Young Composers...

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Euphonium Boy Ben, Jun 4, 2007.

  1. Euphonium Boy Ben

    Euphonium Boy Ben New Member

    Your band master hands out a piece written by a young person. What do you do? I think that some people just laugh at the thought. I would like to see what some people think about young composers!
  2. Morghoven

    Morghoven Member

    Simple - I wait until I've heard it, then decide if I like it or not. I'm sure we've all heard great pieces by young people, and awful pieces by older people. One should never pre-judge something by the age of the composer...but I don't believe in pretending something is great when it's not no matter who wrote it.
  3. zak

    zak Member

    I think the same about young composers as any other to be honest which is judge the piece and thats it. As a matter of interest do you have an axe to grind about anti-young composers or something by starting this thread? Don't take this the wrong way as it's not a criticism by the way, just seems like you have a bee in your bonnet already about this issue and just curious as to whether you are a young composer? ;)

  4. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    Like Morghoven...I tend to keep an open mind until we play the piece...and in some instances until we've played it several times (how many have hated a test piece first time through....only to grow to love it).

    However, some in out band aren't quite as open-minded and it helps if I can give at least some pedigree before the read through. For example, our band recently premiered one of Ben Tubb's pieces (HBB) and by mentioning he was a student at RNCM and solo horn in a Championship section band helpd the band give him the benefit of the doubt.

    Needless to say I think they really liked the piece because they had a more open mind.
  5. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    I'm a young composer studying composition at the RNCM.
    I know where you come from, I used to absolutely hate taking pieces to bands (all the bands I myself was in) as I really thought that they'd judge me harshly. Luckily for me all the conductors were really supportive of the new music and many of my pieces have been programmed in concerts as well as recorded on CDs.

    After a while, you become slightly more confident in your own talent, and especially at the RNCM you need to have an ounce of belief in your own work or you'll end up going no where.

    Just go for it Ben! :)

    Do you have any snippets mate?

  6. stephenmrry

    stephenmrry Member

    Can i ask why bother set this up there are many talented young composers around just look at Paul Lovatt Cooper he is writing some stunning pieces at the moment and another up and coming composer and former member of my band Richard Rock. Age is one thing however judge a book by its content and not by its cover. Really a bit of a pointless thread unless as mentioned above this is like a little stab at young composers!!
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2007
  7. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    As the thread was started by a young composer himself, I certainly don't think there is any intention to "have a dig", rather to solicit support and encourage an open mind. I think it is vital to have an open mind when presented with any new music, and all the more so when it is a younger person, who should be encouraged as far as possible. When I was at senior school, we had some music written by one of our colleagues for a school play: not exactly my favourite style of music - rather too "squeaky-gate!" - but we still made sure we gave it our best shot, and I believe the young man in question did go on to write more things over the years.

    The other question is how do you define a "young composer": Paul Lovatt-Cooper is certainly of the newer generation, but I believe he has now turned thirty, and I know Andrew Mackereth gets rather tired of still being referred to as "the young composer . . . "! You also frequently have those who turn to writing music later in life: they all need our support and encourageemnt if it help breathe new life into our movement.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2007
  8. Jacob Larsen

    Jacob Larsen Member

    The young composers are the future of banding and we should all give them a hand to develope theire skills. As earlier written it´s a emotional thing to bring a piece you have written to a band. So we all have the responsability to help them on theire way...

    Here in Denmark we have a brand new generation of brass composers, where Im one of them. It takes time to get the bands to accept your music and thats way you be very focused on the notation, flats, sharps ect. all the thinks you can do with a notation programme. I was lucky to be commissioned to write a piece last year. The piece was a part of the bands programme at the Danish FDF Nationals (where the band came on 2nd place). That was a great opening for my writing career and now I have 3 more commissions. Later on I contacted Nicholas Childs and asked him to take a look at the piece... He e-mailed me back and asked me to send the music for the Black Dyke Band room where he´ll try the piece out on a repertoire session.. Nick Childs is very good at bringing new music into brass band, and it´s all because he dosen´t judge young composers..

    You should talk to the manager / conductor from your band and get them to give you a job writing a piece for them that they can use.. A march, hymnsetting, concertopener etc..

    Here´s my piece....

    Good luck...

    JVL - denmark
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2007
  9. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    Definitely over the hill!! :rolleyes:

    Age shouldn't come into it. Look at what Mozart wrote when he was 6!! :clap:
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2007
  10. simonbassbone

    simonbassbone Member

    Unless you know the composer how can you tell how old he/he is, I've never seen anyone put their age on a score.
  11. annmck

    annmck Member

    Euphonium Boy Ben is not having a dig at anybody but I think he is speaking from personal experience. You just keep at it Ben. I think your music is very good. :tup
  12. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    As a music teacher I wouldn't dream of having a go at young composers for their attempts to write. The more the merrier.

    I have often come across people in bands (and orchestras) who, as soon as they realise that it's a young person who has written a piece, immediately go accidental, dynamic, pitch and even rhythm blind. I have heard expressed the sentiment "Oh, it's only sonso's - not important let's get on with the Vinter"

    I have come across players who mistreat my music as well. Sometimes deliberately, somethimes thoughtlessly. I hate wasting rehearsal time going over the obvious (look at the key sign, there's an F# in the third bar, it's in 4/4, can you count to 4? and so on). It must be very daunting for a young composer with less confidence and who is less secure in their dealings with the band to come across this kind of disrespect - because that is what it is.

