36 Years Ago

36 Years Ago, Vienna 1971—A Student Journal

013: Indiana University


Vienna 1971—A Student Journal
A year of music, study, travel, sightseeing & friends.

After Vienna
Two Years Later

013 — Indiana University
Spring 1974

Written April 28–29, 1974

During the latter part of this year, I had made an application to graduate admissions to the School of Music at Indiana University. This would be for Electronic Music (Composition), Master’s Degree.

I was really hoping to be able to get an instructorship, or fellowship, so that I could study there.

It would be an opportunity to work at my composition for a year without any other supposedly “interfering” duties.

It would be a chance to see if I could really do some valid composition.
Well, it’s almost certain that I won’t receive any financial awards and so I almost certainly will not go this year.

This is the real big disappointment of the current times—I really don’t know what to do now, or what I should do for next year.

It is really a very depressing situation and one that I have to now overcome.


Going to grad school? Here it is in my second year of teaching and I am thinking of going to graduate school. Why? It was likely that several factors that were making me think of this path:

Teaching is a difficult profession. Although, I received a lot of satisfaction from teaching and seeing the achievement of students, getting those results was not easy. Although I considered myself a good teacher, much of teaching and getting students to achieve is through the function of “discipline.” You are always juggling keeping the class under control vs. teaching your content (or conducting your band), especially at the age levels in middle school. Teaching a class of 90+ students is like being a parent to 90 students. Being a teacher is hard and demanding. It can tire you out. Should I have stayed a teacher? Perhaps yes. On the flip side, teachers that I know that stayed on for 25–30+ years are making considerably more money than I am in publishing, they will retire with nice pensions, and they bought houses early on and have their mortgages paid off. With my new 101k, I will work until I die.

At any rate, respect good teachers. It is a demanding job and they are doing you, your children, and the country a service.

I wanted to write music, be a composer. Based on my studies in Vienna and follow-up at Columbia, I think that I wanted to continue to write music and attempt to be a composer. Creativity, bubbling underneath my being, has always been something I have desired and struggled with. Life, work, time, energy, and paying bills has often tended to squash that creative urge and offer a million reasons why I couldn’t be creative. Perhaps, leaving my teaching job, was a rebellion against plain old work. A desire to be creative.

I also thought that being a composer in a university setting would be a great livelihood and provide me with the creative outlets I needed.

Creativity seeks outlets. This is true of all disciplines. Whether you write music, lyrics, screenplays, novels, children’s stories, coach soccer or baseball, or crochet beautiful quilts, a creative outlet is needed. We want people to see, read, hear, and experience what we have created. Creative outlets have traditionally been very difficult to break into—getting a book published; signing your first major-label record deal; turning your screenplay into an actual TV series or film; and how about what you did to get your first Broadway musical on stage? In the past, most of us were denied creative outlets. The Internet has changed some of that. It’s still not easy—to be noticed.

Can I do more with my life? When you are young, you may say, “Do I want to be a teacher my ENTIRE life?” It is a question that everyone in all professions asks themselves. The answer is often clouded with uncertainty. Do you stay and build stability and a single, solid career? Do you take a chance on something new? It is a difficult question for youth. Adults don’t have any easy answers either. Go with what feels right.

Do I go?

Indiana University. At the time of this journal entry, I do not know if I am going to IU. Do I go? Yes. I leave teaching at the end of my second year. I am accepted into the School of Music of Indiana University for composition. My degree program would be Masters of Music in Composition. IU had a great reputation as a high-quality music school (even more so today)—in the quality of its curriculum, teachers, student performing groups, Arts Center, and it had an established and well-known electronic music studio. Indiana University, Bloomington was a great school and had a beautiful campus.

I did not get any scholarships or RA positions and took a student loan for $3,000 to attend. I did do work study for the university and worked for the “electronic music” engineer in the Arts Center during the year.

At Indiana, I study traditional composition (not electronic music) with composers Frederick Fox and Bernhard Heiden, as well as take some individual study by myself in the electronic studio. I gave my Master’s Recital in the summer of 1975, I believe, the following summer. I was pretty proud of my work on this recital. Still at the student stage, but ok. I did not receive my degree until 1980, after a long struggle (with life and motivation) and in completing my thesis, a work for symphonic orchestra.

I liked Indiana University a lot. I liked Bloomington. More on IU later, perhaps.


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