Hello, and welcome to NCEA composition at Onlsow College for 2014. In case you didn’t know you are part of one the most vibrant and creative music departments in the country. We have achieved this through our sense of community, our wiliness to share and communicate our ideas, thoughts and feelings through our skills, talent and ability. Composition is at the heart of this, it is important for our development as musicians, as people and as a society. For this reason and for the fact that it embraces all skills and disciplines within music we make it a compulsory part of the course. So, what is in this document?
This document contains NCEA tasks and pre-tasks for all levels, marking schedules for Achieved, Merit and Excellence, due dates for each composition, what we (teachers) are looking for when we assess your work, and most importantly why we do this – why we compose. This composition document is long and designed to read like an open letter in an attempt to make you engage with it. So, read on, reflect on it, put it aside, pick it up, re-read it, refer to it and don’t lose it!
Composition gives us a unique opportunity to speak what we hold in our heart, body and soul to others. Composition is Communication. Through the composition of music we can communicate what we often find difficult to articulate in everyday speech. Personal moments, heartfelt emotions, awe at the world that surrounds us, statements of belief – religious and secular can all be expressed through the power of music. So, what is music?
Music is very simply Structured Sound. If you have sound and you manipulate it into a structure you have music. Sometimes we enjoy the absence of sound, silence. This can be used to great effect if used intelligently. Sounds great! I want to compose a stunning and wondrous composition!
So, what constitutes an effective composition?
If you combine the above two statements in an imaginative and creative way you will have an effective composition. So, how do I be creative and imaginative?
Hmm? This is a difficult thing to explain, let us move on to technical skills and come back to this later.
Ok then, what do I need to do in my composition? What are you looking for?
To be able to Achieve you need to show your ability in the manipulation of the five main elements of music within a coherent structure that communicates something, anything to your audience. To achieve at a Merit level you need apply the word effective to your composition. Aiming for Excellence? The key word here is convincing. Need clarity? Dictionary definitions of effective and convincing follow.
Effective: successful in producing a desired or intended result - synonyms: successful, effectual, efficacious, productive, constructive, fruitful, functional, potent, powerful
Convincing: capable of causing someone to believe that something is true or real - synonyms: cogent, persuasive, powerful, potent, strong, forceful, compelling, irresistible, telling, conclusive, incontrovertible, unanswerable, incontestable, unassailable