Whether it ends up being played on a synthesizer, a Stratocaster or by a symphony orchestra, every piece of music begins with an idea from a composer – and every composer needs a place to begin.
Helping young composers find that place 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 ninth year.
Sponsored by the University of Missouri School of Music and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, C.O.M.P. recognizes Missouri students in grades K-12 who compose original music in a variety of styles.
Information has been mailed this month to music teachers across the state inviting students to participate in the 2014 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 19, 2014 on the Mizzou campus.
Students in grades K-5 may submit compositions in two categories, Songs With Words and Instrumental Pieces. For grades 6-8, the categories are Fine Art Music and Popular Music; and for grades 9-12, they are Fine Art Music, Popular Music, Jazz, and Other.
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.
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 10, 2014.
For more information about the Creating Original Music Project and an application for the 2014 competition, please visit the C.O.M.P website at http://music.missouri.edu/COMP/.
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 2013-14 academic year is Justin Pounds, who can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.