TTTV001: Student composition tactics with Daniel McFarlane - Creative Music Education
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TTTV001: Student composition tactics with Daniel McFarlane

By Tim Topham | Creativity

Mar 15

student composition daniel mcfarlane

I’m so excited to be starting the Tim Topham TV Podcast by interviewing my good friend and Australian teacher/composer/presenter, Daniel McFarlane and we’ll be chatting all about student composition: how to help students create music at the piano from scratch and how to develop their own ideas further.

It doesn’t matter if you’re completely new to working on composition with your students or whether you are already doing some composing, you’re going to get a lot out of this episode. I learnt heaps!

Daniel has created a big niche for himself in the international piano publishing industry in the last five years by creating highly-appealing original music in a style that is very much based on groovy rhythms, chords and patterns, so I figured he was going to be the perfect person to help us understand more about student composition.

How to help students compose music

I don’t know about you, but I often have students come to lessons with a tiny fragment of an idea that they’ve made up on the piano. It might be the simplest melody, a few chords or a bass line.

Nothing that you’d really call ‘music’…yet!

What do you do next? Do you help them make a melody? Do you write more chords? What if they don’t want to do anything else? How do you build upon what they’ve already done without taking over?

And what if you really want to help your student compose music from scratch, but don’t know where to start?

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • How Daniel works with his students on composing new music and what his own inspirations are
  • How to get the most out of his Supersonics website – including some amazing special offers
  • Why he offers studio licences that permit you to print as many copies of his music you want…for life
  • How you can start composing your own music and helping your students do the same
  • Daniel’s 5-point composing “cheat sheet” of ideas that you can use in your lessons right away

Items mentioned in this podcast:

More about Daniel

If you haven’t explored Daniel’s music yet, then make sure you check out some of the posts below.

His music suits students of all ages and is excellent for teaching purposes as you can easily discuss patterns and chord progressions and it will help students with rhythms.

I’ve already blogged extensively about Daniel’s music as I have been a big fan since I came across his work soon after starting this blog in 2010.

Some of the posts that I’ve written are:

Got any more questions for Daniel?

Interested in following-up on any of the points Daniel raised today?

Please leave your comment/question below.

Did you enjoy this podcast?

If you know any other teachers who would value the information in this podcast, please share this page by clicking one of the sharing icons on the left side of the page (bottom of page on mobile).

Oh, and I’d love to get your honest review of this podcast, keeping in mind it’s still early days! If you have a spare couple of minutes, please head to iTunes and leave your review. I’d really appreciate it. 

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About the Author

Tim Topham has one mission in life: to stem the tide of children quitting music lessons by helping teachers maximise student engagement through creativity, technology and innovation. Tim hosts the popular Creative Piano Teaching Podcast, blogs regularly at timtopham.com and speaks at local and international conferences on topics such as pedagogy, business, marketing and entrepreneurship. Tim has been featured in American Music Teacher, The Piano Teacher Magazine, Californian Music Teacher and EPTA Piano Professional. Tim holds an MBA in Educational Leadership, BMus, DipEd and AMusA.

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