For the past few months, our young composers have been learning, building and honing skills of creativity. As a teacher of young minds, it has been interesting to see who has jumped on the creation bandwagon and who, for reasons unknown, are afraid of hearing their own voice.
As I watched Martha Hill Duncan explain her composing process, I am reminded of the effort and contemplation that goes into the making of a composition. I once heard a colleague state that a students could just sit at the piano for a minute or two and make something up that could be entered into a composing competition. The process was easy and took just an instant. The questions was, "Why should we offer the composer as much as the performer?"
Our society is very focused on the end product. Phrases such as, "What is the bottomline?" or "What is the end product?" seem to focus not on the process but the final offering. With such an emphasis on what happens in the end, we bypass the most important and critical thing. What is happening in the process? What is being learned during the moments of contemplation, evaluation and construction? In short, the means should be as important as the end.
Students this month will be asked to dig a little deeper into their storehouse of memories and thoughts. They will be asked to write a piece that adds words to music. What are we grateful for? How can I portray my feelings? How can I share these thoughts through music?
Watching Martha's video instruction brought to mind all the "finding" composers do; finding a meter, finding a melody, finding just the right harmony. Then, when all is perfectly in order, trying to find a performer for those of us who can't sing.
Yes, this is the month for giving thanks. Thank you to all who have jumped on this project and are sharing the joy of composition with students, family and friends. In this case of composing, the means truly justify the end.