How to improve your mood

My roommate and I got into quite the discussion this evening. We were discussing some pedagogical ideas for his new mentee, someone who has admitted to "having trouble coming up with original ideas" and whose music (that i've heard, which isn't much) is strongly rooted in early Romantic style. What started out as brainstorming ideas (giving him crazy examples, getting him to write a piece without using standard notation, making him write something for my roommate who is a fine cellist, etc) turned into "well, what's this student been missing to want/need this at this point in his degree?" This led to "Well, we can design a composition degree that's awesome! at least better than what we had" (NOTE- I do not have an undergrad degree in composition. Mine was technically a BMA in general music, but it's 7/8's an ed degree...so I compared it to what the general music degree was designed for at DePauw, which I thought was a great starting point).

Because I'm insanely confident, being a master of all things pedagogical, here it is!

  • Theory I-IV 3cr each (Should span 17th century counterpoint basics, 18th century counterpoint basics, tonality and vertical harmony, and 20th century techniques)
  • Aural skills I-IV 3cr each (same as above)
  • History Overview I-II (early through romantic) 3cr each
  • 20th Century history 3cr
  • Intro to Seminar Research topics 3cr (think a research style class, but focused on a seminar topic instead of disassociated from anything)
  • Conducting I 3cr
  • Orchestration 3cr
  • Instrumentation (choice of 2, Woodwind, Brass, Strings. If playing one of those families, must take other 2 families) 3cr each
  • Primary Instrument I-IV 3cr each
  • Comp (8 semesters) 3cr each (final semester is prepping a concert)
  • Keyboard I-IV 1cr each (Until proficiency is passed. if passed early, fill in credits elsewhere. If not passed after 4 semester, can transfer into private piano for 1cr until passing)
  • Class Voice 1cr
  • Large Ensemble (6 semesters, credits not counted into total)
  • Small Ensemble (6 semesters, credits not counted into total)
  • Recital Attendance (every semester, 12 recitals)
  • Counterpoint I-II (17th/18th/19th and Contemporary) 3cr each
  • Techniques of Electronic Music I- Digital Audio 3 cr
  • Intro to Writing/English Comp I 3 cr
  • Foreign Language I-II (Fr, It, Ger) 3 cr each
  • 24 credits of liberal arts/area of concentration (tracks would include Electronic Music, Literature, Science, Computer Science, etc.)
By my count, this comes to around 131 credit hours, or about 16.375 credits per semester (not counting ensembles, of course)

There are some oddities: The intro to Seminar Research is a class my roommate and I have never encountered, but after a heated discussion about seminar classes in undergrad, decided the hybrid was an interesting choice. I conceded my "TONS OF SEMINARS!!!" to his "NO ONE DOES THAT!!!"

The instrumentation class is my idea- it's based on the ed style "techniques" classes, but instead of focusing on pedagogy, it's a survey of families including learning basic playing technique of each along with basic writing skills for them. I found my techniques classes invaluable as I got further into orchestration- having picked up a clarinet, i know what it's like to do some of those leaps, or thanks to learning a little cello, i can "bow" passages and understand how the phrasing won't work how I want it to. All from basic classes. Totally worth it.

We limited primary instrument to 6 semesters due to senior year being hardcore prep for a senior composition recital of around 1 hour of music. That more than makes up for not being in those lessons

The 1 Techniques of EA Music i fought for. It's important to get composers at least introduced to the hardware and software for working creatively. Then they can fill out an area of concentration in EA Music (maybe I'll make that later? LOL). I still like the idea of EA Comp degree, but that's for later. LOL. it would also give students an intro to editing, which is hugely important in a practical manner.

And the not really liberal arts? It comes down to classes. Ever seen "Physics for Presidents?" or "Intro to Ecological Ideas?" Yeah, BS classes for people to fulfill their credits. I see the trend and I say "why not make students focus on an another area?" Theoretically, I think it will better serve students than the low-end "use this to fulfill your credit" type course.

Though, at our highly esteemed Theoretical Conservatory of Awesomesauce, no such classes would exist. It's fun to dream...

So, thoughts? What do people think about this collection of classes and break up of things? What's missing? What's not focused on enough? GIMME SOME LOVE!!!

No comments: