Burst of Creativity

Friday, February 8, 2019

Student Composition

At Clow, we have a 5th grade club that started three years ago called "Young Composers Club".  It has been life changing for me as a teacher.  I have reached a place in my teaching career where I truly believe that one of the best ways we can validate our students' musicianship is to draw out THEIR musical ideas.  I have been guilty of only teaching my students music that has been composed by other people.  So often, performances programs are filled with students performing music from an outside composer (which is fine, and extremely beneficial to their musical development).  However, I have come to realize that these amazing young people are FILLED WITH BRILLIANT IDEAS of their own that need to be drawn out.  It is CRAZY what they create.  Not only that, I am learning that they can compose with amazing artistic vision and intention.  I would even argue that what they learn and engage with musically through the process of composition is UNMATCHED compared to any other musical activity.  They begin to use a musical language that I would have never guessed they would use at this age.  Nothing inspires me more than this stuff.  The student you are about to hear is one of 16 students who will be having their music performed by members of the Dupage Symphony Orchestra in a public recital on February 22nd.  Listen to what composer Vick has to say about his music:

More about Young Composers Club

Using an online notation software, students compose original compositions.  The students are able to share their scores with each other, listen to each other's works, and give constructive/encouraging comments on the music.  Our 5th grade Young Composers Club also connects with AP Music Theory Students at Neuqua Valley High School through Noteflight.  Between the theory students and I, the 5th graders are mentored through the composing process.

Throughout the school year our composers are writing for the PURPOSE of live performance.  Then, in April, our composers take a field trip to Neuqua Valley High School for a collaboration with the amazing musicians and faculty in the band/orchestra/choir department.  The high school students get the compositions a few weeks ahead of time and rehearse it in small groups.  The performers get to meet with the 5th grade composers on the collaboration day.  They have the amazing privilege of showing the young composers what their music sounds like LIVE!  It is SO exciting watching their faces light up when they hear THEIR idea come to life by REAL musicians!

5th grader Anna (left) hears her song "Attack" for the first time.

These kids are on FIRE!  

To hear past compositions, please visit the Young Composers Club website.


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