Press Release: New Publication Offers Advice on Supporting Young Composers

Minds on Music Declares: “Children Can Compose, Children Want to Compose, and Children Possess the Knowledge, Interests, and Experiences to Compose.”

RESTON, VA (October 1, 2009)Minds on Music, a new publication by Michele Kaschub and Janice Smith and published by MENC: The National Association for Music Education and Rowman & Littlefield Education (RLE), offers teachers advice on how to support young composers through the growth and development of their compositional capacities. The authors say, “Children need to be invited to imagine sound, to hear music inside their heads, and to bring that music out.”

This textbook enhances preservice and practicing music educators’ understanding of ways to successfully engage children in music composition. Kaschub says, “True composition must start with an idea, an emotion that has meaning for the composer and that the composer chooses to express in sound.” It offers both a rationale for the presence of composition in the music education program and a thorough review of what we know of children’s compositional practices to date. Minds On Music offers a solid foundation for planning and implementing composition lessons with students in grades PreK-12.

Michele Kaschub is coordinator of music teacher education and graduate studies at the University of Southern Maine School of Music. She has actively worked with young composers and their teachers in general and choral settings for twenty years.

Janice Smith is undergraduate coordinator of music education at Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College, City University of New York. Prior to coming to Queens she had a thirty-year career teaching music in the public schools of Maine.

“Reflective, energizing and informed, this book should be core reading for all wishing to know more about teaching and learning composition, along with entrants to the profession. Michele Kaschub and Janice Smith provide comprehensive and contemporary understanding of music composition rooted in genuinely educational contexts which reach in and beyond the classroom to the contemporary musical world in all its richness and diversity of practices. Combining the latest research with practical ideas and tasks, this multi-dimensional book sets out to inform, inspire and equip music educators of our time.”—Pam Burnard, University of Cambridge, UK

Minds on Music is available from RLE in paperback for $34.95 and clothbound for $85.00. MENC members receive a discount of 25%. To order or for more information, call 800-462-6420 or visit
MENC: The National Association for Music Education, among the world’s largest arts education organizations, marked its centennial in 2007 as the only association that addresses all aspects of music education. Through membership of more than 75,000 active, retired, and pre-service music teachers, and with 60,000 honor students and supporters, MENC serves millions of students nationwide through activities at all teaching levels, from preschool to graduate school. MENC’s mission is to advance music education by encouraging the study and making of music by all. Since 1907, MENC has worked to ensure that every student has access to a well-balanced, comprehensive, and high-quality program of music instruction taught by qualified teachers. MENC’s activities and resources have been largely responsible for the establishment of music education as a profession, for the promotion and guidance of music study as an integral part of the school curriculum, and for the development of the National Standards for Arts Education. MENC is located at the National Center for Music Education in Reston, VA.