Since these students do possess some music theory and instrumental studies, I chose the 8 bar composition from our 2009 Song Writing worksheet, instead of the one in the Piano Lesson Made Easy Level 1 book that is too elementary for these students.
Generally, music theory and instrumental studies are learned separately. There has to be musical activities that bring these together. Among the many musical activities that develops the musical mind, music composition brings together music rudiments, music theory and the musical instrument. By getting the music students to begin composing, I hope to let them discover their musical abilities and feel more relevance about earning music.
When composing, many mental and physical facilities in the music student come together to make the composition work. These consists of the student's musical knowledge, instrumental skills, development of the musical mind, musical talent, etc. Of course, some people are born more musically gifted than others, but it does not mean then that music are only for those with talent. Sometimes, latent talents have not surfaced in the individual and may require some time to come to the fore.
Likewise, with this group of music students, though they are thrilled at the prospect of composing music, they have some doubt about their overall musical skills. Putting their anxieties to rest, I simply told them that anyone who knows some music can begin composing. They need to compose music at the level that they can comprehend. Everyone needs a start and there is not better time to begin than as early as possible. Doing so will hopefully encourage them into music and cement their musical interests.
Composition will get students to put music into practice. The student will need these few basics to begin elementary composition.
- Understanding scales and chords.
- Knowing how to relate the composed melody to suitable chords.
- Have a 'feel' for musical phrases (or start to develop this 'feel').
- Knowing how to notate the music.
Without such an activity like composition (among others), the music student will not really know how all the workings that makes good music come together. Shown below are the first compositions of these students. This 8-bar composition game taken from Because of Love (red book).