Composing against the grain

Erin Busch, BYR ’13, ’15, began writing music when she was just eight years old.

Temple alumna Erin Busch.
Photo credit: Ryan S. Brandenberg

As I grew up ... I began to notice that the only other people writing music were boys. I started to feel really isolated and I almost applied to Temple for music education instead of composing, but my parents pushed me to apply for what I really loved. 

I was nervous at ... my Temple audition. You have to sight sing and do a keyboard test that you can’t really prepare for.

A gender disparity? ... Uh, yes. There were only about 12 people in the undergraduate program when I was there, but I was the only girl. I talked to one of my professors about it—he told me that they just didn’t get enough applications from women. 

I decided to start ... the Young Women Composers Camp at Temple to help young women feel empowered to write music and consider applying to music composition programs at the college level. Our first year, in 2018, was really incredible. We had 18 girls come from all over the country to Main Campus for a two-week program. 

Right now … I’m pursuing my PhD at UPenn in music composition. A lot of people ask if I am going to move the camp to Penn, but I don’t think so. Temple is the perfect place for it.

—By Emily Kovach