Mentoring Program

Opus 33- Sophia Ambroggio

Composer Name: Sophia Ambroggio
This piece is slow at the beginning and then speeds up. I hope to have it be like you are just floating through space and you see a distant galaxy and you get excited about it. I haven't decided on the instruments yet for live performance. I am hoping for feedback about the rhythm in measures 11 and 12. Any other suggestions would be great!
Grade Level: 5
Intended For: Live Instrument Performance
Software Used: Noteflight
Instrumentation: Undecided
Key: Aminor
Meter Signature: 4/4
Tempo: 120
Status: Work in Progress
Noteflight URL: Website Title
Located in: Opus 33 Grades 2-5


#5 Lee Heuermann 2018-02-25 01:14
Hi Sophie,

Thank you so much for telling me so much about yourself! You sound like a very well-rounded person who loves music and enjoys sports and school. That’s terrific that you’ve played piano for awhile now as I’m sure that will help you with your composing. Singing is so important as well as all musicians try to emulate the sound of the human voice. That’s exciting that you’ll get to be in band soon and can add another instrument. I bet your mother loved your composition you gave to her on Mother’s Day! How special!

With your composition, Galaxy, good work on your changes. For starters, please go to the Music-COMP website - go to the “Resources” tab, then select “More Resources for Student Composers”. Check out the “Brass”, “Percussion Using Noteflight”, “Composing for the Piano” and the “Piano Podcast Here”. These resources will give you some more info and guidelines about composing for these instruments.

You say you’re writing for trumpet but I’m seeing tuba in your score in Noteflight. Please change it and put the trumpet in treble clef. Also, in your score please change the order of instruments to be trumpet on top, then piano, and percussion on the bottom as you have it. Also, piano is scored on the grand staff, treble and bass clefs (not just treble), so rather than thinking of it as a single melodic line instrument, think of it’s chordal (harmonic possibilities).

One of the great things about composing for piano is having so many notes, extreme ranges and harmonies available to you. In your opening it might be nice rather than having an exact repeat, why don’t you try harmonizing your opening line?

In m. 6 you start out with your instruments doubling on the same pitch and I like when you add more notes on the 3rd and 4th beat. Once the trumpet enters, rather than doubling the pitch with the piano, why don’t you try and find harmonies in the piano so the trumpet will stand out more as a melodic instrument? In mms. 8, 12, 13 and 16 take away one of the notes when the trumpet has a two note chord. They can only play single notes.

I really like how in m. 19 the trumpet dovetails with the piano. That sounds fun and playful and I think you could do more of that.

I think your percussion is fine and not too much.

I really like your ideas so keep up the good work Sophie and let me know if you have any other questions!

#4 Sophia Ambroggio 2018-02-12 16:18
Dear: Lee Heuermann
I also just added percussion and I really do not know if it sounds bad or not. If you think it sounds bad please tell me, and how I could improve it. I think it might sound too much like a I'm trying to add pitched notes, like a pitched instrument the way I have it, because it originally was a pitched instrument. It also might sound bad because of how fast it is. So if you have anyway to fix that, that would be great. I also added a slow bridge to the end, and I am also not sure if it sounds like I just jumbled together a bunch of notes. If you have any ideas on how I could improve it that would be great!

P.S. My nick-name is Sophie, so if you wanted to call me that you can. :)
#3 Sophia Ambroggio 2018-02-05 17:16
Dear: Lee Heuermann,

I am so excited to start working with you for Opus 33 and I think this will be a lot of fun! That is very cool about your trip, and about what things you do and like!

I am a fifth grader at Edmunds Elementary school. In school my favorite subjects are math, writing, music, and art. Outside of school I like to hangout with friends, do my loads of homework, play soccer, play around with the instruments around my house and my compositions, and spend time with my family.

I play piano, a little guitar, a little ukulele, and recorder. I am in chorus at my school and am really looking forward to starting band next year. In band I might want to play trumpet, saxophone, or maybe something completely different. I have been involved in music since 1st or 2nd grade because that is when I started piano. Then, in third grade I made my first two songs. The first one, my friend and I made and sung to our Mom's on Mothers Day, and the second one we just started to create at school or whenever we hung out. Then in fourth grade I took our song and wrote it down and played it on the piano. Also, I have created many different compositions for school projects. I did Music-Comp last year but did not participate in Opus. However, I was interviewed for Opus and what I thought about it. The interview went on some news channel on TV. That is a little bit about me. :)

I am really happy you like my piece. I feel the same way about it as you do. I did change the instrument to a trumpet, and I took out some notes in measure 11. I am hoping for any advice about the feel and sound of it, if some parts are to long and repetitive like the ending, and how I could make it better just in general.

Thanks a lot,
#2 Lee Heuermann 2018-02-05 15:09
Dear Sophia,

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.

I hope you saw the message from our senior mentor Eric Nielson about the correct instrumentation for composing for Opus. 33. Please change to the instruments he’s asking for. I think you’re off to a great start with the musical ideas for your piece! I really like the excitement you create right away and I particularly like your rhythmic ideas. You ask about your rhythm in mms. 11-12 and I especially like the tie and how you continue your phrase into m. 14. It feels a bit unpredictable in the way you extended it and I like that a lot. I like how you use the same rhythm you had beginning on the last beat of m. 10 (2 eight notes, two sixteenth notes and an eighth note) but in m. 12 it extends and begins on the 3rd beat of that measure instead. That’s called “rhythmic displacement” and it’s very cool. Nice job!

As we’re getting started working together, please tell me a little about yourself, 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!

#1 Erik Nielsen 2018-02-01 10:11
Dear Sophia,
Thanks for posting the first version of your piece for Opus 33 and welcome to Music-COMP and the world of online composing. I don't know who your mentor will be, but I'm writing because right now you have violin as one of our instruments and that's not an instrument we have available for Opus 33. Here's the list of possible instruments: piano, 2 trumpets, French horn, trombone, tuba, 2 percussionists (drum set, xylophone, glockenspiel, small percussion), and four singers (soprano, alto, tenor, bass). The violin part will work for trumpet if you move the first two notes down an octave and get rid of one of the double notes in 8, 10 and 11 (brass instruments can only play one note at a time). Anyway, please talk to your teacher about this and then make a change and we'll get one of our mentors working with you.

Best wishes,
Erik Nielsen
Senior Mentor

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