but tenor primary), Bass Clarinet, Piano (poorly)


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Re: Howdy
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2013, 02:29:02 PM »
Hello, BPGee! Welcome! Do dive right in!


Jamie Kowalski

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Re: Howdy
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2013, 06:41:57 PM »
Welcome to the forum. I hope you stick around and share some of your work.