My Career As a Composer

Playing sickI majored in the composition end of music at Cal, Berkeley, where I composed a few short pieces while studying with Seymor Shiffrin, Arnold Elston and Andrew Imbrie. I took orchestration and instrumentation from the entertaining Mr. Denny. Later I composed a song when my husband Gus and I counseled at a summer camp north of the Bay Area. It was a round called “Redwoods.” In the last few years I improvised two sets of variations – one on the familiar “Chop Sticks:” one variation  for each Enneagram type; and another lullabye-like set on the nursery rhyme, “Jack and Jill.” You can’t call these few compositions a career, though I have another song in mind that I want to record for “The Career Within You.” Maybe composing is a minor sub-career.

Would I have liked to have been a composer? I think it might have been difficult to keep thinking of new musical ideas. COULD I have been a composer? Well, Brandeis University offered me a scholarship to graduate school in music composition, but I turned it down. I think I was both too afraid I wouldn’t have enough new music ideas in me and too in love with the idea of staying in Berkeley to accept their generous offer. I’ve often wondered, however, how being around other budding composers might have affected my motivation to compose.

I have recorded my variations of “Chop Sticks” and “Jack and Jill” and I’d like you to hear them. They’re on my web site, You can hear Chapter 7 of “The Beethoven Enneagram” CD on my web site, too, if you’d like to hear me play some Beethoven, at  Who knows? Maybe I’ll become a career changer some day and become a full time composer. You never know!


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