The last five blog posts I’ve written have been about how great Columbia is, sharing details about the program, and showcasing the work of my peers. For my last post, I want to reflect on my own growth and where I’m headed now that I have 2 weeks left of class before I leave Chicago.
When I came to grad school at Columbia, I had next to no idea how to write music to picture and I definitely didn’t know how much work goes into writing media music behind the scenes. I also wasn’t the most caught up when it came to tech skills and electronics, and in a world that relies on creating music for speakers, I had to become good at it quickly. Something that I think was really impactful for me was that we all just got thrown into the fire from the very beginning. I was always pretty slow when it came to writing music my normal way (using Finale), and now I had to start writing music in a whole new set of tools and I had to do it even faster than I was used to writing. So, having multiple pieces due after the first week was a daunting challenge for me, but because of it, I was able to come out a better composer on the other side. After that first week, I just had to do it all over and over again for the next 2 years and then for the rest of my musical career. Luckily for me, all of my classmates and instructors were great resources for learning new skills and my ability to quickly produce professional-sounding recordings improved.
While grad school is great for honing your craft, it’s also good for many other things such as learning more about yourself and having new experiences. Before coming here, I didn’t really have the best understanding of what music I really enjoyed writing, or what “my sound” even was. I also really began to realize how much I enjoy playing music, not just writing it. I’m especially thankful for my classmates that were able to take the time out of their own schedule to plan recording sessions for projects so we could get live instruments into our projects. I also had the opportunity to try new things with my music that I didn’t have the opportunity to do before. I’d never written for a jazz ensemble until I came here or used any kind of synthesizer. While I’m still not the biggest synth person, I definitely enjoy some of the crazier sounds they can produce. These are all things I might have never had the opportunity to do if I wasn’t given the chance to try new things and mess up in a safe environment.
Moving forward, I start our final 5 weeks during the summer semester in Los Angeles on June 1. I’ll be working with Jeremy Zuckerman (Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra, This Little Land of Mines) for my internship. I’m excited to take my experiences from Columbia and put them into practice out in the wild and see how far I can go in the crazy but exciting world of media music.