Mentoring Program

Sneaking Up On a Unicorn - Opus 33- Alaiza

Composer Name: Alaiza Roth
This piece is about a person chasing a unicorn. The french horn represents the person and the piano represents the unicorn. This is the first time I have written a piece so I would like any help and feedback.
Grade Level: 4
Intended For: Live Instrument Performance
Software Used: Noteflight
Instrumentation: Piano and French Horn
Key: C
Meter Signature: 4/4
Tempo: 120
Status: Work in Progress
Noteflight URL: Website Title
Located in: Opus 33 Grades 2-5


#2 Alaiza Roth 2018-02-08 14:21
Hi Lee,

Thank you for the feedback you gave me! My music teacher helped me change measures 10 and 11 so that the horn could play it.

I am in 4th grade, I like to play, watch TV, and play on my mom's phone. I really like learning about colonial times in school and I've played flute for 1 year, I just started violin, and ukulele in school.


#1 Lee Heuermann 2018-02-06 14:51
Dear Alaiza,

I’m so happy to meet you! I’ll be your mentor for Opus 33 and I’m very excited to get to know you and your music! I’m a composer and performer (voice, piano and flute) and love many kinds of music - classical, jazz, and especially music from India, Africa and Brazil. I live and teach in Berkeley, California. I feel especially exited because right now I am writing to you from Trinidad, which is a small country and island to the south of Venezuela. I am here for their Carnival and to learn more about their wonderful Calypso music. I will return in about 1 week but will be able to receive your music postings here.

Good start on your piece, Sneaking Up on A Unicorn, Alaiza. I like the feeling of “sneaking up” that you’ve created by starting with your high notes on the piano, which because they’re so high will be relatively quiet. Also, your minor sounds create a mysterious mood. Remember that when you play one note on the piano and hold it the sound decays (doesn’t last) over time, which is very different from the French Horn where the sound is sustained by breath, so doesn’t decay or fade as fast.

On the Music-COMP website - go to the “Resources” tab, then select “More Resources for Student Composers”. Check out the “Brass”, and the “Piano Podcast Here” and “Composing for the Piano”.

In your piece in measures (mms.) 10-11 the French horn range is too high. It only goes up to the highest E on the staff, so think about how you want to rewrite those measures. Also, I see that you have a number of different tempo markings that are only slightly different. I would just keep it at 120 unless you have a more dramatic contrasting tempo.

As we’re getting started working together, please tell me a little about yourself, what grade you’re in, how you like to spend your time, what are your favorite things in school and out, and how long have you been involved in music and what instrument/s do you play? This will help me get more of a sense of who you are and how that relates to the music you compose.

I can’t wait to see what you do next and great job so far!


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