High School Composition Intensive (HSCI)

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Pencil and music sheet

High School Composition Intensive (HSCI)

Are you a high school student with a flair for writing and a desire to sharpen your abilities? Look no further than the High School Composition Intensive (HSCI)! This program is an ideal platform for young composers and musicians like you to elevate your skills and embrace your passion.

In this comprehensive blog, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of HSCI, covering everything from its core objectives and benefits to the details of the application process. Join us as we embark on an enlightening exploration of how HSCI can play a pivotal role in enriching your academic and creative journey.

What is the High School Composition Intensive (HSCI)?

The High School Composition Intensive (HSCI) at Boston Conservatory at Berklee is a dynamic, two-week program tailored for students deeply interested in music composition. This program offers a focused environment where young composers receive personalized guidance and instruction from renowned faculty and guest artists.

The curriculum is designed to provide students with a comprehensive set of compositional techniques, crucial for developing their unique musical voice.

Throughout the program, each student composer works on creating a portfolio that consists of three original pieces. These works are not only written down as properly notated scores but also come with their own audio recordings.

What makes this even more special is that these compositions are performed by the program’s professional in-house ensembles, giving students a real-world experience of hearing their creations come to life!

By the end of their time at HSCI, students will have gained substantial knowledge and skills in music composition. They will depart with a sense of increased confidence in their abilities and a heightened level of creativity in their approach to composing music.

Music sheet, headset, a guitar and a pen on a table

High School Composition Intensive (HSCI) Curriculum Overview

During the two-week program, you’ll have the opportunity to compose three pieces. These compositions will be refined through workshops and ultimately recorded by professional musicians and ensembles.

By the end of the program, you will have an improved portfolio of new works. This portfolio can be shared with friends, and family, and used in college applications, showcasing your skills and creativity as a composer.

With a 5 to 1 student-to-faculty ratio, the program ensures that you receive plenty of individual attention and support. This personalized guidance is crucial in aiding your compositional and rehearsal processes.

A. Curriculum Details

Daily Studio Lessons

Each day of the program includes a dedicated lesson focused on your music compositions. These regular sessions are a cornerstone of the program, providing a consistent structure for learning and development.

In these lessons, you’ll receive valuable feedback on your compositions. This can include constructive critiques, suggestions for improvement, and recognition of your strengths. Such feedback is crucial in helping you refine your musical pieces and grow as a composer.

The instructors will address any questions you might have, whether they’re about specific technical aspects of your composition, broader conceptual ideas, or even general advice about the composition process. This personalized support ensures that your individual needs and concerns are addressed.

Beyond technical guidance, these sessions are also about encouragement. Instructors will motivate and inspire you, helping to build your confidence and keep you engaged with the creative process.

The daily studio lessons are essential for your growth as a composer. They provide a consistent, supportive environment where you can continuously learn, adapt, and improve your compositional skills.

The daily studio lessons in the HSCI program are designed to offer a blend of feedback, personalized support, and motivation. They play a pivotal role in nurturing your talents and helping you evolve as a composer.

a girl listening to podcast

Prompts for Inspiration

The “Prompts for Inspiration” are a valuable tool used to stimulate creativity and enhance efficiency in composing. Let’s break down how these prompts work and their benefits:

These prompts are designed to spark your imagination and help jumpstart the creative process. They serve as a starting point for your compositions, especially useful when you might be feeling stuck or uninspired.

With these prompts, the program aims to help you develop the skill of composing efficiently. The idea is to get you into the habit of creating music regularly, not just when inspiration naturally strikes.

These prompts can vary widely, ranging from specific musical ideas to more abstract concepts. This variety ensures that you’re challenged to think and compose in different ways, expanding your creative horizons.

By using prompts, you learn to be proactive in your composing. Instead of waiting for inspiration, you actively engage with the prompt to generate musical ideas. This approach is crucial for any composer who needs to deliver work within deadlines or specific contexts.

Prompts can be particularly helpful when you’re facing a creative block, giving you a nudge in a direction that can lead to a flow of new ideas. Regularly working with different types of prompts can broaden your creative thinking, allowing you to explore and experiment with diverse musical styles and themes.

This practice is not just about creativity; it’s also about building practical skills in composition. It prepares you for real-world scenarios where you might need to create music on demand or under time constraints.

