Learn music composition through InConcert Sierra’s Composers Project | TheUnion.com

Learn music composition through InConcert Sierra’s Composers Project


“The feeling of listening to music can only be rivaled by the creation of music itself,” affirmed Composers Project student Jamie Thomas-Rose.

The Composers Project is a comprehensive youth music education program, sponsored by InConcert Sierra and designed by composer and Education Director Mark Vance, that teaches Thomas-Rose and his fellow students how to compose music.

The Project is a nine-month series of classes and private lessons for ages 12-25 that provides in-depth instruction in composition, notation software, conducting, melodic and rhythmic dictation, theory, harmony, music history, ear training, solfege and rehearsal/performance techniques. The students receive input and master classes from both world-renowned and regional musicians and composers who have performed for InConcert.

During the year, students create two original compositions: one piece for voice accompanied by the student’s instrument of choice and a second composition for solo instrument or ensemble. Both works are premiered by professional musicians.

Each season, a community partner is chosen for the students to learn about as inspiration for their final works. During last season’s interdisciplinary second semester, the students studied about the increasing number of wildfires in California, climate change, and what different organizations are doing to help remedy those things. Experts from the lumber industry, Cal Fire, US Forest Service, and other fire and climate scientists worked with the class. This season’s community partner will be announced shortly.

To view how extraordinary both this program and its student musicians are, the final concert for the 2021-22 season can be viewed on InConcert Sierra’s YouTube channel. Past seasons, prior to COVID, concerts were performed live for community audiences. InConcert hopes to return to this format as soon as possible.

“This is a course students will want to include on college and scholarship applications and job resumes. You will meet some influential people who may be instrumental in your pursuit of musical goals, while attending concerts that you may otherwise never hear. It is a meaningful and powerful experience,” said Vance.

Students, parents, and musicians rave about this program. One parent wrote, “I want to thank you very much for the wonderful, enriching opportunities through the Composers Project and your dedication to their learning. It’s such an enriching experience for our son!”

From student Baraka Anderson, “Thank you for continuing to teach this awesome program during the pandemic over Zoom. I look forward to the next year of being in the Composers Project.”

Pianist and InConcert’s Artistic Director Ken Hardin said, “I love performing the works these young students compose. I wish there had been a course like this when I was a teenager; it would have been incredible.”

The first Zoom class meeting is scheduled for Saturday morning, Sept. 18, 10 a.m. to noon. Classes will be both in-person and via Zoom, dependent on public health guidelines.

The nine-month course is $1,200 for new students and $1,100 for returning students. Payment plans are available. Applications are currently being accepted online at https://www.inconcertsierra.org/composers-project/. Late applicants are also accepted.

Source: InConcert Sierra

Composers Project ensemble from July 2021 videotaping of final composition, from left, Kristen Autry, viola; Zoe Schlussel, violin; Eliza Hagy, composer & violin; Jia-mo Chen, cello.
Photo by Craig Silberman
Composers Project class field trip with Joe Flannery of United States Forest Service.
Photo by Craig Silberman

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