The event, entitled, “Music in Movies: A Film Scoring Final Projects Showcase,” was held in order for the music students to present, as well as celebrate, their final projects, which tasked them with scoring several minutes of Hollywood or student films using their own original music.
The music students were accompanied by their friends and families as they presented their musical scores and discussed their techniques with the audience.
Taught by Film Composer Adjunct Stefan Swanson, the class focuses on introducing advanced music students and aspiring composers to the art of scoring feature films.
“This class is unique to CSI,” said Swanson, a ten-year veteran of composing for film, as very few universities in the country offer this type of program. “In fact,” Swanson continued, “there are only about four universities that offer this program as majors in the U.S.”
The new program is the brain child of Assistant Professor of Creative and Performing Arts Dr. David Keberle, who had been working on creating this new program for a few years. “In the 21st century you can’t really have a music curriculum that does not incorporate technology—you have to keep up with the times,” said Keberle while discussing the benefits of the Audio for Moving Images program. He also went on to call the class “a dream come true.”
Several movie clips were scored, ranging from Hollywood blockbusters like Ghost Rider and Lord of the Rings to student films, Pipe, directed by CSI film student Matt Kessler, and Graffiti This! by Jaffrey Mann.
After each film score was presented, each student had the opportunity to address the audience, made up of fellow students and their friends and families, and discuss their techniques and musical choices.
For many of the students, it was their first experience scoring film. “I really liked giving the music a narrative,” said Bryan Nebel, a junior at CSI. Nebel, an accomplished guitarist, spends much of his free time creating YouTube videos of his friends’ performances and joined the class in order to help him hone his technique.
“It was very challenging,” said CSI Music Technology senior Robert Norris who scored Graffiti This! The class was the “perfect marriage” between music and technology.
Programs such as this show the changing landscape of music education and perhaps art education as a whole, being that technology is ever-present in all forms of art, but perhaps none more so than in music. The program is seen as a logical extension of studying music as “all art,” explained Dr. Keberle, “is becoming more technologically driven. This class will help these students in graduate school and in getting a job—they will have a leg up.”
As technology in music has grown, so has the respect that the film industry has garnered when compared to traditional concert composing. “Fifty years ago, concert composing was seen as superior to film composing,” explained Swanson. “These days, that line between the two styles has blurred. They are seen as equals.”
A sampling of the scored films is available online.