The use of prompts for inspiration in the HSCI program is a strategic approach to enhance your creative process and compositional efficiency. It prepares you to be a more versatile and proactive composer, capable of producing music even under challenging circumstances.

Piano and music sheet

Building Proactive Composition Habits

HSCI places a strong emphasis on developing proactive composition habits. This aspect of the program is all about enhancing your ability to compose music both quickly and effectively. Here’s a more detailed look at this focus:

One of the key skills you’ll develop in the program is the ability to write music rapidly and efficiently. This means being able to produce high-quality compositions within a limited timeframe.

For any composer, the ability to compose swiftly and competently is crucial. It’s a skill that’s highly valued in the music industry, whether you’re working on a tight deadline or need to create music spontaneously.

While spontaneous inspiration can be a significant part of composing, the HSCI program teaches you not to rely solely on it. You’ll learn techniques to actively generate musical ideas, even when inspiration doesn’t come naturally.

The program guides you in learning how to express your musical ideas proactively. This involves initiating the composition process through various techniques and strategies, rather than waiting for the muse to strike.

By cultivating these proactive composition habits, you’ll be better prepared for real-world scenarios in the music industry. Whether it’s for a commissioned piece, a collaboration, or a personal project, you’ll have the skills to deliver quality compositions promptly.

Developing the ability to write quickly and effectively makes you a more versatile composer. You’ll be able to adapt to different composing environments and demands, enhancing your overall capabilities in the field of music.

Building proactive composition habits is a fundamental part of the HSCI program. It’s about equipping you with the skills and mindset to be a dynamic and efficient composer, ready to meet the diverse challenges of the music world.

Additional Learning Opportunities

You’ll receive personalized lessons and coaching from acclaimed faculty and guest artists. Their expertise will help you build a comprehensive set of techniques necessary for developing your unique compositional voice.

The curriculum focuses on:

  • Learning fast and effective writing techniques.
  • Acquiring rehearsal skills to work effectively with musicians.
  • Developing communication skills crucial for collaboration with professional musicians and peers.
  • Receiving constructive feedback for revising and improving your scores.

The HSCI curriculum is crafted to not only enhance your compositional skills but also to prepare you for the realities of working as a composer. You’ll leave the program not just with a strong portfolio but also with practical skills and experiences that will be invaluable in your future endeavors in music.

An African American female student inside a campus looking happy

Final Performance

In the High School Composition Intensive (HSCI) program, there’s a special performance opportunity for participants. The program concludes with a final concert which is a live event and broadcasted online.

Your friends and family can watch the performance from anywhere, providing them with a chance to see and appreciate your work even if they can’t be there in person.

This online broadcast makes the concert accessible to a wider audience, allowing more people to enjoy and support your musical achievements!

Why Should You Join the High School Composition Intensive (HSCI)?

Participating in the High School Composition Intensive (HSCI) offers numerous benefits beyond just enhancing your writing abilities. This program provides a rich learning environment where you can immerse yourself in different writing styles and methods.

You’ll have the opportunity to absorb knowledge from seasoned instructors who are experts in their fields. Additionally, you’ll connect with fellow students who share a similar enthusiasm for writing, allowing for an exchange of ideas and inspirations.

This experience is invaluable not only for your personal development but also for strengthening your college applications. The skills you acquire at HSCI are not limited to writing; they extend to essential communication abilities that are crucial in any future career you might choose.

During the HSCI program, you’ll engage in a variety of activities and lessons that will broaden your understanding and skills in composition. These include:

Studio Lessons

The High School Composition Intensive (HSCI) program features a key component known as Studio Lessons. These lessons are tailored to each individual student, providing personalized instruction that aims to improve your skills in composing music.

During these sessions, you’ll receive one-on-one guidance from experienced instructors who will help you refine your ability to craft music. The focuses on the technical aspects of composition and nurturing your unique artistic vision.

You will learn how to effectively express your ideas and emotions through music, developing a style that resonates with your personal creative voice. These lessons are instrumental in helping you grow as a composer, giving you the tools and confidence to bring your musical concepts to life.

View of a person composing music

Piano Reading

In the High School Composition Intensive (HSCI) program, “Piano Reading” forms an integral part of the curriculum. This aspect of the program focuses on teaching students the art of composing specifically for the piano. You will delve into the various subtleties and wide-ranging capabilities of the piano, which is a versatile and expressive instrument.

