A Resource for Teachers with an Aspiring Composer

What does a composer do?

Why does he do it?

The composer and his art form are elusive, to say the least.

Stories of Beethoven busily composing in the wilderness and Mozart meticulously composing entire compositions in his mind before notating them are among the grand stories youngsters first learn in music history class.

These stories are inspiring. But they paint a somewhat obscured picture, making folks like you and me think that music composition is an art form reserved only for a select group of people with supernatural ability.

This is not the case.

Composition is an accessible art form!

Of course, like with anything, a person must possess some degree of skill to participate in the tradition.


My Journey

I was thirteen-years-old when I first became interested in songwriting and composition.

I vividly remember sitting at the piano with my grandmother (a professional pianist).

She taught me how to play-by-ear and pick harmony that complimented the melody.

Composing music thrilled me to no end and filled my soul with ecstatic joy!

Putting my new found knowledge into practice, I began composing songs and instrumental pieces for my church praise team.

One thing led to another, and I enrolled in the music composition program at LaGrange College.

Thus, my swim in the deep knowledge pool began!

It was evident early in my studies that I quickly needed to learn music theory to keep up with other students in the program.

It wasn’t easy, but I learned a lot and received many opportunities to compose music for instrumental ensembles and choirs.

I went on to receive a Master of Music degree from Georgia State University.

Regardless of what I would call a successful journey thus far, I feel that I could’ve been more prepared to study composition in college.

I wish my piano teacher would have encouraged me to compose when I began to show an interest.


I’m thrilled that you’re reading this blog post!

I’m thrilled because it means the art of composition is still very much alive and relevant in our world!

I hope my words are resonating with you.

You see, the composer is most important to music!

Without her, there is no music. Without her, beautiful music that reaches deep into hearts and changes lives ceases to exist!

The world needs composers.


Do you have an aspiring composer in your studio?

Does she show an interest in crafting little songs and melodies?

Is he thinking about pursuing composition beyond middle school and high school?

Great!

There are things you can do to set your student up for success.

Encourage your student to create!

My parents wholeheartedly supported my decision to compose. I’m so grateful for the time they granted me to pursue my calling.

Encouraging your student to create provides him with a support base from which he’ll steadily draw energy and enthusiasm for his craft.

Lori Garcia, a contributor to babble.com, has this to say about student encouragement –

Recognize your […student’s] efforts and progress. Compliment them, showcase their work, and express pride in their determination and personal commitment.

Provide opportunities for your student to learn.

I can’t stress this enough!

Look for any and every occasion for your student to learn new things.

Whether it be in her lessons with you, online courses, training initiatives such as festivals and camps, attending concerts, or participating in concerts.

The National Education Association shows that students whose teachers and parents are actively involved in their education –

  • Earn higher grades and test scores, and enroll in higher-level programs
  • Be promoted, pass their classes, and earn credits
  • Attend school regularly
  • Have better social skills, show improved behavior, and adapt well to school
  • Graduate and go on to postsecondary education

Encourage and inspire the young, budding composers in your studio!

They will benefit greatly from being immersed in the multifaceted music world and from your involvement in their education.

They need the love and support that we mentors can provide.

Continue in the important work you’re doing, friend!

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