Engineers Learn Music Theory and Composition

by Shannon Liu ’21

In May of last year, Professor Harris asked our class, the class of 2021, what humanities electives we would like for the following semester. Our class eventually decided on three, with only five students choosing the third choice, a music composition class. After several discussions with the students, Professor Harris had a good idea of the class we were looking for, and he started searching for a teacher. Luckily, he found Dr. Hristina Blagoeva, an accomplished flutist currently instructing at the Long Island Conservatory of Music. We met her in early June and were eager to start the class.

The class we decided on was a Music Theory and Composition class. The first half of the semester focused on music theory. We covered the basics from major and minor keys to chordal structures and harmonic progressions. In the second half of the semester, we discussed different composition structures as well as different species of counterpoint, a more traditional and regimented choral-based form of composition. During this portion of the class, all five students wrote and developed several original compositions. We also had two workshops with Dr. Miles Massicotte, a pianist with amazing improvisational skills, who worked with us to harmonize our compositions.

During the last couple of weeks of the semester, we worked on composing and practicing our final compositions to be presented at the Webb Holiday Party. At the recital, the students performed their own compositions with accompaniment by Dr. Blagoeva and Dr. Massicotte. The performers where:

  • Dan Desio – bass guitar
  • Luke Herbermann – guitar
  • Ben Hunt – bass clarinet
  • Shannon Liu – flute
  • Hank Rouland – piano
Watch a recap of the Music Composition Class presentation!