Creating Original Music Project (COMP) to recognize original music from Missouri student composers with awards, cash

2015 COMP award winners

For ten years, the Mizzou New Music Initiative’s Creating Original Music Project (COMP) has encouraged the musical dreams and aspirations of hundreds of K-12 students across Missouri, offering positive recognition and prizes, performance and educational opportunities, and more.

Some past winners of the annual statewide competition sponsored by the University of Missouri School of Music and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation have even gone on to earn to full college scholarships or launch professional careers in music.

Now, heading into its second decade, COMP once again is looking for new, original music from student composers and songwriters in the Show-Me State. This year’s effort began when information was mailed last month to music teachers across the state inviting students to participate in the 2016 competition.

Both 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 16, 2016 at the University of Missouri in Columbia.

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 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.

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 15, 2016.

For more information about the Creating Original Music Project and an application for the 2016 competition, please visit the COMP website at

For students looking for more 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, ask questions about composing, and receive suggestions and answers directly from the composer on call. The composer on call for the 2015-16 academic year is José Martínez, who can be reached by email at