How to Become a Doctor

Here are the requirements to graduate with a Doctorate of Musical Arts at Boston University:
  • five recitals filling various requirements
  • a six-hour long music history exam
  • a six-hour long music theory exam
  • a gazillion credits 
Hard enough, right? Well, that's not it! Before you claim the doctoral prestige, one more thing:
  • the doctoral orals exam, with five academic professors, with questions given about three weeks in advance 
My orals are in ten days, and yes, I am in denial. So maybe this post will remind me of reality: 10 days, Geraldine, 10 days!!!

For anyone considering doing a doctorate, here is why you shouldn't (besides the fact that you'd be losing precious years of youth and gaining a few gray hair in the process): take a look at the questions I was given for my orals.

  • all of music theory (figure out the composers from random sheet of music, give name of chords in random pieces of music, ...)
  • Sondheim's composition was Milton Babbitt; consider "The widow's lament in springtime" by Babbitt and explain how the piece is put together. Does it have any commonalities with anything about Sondheim's music (consider as well how the words are set to music).
  • Look at Possente Spirto from Orfeo by Monteverdi and compare it to the baker's climactic song from Into the Woods. Compare the scenes that contain these two numbers. 
  • Discuss the compositional strategies that Sondheim uses in Merrily we roll along and Assassins.   
  • Name 4-5 American composers including women. Discuss their songs and compositional styles/characteristics. Identify performers living today that are advocates of this art form.  
  • Discuss two or three of the main methodologies for piano teaching for beginners. Identify their strong and weak points, and talk about ways to incorporate additional materials for the development of techniques (scales-arpeggios), sight reading, theory and repertoire development. 
  • Prepare music terminology relating to vocal music and chamber music in English, Italian, German and French. Look at 20th century scores as well. 
  • The mainstream of music history (no more details from that teacher)
Worse comes to worse, maybe I can use this excuse:

If you know anything about any of the topics above, please share your knowledge with me! If you don't know anything about any of the topics, support will do!

1 comment:

  1. Good luck Geraldine! You can do it!


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