Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Fun Tools for Teaching Composition: A Resource Roundup

I've been scouring the web for fun activities and tips to help teach basic composition elements to my students and was delighted to see the link for Alfreds' latest blog post pop up in my inbox titled
"Composition Tips with Wynn-Anne Rossi."
The short video clips (about 3 minutes each) give students an opportunity to learn tips and tricks about composing from a well-known composer.  Following are a few of my favorite videos with specific assignments students can complete during lessons, lab time or at home.  If they complete them during home practice they can get an extra "Bull's Eye Target" marked off on their Bull's Eye Challenge Sheet.

Repeats and Patterns
Assignment: Create a short motif and manipulate.

Non-Traditional Music Notation - Strategies to get your composition ideas on paper before you forget them.
Assignment: Use a piece of lined notebook paper to notate a short musical idea (at least 2 measures).

Rhythmic Signatures
Assignment: Create a 2 line melody using the 3+3+2 Latin style"rhythmic signature" or find a "rhythmic signature" in one of your current pieces that you like and create your own melody using the same rhythm pattern.

Borrowing Brilliance
Assignment: Borrow the chord progression, opening melodic line or rhythmic motif from one of your favorite songs and create your own mini composition that includes something borrowed and something new of your own.

You can view more composition video tips from Wynn Ann Rossi on her Composition Tips Blog post.
Another quick and simple approach to composition that begins with rhythm is shown by the Hoffman Academy in this video.

Some other fun composing activities and resources I'll be using in my studio to help students prepare for the upcoming Composition Festival include:
Crazy Critter Composing - Teach Piano Today
Trash to Treasure Composing - Teach Piano Today
Discover Blues Improvisation by Edwin McClean
Pianimation.com Composing Sheets
Valentine Composing- Susan Paradis
Writing Effective Melodies - Compose Create
4 Chord Composing - Tim Topham
Animal Menagerie Composing Project - Nicola Cantan
Sticker Compositions - Joy Morin
Pattern Play by Forrest Kinney
Once students are happy with their composition I enter it into MuseScore free notation software.
Do you have any other favorite resources to help get your music students composing?

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