futility in a minor
----- Original Message -----
To: m******@***.edu
Sent: Thursday, February 15, 2001 2:10 PM
Subject: Flexibility?

Greetings Dr. ******,

My name is ***********. I was a student of *********'s at ********* High School from 1995-1997 and I'm writing this in hopes that you remember me; besides having judged my percussion ensemble on a few occasions, I also received a private lesson from you my junior year in high school on Elliot Carter's "March".

The reason I am writing concerns *** and its music degree program. I enrolled at the ******* and studied composition there as well as privately with ********* in ******** in 1997-1998. It was at that time I had to leave ******** as I started to be afflicted with several muscular and joint problems: carpal tunnel, cubitle tunnel, arthritis, tendonitis, and severe nerve damage. I tried to find flexibility within ********** but I was told that if I could no longer perform as a percussionist, unless I could sing at a college level then I would no longer be able to study there.

I have (over the last few years) spoken to several different universities and conservatories in the US and from almost all of them I have received the same answer: In order to attain a Bachelor's degree from the school of music you must meet the playing requirements, and those requirements are always extensive and severe. I agree that at the university level playing requirements should be rather tough, but in my position I'm desperate to find someone who will deal with me, at least a little.

I want to get a bachelor's degree in composition so that I can go on to grad school and get master's degrees in composition and conducting. My goal is to be a successful composer and if I am to take the university route, the path I have in mind seems the best way to facilitate a good grounding of education. I've been educating myself in theory, counterpoint, forms and music history for the last year or so, adding to the knowledge I had already attained in preparation for a possible return to music school. In six months I'll be ready to hand over a portfolio containing an academic four-part fugue, a sonata, a string quartet and a piece for large orchestra to any music school willing to help me get to a bachelor's degree.

As the head of the percussion department, I wanted to bring this to you and inquire as to what may be done about my situation at ***, or rather, what can I do to facilitate progress towards a degree in composition. I was once a decent percussionist but my medical situation has prevented me from advancing or even retaining that level of performance. I'm more than willing to take on more academic or composition work; I'm willing to take percussion lessons again but until my recent completion of physical therapy last year I was unable to perform even regular daily tasks, let alone play. I haven't played in a few years and while I'm confident it wouldn't take me long to get back to a certain degree of proficiency, I know I would most likely never be able to perform at the regularly expected level of proficiency of a percussion concentrate. The amount of time spent practicing for collegiate-level juries and lessons may prove too great and perhaps too damaging.

I will understand if the university is not flexible in this area but I thought it wouldn't hurt to ask.

******** ********

----- Original Message -----
From: "******** * ******" <******@***.edu>
To: "'**************
Sent: Tuesday, February 27, 2001 2:31 PM
Subject: admissions

Greetings *******.

I do remember you from *******. I am very sorry to hear about your health issues. I have conferred with both the chairman and the head of our composition program here and unfortunately don't have very good news to share with you. As the other universities have communicated, we here at ***** also feel that playing an instrument to a certain degree of proficiency is an important part of the path to becoming a well rounded musician and eventually a composer. The severity of your injury makes it sound as though reaching that degree of proficiency would not be possible. If anything changes in the status of your health situation please re-contact us and I will try to help in any way I can. Until then, I wish you all the best.


Dr. ******** ******