Well, it is now less than a month before I leave for Paris to participate in the European American Music Alliance/Nadia Boulanger Institute at the Schola Cantorum. This has been the culmination of nearly 8 months of applications, letters, funding, and a lifelong education in music composition.
I thought my first post would address a few of the many questions that I have received since I announced that I would be attending.
Question 1) So, what are you going to be doing there? Just spending all day at museums?
As much as I would love to spend all day at the Louvre or the d’Orsay, most of my day will be filled with classes, concerts (I believe) as the month progresses, but, as far as I could tell from the sample schedule, the weekends will be free to explore, write, and get to know the other participants.
Question 2) What are you going to be studying?
I will be taking classes in counterpoint, harmony, writing for voice, and lessons in music composition. There are also be a mandatory choir ensemble that we will be participating in.
Question 3) Will there be a lot of other people there?
I am not sure what the total numbers would be for everyone in the different areas of study, but for the composition program there are probably 20 students. I have already spoken to a few of them via email and Facebook. We have created a Facebook messenger thread and since we have all finally entered summer, I am sure that we will all talk a little bit more.
Question 4) Are you worried about terrorists?
I’ll be honest, no. Not in the least. Our housing site, a college at the Cite Internationale Universitaire de Paris near the Paris St. Germain stadium, is a beautiful location and seems very secure. The actual classes will be held at the Schola Cantorum in the historic Latin Quarter, which is a 15 minute subway ride away from our housing. And I have complete trust in the program organizers, the professors, and the city of Paris. I would not feel safer in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, or Sydney than I am sure I will feel in Paris.
Question 5) If you are taking classes there, are they going to count towards your degree?
Unfortunately, no. I wish they would count towards my credit load, but, since the program is not affiliated with LSU and no professors from LSU will be participating, the coursework can not be added to my degree. BUT, in the practice to always find the silver lining in everything, I will be getting further education from professors from some of the best music programs in the world (Juilliard, San Francisco Conservatory, and others.) And, I will be able to make contacts and friends with other composers, musicians, and performers from not only the US but from Europe. Plus, I will have a chance to meet these amazing professors and hopefully make some solid contacts.
Question 6) How are you paying for this?
That’s a rather personal question, but, I was awarded a Graduate Student Travel Grant from LSU with special thanks to Dean Todd Queen from the School of Music and Dramatic Arts, a GoFundMe site that has raised a considerable amount, and our own money. My amazing wife views this as an investment in my education and hopefully a step ahead in the job application process. I will be posting a full list of donors from my GoFundMe page before I leave as a special thank you!
With little more than 20 days left before I depart, I am getting more and more anxious and excited for this adventure! I will keep you all updated here, my artist Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/montwillpublications/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel), and my personal website, www.williammontgomerycomposer.com, on all my doings, the people I’ll meet, the music that will be created and heard, and, of course, the food that will be enjoyed!! I will also try to post audio of concerts, performances, and readings on my Soundcloud page (which you can find here: https://soundcloud.com/willamontpublications) so please, go there and like it so that you can stay up to date on everything! Thank you to all those that have supported me in this endeavor and I hope I can make everyone proud!!
*Featured image is from Google and I do not own the copyright*