The lessons in Piano Reading are designed to broaden your understanding of the piano’s unique characteristics. You will explore different techniques and styles that can be employed when composing for the piano. This includes learning how to utilize the piano’s range, dynamics, and tonal qualities to create compelling and emotionally resonant music.

Through these sessions, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation of the piano and learn how to make the most of its potential in your compositions. Whether you are aiming to write solo pieces or use the piano as part of larger ensembles, these lessons will equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to compose effectively and creatively for this instrument.

Broadcast: Piano

Within the High School Composition Intensive (HSCI) program, “Broadcast: Piano” is a unique and enriching module. This segment offers students an in-depth exploration of the realm of piano composition. It’s an opportunity to understand the diverse roles that the piano can play in various musical settings.

In this part of the program, you’ll learn about the piano’s versatility as an instrument. You’ll discover how it fits into different musical genres and contexts, from classical to contemporary styles. The module provides insights into how the piano can lead a musical piece, support other instruments, or create a harmonious blend in ensembles.

The focus of “Broadcast: Piano” is to widen your perspective on the piano, not just as an instrument but as a pivotal element in the broader spectrum of musical composition. This knowledge will be invaluable as you develop your skills as a composer, allowing you to integrate the piano more thoughtfully and effectively into your works.

Whether you aim to write solo piano pieces or use the piano in complex orchestral compositions, this module will enhance your understanding and ability to use the piano creatively in various musical narratives.

an unknown man playing the piano

Writing for Woodwinds/Percussion

The program includes a critical module focused on “Writing for Woodwinds/Percussion.” This segment will provide students with specialized knowledge and skills in composing music specifically for woodwind and percussion instruments.

In this module, you’ll learn about the distinct characteristics, capabilities, and sounds of various woodwind and percussion instruments. The instruction covers a range of instruments, from flutes and clarinets to drums and xylophones, exploring how each can contribute uniquely to a musical composition.

The aim is to equip you with the ability to effectively incorporate these instruments into your compositions. You’ll understand how to use the tonal qualities, rhythms, and textures of woodwinds and percussion to enhance the overall impact of your music.

If you’re aiming to create intricate solo pieces for a specific instrument or integrate these sounds into larger ensembles, this module will deepen your understanding of these instrument groups and broaden your compositional skills.

By mastering the art of writing for woodwinds and percussion, you’ll be able to add depth and diversity to your musical creations.

Duo Reading

Another feature offered by the program is an engaging component known as “Duo Reading.” This segment is particularly focused on the art of collaborative composition, specifically for duo performances. It’s a unique opportunity for students to learn the dynamics of composing music that involves two instruments or voices working in harmony.

In Duo Reading, you will explore the intricacies of creating music where two distinct parts interact and complement each other. This involves understanding how to blend and balance different sounds, ensuring that each part contributes to a cohesive and harmonious piece.

You will learn techniques for achieving synergy between two performers, whether they are playing the same instrument or different ones.

This module teaches you the technical aspects of composition and exercise in collaboration and communication. You’ll work closely with another student or instructor, gaining experience in sharing ideas, giving and receiving feedback, and refining your compositions together.

By learning Duo Reading, you’ll enhance your ability to create music that is not only technically sound but also rich in cooperative expression. This experience is invaluable for any aspiring composer, as it mirrors real-world scenarios where working with other musicians is key to successful performances.

Concert: Transient Canvas

The program offers an exciting component called “Concert: Transient Canvas.” This part of the program is centered around exposing students to contemporary music compositions, providing a platform to experience and critically analyze modern musical works.

During the Concert: Transient Canvas, students will have the opportunity to listen to a variety of contemporary pieces performed live. This experience is invaluable for understanding the trends and techniques prevalent in today’s music composition landscape.

You’ll observe and learn how modern composers approach structure, melody, rhythm, and the use of various instruments in creating innovative and expressive works.

In addition to enjoying the performances, there is a strong emphasis on analysis and discussion. You’ll engage in conversations about the compositions, dissecting and understanding the elements that make them effective or unique.

This critical analysis is essential for developing a deeper appreciation and understanding of contemporary music styles and techniques.

This module is not just about passive listening; it’s an interactive learning experience. You’ll gain insights that can inspire and inform your own compositional style, helping you to integrate modern elements into your music.

For any aspiring composer looking to stay relevant and innovative in the field of music composition, the Concert: Transient Canvas is an invaluable part of the HSCI program.

