PJHS music students learn about music composition
Payson Junior High School invited an accomplished band composer Darryl Johnson II to come to the school and work with the band students in an effort to broaden the students’ appreciation for and understanding of the musical creation process. After giving insights into the piece he had composed, Johnson took us back to the place where every band concert starts — with a musical idea. As a class, the students developed musical ideas and, step by step, created a piece of band literature.
Student Autumn Hernandez said, “I’m really inspired to start writing my own music,” and Fiona Ashton-Knochel said, “He mentored us and [one] thing I learned was how to play expressively.”
Additionally, Elizabeth Giles expounded on the writing process: “I’ve been wanting to compose for a while and the composer’s tips helped me a lot. Also, I learned there will always be revisions.”
Finally, Kyrsti Morgan reflected, “It was interesting to hear the composer talk about how his ideas formed and then he turned them into a song. It was great that he started small and then expanded into a bigger part.”
Darryl Johnson II is a native of Southern California. An early interest in music led him to study several instruments as well as music theory, composition, and orchestration. A lengthy background in music transcription and arranging fostered a growing interest in diverse musical styles. Now he enjoys making guest appearances with middle, junior, high school and college students via his “meet the composer” program. This program fulfills multiple components of the music education standards for every state and complements the music education curriculum. The PJHS administration supported the idea of broadening student perspective and arranged for funding to bring Johnson to the school.