I would like to compliment you on the article by Belinda Reynolds, “Writing Music for Young Players.”
Ms. Reynolds opens a very large subject relevant to our age in American music education. Band, orchestra, and choral music for children to perform should be written by the best composers, and in fact most of it today is written by non-composers. One day these children will be voters and legislators and will be asked to decide how public money should be spent. Their memories of the music they performed as kids in school will too often be dismal, raising the question whether music education in the schools is worthwhile. This is happening already as we continually see cutbacks in our music education programs.
I recently wrote a piece of music commissioned by the BandQuest program of the American Composers Forum and found the project to be enlightening, challenging, and indeed exciting. I also found that I wasn’t prepared for the task, since my experience writing for amateurs was virtually nil. I learned a lot in the process that in fact applies to writing music for professionals.
We are quick to criticize music educators, but many idealistic and highly competent teachers are out there who need our help and would welcome the music we would write for them. Children deserve the very best, and they trust that the music they are given to perform is the best that is available. Let’s live up to that trust by proving them right.
Brava to Belinda Reynolds for seeing this need and responding to it.