IV. Composing Your Piece


Time to compose!

You have now developed a clinical focus for your piece, with clear goals for the musical experience. Following the guidelines provided below, compose an original instrumental piece for a single, or multiple, instrument(s) with melodic and harmonic accompaniment.

Some people prefer to begin with lyrics, then create a melody that highlights the natural emphases of the words. Harmony may follow naturally as there are chords already implied in the melody. Others may begin with a harmonic progression or rhythmic idea. See what process suits you creatively. 

Improvise! Then notate the ideas you wish to develop.

Composition Guidelines:

1.     Create at least 16 measures of music using any style, scale, or mode that you feel would be effective. As pieces often possess repeats, you can repeat certain sections.

2.     You can create a melody with lyrics that encourage the player’s participation or, if you prefer, create a purely instrumental score that has melodic elements within.

3.     Be sure to focus your musical intent on the clinical needs/goals of a particular client or group whom you have described during the preparation process.

Notation Guidelines:

1.     Write out your music clearly; piano or guitar accompaniment should be notated on staves (i.e., not simply with chord symbols or tablature). You can use music software or submit legible notation on manuscript paper. 

2.     Be sure to create separate staves for instrumental part(s), melody & lyrics (if applicable) and treble/bass score. Use the examples in Section II as models for notation.

3.     Use expressive markings to indicate dynamics, tempo, articulation, phrase marks, etc., in order to clarify your musical intent for the piece.

4.     When finished, save your composition as a jpeg, .png or any image file format.