Music Composition?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Strangelove, Oct 11, 2002.

  1. Strangelove


    Oct 29, 2001
    Hi. I'm currently a high school senior, and the big question is looming up too I have found that I really love playing, listening, and writing music, and I think I want to go for Music Composition as a major. But I have a million questions to ask before I get myself into this.

    First of all, will I need to audition? If so, can I audition with bass guitar? It's my main instrument, and I'd like it if I could use that instead of my far inferior skills on piano.

    Also, are there any schools in my state (Illinois) that have a bass guitar specialty?

    I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed, and any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!
  2. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Usually, a music school will give two placement tests: One in music theory, the other in musicianship (You'll listen to a musical passage played on the piano and you'll be asked to notate the progression). There will probably also be a piano audition in which you'll be asked to play certain scales over an x number of octaves.

    Finally, on top of all that, there's the audition for your instrument. Usually, it entails playing modal scales in certain keys, playing a prepared piece and sight reading a piece in a relatively easy key (like d or eb) The only way you'll be accepted as an electric bass major is if the college offers a degree in electric bass performance.

    I believe you have to get your undergraduate degree before you can major in composition. I'd contact the admissions and music departments of the institutions you're interested in attending to get the real specifics instead of relying on my backseat driving for advice.
  3. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    there are many schools that will let you get a bachelors degree in compostition. For some of these schools you will have to submit your porfolio of compositions along with the standard entrance exams. The more serious composition departments will require a portfolio, others will not.

    also, make sure you familiarize yourself with the composers who are teaching at the schools you are interested in. talk to some of the students. composition teachers come in all flavors and some have rather unorthodox teaching methods. make sure that you feel somewhat in the same universe as the person you may end up studing with.
  4. hyperlitem

    hyperlitem Guest

    Jul 25, 2001
    Indianapolis, IN
    i was in the exact same position you were in last year. right now im in music school so if u have anymore specific questions feel free to pm me. Most schools do NOT have an electric bass program. Berkley is one of the few schools that does, and you can major in comp, as an undergrad. My singer is doing that right now, but his principle instrument is drums. I go to Butler University which is a big music school, but its all classical. I play upright in the school, which i picked up over the summer. Unless you have A TON of theory knowledge youll probably drown in college if your a comp major. I had 2 auditions, one music test and one on my instrument. The thoery test is not easy. Its not just bass clef, but tenor, alto, and treble. Not much bass specific stuff. IF yoiu ever want to check out butler hit me up cuz its not too far, we have alot of central ill students. One of the guys here went to Barrington which is central im pretty sure.
  5. Johnalex


    Jul 20, 2001
    South Carolina
    My best friend is a Music Composition major here at University Of South Carolina , and he works EXtremely hard. You have to know a LOT about theory. You have to learn to write for many different instruments, diferent clefs, and learn a crap load of chords, and many many other things. HE had a portfolio of peices he wrote to get accepted and get scholarship money. He also plays the Trumpet and that also helped, a majority of schools do not think of the Electric Bass as an acceppteable instrument. Good Luck!
  7. Wxp4759cb


    Nov 23, 2000
    Kansas City, MO
    If you want to use electric bass as a main instrument your probably going to have to go to berklee. Which does have a composition program. (They also have heavy metal guitar major!!!! :eek: )

    I don't know of any good (or even bad for that matter) schools in the midwest that have a degree in electric bass. Partly because if they don't have a prof. of electric bass which none have, they don't have anyone to teach you.

    Also all the University programs I know of require you to learn piano. If you don't already know piano you have to start in remedial classes and don't get credit. So make sure to keep working on piano either way.

    Finally as already stated most schools require a portfolio, or atleast a written theory test. Since you play piano that means you can read treble clef which is good, but make sure to learn some theory too.

    University of Illinois of Urbana-Champaign has a really good music program, and is close by, but they require a portfolio of 5 major pieces to apply for a composition undergrad.
  8. Wxp4759cb


    Nov 23, 2000
    Kansas City, MO
    Worst case you can use classical g****r as a main instrument. Its not THAT far off from bass.

    Another last ditch is if you major in jazz some schools would possibly let you use electric bass.
  9. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    Is Music Composition different than just majoring in Music? I work with a guy that is majoring in Music and wants to become a music teacher when he graduates, but he doesn't seem to know what I know after playing an instrument since '95 (of course, I don't know what he knows either) and he has had no training as far as composition is concerned. What gives?
  10. Wxp4759cb


    Nov 23, 2000
    Kansas City, MO
    Yes theres a big difference.

    You can major in music in general, which is alot less in depth, and will give you alot more general ed. credits.

    Most of the time however, you major in either performance, composition, teaching, music therapy, or history/theory.
  11. I disagree. You can study theory at home and still become a kick @$$ bass player.

    Going to Berklee doesn't insure your future, it only builds upon it if your willing to put forth the effort.
  12. Wxp4759cb


    Nov 23, 2000
    Kansas City, MO
    Yes, but you can't major in composition at home, which is what the question was.

    I don't like berklee either, but I was saying if you want to go to school it is the only place I know of with an electric bass program.
  13. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Strangelove, would you be averse to learning to play a double bass? It can certainly do no harm and might do yuour music career a lot of good.