Marginalia, Graduate Blog

Welcome Class of ’15!

Steven Spiel

The new school year is here and we had a great orientation on August 24th. All of the incoming students for the Music Composition for the Screen MFA program were there and it was great to be able to meet them!

Orientation began in the morning and Evan Baden and I were at the welcome/information desk for the morning. Students came up to the 8th floor of 1104 S. Wabash, checked in with us, and then headed over for a nice catered breakfast. There was a welcome meeting all together, then some classes on Student Financial Services and the Portfolio Center (among others). Before we knew it, it was time for lunch and to break out into our individual programs.

All twelve of the new students and I met with program director David McHugh to talk about the first week of classes, what to expect, evaluations, software, and more. Students were free to ask questions and get to know David a little better.

From there, it was up to the computer lab to register for classes. By about 2:00pm orientation was finished and students were free to go. I love how orientation is always short and simple. We are grad students and don’t need anyone holding our hands through our education. Columbia treats orientation just so, providing help if it is required, but primarily sticking to the relevant/important.

So now we are through with the first week of classes. Particularly of note is game scoring with Andrew Edwards. First of all, Andrew is the man. Everyone really appreciates him and he is an awesome teacher. His introduction to Game Scoring was stunning–particularly the introduction to ThatGameCompany and their game Journey. One of Andrew’s friends, Austin Wintory scored the game (a 3-year project) and did a stunning job. That’s a very long project for scoring. But Austin used the length of time to his advantage.

While Wintory made some changes to older pieces, he generally resisted reworking music written 1 1/2 to 2 years prior, feeling the need to preserve much of the naievete and innocence of the earlier work as its own kind of “emotional arc”.link

In fact, it was so stunning that it was the first video game score to be nominated for a Grammy.

Check out part of the game in a no-commentary walk-through, here.

Welcome Class of ’15!

The new school year is here and we had a great orientation on August 24th. All of the incoming students for the Music Composition for the Screen MFA program were …

Music Composition for the Screen MFA Steven Spiel, steven.spiel@loop.colum.edu
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

The Graduate Experience