Composition is learned by discovering that musical ideas can be experienced in a variety of ways, and that new musical ideas can be created by reconfiguring learned materials in new contexts. The act of imagining, defining, and communicating unique musical ideas awakens in young people a dormant part of their brains, unlocking an awareness of the creative energy packed into every musical experience. This essay examines how the composition process can be exercised in classroom and ensemble projects that involve the three stages of composition: (1) Defining the materials and limits; (2) Exploring the possibilities; (3) Making choices and communicating the resulting music through some sort of notation. Examples and strategies for implementing this process and for performing students' composition exercises are presented. The essay concludes with a checklist of suggestions for music educators as they guide students who wish to pursue composition as a career.


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pp. 67-79
Launched on MUSE
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