Music Composition for the Screen (MFA)
What would you say has been the most surprising thing you learned at Columbia?
The most surprising thing I’ve learned during my time at Columbia was a whole new work ethic that I didn’t know I possessed. In the MFA Music for the Screen program, we were immersed in real-world scoring assignments each week. When you start living and breathing the scoring process every day, you begin to understand how a composer can write 10, 20, 30 hours + of original music. I never thought I could write this amount of music, but you do it and afterwards you’re armed with tools for life.
What experiences or courses at Columbia do you feel have been most beneficial?
The scoring courses here can’t be beat. In the MFA Music for the Screen program, we work on real films and often get the chance to work with industry professional composers. We worked with Ronit Kirchman, composer of USA Network’s The Sinner. We rescored and reimagined a Netflix documentary with composer Joel Goodman and we even got our pieces recorded by the world-class cellist Tina Guo. The scoring program at Columbia connected me to close knit group of working Hollywood professionals in a way that I could have never imagined.
What are your plans for after graduation?
The final summer semester, we will be having classes in the LA branch of Columbia at Raleigh Studios. During this time, we will also be doing an internship for a working composer. Through Columbia I have been awarded an internship with the amazing composer, Bear McCreary, who has scored shows such The Walking Dead, Battlestar Galactic and many more. After graduation I aim to continue working in Hollywood as a professional composer of media music.
Do you have any advice for current students?
My advice for current students is get the extra hours in. For every hour we don’t spend doing our craft, someone else is putting that in time. In order to really grow in your art form you must spend more time doing it. Even if the assignments and outside projects stack up, any bit of work you can do to make your project even a little better is worth it. Take care of yourself, have times where you allow yourself to relax and heal, but always keep pushing forward! The results come when you’ve done the hard work.