Howard Shore Master Class

Howard Shore Master Class

Hello Everyone!

I’m going to start this blog post off with a very wonderful video of our Master class at Columbia College with Howard Shore. The class in it’s entirety is shown above! Take a look at the inside scoop of how Howard Shore (composer of Lord of the Rings/ so many other films) works on a film, what his process is, and what his advice may be to aspiring composers!

We have had SO many amazing opportunities this semester, but these last few weeks we’ve had an abundance! A handful of the composers in the program got the opportunity to meet with the television department at Columbia in order to start composing for a comedy show called Freq Out which will be aired next spring; the second year composers had their first recording session at the Chicago Recording Company, and the first year students got to watch every minute of it in order to know what to do, and what not to do for our sessions; Electronic Violist, Martha Mooke, performed some original pieces while also explaining her work; and our string players in the program got to test out the beta for the newest Yamaha violin for beginners. Other than all of these amazing opportunities, we have also been furiously writing four to five cues of music per week. Now we are on break until the end of January, and we need to keep up the schedules we have created in order to not lose our motivation.

CRC Recording Session;


Connor Cook, a very lovely second year, has graciously written a short paragraph about her experience with the recording session:

“The recording session was a really amazing experience for me. It’s one thing to hear music in your head and to try and replicate it in your DAW, but to hear real musicians playing your piece is a really marvelous thing. They took my piece further and to different places than I originally conceptualized. I learned a lot too- what works for a live session (compositionally), what doesn’t, and what things just turn out to be flat cool. Conducting was neat too, because you get to feel like you’re a part of the music interpretation and not just the writing. I have to say, the best part of the session was hearing the lyrical section of my piece played by a live ensemble. I’ve wanted to be a film composer since I was 9 years old, and this was my first time hearing my music played by a live professional ensemble. It was the most lovely feeling. They added so much more than a DAW ever could. I feel so fortunate to have been a part of the session, but honestly, just to be here at Columbia is a huge gift, and a dream! The talent at Columbia is bursting at the seams.” -Connor Cook, 2nd year MFA.

Here is a photo of Connor during the recording session while conducting. The quality of the photo might not be the greatest (we of course can’t be in the same room during the recording), but the feeling and memory of this moment is definitely wonderful.


Our last day of class was different than most, as I stated above the string players within the MFA program go to test out a beta violin by Yamaha for beginning students and give feedback. All of the first year students attended, and even though some of us couldn’t contribute, we still were able to take something from watching the violinists interact with the violins and give feedback on them. There was a pretty distinguishable difference between the different violins which was interesting to hear. We also had Marsha Mooke, an amazing composer and electronic violist come and do a concert for all of Columbia. She spoke in depth about her music, how the electronic viola works, and showed how many things you can do with pedals and a viola. She graciously allowed students to come up and try out her electronic viola in order to give them a feel on how it works.

Here is Nico Gutierrez testing out one of the violins. (He’s actually a Cellist, if you couldn’t tell by how he’s playing the violin!)


Here is Tsang-Yueh Cheng AKA Albert, who also tested out the new models.


And here is Harry Hunt Jr. with Marsha Mooke. He’s never worked with a looping pedal before because he’s never used an electronic viola, but Marsha was advising every student on how to use her equipment. She was a very down to earth, soulful performer, and I know we all enjoyed her presence very, very much.


So thank you! To Howard Shore, Yamaha, Marsha Mooke, CRC, and Freq Out for making the last few weeks of first semester quite memorable! And the biggest thank you of all goes to Kubilay Uner. This being his first full year at Columbia, he has done so many wonderful things. He has taken the time to work with each of his students individually, he has taken the time to make sure we have the best composers coming in to talk with us so that we not only get his perception of the industry, but many composers perceptions, and he has pushed us and our limits with encouragement and with many, many projects. With how much he has done for all of us, I don’t think that there is any true way to thank him enough. But just know, that if you choose Columbia College for your graduate program, that you will be in THE best hands.

That’s a wrap for semester one! Thanks for tuning in Everyone!