White Bear Lake AP Music Theory Class Compositions – 2013

We set out to pilot the composition contest program at White Bear Lake Public Schools.

To my surprise it actually went rather smoothly and it got the students to write above and beyond my expectations. These are people who have never written a piece of classical music before, and have also never played strings. It was both a wonderful artistic exercise and a learning experience.

I had a string quartet ( Charles KrennerDi LiJim Wainwright and Sarah Foster) come in to class to perform the pieces and provide some constructive criticism about writing for string quartet. They talked about how to orchestrate the parts so the melody flowed easily, about bowings and fingerings, note groupings, slurs, and preferences for string players like favorite keys, easy phrasing, and where certain notes create fingering or intonation problems.



The students seemed to thoroughly enjoy hearing their work played live and took the criticism well…hopefully this experience will encourage them to keep writing after high school and to give us more good music to play.

[sc_embed_player fileurl=”http://musicworksmn.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Cavalia.mp3″] Cavalia

[sc_embed_player fileurl=”http://musicworksmn.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/String-Bean.mp3″] String Bean

[sc_embed_player fileurl=”http://musicworksmn.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Quartet.mp3″] Quartet

[sc_embed_player fileurl=”http://musicworksmn.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Obnoxious.mp3″] Obnoxious

[sc_embed_player fileurl=”http://musicworksmn.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Painful-Ignorance.mp3″] Painful Ignorance

[sc_embed_player fileurl=”http://musicworksmn.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Endure.mp3″] Endure

Great job WBL students!

Now that we’ve tested the program and made some improvements look for this composition contest to be offered to any school in the 7 county metro area, and for support from our partner organization The University of Minnesota. They’re going to, in the words of NOLA chef Emeril, “kick it up a notch.” BAM!!!


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