Diverse group of young people chatting in college library

Group Improvisation

“Group Improvisation” is a dynamic and interactive component designed to enhance students’ skills in improvisational music, fostering both creativity and collaboration.

In the Group Improvisation sessions, students participate in spontaneous musical creation, working together in groups. These sessions are an excellent way to develop quick thinking and adaptability in music composition.

You’ll learn how to spontaneously create music without pre-planned notes or structures, relying instead on instinct, interaction with fellow musicians, and immediate inspiration.

This module emphasizes not just individual creativity but also the ability to work effectively as part of a team. You’ll learn how to listen to and blend with others’ musical ideas, developing a cohesive sound as a group.

Improvisation is a valuable skill in many musical genres and settings, and these sessions provide a safe and supportive environment to experiment and refine your improvisational abilities.

Group Improvisation is more than just making music on the spot; it’s about unlocking new creative potentials and learning how to communicate and collaborate musically with others. For students at HSCI, this module is an exciting opportunity to push their boundaries and explore new dimensions of musical expression.

All these elements of the HSCI program work together to provide a comprehensive and enriching experience in music composition. By joining, you’ll not only refine your compositional skills but also develop a versatile skill set beneficial for your future endeavors in any field.

How Do You Get Into the High School Composition Intensive (HSCI)?

To be eligible for the High School Composition Intensive (HSCI), there are certain criteria and steps you need to follow. Here’s a more detailed explanation:

The program is specifically designed for young musicians aged 15 to 18. It’s important that you have some background in music composition, which means you should already be familiar with the basics of creating and structuring music.

While you don’t need to provide official certification of your English language skills, like TOEFL or IELTS scores, you should be comfortable enough with English. This proficiency is essential since the program is conducted in English, and you’ll need to understand lectures, participate in discussions, and follow assignment instructions.

A. Specific Materials for Application

If you’re interested in applying for HSCI, you need to prepare and submit the following:

PDF Scores of Your Compositions: You should submit the scores of two compositions that you’ve created. These need to be in PDF format, ensuring clarity and readability. These compositions are a way to demonstrate your creative abilities and understanding of music composition. They should be pieces that reflect your style and skill.

Audio Recordings: Along with the scores, provide links to audio recordings of these same compositions. If you don’t have recordings of live performances, MIDI-based performances are acceptable.

Each recording should be between three to five minutes, giving a clear representation of your work. This allows the evaluators to hear your compositions and understand how they translate from paper to performance. Specific instructions on how to submit these materials can be found on the HSCI’s online registration portal. It’s important to follow these instructions carefully to ensure your application is complete.

By meeting these requirements and preparing your application materials thoughtfully, you’ll be well on your way to applying for this intensive and enriching program designed for young composers.

How Do I Apply to the High School Composition Intensive (HSCI)?

Applying to the High School Composition Intensive (HSCI) involves a few key steps that you need to complete by specific deadlines.

The first step is to register for the program. You need to complete your registration online by June 1. You can start this process by visiting the program’s website and submitting your registration through the provided online portal.

After registering, the next important step is to pay the tuition fees. This also needs to be done by June 1. Remember, the program has limited spaces available, so paying your tuition on time is crucial to securing your spot in the program.

If you are 15 years old or older by the start of the program and it’s based in Boston, you are eligible to stay in on-campus housing. To request on-campus housing, you should revisit your registration portal. There, you’ll need to submit a Residence Hall Agreement, indicating your interest in staying in the on-campus housing.

Make sure that all these steps are completed by the specified deadline of June 1. If there are any additional supporting materials required for your registration, make sure to submit them along with your online registration. Keep track of any confirmations or additional instructions you receive after completing these steps.

Follow these steps to have a smooth completion of your application to the High School Composition Intensive and look forward to an enriching experience in music composition.

Cooper International Piano & Violin Competition

High School Composition Intensive (HSCI) Tuition and Fees

The tuition fee for the program is $2,132.

If you register by January 15, 2024, you can avail of a discounted tuition fee of $1,932, saving $200.

For those needing accommodation, housing is available for $1,560. There is a non-refundable registration fee of $50.

Plan and budget accordingly for your participation in the HSCI program. Remember to register early to take advantage of the tuition discount!

How Hard Is Getting Into the High School Composition Intensive (HSCI)?

