My two oldest sons were honored to participate and place in the MMTA Composition Festival, held in April! Joel was the K-2nd Grade Division Winner with his piano piece titled "Missionaries to Ecuador." Joshua was the 5th Grade Division Winner with his piano piece titled, "The Run for Safety."
The boys both started developing a single musical idea, or melody and went from there, rounding out their phrases to an even number of measures and adding other ideas to it, then solidifying the harmony. Then they got acquainted with the Finale music writing software. Being quite technologically literate already, it was surprising easy for the 7 and 10 year-olds with just a little guidance from me. The last step was to add in dynamics and other details like articulations or pedal markings. Joel's piece turned out to be 1 page piece with 2 main phrases. Joshua's piece was three pages, and included more musical ideas as well as key changes and time signature changes, which were things that he had seen in judge Kevin Olson's music.
On April 27 at St. Peters UCC Church in Kiel, honorable mentions and winners shared their talents in a recital. It was inspiring to hear such beautiful music. What a fun afternoon!
Each participating student each received a critique of their piece by Dr. Kevin Olson, an active pianist, composer, and member of the piano faculty at Utah State University. His pieces are widely enjoyed by piano students of all ages for their unique and stimulating qualities so it was very exciting that he was going to be the judge for our festival! Besides that, Joshua and Joel got to meet Dr. Olson this past fall at the WMTA State Convention, and he was such a nice person. Receiving comments on their compositions from such a high-caliber composer was such an exciting opportunity. His comments were very helpful and supportive of their creativity!
After the recital, MMTA gave each student and teacher a book of all of the compositions entered in the festival! It was so much fun to watch everyone share their original ideas and have fun making music. Composing can be quite intimidating but I think it helps a lot to see what other kids are doing and just do what you can, a little bit at a time.