Betty ReedPosts

The Composition Book is my favorite project to work on. This year I created visuals to go along with the design terms I’ve been using for years, from Carol Klose’s excellent book: Piano Teacher’s Guide to CREATIVE COMPOSITION, published by Hal Leonard.

She relates composing a piece to building a house.

I used a felt board and cut out felt pieces for each step.

First you need a floor plan (meter, key, melodies.)  We sort through the material the student has improvised and choose a general structure.

Supports (harmony, accompaniment and rhythm patterns) hold up the ceiling.




Rooms (sections such as ABA) are created with walls (melodies, motives, harmonies.)







Doors (transitions) link the rooms.


Add windows (rests, phrasing) for fresh air.







Paint your rooms with color (pedal, dynamics.)

Decorate (curtains, shutters) with staccatos, grace notes, 8va, 8vb.)


We may need a sidewalk to the front of the house (introduction,) or a sidewalk from the back of the house (coda.)







Students loved relating construction of a house to construction of a composition and their end results were gentle, energetic, harmonic, dissonant, surprising, familiar, colorful, calm and best of all-creative!

Have fun composing with your students!