New opportunities in music, media, and distribution channels mean that students need more than a classic music education to be successful as composers and songwriters in today’s market.
In McNally Smith’s Composition & Songwriting department, students develop a solid foundation of fundamentals that includes harmonic, melodic and lyrical development, arranging, and orchestration. Students also learn to write in a diverse range of styles, and how to apply their art and craft in a wide range of professional opportunities.
Additionally, students also study modern production techniques and gain critical recording skills that allow them to realize their ideas, refine their artistry, and create compelling music. This dual focus on musicianship and technological expertise ensures that students are well rounded and best prepared for a successful career in music.
By combining a modern approach to music composition with a solid understanding of business practices, economics, and entrepreneurship, students develop the skills and attitudes they need to be successful and meet the demands of composing in the music industry.
Students in the Songwriting track of McNally Smith’s Composition & Songwriting department take a core set of classes that explore the art and craft of modern songwriting though analysis of traditional and popular song forms.
A comprehensive study of musical styles, structure, lyrics, and compositional devices provides students with essential writing skills that are necessary to communicate economically and effectively through music. Concepts are reinforced through songwriting assignments, which contribute to each student’s portfolio. Emphasis is also placed on music business practices, collaborative techniques, creativity, and the importance of balancing art and commerce in the entertainment industry.
Students in the Instrumental Composition track of McNally Smith’s Composition & Songwriting department learn to compose music for a wide range of formats including film, television, theater, video games, new media and more.
This track includes extensive study of music theory, scoring for the moving image, arranging, and orchestration, as well as in-depth analysis, evaluation and practical application of contemporary compositional techniques. Working in collaboration with performers and producers, Composition students are provided opportunities to write, arrange, and conduct for a variety of instrumental, vocal, acoustic, electronic, and hybrid ensembles of varying sizes and instrumentation. Students also gain proficiency on the latest hardware- and software-based music production tools for the modern composer, including digital audio workstations, MIDI synthesizers, and state-of-the-art recording studios.