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Education Worth it to go to School as a Composer?

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Hello future and present game designers! I've researched into this topic and even had an interview with a well-known composer about whether I should attend a music school. Acquiring the knowledge, contacts, and confidence in music makes attending one seem like a good choice.

Also, would my school of choice matter in this decision? In my case, the University of Southern California is the more accredited school for video game designers, but the University of Irvine is closer to home (where I won't have to move away).

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks.

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44 minutes ago, Tom Sloper said:

If you want to become a composer, then getting a college degree is definitely recommended. USC and UCI are both very good. You have to make a decision based on your own criteria

Thanks for the response Tom. I feel like I'm at the most important decision of my life and I'm need to acquire all the information I can before I make this commitment. The link you provided helped me in narrowing down my schools. Thanks.

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Posted (edited)

I'm a rock musician. Technically I am a composer, but rock is generally pretty different from what most people imagine for composing. It's very different from classical music, film scoring, and a lot of video game music.

Anyway, my recommendation is to get to school as fast as possible, but it has to be the right school. If you don't already know how to compose it's very difficult to figure out on your own (I somewhat did and it took well over a decade). I took quite a few courses at the local small town community college as far back as high school. I'm not sure they helped me much at all. I think good music teachers are few and far between and you are wasting time with those that aren't, for the most part.

Contrast that with quite a few classes I took with Berklee on-line and it was night and day different. Everything I learned from Berklee was valuable. But they are considered probably the top "rock" music school in the world by many. And it wasn't cheap.

But a good school can make all the difference. That and practice, practice, practice.

 

One other thing I should mention is that most music programs expect you to already know how to play at least one instrument well, if not how to compose. Their attitude seems often to be "You should have learned music before you got here; we're only here to make you better." You need to find a program that takes you from where you are, even if that's at the very beginning, but it takes at least a few years to get from just starting out to where they expect you to be under the best of circumstances. Reality is, the vast majority of people entering music school have been doing it since they were a kid and actually are competent musicians, if not composers from day one. But with good teachers, you should be able to reach the basic competency expected for a composer in a few years of VERY hard work. (I'm not implying anything about your skill, just pointing out that some people are at the very beginning of the process.)

Edited by BBeck

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I've had formal training in piano for 10 years and have been creating music for even longer, so I'm not too worried about starting from square 1. Thanks BBeck and AFV for your recommendations.

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I'm biased since I graduated from UCI.

That aside, I'd suggest UCI, sure, both schools are name brand, but UCI is ranked 9th in public schools nationally.

Look at the potential programs and see what classes are being offered. Also look up the professors, and see which bagrouds suit what you want to learn.  

 

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17 hours ago, GeneralJist said:

I'm biased since I graduated from UCI.

That aside, I'd suggest UCI, sure, both schools are name brand, but UCI is ranked 9th in public schools nationally.

Look at the potential programs and see what classes are being offered. Also look up the professors, and see which bagrouds suit what you want to learn.  

 

Since you went to UCI, GeneralJist, what programs did you take? (If you majored in music that is). The only program that would seem applicable to me is the B.A. in Music.

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I was a psychology major, so it's not directly applicable.

I'm just going off of the experience I had there. (Environment, professors, hosing, etc. )

 

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3 hours ago, Battlegun said:

The only program that would seem applicable to me is the B.A. in Music.

That sounds like a fine choice. The college I went to (in New York state) was primarily known for its music school, so I suppose they had more specialized majors, but unless you're planning to go for a PhD in composition or something (or even if you are), [generic] Music seems perfectly apropos.

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