Gaining admission to the High School Composition Intensive (HSCI) can be competitive due to its limited number of available spots.  They can only accommodate a certain number of students, which means not everyone who applies will be able to join.

Simply submitting your registration materials does not automatically mean you will be part of the program. It’s the first step, but it doesn’t guarantee your spot. The key to securing your place in the program is to complete your tuition payment in full. This is an essential step following your initial registration.

If the program reaches its capacity, students who haven’t paid their tuition in full will be placed on a waitlist. Being on the waitlist means you might still get a chance to join the program if a spot becomes available, but it’s not a certainty.

When Is the Deadline to Apply to the High School Composition Intensive (HSCI)?

To apply for the High School Composition Intensive (HSCI), there are important deadlines you need to keep in mind. Both your registration and the tuition payment must be completed by June 1.

You should have your application fully submitted and your tuition fees paid by this date. Meeting these deadlines is crucial for your application to be considered for the program.

Pencil and music sheet

When Do I Find Out About My Application to the High School Composition Intensive (HSCI)?

After you have completed the application process, including securing your tuition payment and submitting all required materials, here’s how you can expect to be informed about your application status and program details:

Keep an eye on the email account you used to enroll in the program. This is where you’ll receive updates and important information regarding your application and program details.

About one to two weeks before your program begins, you’ll receive a comprehensive email. This email will include crucial information such as your specific check-in location when you arrive, details about your housing assignment if you’re staying on campus and a link to your program schedule.

Once you arrive on campus, there will be additional information provided to you. This will help guide you through the specifics of the program and ensure you know where to go and what to expect during your time in the HSCI program.

It’s important to regularly check your email, especially as the program start date approaches, to ensure you’re up to date with all the necessary information and preparations for your participation in the High School Composition Intensive.

Where Is the High School Composition Intensive (HSCI) Held?

The High School Composition Intensive (HSCI) is hosted at the prestigious Boston Conservatory at Berklee.

Berklee is globally renowned for its exceptional education in the performance arts. It is celebrated for producing some of the most talented musicians and composers in the world.

The Boston Conservatory, as part of Berklee, brings a rich history of excellence in music education. It is known for its rigorous training and innovative teaching methods in music composition and performance.

The HSCI program takes place in this vibrant educational setting, providing students with top-notch facilities and resources. Being at the Boston Conservatory means students are immersed in an environment that is both inspiring and conducive to learning, surrounded by peers and mentors who share a deep passion for music.

Boston is a city with a rich cultural heritage, particularly in music. It is home to a diverse and thriving music scene, ranging from classical to contemporary genres. The city offers numerous opportunities for young musicians to experience live performances, engage with various music styles, and even participate in local music events. This exposure is invaluable for students looking to broaden their musical perspectives.

The High School Composition Intensive at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee provides students with an opportunity to learn and grow in a world-class institution. Being in the heart of Boston, students are not only exposed to excellent education but also to a city that breathes music, offering a wealth of experiences that contribute to their artistic growth.

A. Travelling to Berklee

Traveling to Berklee, especially for minors (those under 18 years of age), requires careful planning and consideration. While it’s common for parents or guardians to accompany their children to Boston for check-in at Berklee, it’s not mandatory. Many students travel independently to their programs.

If you’re traveling by air, be aware that all major US airlines have specific policies for unaccompanied minors. Airlines may charge an extra fee for minors traveling alone. Parents or guardians need to check with the airline before booking to understand these requirements and costs.

In Boston, many hotels have policies that prevent minors from checking in alone. If you need to book a hotel, call ahead to confirm their policy regarding minors checking in without an adult. Try to arrange your travel so that overnight hotel stays aren’t necessary before the program starts. If that’s unavoidable, make sure your hotel booking accommodates minors traveling alone.

B. Arriving at Berklee

Berklee cannot provide on-campus housing for students before the official start date of the program. Plan to arrive in Boston on the morning your program starts. This should align with the beginning of your check-in period.

If you can’t arrive on campus before your check-in window, you’ll need to arrange for off-campus accommodations for any nights before the program begins. Program-related activities usually start about an hour after the check-in period begins.

C. Departure from Berklee

Berklee can’t extend campus housing beyond the end date of the program. Arrange your departure for the end of the last day of the program.

If your check-out is in the evening, remember that program activities typically run until about two hours before the listed check-out time. You can find specific details about your program’s arrival, move-out dates, and times on the program’s webpage.

