I’ve enjoyed teaching quite a few music composition lessons to middle school and high school bands, but I’ve also had some that have been very rough experiences. I thought it might be fun to share some of our success stories to inspire one another.
One of my favorites was when I asked middle school band students to come up with creative sounds, but not on their band instruments, so we could build a “soundscape” composition, and one of the students contributed “arm pit farts”. I went with the flow and it was a composition with humor!
Another favorite experience was having students compose some short melodies or duets in pairs or trios, and then collecting all of the mini compositions and combining them into one big piece. I picked out one of the melodies I liked best, and made it a rondo theme, alternating the other students melodies with the Rondo. I printed out the music in all the keys for each band member to play, and then asked the group to collaborate with me on adding orchestration notes, dynamics, tempo and articulation. Everyone’s melody got included and the students expressed a lot of enthusiasm for the project.