Monday, January 25, 2016

Templates for Composition Packets

Word document templates for typing up student compositions

My first-year orchestra students compose several short pieces throughout the year.  They hand write their compositions (see a few earlier posts for worksheets: Open strings, D-string notes, A-string notes), and then I type them up to make packets of everyone's pieces, by instrument.  Students are able to try out pieces that they and their classmates have composed, and they have tons of extra material to help reinforce their newest notes on their instrument.

Typing these up is definitely time consuming, but having a template to work from makes this process go a little more quickly.  From my template document in Word, I type in the composition's name and composer's name first.  Then, I type up the four-measure composition in a music notation program (I have a version of Finale).  When finished, I hit "print screen," paste the screen shot into Paint, highlight the composition to select it, and then copy/paste that into the Word document.  Maybe there's a way to do this with fewer steps involved, but I haven't found it yet.  I did find that in Finale I had to change the background color to white, otherwise the default off-white texture stood out compared to the rest of the Word document.  I also stay as zoomed in as I can in Finale to keep the screen shot pretty sharp.

Here are Word documents for the first three compositions of the year.  I include a key of the notes on the staff with letter names and finger numbers for reference at the top of the page.  For cellos and basses, I tend to double dip and include their pieces for both packets, adjusting octaves as needed, just because there are usually fewer students who play these instruments and I want them to have a decent number of compositions to play. 

From these, feel free to change fonts, headings, etc. to meet your needs, but I hope they save you a bit of time or at least give you a starting point for making your own packets of student compositions!

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