Collaborative Composition in the Classroom

collaborative composition

What can we create when we put the minds of many musicians together? At select trade shows over the past year, we invited you to participate in a special Collaborative Composition. We had some of our friends (like Brian Balmages, Randall Standridge, and others) start a composition and then asked YOU to come by our booth and add a few bars!

This fun project led to some very unique and interesting pieces of music, that you can check out here.

Try it in Your Classroom

You can make your own Collaborative Composition with your music classes! It’s a great activity to introduce musical and composition skills, encourage students to compose, or to just have some creative fun during class!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Open Finale or MakeMusic Compose on a single device.
  2. Create the first and last 4-8 measures of a new piece of music.
  3. Have students take turns adding their own musical flair to the piece!

And that’s it! The open-endedness may be overwhelming for some students so consider setting parameters for the composition, especially for newer composers or if you want to teach a specific skill.

These can include:

  • How many measures each student adds
  • What types of rhythms are allowed
  • Setting a maximum range of pitches
  • And more

Other Twists and Ideas

  • Write the accompaniment for a solo first and have the students create the melody.
  • Have students write lyrics to an original or existing melody.
  • Split students into small groups. Have each group collaborate on a different composition based on the same melody.
  • Use Finale’s Sharing feature to share your creations with us! Submit your Collaborative Composition here for a chance to be featured in the Finale Blog.
  • Have student volunteers perform their creation for the class or at your next concert!

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