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Are there any other high school or college students who write/compose and are going to be studying it through school (or are already)?

I'm always interested in meeting other young composers. What inspires you to write? Who or what are your influences? Do you use piano to assist your writing?

To me, being able to play standards and material written by others is only part of a serious musician's responsibility. There is great freedom in being able to write music and be able to play it on your axe as well as any other tune, and also open up the possibility of composition work. It seems like so many people nowadays are majoring in Performance, which is cool, but there is so much insight into improvisation through the process of writing music.
 

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yep, I'm at University of Toronto studing composition and sax in september :D

I've been composing for a few years now though, which led to a nice portfolio... and probably was one of the main reasons of my acceptance.

I've only met one other young composer... so it's great hearing from you. My inspiration comes from all over, starting from Bach... all the way to Freddy Mercury and more. Depending on what I'm writing, I use all sorts of methods to compose. For chorals... I can usually write them out without the assistance of an instrument (though I usually use the piano when I'm done to playtest them). For jazz charts, I'll come up with parts on the piano, my bass and my sax.

I completely agree with you, composition is definitely an awesome way to express yourself through music.
 

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Used to be. I was a comp major from 2002-2005. I used piano whenever I was writing for two reasons. A) Sometimes what looked like it would work (or should work, in theory) sounded terrible. B) Sometimes something that didn't look like it would work (or shouldn't work, in theory) sounded great. Some of the best things I've written have started with me being blocked and just plunking away on the piano. I always found it to be much more of a compositionally useful tool than saxophone (look at me ma! two notes at the same time!)

As for influences, I was a classical dude. Colgrass, Torke, Adams, Corigliano, McTee, Gillingham, Feldman, Ligeti, Ticheli, Maslanka, and Grantham were my main influences. Also some of Glass' stuff, but a lot of it I didn't like. I also dabbled in electronic music and performance art for a bit.

As for inspiration.... I have a general dislike of that word. To me, it somehow implies that a composer (of any sort) just sits around and waits for something to happen to him/her. That's not how it worked for me. I can't say that any *good* compositional idea that I've had has ever 'just come to me.' Whether it was writing big band charts, classical pieces, electronic pieces, or jam band tunes. It always came from hard work. It's like anything else, takes practice. So... I guess what inspired me was an empty practice room, a whole bunch of manuscript paper, a pencil (always pencil, never pen), and a piano.

Best,
Chris S
 

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I was a comp major, too, back before the dawn of time. I recently performed in a recording of some music for a local high school age composer of merit (the piece won an award). i won't post her name here, though. She is not of age. You will hear about her one day, though, the kid is brilliant.
 

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I've been composing for about two years, but not for or anything with school (and don't plan on it in college). I've been working mostly in the electronic music section though... (what some people consider noise instead of music). It is mostly the experimental electronic, glitchy stuff and some ambient, kinda loungey stuff too. I've been working on some jazzier stuff lately, and I've just got to get a mic and do a solo for a song.

Just as was said with the piano, and things not appearing to work out, the chords (in theory) can't work out, but end up doing so anyways. I've also learned spacing the chords sounds good (e.g. setting the 7th about an octave away from the root, or an octave plus that seven). I mostly use computer to work this stuff out though.
 

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Of those of you reading who are composers of larger forms (ie not song-writers) would you list here who you think are the most important composers (non-jazz/pop) since 1970? It would be much appreciated. Thanks.
 

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gary said:
Of those of you reading who are composers of larger forms (ie not song-writers) would you list here who you think are the most important composers (non-jazz/pop) since 1970? It would be much appreciated. Thanks.
thesonandall said:
As for influences, I was a classical dude. Colgrass, Torke, Adams, Corigliano, McTee, Gillingham, Feldman, Ligeti, Ticheli, Maslanka, and Grantham were my main influences. Also some of Glass' stuff, but a lot of it I didn't like.
The only one that I'd have to take off that list is Feldman and maybe Ligeti. Some of Colgrass' library maybe (don't remember dates for Winds of Nagual, but I want to say even that came out in the late 70's/early 80's. I don't have my listening library in front of me, but I'd add Eric Whitacre (though a lot of his stuff is garbage imho, he has a few good pieces), Steven Bryant, and Morten Lauridsen. That's what I can think of off the top of my head. Oh, Jim Colonna (http://www.jimcolonna.com) also. He's not very well known yet, but I had the privilege of studying with him for two and a half years. One of the best teachers (and friends) I've ever had.

Chris S
 

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Thanks, Chris.
 
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