Composing Creativity Teaching

Why composing is important in instrument studies?

Composing as a concept often emphasizes the composer’s myth and the obligation to produce a high standard music. However, making music and inventing ones own songs has been a part of humanity through the ages. In contemporary culture, it is easily perceived as the right of the few and the chosen ones alone, but man has created art and passed it on to the future generations thousands of years.

Encouraged the right way, children and young people are capable at an early stage of their music studies to improvise, create and compose fresh and simulating performances. Although the produced compositions may not be historical or cultural relevant, they are important for the composer himself and confirm the development of a positive self-image as a musician.

The appropriate level of difficulty of the improvisation and composing exercises create a sense of security and encourages to try different kind of musical solutions. The courage to bring out your own views and ideas supports all music studies, gives the student experiences of success and increases motivation to music studies and playing. Good playing skills help composing, but are not prerequisite for it. The student can be an imaginative composer, even if the management of the instrument isn’t at very high level.

Composing skill can be improved by training. The traditional image of composing is that the music starts to play intuitively in composers mind and he or she has to hurry to write it down quickly. The composer’s intuition is thought to be innate, which it in the end is, but intuition for anything comes with strong experience gained through thousands of hours of training. It is therefore wrong to assume, that the unplayability of new glorious symphonies in your mind means, that you have no ideas for composing. Although, for example, W. A. Mozart’s first compositions are quite nice little pieces, they do not compare to his later production. Through practice, composing is also a skill that develops.

In previous centuries, it was natural that each player produced their own music, and it was practiced from an early age of the playing career, but today composing has often mystified as right of the few and chosen ones. In order to make the creation of new music a natural part of musical hobby, improvisation and composition must be included in the musical studies. We, instrument teachers are not supposed to turn into a composing teachers, but our job is to introduce the world of composing to the students. In this way, the student gets caught up in the composing process an an early stage and can, according to his or her own interests, pursue it and study it further in later studies.

As its best, composing brings the music of the great masters closer to oneself. The experience of being a self-creative musician who has ideas to give to the world of music, creates value for one’s activities and reduces the chatter between the great masters and one’s own playing. That will strengthen the experience of being a musician and adds the motivation to all music studies.

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