When Does the High School Composition Intensive (HSCI) Take Place?

The High School Composition Intensive (HSCI) program is scheduled to take place from July 15th to July 27th.

Participating students will engage in the full range of activities and lessons that the program offers. This timeframe provides an intensive, focused experience in music composition, allowing students to fully immerse themselves in the learning and creative process.

How Long Is the Duration of the High School Composition Intensive (HSCI)?

The High School Composition Intensive (HSCI) program spans two weeks.

different musical instruments in a white background

Preparing Before the Program: Essentials to Pack

For your participation in the High School Composition Intensive (HSCI) program, it’s important to pack wisely to ensure a comfortable and productive experience. Here’s an expanded and simplified guide on what to bring:

Essential Items for Composition

  • If you prefer digital composition, bring a laptop equipped with notation software.
  • For those who like to compose traditionally, don’t forget to pack manuscript paper and a pencil.
  • A notebook for jotting down ideas, notes, and feedback.

Creative Sound Objects

Bring 2-3 objects from home that can be used to create sounds. Choose items that are light and easy to carry. Examples include a bowl, a shoebox, or a wooden cup. The idea is to use these for sound-making experiments, so items that can produce different sounds at various volumes are ideal.

Traveling with Instruments

If you’re bringing an instrument, consider using a hardshell case for better protection, especially if flying. Label your case with your name, phone number, and Berklee’s address. Adding “fragile” stickers and a note for luggage inspectors about handling care is also recommended.

Specific Instrument Instructions

  • Contemporary Vocalists: Bring your own low-impedance microphone and cord.
  • Drummers: Prepare to bring sticks and brushes. Cymbals, hi-hat, and clutch are provided, but you can bring your own.
  • Guitarists and Electric Bassists: Pack any necessary cables and foot pedals. Amplifiers are provided, but a small practice amp for individual practice could be useful.
  • Keyboardists: You may bring a synthesizer for ensemble purposes or private practice.
  • Electronic Digital Instrumentalists (EDI): Bring a computer with Ableton Live and a MIDI keyboard.
  • Music Producers: Ensure you have a computer with digital audio workstation (DAW) software and a MIDI Keyboard.

A female student is packing up her things for her dorm.

On-Campus Housing Essentials

  • Pack bedding for an extra-long twin bed (sheets, pillow, pillowcase, blanket).
  • Include bath towels, washcloths, and hand towels.
  • Don’t forget your personal hygiene items.

Recommended Additional Items

Alarm clock, clothes hangers, earplugs, extra spending money, headphones, chargers for electronic devices, laundry detergent, quarters for laundry, plastic bin for snacks/food, prescription/first-aid needs, sunscreen, sunglasses, umbrella, water bottle.

Basic cleaning supplies, games, movies, toilet paper (for private bathrooms), and vacuum cleaners can be requested from the resident advisor’s office.

There are coin-operated laundry facilities available in every residence hall. While there is an app for digital payments, having quarters on hand is advisable for emergencies.

Make a list of your own with the items you need and be well-prepared for both your musical development and daily living needs during the HSCI program.

Making the Most Out of the HSCI Experience

Maximizing your experience at the High School Composition Intensive (HSCI) at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee requires a blend of active participation, openness to learning, and strategic planning. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your time in the program:

In each class or workshop, participate actively. Listen, ask questions, contribute to discussions, and share your thoughts. If you’re in a class about melody composition, try creating a short melody and asking for feedback.

During practice sessions, apply what you’ve learned. Experiment with different techniques you’ve been taught, and observe how they enhance your compositions. In group activities, collaborate and contribute. Working with others can give you new perspectives and ideas, which is invaluable for your growth as a composer.

The more you put into the activities, the more you’ll get out of them. Actively engaging in exercises and assignments helps you internalize the lessons better. Each activity is designed not just for theoretical knowledge but also for practical skill-building. For instance, a workshop on improvisation helps you develop spontaneity in your compositions.

Use the feedback from instructors and peers to improve. If you compose a piece and receive suggestions, try to revise it based on that input.

two young psychology major students studying

Network with Peers and Instructors

Networking within the High School Composition Intensive (HSCI) program goes beyond just making acquaintances; it’s about forging meaningful connections with both fellow students and instructors. These relationships could lead you to invaluable insights, constructive feedback, and potential future collaborations.

