I'm coming to the conclusion that the missing element in music education is composition. I have been predisposed toward composing as long as I have been a musician, but I think it has enormous benefits for everyone who makes music. I have an adult student that I have been working with for a few years and in the last couple of years we have worked through a college text on counterpoint and are currently nearly finished the bible of harmony, Aldwell and Schachter. Along the way, I have encouraged my student to do some composition. One assignment was to parody a Mozart minuet; another was to write a song in the style of John Lennon c. 1965. As his musical understanding grew, he started to come up with his own ideas. Here is a rough sketch for a piece for guitar solo he is working on:
|Click to enlarge|
You don't have to spend years studying counterpoint and harmony either (though I would recommend it). You can start right where you are. You can write a piece with one chord and a few lyrics. After all, that is the foundation of the Lennon song "Tomorrow Never Knows". You can write a song with three chords. You can write an instrumental piece with nothing but a rhythm and clapping.
Composition doesn't have to be complex! And after you create your first piece and ask yourself, "now how can I do my next one better?" --that is when it gets interesting...