Reply To: December Composition Mentor

Frontpage Forums Music Composition December Composition Mentor Reply To: December Composition Mentor


Hi, Dr. Snell –

I have two questions for you:

1) What is the best way to START? I have been assigning composition assignments, big and small, on a regular basis in my instrumental music classes for almost three years. That being said, I question whether or not I am starting the process efficiently. Thus far in my career, I have begun by assessing students’ abilities to audiate, using both solfege syllables and numbered scale degrees. Can you offer some advice on how to initiate composition in an instrumental class, or perhaps shed some light on teaching the basics of audiation? By using both solfege and scale degrees, am I throwing too much at my beginners?

2) I recently heard Dr. Deutsch speak about mentoring young composers. I am jealous of the amount of time that he has to work with individual students on their compositions. Many of my colleagues have classes of over 70 students. When I assess my students’ composition projects, I often run into the problem of not having enough time to give my students adequate daily feedback. Do you have any tips on how to effectively assess student work so that my feedback is meaningful for the students as well as efficient for me? Is there a good rubric for this?

Thank you!