Seventh annual Creating Original Music Project (C.O.M.P.) competition offers prizes, recognition for Missouri student composers

From concert halls to Hollywood movies to TV, video games, commercials and more, every minute of music we hear starts with a composer – and every composer needs a start.

Giving young composers their start is the purpose of the Mizzou New Music Initiative’s Creating Original Music Project (C.O.M.P), an annual statewide competition now in its seventh year that recognizes Missouri students in grades K-12 who compose original music in a variety of styles.

Sponsored by the University of Missouri School of Music and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, C.O.M.P. in September mailed information to music teachers across the state inviting students to participate in the 2012 competition. The winning composers and their schools will be awarded cash prizes, and the winning compositions will be performed at the Creating Original Music Project’s New Music Festival on Saturday, April 21, 2012 at the University of Missouri in Columbia.

2011 C.O.M.P. winners from the Elementary and Middle School categories with Dr. Jeanne Sinquefield

Students in grades K-5 may submit compositions in the categories of Vocal Music or Instrumental Music. For grades 6-8, the categories are Fine Art Music or Popular Music; and for grades 9-12, they are Fine Art Music, Popular Music, Jazz, or other styles. All entries must be original music written by the student, and only one entry per student is allowed. Arrangements of previously composed pieces or improvisation based on composed pieces will not be accepted.

2011 winners from the High School categories with Dr. Sinquefield

Mentors and teachers are encouraged to offer support and critiques, though the submissions must be the students’ own original compositions. Music teachers and/or mentors may assist students in notating or recording the pieces, and each student who applies must have the signature and sponsorship of their school’s music teacher. Only three submissions per category per school are allowed. It is the responsibility of the school music teacher(s) to decide which three pieces per category will be entered in the contest. The postmark deadline for submission of all compositions is January 2, 2012.

For more information about the Creating Original Music Project and an application for the 2012 competition, please visit the C.O.M.P website at

For students looking for additional guidance or feedback on their work, the Mizzou New Music Initiative also offers Composer Connection, a distance-learning program that gives aspiring composers a chance to talk with and receive instruction from a graduate student in composition at MU. Students can e-mail works in progress and ask questions about composing, and receive suggestions and answers directly from the composer on call. The composer on call for the 2011-12 academic year is David Witter, who can be reached by email at