#1
Hey guys im a senior in high school and when i go to college im thinking about majoring in music composition. I just had some questions as to what i should know before i get to college so that when i get there i dont start off at the lowest level or something. I know the basics such as naming notes and chords, building chords, key signatures and a some other stuff but im still not too sure of my knowledge on other things like inversions , voicings and sight reading. So what should i study in this next year to get myself as prepared as possible?

(It would be great if some people who are studying music composition replied in this thread.)

Thanks
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#2
Er, immediately, immediately get through as many theory grades as possible. You need to be comfortable with composing using more than just inversions and odd chord voicings. You need to be able to write for at least SATB. You need to get yourself a really good teacher, IRL, really quickly.

Good luck. Hard work will always see you through.
#3
what do SATB and IRL mean?
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#5
If you want to major in composition, I'm assuming you're already a pretty darn talented pianist. If not, take hardcore lessons and get as much of a jumpstart on piano proficiency as possible before you even get your piano level assessed by the university.

Then again, if you're even an intermediate pianist, chord inversions and sight reading should already be easy as pie for you.

If you're shakey on sight reading, start tearing through new music each week, don't worry about memorizing, worry about sight reading it until it is smooth then pick up new stuff. Make sure you're sight reading in treble and bass cleff, or piano music.

You can also practice sight singing this year-- if you can't name in interval as soon as you hear it played, or sing an interval as soon as it's named, you need to learn how to do these things.

There are a lot of other good ways to get a headstart too:pick up instruments outside of your section: woodwind, string, brass, percussion, etc; start writing out whole scores now, start transposing music all the time, start paying attention to harmony and counterpoint--read up on these; the list goes on.
#6
Is it necessary to play the piano or is that just the most common instrument?
Quote by csn00b
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#7
^ it's necessary to be able to play a harmonised chorale. You simple don't have the range, contrapuntal ease or ability to read multiple clefs/parts on guitar. Unless you are Tommy Emmanuel. Which you aren't.
#8
Oh i see. Well it looks like im not going to have nearly enough time to learn an entirely new instrument. I can play simple things on piano but nothing great. I don't think i have enough time to get anywhere near good enough to where i would be able to do all of these things so it looks like composition is not the right thing for me. =\

Thanks for the help though.
Quote by csn00b
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#9
Hey i was just thinking about this and i realized that maybe performance is the better option for me? I play guitar and i also play clarinet. I can read standard notation for both and i can sight read very well on clarinet. I still have some trouble with sight reading for guitar but i know i can get better at that within the time frame. So do you guys think it would be better for me to just go towards performance instead of composition?
Quote by csn00b
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#10
Well, back in the dark ages when I was college age, most colleges didn't require that you declare your major until some point in your sophomore year. Or you could declare it and change it. Which means you have the rest of this year, all of next year, and part of the year after that to study like CRAZY if this is what you want to do. You do have some time, but you've really got to put your foot on the gas.

Please verify this, because I graduated high school in 1988, so a lot of things could have changed in this time.
#12
Yeah its still the same with the declaring of majors. I figure i could practice really hard for the next three years or so and see where im at then and then make my decision
Quote by csn00b
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#13
They'll teach you to play the piano fluently, to the point where you can compose on it as part of the program. You'd just be much better off to be able to do so before you start. Get ready for three years of fairly busy piano lessons as part of your major.
#14
It may be required to take piano lessons or class piano as a part of the music major. If it is something you are serious about you should have plenty of time to learn composition and piano in school.
#15
If you are proficient at two instruments and you can read sheet music, it shouldn't be too hard for you to pick up the piano. (Not litterally pick up... butyouknowwhatImean :-).

I'm just starting my second year and I already play menuets from Bach. Just get a good teacher. Don't do this by yourself if you want to prep for next year.

If I were you I'd visit a college and get some information. Don't they organise special introduction days? Maybe it is too far from where you live? See if there's some info on the I'net.
#16
yeah because im proficient at both guitar and clarinet and i was looking at piano sheet music and it doesnt seem hard. I think the hardest part for me would just be getting correct technique, posture etc..
Quote by csn00b
I hate seeing cute girls topless and what not, it just feels wrong.