Cool opportunities

November 12, 2009

After decades of wishing, the composition program at the UCLA Department of Music now has a Composition for Visual Media track in its Masters degree. In its second year, we have started slowly and accepted only two per year–although we plan to expand to eight or so.

And after decades of wishing, we now have a very nice bridge between the Department of Music and the Department of Film––as it should be, but for years, it was out of commission.


Today I met with the Chair of the Film program who has two terrific projects funded by major donors (I’ll let her reveal that information when it’s time). The first project involves eight, three-minute animated films on various themes funded by a well known animator; and the second is about global education, told in three-minute films, made by the UCLA Grad students in film, and UCLA student composers.

These relationships are so important in the growth of both artists––learning how to collaborate. For composers used to the dictatorship of the classical world, we must get used to rewrites: “Sorry Roger; it’s a lovely piece of music, it just doesn’t work for this scene. I need you to try again.” Composers must smile and get to work without attitude.

If the director is not especially music-savvy, and he has met a composer with whom s/he is simpatico, very often, they stay together. Think: Henri Mancini and Blake Edwards; John Williams and Steven Spielberg; Tim Burton and Danny Elfman, and so on.

Tossing your students together like this, knowing that something fabulous is going to happen, is one of the great joys of teaching.

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