Having different composition teachers

November 19, 2008

For composers who choose to go the university route, I advocate studying with a variety of composers, and not just sticking with one. In a meeting today, we realized that between our two departments, we have four traditional white American composers, one Japanese American, one from Turkey, another from Lebanon, one from Mexico, and two black composers with feet in jazz and classical music. It occurred to us that if a student got to work with everyone of these people, what an amazing opportunity it would be. Break down the wall of “I only study with new music composition professors” and let students gravitate stylistically where they are most happy. If it’s one, great, if it’s all or none of them, bravo!

I studied with lots of composers, but I don’t sound like a single one of them. I sound like me.

[Illustration: Frontispiece for Charles Dickens’s “The Haunted Man” by John Tenniel (1848)]

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