    Where I would criticise a lot of young composers is in their frequent lack of care in producing the score and parts. All too often I have to keep reminding them (students) to make their scores and parts easy to read and this sometimes contributes to the 'closed minds' syndrome. Anyone who goes on Sibelius can see examples of very poor scores. Stupid rests, awkward rhythm notation, illogical and sometimes impossible part writing, incorrect dynamics, avoidable collisions and so on.

    I blame the teachers (but then I would :)) but young composers need to realise that they will stand a better chance of success if they proof-read (or get someone else to proof-read) their scores. You can't blame the players if you haven't made the requisite effort to make your work accurate on paper.

    I think these days, with software for notation, there is no excuse for inaccurate scores/parts. The software also helps you to avoid out of range notes (Sibelius certainly does) but it can also encourage lazy practices.

    So I say, young composers keep writing, but make sure you do all the nasty boring things as well. You've got to sell your work to your players and they can tell if you've made the effort or not. If you want to try something out with your band that you are working on, tell them it's not finished and they'll be more understanding.
  13. RussQ

    RussQ Member

    I think that any young person who has the guts to have a go at composition is to be congratulated and should be afforded the courtesy of at least having the opportunity to have their pieces heard in the bandroom. Obviously some are going to be more proficient than others, just the same as 'older' composers.
    Incidentally, I'm lucky to be in a band with a very talented young composer. BEN TUBB. We're already playind his pieces in concerts and they have been very warmly recieved. Remember the name because you'll be seeing a lot from him in the future.
  14. sevenhelz

    sevenhelz Active Member

    I think Mozart was writing from age 7.
  15. madsaz

    madsaz Member

    A young player at our band bought one of his pieces specifically to hear it out. I did wonder initially if it was a bit of self promotion - while a noisy person I am quite conservative in some aspects.

    However, it was brilliant & he had some superb harmonies. Yes, a couple of bits needed working out (not very much at all though) & thats why he brought it.

    I was impressed and made a point of telling him. It can't be easy to bring the work along, especially knowing what Bands are like - lets be fair, we will slag Bram Tovey & Wilby works off, so no one is immune. So if a young writer does bring their work in, maybe we should all be more constructive.
  16. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    I used to compose a lot. Took a piece along to band practice and a few people laughed and said it was rubbish. It probably was, but I haven't had the heart to compose anything since. I think it's very important to consider people's feelings before passing judgement on their works, especially if they are 12 years old, as I was. People can be very cruel without realising it.
  17. BrianT

    BrianT Member

    I know that when you finish a piece you want to hear it straight away. But maybe defer the moment for a while - before you print the parts, ask your MD or someone whose musical opinion you value to study the score, and then get them to go through it with you. They may well suggest things you could improve, for instance, thinning out the arrangement, or thickening it up, changing registers, making sure players have room to breath, sensible dynamics, spelling of chords, structure and so on. Or admit you don't know quite how to achieve a particular effect, and they may suggest exactly what you're after. Or point to a piece that you can study for the desired effect.

    Once you've incorporated their suggestions and improvements into your piece, print and proof read the parts. Check for clashes between items (slurs, dynamics, accidentals, etc), and that the player knows clearly what dynamic you should be playing at (not just one ff marking in the first bar), and that a player could not blame the music for making his/her job harder than it should be.

    Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Also, if people do criticise, try to distinguish mere opinion or personal critcism (I don't like the piece because you wrote it; I don't like marches/waltzes/hymn tunes; etc) from musical points (the basses can't physically play this note, cornets can't change mutes that fast, etc.) You can do something about the musical criticism, and make the next piece even better.
  18. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    Eminently sensible post, Brian. Well said.

    And even if the initial response isn't as good as you expect, please don't let it put you off. Try again until it comes right. Like anything else, composition needs practice.

    You might also consider listening to your piece in bits, listen to each section - just the cornets, just the horns, etc. I used to find a lot of imbalance like this before it got to the band - saves a lot of embarrassment in the bandroom. :oops:

    It's also part of being a craftsman and doing a workman-like job that you can be justifiably proud of it's the difference between a mass produced thing and a work of art.

    The point about getting someone to check your scores for you is a good one. Get several people to do it. It is very easy to become note-blind when you get too close to a score.:eek:
  19. Ghostie

    Ghostie New Member

    I think if your talking young composer .. Benjamin Tubb gets my vote. Yes to be fair Paul Lovett - Cooper has done some stuff with Dyke .. was it not Dyke that make it special and is he really as it as good as what he thinks he is? Peter Meechan was their last Young Composer and at least he composed winning compositions .. Brendan Wheelar .. Leylands star soloist with his Three Worlds Three stories track at the BBC final .. from what i remember ..Oh and maybe be a selected test piece at a contest coming soon !! At least Benjamin (and obviosly Peter Meechan !!) who gets my votes seems to have some idea of how to develop tenor horn repertoire and compose some briliant work new works !! x
  20. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    In fairness, I think a few other people think he's good too!

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