Engaging with fellow students in the program offers a unique opportunity to share your passion for music composition. Imagine discussing each other’s work, exchanging ideas, or collaborating on a new piece.

These interactions can expose you to diverse perspectives and styles, enriching your own understanding and creativity. For instance, a conversation with a peer might introduce you to a genre of music that ignites inspiration for your next project.

Similarly, interactions with instructors are equally important. They are mentors who can provide guidance drawn from their wealth of experience in the music industry. Engaging in discussions about their musical journeys, or seeking advice on specific composition challenges can open up new avenues of thought and approach in your work.

To network effectively, it’s important to be open, approachable, and genuinely interested in others’ work, while also sharing your own experiences and projects. Group activities provide a perfect setting to interact with different individuals, allowing you to build a network within diverse circles.

Maintaining these connections post-program is also key. Exchanging contact information and staying in touch through social media or email can help sustain these relationships long after the program concludes.

The essence of networking in such a setting is to build a supportive community. It’s about creating a network of individuals who respect, inspire, and help each other grow in their musical endeavors.

Gain immediate knowledge and feedback but also lay the groundwork for potential collaborative opportunities and enduring professional relationships in the world of music composition.

Close up of a hand writing in a table.

Set Personal Goals

Setting personal goals is a pivotal step towards ensuring a fruitful experience in the High School Composition Intensive (HSCI) program. These goals act as a roadmap, guiding your focus and efforts throughout the program, and helping you measure your progress in tangible ways.

For instance, rather than setting a vague goal like “improve my composing,” aim for something more specific and measurable, such as “compose a three-minute piece using a specific mode.”

When defining your goals, it’s essential to ensure they are both achievable and realistic within the program’s duration. Overly ambitious goals might lead to frustration, whereas attainable objectives can keep you motivated and on track.

Writing down your goals can also be incredibly effective. It not only gives you a clear view of what you’re aiming for but also serves as a constant reminder and source of motivation.

Consider setting diverse types of goals. For example, you could aim to master a particular technique, such as effectively writing for a specific instrument like the piano. You might set a goal to complete a specific project, such as composing a sonata or a chamber music piece by the end of the program.

Collaborative goals are also beneficial, like partnering with a fellow student to merge creative ideas into a joint composition.
Regularly revisiting and adjusting your goals as needed is also key. This flexibility allows you to adapt and refine your objectives based on your experiences and learnings in the program.

Set and actively pursue well-defined, realistic personal goals and you can make the most out of the learning opportunities presented in the HSCI program, leading to a sense of achievement and enhanced skills in music composition.

student with her mic

Participate in the Final Concert

Participating in the final concert of the High School Composition Intensive (HSCI) program is a crucial and rewarding aspect of the experience. This concert is not just a culmination of your efforts during the program, but it’s also a unique opportunity to showcase your work to an audience.

By presenting your compositions in this public setting, you get to experience firsthand the performance aspect of your craft, which is a vital part of being a composer.

The final concert allows you to see and hear your compositions come to life, performed either by yourself, your peers, or perhaps even professional musicians. This experience can be incredibly enlightening, as you witness how your written notes translate into a live performance.

To make the most out of this opportunity, prepare thoroughly for your performance. This could involve practicing extensively if you’re performing yourself, or working closely with those who will be playing your composition to ensure they understand your vision. Be open to the feedback you receive, as it can be a powerful tool for growth.

Moreover, attending and listening to your fellow students’ compositions can also be beneficial. Not only does it foster a sense of community and support among the participants, but it also allows you to gain inspiration and learn from the works of others.

The final concert is a celebration of your hard work and a stepping stone in your journey as a composer. Embrace this opportunity to share your music, learn from the experience, and enjoy the moment of bringing your compositions to an audience.

Top view of an unidentified person composing music.


Final Thoughts

The High School Composition Intensive (HSCI) represents a transformative journey that unlocks your potential as a composer, creative thinker, and innovator. This program is an invitation to delve into the depths of your musical artistry, guided by dedication, a burning passion for music, and thorough preparation. Seize this extraordinary opportunity to hone your skills and broaden your artistic horizons!

Looking for expert advice on pre-college program applications? Explore the possibility of partnering with seasoned professionals like AdmissionSight. Our extensive experience in the field has enabled us to successfully guide a multitude of students toward gaining admission to prestigious universities around the world. Begin your journey towards academic success – schedule a consultation with us today!


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