Creative Composition

Last week on top of my regular gigging and teaching I also held a creative composition class as part of  the Victoria Conservatory of Music’s – Music Discovery Camp. The focus of this course is about trying out new instruments and finding one that is the right fit.

I had four talented and energetic individuals and we had a great time shaping sounds and working on techniques to write music. The final song that we came up with was fun and featured some really dramatic and descriptive lyrics.

Here’s a break down of our days:

DAY 1 – We had full use of the percussion room and started working on ideas on various instruments in the room. It was a getting to know you type of  class but we did manage to get some good soundscapes happening.

Day 2 – I had everyone work with the D pentatonic scale….. And what a scale it is 🙂

Day 3 – With a friday concert looming overhead we set down to the serious work of creating lyrics. I have spent over 20 years writing songs and there are so many great ways to aproach it. But to do it in a democratic way with 4 people can be tough and I really wanted everyone’s unique ideas to be featured. So for this project we worked with scraps of  paper and everyone got to write down…..

a) a fruit

b) something you wear

c) a superlative

d) color

e) animal

Then we set out to make some sense of this and started arranging the order of words to create some descriptive lines……

Wow what a day!!! I was really impressed with how seemingly innocuous words could be arranged into some very powerful and moving imagery…… Plus as a bonus we got a great band name “The Light Pink Choir Bunnies”.

Day 4 – Well we had our lyrics and a glimmer of a melody and a vague chord progression. The pentatonic scale is great because you are able to play either the I, IV, or V chord which means we can make a nice melody over a standard chord progression (click here for some great information on the Pentatonic Scale) and I can actually play piano well enough to accompany the group in any key 🙂

The night before I spent a few minutes tweaking our lyrics and chords. We were now working with a finished song!

Day 5 – With the concert only hours away we ran through the tune loads of times and introduced our secret device of rhythm- the shaker!. By the time we hit the stage at around 3pm The Light Pink Choir Bunnies exploded into a rip roaring rendition of there hit song “Dragon Fruit Skirts”.

Sadly I didn’t record the performance but here is a copy of the final tune……. Many thanks to The Light Pink Choir Bunnies…. They were a really inspiring bunch to be around and I can safely say that the future of music is in great hands!!

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