Summer Piano Compositions
Some students enjoy writing their own music. They’re creative, they have an ear for melody, they like to find new outlets of self-expression… Other kids do not. I was one of these kids - I hated composition! As a visual learner, the idea of starting with a blank page was terrifying. Give 11 year old me a page with notes on it, and I was a happy piano student. Ask me to come up with a tune, or play something by ear, and I’d give you a thousand reason why I thought I couldn’t.
At Fox Music Instruction we recognize that every child has different interests, a different learning style, and enjoys different musical pursuits. That being said, we also know it’s important to expose kids to a wealth of different musical experiences.
The world of music is made up by 50% what you hear and 50% what you see. We all know a musician who can’t read music, and yet plays beautiful songs by ear. Another musician can sit in front of complex sheet music and play a song they’ve never heard or seen before by sight-reading it. Some musicians focus on one skill to the exclusion of the other, but I believe piano students should be well-rounded, and exposed to both. We work on both ear training and sight-reading.
Composition is an important part of ear training.
Summer is a great time to try out composition - no recitals or competitions looming ahead, lots of free time at home. This summer, I’m requiring every student to hand write at least one page. After they write it on blank staff paper, I’m transcribing it into a program called Finale, so they can have a printed copy of their very own song. At the end of the year I will present all the students with a little book of compositions by my students.
Composition is a great exercise to:
- Spark creativity
- Discuss musical forms
- Learn and practice handwriting notes
- Develop a better understanding of music
Some students want to compose, others may be more intimidated by the thought, but every student benefits from the experience. And the ones who do enjoy composition… really enjoy it! The sense of accomplishment and maturity that comes with composition is a great motivator. The picture below is of one of my students who has been taking lessons for a little over a year, and take a look at his composition! He was very excited to incorporate his latest musical discovery of chords. He entitled it “Dark Fog Clears”, and did a wonderful job illustrating his theme musically. So proud of all my students and their hard work!