Posts tagged music

Hi, I am a junior in High School and I looked at Bennington this past December. I really liked it and I was curious about the composition/ jazz program at Bennington. I'd really love to continue doing music, but I don't know if I'd only do music. I have many other interests, but if I really find music to be my "thing," is Bennington a good place for musical exploration? I know it's a difficult question, but pretty much, I'm curious about the music program and how it works! Thanks! — Asked by Anonymous

Hello kindred spirit,

I understand. I get it. I was THERE. Actually though, I entered my time here with a huge drive to study exactly those things - jazz and composition. But I also had my interest in sculpture to fulfill. And there we have the intimidating question facing those who approach Bennington: how do I take all my “things” to make an education?

Well, you’ve already given the answer! Exploration. In my freshman year I took a variety of classes in music, visual art, and all the things in between. In the music department, I’ve moved through classes in improvisation, composition, history, and personal lessons, as well as collaborations with dance and theater. Music faculty (and all faculty, in fact) encourage study across the disciplines and within. Students are challenged to engage broadly, from classical theory to the avant garde and beyond into new questions. Take a peek at our current music curriculum and see for yourself!


^ Jennings earlier today ^

xo Sam ‘16


If you’ve been through the application process this year we’ve asked a lot about your interests and the work that you make. So, I figured we should return the favor.

Here at Bennington it’s Long Weekend which means that us students are taking a much deserved break for a few days. Please take this as an invitation to follow in our footsteps. Put down that financial aid document you’ve been thumbing through and relax to the sweet sounds of Hart - a musical project created by two current Bennington sophomores.

(Oh and nodding to the last post I should mention that both members of Hart are indeed bois). 

-Eliana ‘15

Bathroom Review: Jennings (2nd Floor Restroom)

Quality bathroom. Located in Bennington’s music building, Jennings, this bathroom combines students practicing music with other students playing music since it is near the practice rooms. This amounts to a musical mash which assists no one. A little known fact about this bathroom is that its mirror opens up, allowing space for all sorts of fun bathroom things. I know that this is a little know fact because there is nothing in it and it took me ten minutes to pry it open, since it has no handle of any sort. All that the lowly students of Bennington left it was… I don’t honestly know. What is that? Art of some sort? A picture? Letters? They don’t look like any letters i’ve ever seen. The toilet works. Unfortunately, there is no safety in this bathroom. There is no way to let a common bathroom user know that the building that he/she is using the bathroom is on fire! How can we even know if we are on fire?! Everything was great quality. 

Safety: 0 out of 10
Comfort: 8 out of 10
Design: 8 out of 10 
Fire: Are you on it?

Music is important.

-Alex BG

CONGRATULATIONS!!! We can’t wait to see you in the Fall :)

Alana = Bennington!
Stop sitting on that bench and come join the fun!

Behind the scenes, behind the sleeves of a goofy video from Thursday morning shift! Enjoy!

-Alana and Arden

Can you show pictures of your music building? I went to visit Bennington this summer, and that was the one thing that I didn't see that I'm super interested in! — Asked by Anonymous

On a lovely fall day last term, Jeremy, Tommy and I went up to Jennings to take some pics. Let us know if there’s a specific space that you want to see if these don’t suffice.

Happy Trails,


Sage City Symphony warming up for the youth composers concert featuring compositions by students from bennington, williams and the college of saint rose. 


Sage City Symphony warming up for the youth composers concert featuring compositions by students from bennington, williams and the college of saint rose.


Recently I got a scholarship to take a class at the Old Town School of Music, and when my new teacher asked who began my “recovery” from classical violin, I was not surprised at all when he said “Oh yes, I know John”
Bennington alum, Ally Reith on finding connections to John Kirk, our totally awesome traditional music teacher, in Chicago. 
How is the musical theater program (Broadway @ Bennington)? — Asked by Anonymous

Ezra posted about musical theater at Bennington in 2012! That seems like so long ago! He didn’t even know how good those productions would be (and they were really good).

Despite the post’s age, I think it’s still totally valid today in that musical theater at Bennington is mostly student driven. Bennington is not a conservatory, there is no strictly defined musical theater program. This creates opportunities for completely original content that a wide variety of people can participate in. Students here find myriads of different ways to combine music, theater and dance resulting in really unique productions. Each student is allowed to find their own voice and aesthetic within these disciplines, instead of mimicking already established forms. 



