Teaching music composition may seem like an easy task: you show your students the tools, you teach them how to use them and that’s it.
However, the most difficult thing is to teach them how to be creative and translate unmeasurable things such as feelings into music.
Teaching students to use composing skills is not an easy subject, but to make things a bit more organized let’s go through the steps to guide a young music student through their composition journey.
A Passion for Music
Now, the first thing that should be clear from the start is that there is a passion for music.
There are many cases in which a young student can become a great performer but there is no passion for music, and it is very hard to change that.
It might be a bit controversial since it involves parents who wish the best for their children by helping them learn music but when it comes to art, the act of creation can’t be taught, it’s an impulse and sort of a second nature.
That doesn’t mean that some young students can’t find a passion for music after learning a few key things and discovering a whole new world.
But it is important for the teacher to identify these things in order to strengthen their students’ weaknesses.
Rhythm is the backbone of every music composition, there is no music without rhythm but there can be music with just a rhythm in the form of percussion.
This is also some of the easiest ways to make your students feel like they are making some form of music and feel the happiness of success.
It is definitely the best way to approach music composition at first, as it’s quite easy to make it fun and involve several students in exercises.
Encourage Improvisation and No Restraints Approach
This may be easier for musicians that focus on genres of music such as rock, punk, blues or electronic music due to the nature of those types of music.
But when it comes to including improvisation in the formation of music students, it’s a bit more difficult.
After helping your students build a strong musical foundation with music reading and writing, you also have to teach them to let go of all of that and just play.
This not only encourages new and interesting combinations of music due to the lack of restraints, but it also makes the experience fun because of the excitement of not knowing what will come out of a playing session.
Think about it as fishing, it’s all about being relaxed, patient and not knowing what you are going to get, and when you realize you have something, it’s time to reel in and not let the fish escape.
The waiting part is just playing and improvising, the fish is that surprise chord, and reeling in it’s about finally writing and recording that big idea.
To encourage this “fishing” idea in music makes being a musician very exciting.
In order to help your students improve their skills as composers, you need to provide good feedback so that they can feel that sense of progress and learn from their mistakes.
But how do you provide good feedback as a teacher? Well there are a few things to consider when giving feedback to students on their compositions.
First of all, focus on the good things, a sense of accomplishment is very important in order to keep them motivated.
Then as a teacher, you need to show them where they could improve.
And lastly, you need to let them know that there is always room for improvement while also giving them some pointers in order to help them focus on their weak spots.
Remember to use Music Teacher’s Helper to allow you to have a lot more time on your hands to plan your composition lessons instead of using that precious time for tedious but necessary tasks.