Student Compositions

Little BrothersEvery year, our local MTA has a Composition Festival. Students write, record, and turn in a piece for evaluation, then play their original works at a recital. In my studio, we use Finale’s Notepad, a free notation program students can download, or PrintMusic at the studio for the final printout of the composition.

Then, we take things a step further. Using a picture that the student drew, or an image we found on the internet, we design a cover for the composition. I print the cover and the music on cardstock or HP Brochure paper, and tape the pages together using scotch tape. The students are then presented with a beautiful piece of sheet music. Kinkos or your local copy store can also print the music on paper that is similar to what music publishers use.

I love the look in my students’ eyes when they see their composition “published” for all to see!

2 Responses

  1. Hi D’Net,

    I have a question about fitting composing into the lesson.

    When your students inputting notes, getting final printout and putting the cover and all that together, was it all during the lesson time? or you do it for them at your own time?

    I have piano students who are interested in composing. Sometimes I am explaining things to them or just going over the notes, but there aren’t much music playing going on, parents in the other room waiting may question. (alas!)

    Do you have some kind of handout for parents whose children are doing composition?



  2. Hi, Lydia!

    For my young beginning students, I will input the notes for them. The older children do it themselves. Many of my students have downloaded Finale’s Notepad, and they use that at home. Others, especially siblings, will enter it on my computer after their lessons.

    As far as the covers go, they draw the pictures at home. I scan them and do up the covers on my own time. It doesn’t take very long, as I use the same basic design for all of them.

    I will do a post to answer you other questions about how I fit composition it to the lesson. I don’t have a handout for the parents, but I do talk to them and tell them we are working on composition for a few weeks. I’ve never had anyone question it, especially when I explain how much the practical application of composition strengthens their musical skills.

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