Creative Composing

Monday, November 12, 2018 by Lisa Barwell | Composing

Creative Composing for Piano

Fall 2018

Every year, I work hard to include various forms of composing activities for students in the studio. Composing is to music as writing papers is to English. We learn so much through writing down our own musical ideas!

Pianists who join the studio at a young age go through several 'rites of passage' in their composing curriculum. When they just start out, we do a lot of improvisation (composing 'on the spot') that isn't very formal; they just play around with melodies and we may or may not write it down. When the students are old enough for a workbook, they graduate to 'Barnyard Brooke and the Magical Motives' which allows them to learn more composing tools and teaches them how to write the music they are creating. Each year after that, they progress to the next two books in the series and are then old enough to participate in our mashup video project. Check these out below.

Students are always excited to follow Sage on her quest to rescue her father in 'Brave Sage and the Magical Motives.' Sage's father, the king, has been kidnapped and Sage has to rescue him! She encounters obstacles along the way that she overcomes by composing motives (short melodies) to complete each piece. Enjoy watching the first video in this year's project:

After completing the 'Brave Sage' book, students move up to the next level in the series, "Castaway Kip and the Magical Motives." Kip has been shipwrecked on an island and has to gather the parts of his ship in order to put it back together again. He meets several interesting creatures along the way. Here is our first video for the year:

All students, piano and flute, in Lily Music Studio compose their own music, even if they're not participating in one of the books mentioned above. Some other recent compositions by a middle school flutist and middle school pianist were about Autumn leaves and turned out quite nicely. I love to hear my students' creativity! I hope you enjoyed hearing the above compositions!