It blows my mind that in a mere month’s time, I will be in Los Angeles getting myself ready to start my final (albeit short) semester of my graduate school experience—thus ending my six year stay in Chicago, and at Columbia College Chicago(did my undergrad here too). But why not keep my excitement levels up and get ready for an amazing new chapter in my life!?
On April 10, I attended my second (of four) recording session. This time around, compared to last time, was a little different because I was the one conducting the session. During your second year in this program, you get the wonderful experience of studying under the CYSO Director Allen Tinkham, who teaches you everything from pitch reading to conducting patterns. This is done because part of your future in the industry may involve leading a recording session and one thing that Columbia’s MFA for Screen Composition is about is getting you into real life situations and preparing you for everything and anything. Much like last time, I prepared well ahead. I did the scores and parts, and when it came to the day to record, I was ready. And let me tell you, my preparation paid off swimmingly—I was on Cloud Nine the entire time. It was by far one of the best experiences I have ever had and to be completely honest, one I hope to have again. My colleagues also conducted their works and each of us took turns, having 13 minutes in the booth with our ensemble to run the tricky spots and get the best recording we could. It truly was an amazing experience.
About halfway through the day I greeted the new admitted students for the program. This is another great thing that Columbia does—welcoming its incoming students. Once you have applied and been accepted for our program, we invite you out to come and watch some of the recording session and kind of share the day with us. We invite you in to score read while works are being recorded, get you lunch with a few of the current students, invite you to a Q&A with the ambassador and head of the program, Kubilay Uner. Then we bring you to a class where we sit in on the back end of scoring with one of our composers in residence, and then we all grab drinks, a bite to eat, and talk about the day at one of the nearby restaurants. This year the composer we sat in with is Ronit Kirchman of USA’s The Sinner. We listened to how she views a scene and watched a few of her critiques with students, which is always fun because this is a composer who works in the industry and knows the verbiage and the reviews she has received, and she can, in turn, give you the same kind of feedback. I have always loved this process as it has really prepared me for the review and critique process in Los Angeles.
It’s exciting looking ahead at what is to come and what is out there. I am happy that I was able to show a few people the exciting side of what this program brings to the table and all that we have to offer here!