Student Musicians Embrace the Art of Composition


Nate Taylor

In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, of which playing wind instruments is known to be a superspreader, students are instead learning about musical composition. Though it may be a challenge, students are still able to harness their creativity while becoming familiar with new softwares.

Nate Taylor, Centerspread Editor

Distance learning has been a struggle for every collaborative elective class, forcing limits on creativity and constraining cooperation. 

To combat this, the instrumental music department has focused on the foundational process of musical composition using the recording software Soundtrap. The Soundtrap application allows students to record their own audio, utilize loops and program tracks to create original compositions.

“We knew that even when we did come back, we would probably be pretty limited in our ability to play together,” music teacher Desmond Stevens said. “We wanted to have as much flexibility in our platform, to be able to still play, but also be able to do practice in any setting.”

Sophomore Danae Dang

Dang on their piece “Untitled:”

“I was going for that medieval tavern music that you would hear from a small band in the 1600s, in like a bar or like a pub. 

Even if you don’t know music, you know sound. I think everyone should at least try a project, or just try messing around with music, making songs. Even if you are taking inspiration, if you’re changing it, that’s still a core piece of finding something that you like and then making it your own.”

Junior Alex Zhang

Zhang on his piece “Exploration – Yesterday Rearrangement:”

“I just ended up with a genre of half pop, half EDM. That’s what I ended up going through in my personal case.

I think a vast majority of people would find that musical composition is very interesting because whatever kind of music they like to listen to, whether that is hip-hop, blues, anything, they can really make what they like. They can really cater to what their own needs are. They can maybe even make some original music that they come to appreciate and show others. It can be a new hobby for a lot of people.”

Junior Cody Maier

Maier on his cover of “Burn” by the band Too Close to Touch and making original music:

“I wanted to make [the song] start off really chill, so I brought down the drums, brought down all the tracks, very mellow. Every time something repeats, I bring up the energy a little bit, and I wanted to come to like a big climax at the end instead of just any kind of flatline. I want to make a big payoff at the end. 

I think the most important one though is to just make sure you’re always having fun. If you’re just taking it at your own pace, having fun or whatever you’re doing, that’s how you get the best: if you’re enjoying it the entire way through.”