School of Music Alumni Follows Composition Dream

Nora Swindle, class of 2018, was accepted by the Seattle Film Institute to begin her masters in Film Scoring. During her time at Lee, Nora was involved with the Composers Forum, and the Ladies of Lee. She also composed a piece which the Lee University Chorale performed in 2018. We had the chance to ask Nora about her new degree, and what inspired her to choose this career path.

Q: What made you decide to pursue this degree?

Nora: Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve wanted to compose music for video games. My master’s degree is just one of many steps I feel I need to take to give myself the best shot of pursuing my dream.

Q: What do you want to get out of this experience?

Nora: Mostly I’m interested in really diving in deep to all the various DAWs, notation softwares, and film composition techniques to learn as much as I can! Seattle’s also a very good place to make connections with independent game and film developers. Microsoft’s hub is here, so Xbox is pretty big around here!

Q: What was the application process like?

Nora: The application was pretty easy! I applied to six schools, and SFI was the easiest application process. The decision is largely made based on your compositions, and it’s good to have a variety! Most places want 3-5 compositions.

Q: How did composing at Lee help you prepare?

Nora: Honestly just having the freedom to write under encouraging professors helped me figure out my sound and gave me a good base of musical vocabulary. Composing music is not much different than writing an essay. You practice and get better at refining your ideas, and expressing new ideas.

Q: How did your Lee experience help in general?

Nora: Lee helped me by really locking in all the fundamentals until they became second nature. It added a lot of tools to my toolbox, and helped me apply the things I learned to my future compositions. It also really just helped me become a better person? It taught me patience, perseverance, camaraderie, and a lot more virtues that just generally helped me grow into someone that I never could’ve imagined becoming before college.

Q: Do you have any plans after graduating?

Nora:

My director has an internship program with lots of previous alumni down in Hollywood, but there’s also a lot of work in Seattle. The dream is to join a team of composers on an independent video game, and hopefully they’ll like me enough to give me a longer term contract. But honestly, just being a part of a storytelling process and being able to enhance that from what I’ve learned is a valuable experience in itself. I’ll be happy as long as I get to keep creating new music.

Congrats, Nora! We can’t wait to see what all you accomplish.

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