Friday, April 23, 2010

Ch ch ch changes

This week, I decided to change my major. Instead of a Bachelor of Music in Composition, I’ve decided to do a Bachelor of Musical Arts degree. About eleven months ago, I was going through the exact opposite switch. In thirteen months, I’ll graduate. There’s a reason for this flip-flopping though.

You probably know that I’m sort of a big fan of music. Just a bit. But this fanaticism has two sides. First off, I love to create new music. Nothing gives me more pleasure than finishing something and hearing it in its final form, be it a song or a piece. And then there’s the musicological side. That’s the one that reads Wikipedia articles when I should be doing homework. Or actually pays attention in music history class when everyone else is bored out of his/her mind.

This dichotomy doesn’t seem like it should be a problem; in fact, it seems like an ideal situation. One loves the craft and the craftsmen before you. Voila! Master composer right? After declaring BMA my freshman year, I decided that I should devote myself to composing and changed at the beginning of this year to BM. Then I proceeded to do almost no composing this year and thought maybe that was a sign that I shouldn’t do this. I can’t really explain why, but composing became stressful which is the opposite of what it should be. Perhaps because it became an obligation. I thought, hey, I don’t want my senior year to be even more stressful so maybe I shouldn’t do this. Not to mention that the alternative could be very attractive.

The way the Bachelor of Musical Arts degree works is that for your senior capstone project, you do something that involves music and a cognate field, or a minor, which in my case it English writing. To me, this translates into music criticism, something I consider myself decent at, probably even better than composing. This may change, but right now, it looks like I’ll be doing an in-depth look at rock criticism and how and why it has played a role in the development of the genre. I may also be looking at different styles of writing but right now this is quite embryonic.

I still plan on making music like always. Just because I’m no longer majoring in composition doesn’t mean I won’t keep producing music. I just never really found myself gelling with the idea of being a serious composer of modern classical music. Maybe someday I will. A bachelor’s degree certainly doesn’t map out the rest of my life. But for now, I feel more passionate about criticism so that’s where I’m going here at PLU.

Here on Page 43, expect an upsurge. If I’m going to really dig into criticism, this will go up on the priority list. I plan to read a lot, listen a lot, write a lot. It’s what I want to do anyway. Now that it’s my area of study, why not go all out? I haven’t written any big huge manifestos in a while. It shall be fun.

*Chris Ferguson knew the last subheading, "Born Under Punches" by Talking Heads. Who's got the next one?


  1. Changes from Hunky Dory by David Bowie

  2. Both writers and composers have writer's/composer's block; it's an occupational hazard. I agree with you that what your degree is in will not determine the path of your life. Follow your bliss, as Joe C. said.

  3. I think I looked at the wrong subheading. Silly me. Steely Dan - The Caves of Altamira.

  4. I'm pretty sure you cheated but whatever. No one probably would have gotten it anyway.