Students at LREI take part in the innovative music curriculum the Young Composers & Improvisors Workshop (YCIW). YCIW seeks to give every student the opportunity to explore how music works through making original music. Our 5th grade composers are premiering their second large scale compositions. Explorations for these pieces focused around the ways in which a melody can correspond to an underlying harmony. This deepened our work with consonance and dissonance to include chord structures, chord progressions as well as orchestration techniques. Like any in depth creative work each student made unique personal discoveries as they bumped against new challenges related to their work. As you read through the program notes I think you’ll be struck, as I was, about the many ways in which our students conceived of their music. It is one thing to know how music works but it is quite another to successfully use those principles in service of a larger creative vision as these composers have done. Their reflections and descriptions remind me of some of the most important qualities for the artist to have. It’s perhaps best summed up by one young composer who wrote, “if you think really hard about what you should add to your piece you won’t come up with any good ideas but when you relax and just let the music play you come up with your best ideas!!”
This concert also featured pieces composed in the high school music elective Music Works as well as compositions from our Adult (r)Ed class.
The concert was performed by YCIW artists-in-residence the Metropolis Ensemble under the direction of Andrew Cyr.
Strolling Down the Street by Rei
I started making chords based on the notes that are in my piece and if it didn’t go together I kept changing it until it sounded just right. I broke up the parts of my main melody and the back round part so the ensemble could breath in between parts. I couldn’t think of a good title so I asked many people what it should be and I finally figured out something good!! Some challenges I had with composing my piece was trying to find a melody that I liked. I started with a melody that I didn’t like, so I completely changed it to one that I did like! It was fun composing music this year. I liked listening to other people’s compositions too. I think that people really figured out what their strengths were from our fall compositions. From composing music I learned that we have to keep revising to make something final and perfect the way you want it to be.
Home by Caleb
I started by making a smooth melodic shape like we learned how to in the first session. I decided that my piece sounded bad so I completely redid it. I couldn’t think of a title for my piece so I asked my friend Ben what it reminded him of, he said home. I listened to it and it also remind me of home. I thought that one of my main challenges was that certain notes sounded bad with each other so I had to make them all sound good together. This year I have learned everything from making a good melody to a melodic shape to dynamics. I have learned a lot and I will be able to learn more next year.
Flying on the Ground by Ben
Ms. Devil by Nina
The process that I went through for composing my piece was thinking about having a smooth melodic shape, having notes moving by step, moving by skip, moving by leap, and for the end, using a home note. For the way my music piece was going to sound, I thought about notes that are consonant, and notes that are dissonant. One of the challenges that I experienced in composing my music piece was making chords. It was hard making chords because I kept forgetting that most of the instruments can only play one note at a time. Another one of the challenges that I had was making the notes match up together and fix any dissonances
Chocolate by Acadia
I started out by making a chord progression and then I added different parts from my different pieces. I took different melodies from my different pieces and put them together. I then made sure that the parts all sounded good in the different instruments and different ranges. I named my piece Chocolate because, my dad and I always love to eat chocolate together and try new types. So I named my piece Chocolate in a tribute to him. It is for my dad because he puts up with me all the time and is always the best. Thanks dad! The instrument that play the main part in my piece is the violin. I chose the violin to play the main part because I thought it was the instrument that sounded the best to go with the melody. Even though the violin plays the main part I think all the instrument working together really make the piece one. I had a couple of challenges making my piece. One challenge I ran into was adding more to my piece. This was hard because I did not know what to add at some parts and I was just stuck there waiting for an idea to come to me. Also when I was writing my piece it was hard to find where all the instruments match up together because they all read notes in different spots. I had a hard time doing this when I was trying to make a chord for the bassoon and violin to play together. It was really fun making our pieces. I learned so much this year and I will take it all with me to 6th grade music. I learned how to make chords and why they work. I pretty much learned how to compose a music piece. Something I learned through composing was how we have to give to music to get something. This means that you need to put your musical mind into composing or writing a song, so that you can really get a result that you will enjoy and hopefully everyone else who will listen to it. It was really fun composing because we put a lot of work into our piece then we get to hear real musicians play it. I really enjoyed my time in 5th grade music learning how to compose.
Untitled by Ari