The Core Composition it a tough one. As I said in the podcast, where do you start. I always start the same way, with preparation. Here is a list of the things I do with my students from the beginning of the course, to prepare for this task. It is in 3 stages:
STAGE 1: This is prepared by me
- Select the last 25 years compositions we are going to study
- Identify the compositional devices that are specific to those works
- I use Matthew Hindson’s Composition Toolbox to help identify these devices in other works.
- I select the activities from this book or create my own, that help the students to identify and name these devices.
- I then look at the set work and ID the pieces of core material
- I then find the compositional devices being used in the work and the methods of manipulation of the core material
- I prepare a booklet of activities with the scores etc for the students
STAGE 2: This is what we do after we have investigated the set works.
- We look at past core compositions to see what is possible and offer some benchmarks
- We ID the core material
- We ID the compositional devices used
- We then fill out the “comparative study” – which is a fancy word for a table where the Core Material is on one side and the methods of manipulation is on the other
- We ID the structural makeup of the successful compositions
STAGE 3: Individual consult with the student regarding their ideas. We always look at the starting point. From discussion I ascertain which category they fall into and then we develop from there.
- melodic focus
- harmonic focus
- structural focus
- stylistic focus
- instrumental combination focus
There is so much to this task that I feel another blog post is necessary. Perhaps several actually.