2011 NSBA Student Electronic Music Composition Talent Search Winners

About the Talent Search

Sponsored by The National Association for Music Education and the National School Boards Association (NSBA), the Electronic Music Composition Competition recognizes outstanding compositions and is held to help influence school administrators to include or improve music technology in their schools’ curriculum. Entries are judged based on their aesthetic quality, effective use of electronic media, and the power of the composition and its presentation in communicating to school board members, administrators, and others, the excitement and effectiveness of electronic music composition in the school curriculum.

Winning students received prizes from Gibson Guitar, Guitar Center, and Yamaha.

Middle School Winner: Spencer Young, In Traffic

Beaver Lake Middle School, Issaquah, WA
Teacher: Tina Worthington

Listen to In Traffic
View the Score

Spencer Young is twelve years old and lives in Sammamish, Washington. He has worked with music since the age of five, when he began taking piano lessons from his father. He composed his first piece in 1st grade and has written music ever since. Spencer sang in the school choir this year and was also in the school play. Besides classical music, Spencer enjoys soundtracks to popular movies, especially anything composed by John Williams or Howard Shore.

Spencer takes a simple idea or two, and develops it into a larger song. He likes to build textures, modify themes, and develop strong contrasts. Each song is meant to tell a story. In the past, he has written music about ogres, rainstorms, dreams, imagination and cacophony.

Outside interests include sports, such as soccer, basketball, and track & field. Spencer also enjoys going camping and hiking with his Scout troop. He is an avid student, and especially enjoys math and science. Spencer also likes to read fantasy and science fiction, and sees connections between these genres and his music.

High School Winner: David Mannlein, Serial Killer

Island Trees High School, Levittown, NY
Teacher: J. Peter Hansen

Listen to Serial Killer
View the Score

David Mannlein has just completed his sophomore year at Island Trees High School in Levittown, New York. A self-taught violinist, David has participated in the Nassau Music Educator’s All-County Orchestra and the Long Island String Festival Orchestra. This year, David received a perfect score on his first All-State audition. In middle school, David was invited to play with the High school Chamber Orchestra; his mature musicality is evident whenever he plays.

David started composing during music theory class in his freshman year. In this class, he composed “Perfect Storm,” which won the NYSSMA Electronic Music Composition Showcase award. His prize-winning composition, “Serial Killer” was the result of a theory class assignment to compose an atonal piece.

In the future, David hopes to pursue all aspects of musical composition. He will never stop performing! Music will always remain an integral part of David’s life.

High School Honorable Mention: Tim Rattray, (8X)

Greenwich High School, Greewich, CT
Teacher: Barbara Freedman

Listen to (8X)

Elementary School Group Winner: Tuckahoe Elementary School, The World of Yes

Tuckahoe Elementary School, Arlington, VA
Teacher: Jeanette duBois

Listen to The World of Yes

The production name, JE MAGICEE represents the first letter of each of the students’ names and it speaks to the “magic” they can create. All members of JE MAGICEE are incredibly creative in different ways. Some are honors chorus members, and various members play musical instruments, including the drums, guitar, clarinet, piano, flute, and ukulele. In addition, a handful of the students express themselves through art, noting that their favorite medium is sketching and drawing. Before the production of The World of Yes, the students had varying levels of song writing experience. They started this project by writing a collaborative poem. They put it to music and created a short film. The students say the most important lesson they learned through this project was that, “You can let your creativity roam as far as you want just by trying”.

JE MAGICEE: Joe Myers, Erin Hagarty, Mila Fox-Parola, Amanda Myers, Grace Herrling, Iland Moyer, Catherine Vacarro, Emily Talotta, and Evan Tong

High School Group Winner: Montgomery Blair High School, The Song for Paris

Montgomery Blair High School, Silver Spring, MD
Teacher: Michelle Roberts

Listen to The Song for Paris

Jack Naden is a 2011 graduate of Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland. Jack took piano lessons at an early age before switching to drums in 7th grade. He also played guitar and bass on the side while progressing through school. He has played in several different bands in high school, including the Honors Jazz Band for three years and a rock band with his friends for four years. He has also done some studio work with his rock band and worked as a live session drummer for artists of various musical genres. Jack first became interested in music technology at the beginning of his senior year, and he hopes to pursue music recording and production in the future. His goal is to become a touring rock drummer while keeping afloat other musical interests such as teaching drums and studio engineering.

John Rose was born in Takoma Park, Maryland and has been performing music since the age of 10. He began making music to express his pain and struggles and has been writing lyrics ever since that time. John has been working with DC Productions for over one year. It has been a long journey for him, and John is excited about pursuing a career in music.