Why Should I Teach Composition?

  1. Composition helps students understand how music is put together.  They learn about form, melody, and harmony.  It is a chance to apply theoretical concepts and study them in a new way.  There is opportunity for discussion on what makes each style of music sound the way it does.  Students learn to appreciate the complexity that has gone into the creation of the music they play and listen to.
  2. Composition helps develop ear and dictation skills.  Students must figure out intervals and remember them in order to notate them accurately.
  3. Composition helps to improve sight reading as students learn to recognize patterns to notate.
  4. Composition helps to advance the useful skill of improvisation as students try out new ideas and attempt to develop them.
  5. Composition helps students realize that not all composers are dead!  Students learn that studying composition doesn’t remain an ancient craft, but it is an exciting way of validating one’s thoughts.
  6. Composition helps students play with passion.  Many students perform at their finest when playing pieces they compose.  A completed work is a reason to be proud!
  7. Composition helps students become well-rounded musicians.  The combination of so many different skills necessary for composition helps students to function at a higher level on individual tasks.
  8. Composition results in fully utilizing the musical language.  When we learn a spoken language (such as English), not only do we learn to read and speak, but we also learn to write and compose our own ideas in the language.  This creative process brings one to a greater depth of understanding the language, and should not be missed out in the learning of music.
  9. Composition fosters a spirit of lifelong learning and creativity.  The spark of inspiration found in composition is a wonderful tool for self-expression in any genre.  As students imagine new ideas, they will want to find new musical ways to communicate.  The sky is the limit when discovering new ways to create that perfect sound.