PJHS mu­sic stu­dents learn about mu­sic com­po­si­tion

Serve Daily - - FOSTERING INNOVATION - By Lana Hiskey

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.

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