It’s been a crazy fast two years in Chicago, and I can’t believe we are leaving for Los Angeles in one week’s time. Two and a half years ago, I was trying to figure out what to do after undergrad, and I stumbled upon this program. I had no idea how much I would learn and grow in just two years’ time. I have made lifelong friends with people from across the world and strong meaningful connections with my instructors. There was not a single week that I didn’t learn something integral to my next chapter in LA. Before I talk about the final weeks of the program I want to take a moment to thank all my professors and peers that make this program what it is everyday they show up.
This has been without a doubt the most academically challenging time in my life, but it was not the most difficult, and I thank this program for giving me all the tools needed to handle it. Over the last month I have written music for three student films, wrote music for an entire stealth system in our video game class, and completed work on a feature film and an ad campaign for our scoring class. All this was possible because in this program I have learned how to work efficiently and deliver under pressure.
For our remote recording session with musicians in Macedonia, we prepared roughly two minutes of music to record with strings and woodwinds. We used this as a “sweetening session,” a common practice with most music budgets. The composer will strategically record certain elements of the orchestra to mix into the track, giving the illusion that most, if not all, of the score has been recorded live. I decided to use the music from the ad campaign we tackled in our scoring class, while other students decided to bring in whatever music they wanted to record.
It’s going to be hard to say goodbye to Chicago, as this is my favorite place I have lived so far. I am, however, looking forward to our summer session in Los Angeles in two weeks. For five weeks, we will meet with guest composers and visit studios as a class while pursuing our individual internships with composers. During this time we will also prepare a final piece of music to record at Fox Studios. This piece will be for a full orchestra and last roughly 2:30-3 minutes in length. Afterwards, we’ll have the privilege of holding mixing sessions with legendary score mixer Dennis Sands.
Thank you for taking the time to read these posts. I hope my insights into the Music Composition MFA have helped you get a picture of the program and maybe even make an academic decision. Below is a last piece from Oscar Pan, featuring the recordings from his session in Macedonia.