Saturday, December 20, 2008

Composition Class Blogging?

While my visits to musical academe are mostly of the hit-and-run variety, when I do visit, the most exciting activity is inevitably finding out about what the student composers are doing.   It's been surprising to me that so few younger composers are using the web to promote their work, but it's absolutely irresponsible that even fewer teachers and teaching institutions are using the web to promote their students' work.  Such a forum would be very useful to prospective students, concert organizers, and the musical community at large.   If composition training is preparation for professional work and our profession increasingly demands that contacts, materials, and work samples be available online, then learning how to place ones's work online and fashion an interesting public profile (as musician, intellectual, or all-round sweetheart) is an essential part of professional training.  

Now, it may well be objected that student work is student work, raw, in-progress, and tolerant of both experiment and failure in ways in which an eventual professional market is far less forgiving and is therefore unsuitable to wider publication.  But that is precisely why the framing of the work within the context of a website or blog associated with a composition class is so useful; such informal publication is at once a license to take risks, but also a requirement to stand out and do exciting work.  An interesting composition class is interesting not only because of an interesting and august professor, it is interesting because the students have good ideas and are executing them in ways to which attention is due.  Web publication along these lines — intermediate to in-house recitals and more formal publication — is an ideal medium for this.   

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