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Music Composition Writing Techniques: Using Previous Skills.


This page outlines all the Technology covered in Music Composition Writing Techniques: Using Previous Skills Presentation.  
Please feel free to contact me using the Contact Page if you have any questions.

Thank You

Tim Chatwood

All pieces of music have to start somewhere.

Like a paper or other works of art a starting point is needed. Like any project, a plan is needed.

Lesson 1

Step 1: Brainstorm Ideas

What story you want to tell?

What emotions do you want the  audience to feel?




Think this out before you start writing.

Planning Activity:

On a piece of paper, write out the story or emotion you want to tell in the piece.

 Write out words or adjectives.

 They don’t need to be musical terms, simple is ok.

Step 2:

What are you going to use to tell the story?

What instruments or voices are you going to use?

Solo piece, chamber ensemble or large ensemble?

What do you have at your disposal?

These are all things that need to be thought about before writing the piece.

Planning Activity:

On the same piece of paper, write out what instrument or voices are you going to use.

Look at what emotion or story you want to tell.

What instruments can you use to tell the story you want.

A hard hitting percussion instrument like a snare drum can show tension or a soft harp to show happiness.

Step 3:

How are you going to tell the story and how long will the piece be?

What is the shape or direction of the piece going to be?

Are you going to hit the audience right away or are you going to have a soft build leading them in?

These are all things to think about.



Planning Activity:
On the same piece of paper, draw out the shape and direction of the piece.

Think of this as outline for the piece.











Lesson 1 Recap:
Like all good plans things change. Things could change when composing your piece.

You might add a new instrument or think of a new emotion you want to include.

Remember that this just the planning stages of your piece and it's ok if things change.  


Lesson 2

Step 1:

Using the ideas you came up with in Lesson 1, start improvising on your instrument.

Think of this as a free write that you have done in your English class.  

Start coming up with seeds that match the ideas you planned out in Lesson 1.


Step 2:

Once you have “Seeds” or musical ideas, record them on paper or using a portable recorder.

What you use is up to you, but you need to be able to recall them later on.

Step 3:

Edit your seeds.

Start putting your seeds together on paper or in a music notation program.

Try to see what they can grow into. Sometimes seeds will not work the way you thought but keep them.

You never know what they can grow into later on down the road or if they can be used for another project.

Writing a Piece

Using your seeds, start composing your piece.

Add dynamics to help show the emotion you want to.

Using different articulations to show emotions.

Guidance Rubrics

Used to help Guide students in their compositions.

Keys to write in

Rhythmic features

  • 16th Notes

  • Tuplet

Anything you think will help guide your students.

Noteflight Music Notation Program













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