K-State graduation year: 2010
Degree: B.A. Music Composition
Current employer: Self-Employed
Position: Composer, Pianist
Describe the process of choosing your major.
I had always loved math and science. My original major was architectural engineering. An engineering professor, though he didn’t know it at the time, convinced me to switch to music.
I taught private music lessons while in college. I also composed a piece for dance.
For teaching, it was online advertising. For film scoring, I blind carbon copied hundreds of email addresses of people in film and sent out my portfolio offering my services. Expect to work for free in the beginning.
My days are usually cut in half. The first half, I’m writing music for any number of film projects that I’m currently working on or personal projects. The second half of my day consists of teaching private piano, guitar, or drum lessons.
I love that my job constantly makes me better at my craft.
With film, the hardest part is giving up a lot of creative control over the final product. You are writing music that is what the director wants it to be like. With teaching, every student is different. You are constantly having to adjust to the type of student you have in your studio.
Don’t expect anything that you aren’t willing to work really hard for. If you wish to make money, get creative and proactive. Also, leave space for your own creative endeavors.
The first step is putting yourself out there. The next is taking the opportunities that present themselves.
I grew up as a singer/songwriter. I thought that was my career trajectory. I rarely do that anymore. Composing has taken over my life.
I have found a love in writing music for animation. I would say that and writing for musical theatre have been the most enjoyable thus far.
Everything about life changes after college. You don’t have a choice but to adapt.
There wasn’t just one thing, but I did get to write for an original modern dance piece. It provided the platform for seeing how diverse my field can truly be.
Whatever your focus of study is, you need to glean as much of the information as you can. You are surrounded by experts of your field of interest. They have a lot of experience to share. College is the opportunity.
Yes. Orchestration. I fell in love with thinking about music in such a medium.
There were two. Dr. Slawomir Dobrzanski showed me how to truly listen to what I was playing. Dr. Craig Weston taught me how think about the color of sound.
It didn’t prepare me for what the competitive landscape would truly be like. But, to be honest, I don’t know if there is a better way to learn that than to just dive in and fail.