Anyone can be a composer! Though it may seem intimidating at first, composing music does not have to be a difficult thing – by the end of this post, you’ll already have composed your first (and perhaps second and third) piece of music.
Learn more about composing your music and then read a spotlight on one of the United States’ most famous composers, Leonard Bernstein.
Compose With Us Now
Check out this easy composition game that will have you creating new music in no time! When you’re done composing, click “share” to get a link you can send to friends. Click to share it with us as well – you just might get to hear your very own composition performed by professional musicians in a special project we’re working on!
*If your composition won’t play back for you, give it a try in full-screen mode.
STEAM Composition Activity
STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math and this composition activity combines music and math is such a smart and simple way. Children will get to flex their creativity and work on their basic addition or subtraction skills all at the same time. This blog post goes into even more detail, but the basic steps are as follows:
- Grab an instrument (or make your own) – whether it’s a xylophone, a piano, a series of items your child(ren) can bang on like drums, etc. It doesn’t have to be fancy to make music!
- Label some of the notes or (separate percussion instruments) with different colors and numbers.
- Tell your child that they need to compose a piece of music that adds up to 200, for example, using the values on the notes.
- They can write down their composition using colored marks that match the colors on their instruments.
- For young children, keep the numbers smaller or don’t involve math at all.
- For older kids, you can make this as difficult as you’d like:
- Use fractions that need to add up to a whole
- Include decimal points
- Make their target number even larger
- Tell them that they can include more than just addition in their “musical math problems” and have them notate the math function they are using (addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division) along with the note numbers as they work to reach their target number.
Composer Spotlight – Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein was one of America’s best-known composers. He was also an accomplished pianist, conductor, and educator. Learning about Leonard Bernstein is a lot of fun because he was alive recently enough that you can see videos of him in action conducting his own music or teaching all about the orchestra.
Here are some interesting facts about Bernstein:
- He had his own television show that introduced the orchestra to audiences. It was called “Young People’s Concerts.” You can still watch them!
- He wrote more traditional orchestra music as well as musicals like West Side Story and On the Town.
- He conducted the New York Philharmonic for the first time with less than 24 hours notice and became an instant sensation and audience favorite.
Watch as Leonard Bernstein conducts one of his very own pieces, the Overture to Candide.
Leonard Bernstein – Our Favorite Pieces
Listen to this playlist featuring some of our favorite music by Leonard Bernstein.