To answer your question…. 

Jennings Notation Lab 202B - where I’ve been locked away most evenings working on my Field Work Term Independent Study.


Independent Study in composition. Hellpppp…..
I’ve just been answering a bunch of questions, so I thought I’d better take a screen shot so you know what I’m doing with the rest of my time.
(p.s. automatic admission for anyone who can identify the show Netflix is describing to me in the background.)

Independent Study in composition. Hellpppp…..

I’ve just been answering a bunch of questions, so I thought I’d better take a screen shot so you know what I’m doing with the rest of my time.



(p.s. automatic admission for anyone who can identify the show Netflix is describing to me in the background.)

I had a bit of a crisis. I love Bennington with all my heart and I know it's the right school for me. There are daily tears of joy/sadness/ about Bennington; I've never been so emotional. But there's just no way I can afford it. I'm nervous that I'm putting all my energy into a school I can't pay for without making my family uncomfortable. I don't qualify for need-based. There is merit, but thats not guaranteed. I'm just so nervous. Any words of advice? Even a joke to make me feel better? XO — Asked by Anonymous

Start by listening to this Sharon Van Etten song because she just makes everything okay and really understands what it’s like:

No. Stop reading and listen to the music. I knew you were going to just play it in the background and then keep reading. But don’t do that. Listen to the music.

Okay, anyway: just hang tight. You’re still eligible for merit aid; and the good news is, we give merit aid out to people. Like actually. And because we get to know you as a person and not a number (from your tour, interview, portfolio, paper, essays, etc.) the aid decision isn’t based on arbitrary data like SAT scores. There is no use in worrying about the price — in my opinion — until you know what it will be for you. Make the call then.

Alan ‘15

Encountered at Bennington…

Contemplating all the work we’ve encountered here at Bennington - in and out of the classroom - we decided to compile some of the work that gave us pause.

Alan suggests Craftsmanship by Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf articulates an enormous amount about the complexities of language (which is of particular interest to me), but rather than explaining solely through reason, she demonstrates by simply writing beautifully.

Carlos’s pick Slowness by Todd Williams and Billie Tsien

Emily recommends Garry Winogrand’s New York City (Woman in Phonebooth, Leg Up).

This photo is glorious, infuriating and thoroughly thought-provoking. 

Sarah says Sergi Eisenstein’s Methods of Montage is a must read.

Eisenstein explains the effect of visual association on narrative. Its the most intuitive, human, process but hearing it articulated so clearly is earth shattering. Total inception.

Jeremy tells y’all to listen to Copland’s Piano Variations. 

Just listen to it.

Jeremy would also suggest you all come visit Bennington, go to our library, and ask for Sarah Matusek’s devised theater piece Nome de Guerre.  

She’s a brilliant theater artist that graduated Bennington College last year.  Student work is alive and well here! :-)

Ananda suggests Gish Jen’s short story Birthmates

The story really exemplifies the concept of re-structuring short fiction in a way which centers the story on the character within the setting, not the setting surrounding the character. By delving into the human motivation of the main character, Jen conveys a story which is both resonant and compelling. 

happy discovering,

The Monday Afternoon Crew

Bet you didn’t know this was here!  It’s Jennings - our music building on campus.  Not many folks take the long haul up to this beautiful, old mansion on tours…just because its so darn far away.  So to counter act our lazy-ass admissions interns, the office sent Tom & Jerry (with renowned photographer Emily) up to Jennings to show off this beautiful space!  We have everything from a full music library to cozy, little practice spaces.  And don’t forget about our recording studio!  That’s right - we may be small, but we are powerful!


Who says a mixtape has to be limited to music? At Bennington we always want to know what drives our students, both prospective and current. So, I threw a little something together based your suggestions. This is just  the smallest fraction of the songs, films/videos, books and thinkers that you want us in Admissions to know about.

Check out the ~~links~~ for sweet sounds and scenes—from vocal metal to documentary work, these are the things that pique your interests, and now they’ve piques ours. So thanks, friends!

Send us more jams to jam to, videos to make our jaws drop, and books to make our hearts and heads swell! We like to watch stuff. A lot of stuff.

Stay fly, fam.

~Ben (‘14)