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Composing Our Future

Preparing Music Educators to Teach Composition

Edited by Michele Kaschub and Janice Smith

Publication Date - 18 January 2013

ISBN: 9780199832293

386 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

A powerful charge to teacher educators to embrace composition in teacher preparation


In order to prepare pre-service teachers and meet the needs of practitioners in the field, music teacher educators need resources to guide the development of curriculum, specific courses, professional development workshops, and other environments where composition education can begin, grow, and flourish. With chapters ranging from practical information to solid theory to useful best practice examples, Composing Our Future offers fresh insight into composition in music education from authors who are directly engaged in this work.


  • A powerful charge to teacher educators to embrace composition in teacher preparation
  • Includes an overview of what is known about child composers and the work they create
  • Examines the relationship between creativity and composition
  • Feature examples of successful practices

About the Author(s)

Michele Kaschub is Professor of Music and Coordinator of Music Teacher Education and Graduate Studies at the University of Southern Maine. Janice Smith is Associate Professor of Music Education and Coordinator of Undergraduate Music Education at Queens College, City University of New York. Together they are the authors of Minds on Music: Composition for Creative and Critical Thinking (2009).


"Reading this book, you will understand how music operates in our students' universe and that the composer in each and every one of them is alive, vibrant, and eager to flourish. Composing Our Future is a cornucopia of philosophy, clear thinking and best practice models for teaching composition in today's musical world. It is destined to become a primary source book for music educators." --Libby Larsen, Composer

"This compilation of contributions from leading music educators provides a treasure-trove of ideas that will enrich the compositional experiences of teachers and students alike. What a wonderful and timely resource!" --Donald A. Hodges, Covington Distinguished Professor of Music Education, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

"Offer[s] a compelling blend of both the theoretical (essays on creative thinking, research on composition, and creating and sustaining compositional initiatives in school program) and the practical (chapters on model practices in teaching composition in the schools, the uses of technology in teaching composition, and incorporating the teaching of composition in college methods courses). Finally, music teachers interested in teaching composition have the perfect resource." --Mitchell Robinson, Associate Professor of Music Education, Michigan State University

"[A] comprehensive book...Chapter authors are identified experts in their fields and provide a wide range of theoretical and practical knowledge for readers...Recommended." --Choice

Table of Contents

    Chapter 1. Embracing Composition in Music Teacher Education, Michele Kaschub and Janice Smith
    Section I. Foundations & Futures
    Chapter 2. Music Composition Intelligence and Creative Thinking in Music, Peter Webster
    Chapter 3. How Teachers Can Learn from Composition Research, Maud Hickey
    Chapter 4. The Compositional Turn in Music Education: From Closed Forms to Open Texts, Randall Everett Allsup
    Section II. Model Practices in Teaching Composition
    Chapter 5. Preparing to Engage Children in Musical Creating, Sandra Stauffer
    Chapter 6. Scaffolding Student Composers, Jackie Wiggins with Mike Medvinsky
    Chapter 7. Teaching Gifted Learners in Composition, Daniel Deutsch
    Chapter 8. Facilitating Composition in Instrumental Settings, Alexander J. Koops
    Chapter 9. Guiding Composition in Choral Settings, Katherine Strand
    Chapter 10. Composition and Students with Special Needs, Alice M. Hammel
    Section III: Composition and Technology
    Chapter 11. Capitalizing on Emerging Technologies in Composition Education, Rick Dammers
    Chapter 12. The Vermont Midi Project - Fostering Mentorships in Multiple Environments, Sandi McLeod
    Chapter 13. Digital Natives and Composition in the Middle School Band: From Imagination to Music, Bruce Carter
    Section IV. Composition in Undergraduate Courses
    Chapter 14. Composition in International Settings: Broadening Pre-service Perceptions, Patricia Riley
    Chapter 15. Pre-Service Teachers in Urban Settings: Composing Connections, Janice Smith
    Chapter 16. Preparing Teachers to Facilitate Songwriting, John Kratus
    Section V. Strategic Administrative Practices for Including Composition in Music Education
    Chapter 17. "All In" for Composition Education: Opportunities and Challenges for Pre-Service Music Teacher Curricula, John Richmond
    Chapter 18. Creating School-University Partnerships to Enhance Composition Teaching & Learning, Gena Greher
    Chapter 19. Advancing Composition in Music Education Through Strategic Professional Development, Michele Kaschub
    Section VI .Moving Forward
    Chapter 20. Enacting the Vision: Creating and Sustaining Meaningful Composition, Betty Anne Younker
    Author bios