I want to do a million things with my life and the uncertainty re: where I’m headed and how to get there is really unnerving, but also ~what life’s all about~ I guess.
I’ve been looking into going back to school for quite a few months now, even though I’m very much a self-directed learner. I spend 3-5 days per week in bookstores and libraries, and I’m constantly researching things online, so I’m sort of torn about going back to school because a big part of me feels it’s not completely necessary. I just want to be in an environment where I have the resources to learn as much as possible (ex. where I can take physics with a lab instead of just reading about it) and where others are as passionate about learning as I am.
With that said, I’ve been obsessively looking into schools because I’m too future-oriented for my own good, and even though I don’t know what I’ll be doing within the next few months, I want to have schools picked out for 2014 NOW NOW NOW.
Here’s my list so far (in no particular order):
Cornell University: Information Science major/Computing in the Arts - music track minor, or creating my own major, or double majoring music/info sci. I already have a list of a billion classes to make up the major I’d create, I just need to narrow it down and make a proposal. Yeah, a major proposal before I’ve even applied/been accepted. Welcome to my brain.
Stanford University: Music, Science, & Technology major (their transfer acceptance rate is around 3-4%, sometimes as low as 1%, so I’m not really banking on Stanford)
Reed College: Their selection of music courses doesn’t really thrill me, so I’m undecided major-wise. If you know me, you’ll know that this place would just be a good fit for me. I’m really interested in the school as opposed to any specific major/department.
St. John’s College: SO INTERESTING. SO, SO INTERESTING. But I’m torn for diversity reasons. I definitely couldn’t make a decision without visiting first.
New College of Florida: Music/Physics. I never thought I’d consider going back to Florida to do anything but work at Disney World. Honestly, its location in Florida is one of the only things that makes me second-guess it, because I spent my high school years trying to get out of that state. One of my best friends is graduating and she’s loved all 4 years. It’s been really challenging, but also very rewarding (and the rewarding part is especially apparent - I really dig that).
Sibelius Academy (Finland): Music Technology. This program looks amazing and tuition is $0 because Finland is kind. I haven’t yet researched what it’s like to live in Finland, so I’m not sure about this one.
Realistically, everything depends on financial aid, even though I dream of being able to attend any of these schools.
If any of you attend any of these schools, I’d love to hear about your experiences/any advice you have. I’d especially appreciate it if you’re queer, trans*, and/or a person of color.
P.S. I dropped out of Vanderbilt a year and a half ago if that background knowledge helps at all. I honestly feel like I’ll end up at Cornell, but maybe that’s just because I’ve spent the past few months visualizing it.
Hello, stranger! I see you’re thinking about music at Reed College.
AND AS A MUSIC MAJOR, I think our program is kind of kickass.
It’s worth remembering that we have four faculty members and our specialty isn’t really music technology - it’s more of a musicology/music history/composition if you want degree. There aren’t a whole lot of music majors at Reed (often fewer thesising seniors than faculty), which I guess isn’t really surprising for a liberal arts school.
You mention that the courses don’t thrill you and really what I want to say is that’s what you think now.
Virginia Hancock’s JS Bach course changed my life for the better. Mark Burford (who teaches Junior seminar and music history) is super interesting and a great teacher. David Schiff is something like the world expert on Elliott Carter. Morgan Luker teaches ethnomusicology and has started the US’s first tango institute through his connections to Argentine tango groups he met doing his fieldwork.
Over the past two years, I’ve learned about the B Minor Mass and sonata deformation and Wagner’s influence on Strauss. I’ve learned about Piazzolla in France and what a cymbalum is and how it is used in versions of Stravinsky’s “Les Noces”. I’ve learned about puzzle canons and about German decadence and Schopenhauer, and they’ve all been excellent classes.