Mentoring Program

A New All-Star Spy

Composer Name: Erin Lamotte
Supposed to sound like it's in a spy movie.
Grade Level: 8
Intended For: Live Instrument Performance
Software Used: Noteflight
Instrumentation: piano, 2 trumpets, trombone, french horn.
Key: c major
Meter Signature: 4/4
Tempo: 110
Status: Work in Progress
Noteflight URL: Website Title
Located in: Opus 33 Grades 6-8


#13 Alistair Coleman 2018-02-16 13:01
Hi Erin!

Great work so far! I love how you expanded on your sixteenth note idea, and adding the brass is sounding very cool.

You have a 3 minute time limit for the piece, so I do think you could add some new material to the piece.

One idea you could consider is adding a new section where your sixteenth note idea is slower by using eighth notes.

You could even distribute that pattern (in either sixteenth notes or eighth notes) in the brass parts. This could create a really cool "polyphonic" effect. Polyphonic means "many voices," so having the pattern distributed throughout the brass instruments could create a very interesting dialogue between all of the instruments. Almost like a conversation! Let me know if you need any clarification on this.

The piece is really coming together, and I especially love your creative title! Keep up the great work, and I'll look forward to seeing where you go with this piece.

#12 Erin Lamotte 2018-02-13 14:37
Hi Alistair,

I don't know if this is enough music. Also, if there should be more what could I do instead of the sixteenth note pattern?

#11 Erin Lamotte 2018-02-13 08:27
Hi Alistair,

Composition club is tonight after school so I will probably ask you something. I've got classes soon though so I won't be on.

Bye -Erin
#10 Alistair Coleman 2018-02-12 10:38
Hi Erin,

I will check during the weekend, but somehow I didn't see you comment till now!

Regardless, feel free to work on this piece on your own time and/or in class. So if you feel like you want to work on this piece and send comments over the weekend, go for it! Feel free to send updates or comments at any time, and I'll get back to you to keep our dialogue going. I work sporadically throughout the week and weekend, so this is always flexible for me.

Looking forward to seeing the next version of your piece. Please let me know if you have any questions!

#9 Erin Lamotte 2018-02-12 07:08
Hi Alistair!
I just realized that you probably don't get on this on the weekend.

Oops -Erin
#8 Erin Lamotte 2018-02-10 14:11
Hi Alistair!

How's your day going? I have about a foot of snow in my yard. My dad is also fixing someones snowblower and he let a stranger in the house so she could pet the dog! She was nice but my dog scared her out though so it's fine.

I was really just wondering if I should work on my composition before Tuesday though. If I should just tell me.

Have a good day -Erin
#7 Erin Lamotte 2018-02-07 09:15
Hi Alistair,
Thank you for the advice, again. I will let you get back to your work now.

Thanks -Erin
#6 Alistair Coleman 2018-02-07 08:29
Hi Erin!

It's snowing in New York as well, but alas, Juilliard did not cancel school today!

A brass quartet sounds awesome. Check out this resource on writing for brass instruments:

This document will tell you more about the ranges of each instrument, in addition to some tips on how to write for each instrument. Just like tenor saxophone and the clarinet, the trumpets and horn are transposing instruments, so if you'd like more advice on that, please let me know.

Have you given any thought about using the material you've already written in the piece you initially started? Also, consider writing this piece in a minor key, since a lot of spy-themed music is written in those types of keys. If you want to explore that, experiment with different ideas in a minor key, and see what you come up with!

#5 Erin Lamotte 2018-02-07 08:13
Hi Alistair,

Thank you for advice and I will probably go with 2 trumpets, horn, and trombone.

I'm glad that school got canceled today because then I can do more things on my piece!

Talk to you later -Erin
#4 Alistair Coleman 2018-02-06 18:01
Hi Erin,

So wonderful to learn more about you and your background! Let’s talk about your vision for this piece. I really like the idea of a spy-themed piece. I love the film music for movies like James Bond or Mission Impossible!

One way to start a new piece is to start with something general then move to more specifics. You’re already off to a great start, as you’ve identified this idea for spy-music in addition to a general structure that includes a fast and intense section then transitions to a quieter ending.

Next, think about instrumentation . Here are the possibilities of instruments you could include in your instrumentation : 2 trumpets, French horn, trombone, tuba, piano, 2 percussionists (drum set, xylophone, glockenspiel, small percussion) and four singers (soprano, alto, tenor, bass). You could think about using some of the brass instruments, which is very common to use in these types of pieces. You could also do a combination of piano and one or more of the brass instruments. Trumpets can be very versatile, and play in a higher register. On the other hand, trombones can sound very powerful, but play at a lower register. If you wanted to just write for brass, you could consider a brass trio (trumpet, horn, and trombone), or even a brass quintet (2 trumpets, horn, trombone, Tuba). What are you interested in writing for? Let me know if you’d like more help with all of these possibilities. Finding your instrumentation will give you the canvas on which you can write your piece.

Once you find your instrumentation , then you can start to compose your ideas for these instruments. By the way, what do you think about using some of the ideas you’ve already written in the piece you first included? It could be really cool to use that sixteenth-note dialogue between the two violin parts. I could imagine that same or a variation of that idea could be used in your new piece. It could be very cool to hear it with two trumpets, or the Right-hand of the piano and another instrument. So many possibilities!

Starting a new piece can be somewhat overwhelming because there are so many possibilities, but that is also incredibly exciting! You’re off to a great start to realize what your piece will be, and I’m really looking forward to hearing more about what you’re interested in composing with this new piece. Please let me know if you have any questions along the way!


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