Mentoring Program

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Composer Name: Nancy McNichols
A piece for trumpet, trombone, and piano that sounds like dance music. I was thinking of jazz and Latino music when I wrote it.
Grade Level: 8
Intended For: Live Instrument Performance
Software Used: Noteflight
Instrumentation: Trumpet, Trombone, Piano
Key: D minor
Meter Signature: 4/4
Tempo: 144
Status: Work in Progress
Noteflight URL: Website Title
Located in: Opus 33 Grades 6-8


#5 Nancy McNichols 2018-02-24 16:40
Hi Alistair,
The next version is ready, and I broke it down into 6 sections using rehearsal letters.
I also decided to add another section. You might want to look over rehearsal letters E, F, and measure 84.
#4 Alistair Coleman 2018-02-04 13:34
Hi Nancy,

This is sounding great! Thank you for sending the next version, and I love how you expanded the middle section. Sounds like what you're aiming for is a ABA form, where A is the first theme, B is a different theme in the middle, and then we return to the original A theme to finish out the piece. This form is very common in a lot of jazz standards.

First, let's talk about the transition from the A section to the B section. It's a very cool effect, so it would be really nice to hear more of it. So let's try to space out your ideas a bit to get the timing just right! At m. 34, the chord and that rhythm is very cool, but we only hear it once. Think about expanding that idea by repeating the measure. In the repeated measure, you could distribute that chord to different combinations of the instruments (like including the LH piano part on the second time). You could even include an additional measure completely filled with those eighth note chords to really build up towards m. 35. At m. 35, leave the main melody in the Trumpet part in tact, but in the Trombone and Piano part, experiment with the the notes A, C, or E. You already have the A in the LH of the piano, so leave that where it is. See what kind of combinations you can get, especially in the piano RH part and trombone.

In the B section, the rhythmic and melodic ideas in the trumpet and trombone are very exciting as you've developed a nice dialogue or conversation between the two instruments. In this section, try to experiment with the harmonies in the piano accompaniment by adding more variety. Think about the other chords associated with your home key of D minor, like:

1. C-E-G
2. B flat-D-F
3. A-C-E or A-C sharp-E
4. G-B flat-D,
5. F-A-C
6. E-G-B flat

Use these different chords to move away from your home key of D minor in the B section. It'll help you build a very satisfying return to your home key when you reach the final A section. Experiment and try things out, and let me know if you need any clarification on this.

You've composed some very interesting ideas in this piece, which is amazing. Now, it's a matter of taking your ideas and developing them. You're already making great progress, so try some of the things we're talking about, and see where your ideas take you. This piece is sounding very exciting. Again, please let me know if you have any questions about my suggestions. Keep up the great work, and I look forward to seeing the next version!

#3 Nancy McNichols 2018-02-03 20:36
Hi Alistair,
Thanks for your comment.
This is my third year composing and I mainly play the viola. I haven’t played or composed a whole lot of jazzy stuff, but I’m going to try. I don’t exactly know where this song will go, but right now, I’m thinking about having the first theme, then a section featuring a bit of trombone, then back to the first theme. I want this piece to sound fun overall. Maybe I’ll add some more stuff along the way.
That imitation you mentioned between the trumpet and right hand Piano was not intentional, but I think it will be something I could definitely do more of, especially if I add more ideas.
I used A for the left hand piano, but the trombone part sounded a little weird. That whole middle part before it goes back to the first theme needs work. I feel like the transition is very abrupt and I need more accompaniment for the trombone. Let me know if you have any suggestions.

#2 Aiyana Baldasty 2018-02-03 18:35
Wow! This is great!
#1 Alistair Coleman 2018-02-01 14:39
Hi Nancy!

My name is Alistair, and I'm so excited to be working with you on this new piece! I'm a composition student at Juilliard in New York City, and I got to visit Vermont for my very first time this past August at the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival. How many years have you been composing? Do you play an instrument?

I really love what you've composed so far! Your dance/jazz/lati no intentions are very clear, which is awesome. You have a really cool sense of melody, especially accompanied by the rhythm in the left hand piano part.

Can you tell me about the structure of what you've written? Where do you see this moving forward?

Also, I love the imitation you use between the trumpet and the right hand of the piano part (like the descending line in the trumpet at m. 6 is replicated in the piano at m. 9). What do you think about adding more imitation in the piece? Are there any other ideas in the trumpet melody that could be replicated in the other parts?

Finally, the cadence (or resolution) at m. 35 into m. 36 could be even stronger. Since D minor is our home key (at m. 36), what do you think about using a low "A" in the Trombone and left-hand Piano in m. 35? Since "A" is the dominant of D minor, m. 35 could really drive towards m. 36.

You are off to an incredible start! I'm looking forward to seeing the next version and hearing more about your vision for the piece. Please let me know if you have any questions!


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