We believe that everyone has a musical voice inside them.
At Music-COMP, our goal is to bring that voice to life.
students compose a new work each year, each paired with a professional composer as their mentor
world premieres since the first Opus concert in 2000
new works created by our young composers since 1995
Music-COMP (Music Composition Mentoring Program) is a Vermont-based non-profit started in 1995 that teaches students in grades 3-12 how to compose original music. Schools and teachers don’t often have the time, resources, or training to allow students to realize their musical creativity, and our goal is to help each student find their musical voice. Our young composers range from people who have never written a note before in their life all the way to students interested in composition as their profession. We partner with schools, private lesson teachers, and independent students across the country.
Each young composer we work with is directly paired with a professional composer as their mentor in a way that transcends geographic boundaries. On our secure website, a mentor will connect with each student from the very first notes written to the final performance. It is not uncommon for a professional composer from New York City to be helping a student from a small rural community compose a piece of music, which in turn may then be premiered by a violinist who performs with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra. Our mentors include college professors, working jazz and classical composers, Fulbright scholars, graduate students at Juilliard, and more. In addition, we partner with other organizations to perform and share the amazing music created by our students including Vermont Public Radio, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the Vermont Philharmonic, TURNmusic, and more.
We prioritize access to our program and have enabled young musicians from rural, suburban, and urban areas to participate. Our student population is a cross-section of our communities, and we continue to expand our reach further and further each year. Below you can find some selected works from past Music-COMP performances. Every single note you will hear was written and created by a student in grades 3-12.
Alex Wick at VPR studios after an interview with Kari Anderson, Director of Music at VPR
America, What Have You Done was composed when Alex Wick was an eighth-grade student at Edmunds Middle School. He is now entering his junior year at Burlington High School and he enjoys playing piano and the saxophone in his school band.
Performed by Alison Cerutti, Jane Kittredge, and Letitia Quante
Kiara Kirkland and her music teacher, Betsy Nolan in rehearsal at Opus 33
Making rehearsal notes on the score while working with the performers during Opus 33
Kiara Kirkland - Kiki composed Zoe and Peach when she was a third-grade student at Edmunds Elementary School. Kiki enjoys cooking, singing, and playing with her dogs and cats. This was her first time composing music.
Performed by Alison Cerutti and Evan Peltier. Watch through the end of the video to get a behind-the-scenes peek at Kiara working with the musicians during rehearsal!
Diya announcing the world premiere of Twitter at Opus 34, held at the Vermont College of Fine Arts
Diya and her music teacher, Hilary Goldblatt, rehearsing with Jane Kittredge and Letitia Quante
Diya Kulkarni is a 7th grader at Main Street Middle School in Montpelier Vermont. Along with composing, she enjoys singing, songwriting, dancing, creative writing, and more. She hopes to continue her journey not only as a composer but as a musical artist.
Performed by Michael Close, Jane Kittredge, and Letitia Quante
Chase Ehrlich with the Northern Third Piano Quartet and other young composers at VPR Stetson Studio One
Chase Ehrlich is in 8th grade at the Main Street Middle School in Montpelier, VT. Each year, Music-COMP runs a summer program with our senior mentor Erik Nielsen. 10 student composers gather for a week of writing and all compose a new work for a specific ensemble. We then premiere these works later in the year at Vermont Public Radio in a free concert.
Performed by the Northern Third Piano Quartet
Brendan Magill is a junior at Harwood Union High School. He has been composing since 5th grade with Music-COMP. He plays trumpet in the band and jazz band, and also enjoys running, skiing, and listening to all genres of music.
Performed by the Inora Brass Quintet and Percussionist Andy Gagnon
Katya receiving a standing ovation after the world premiere of Tongues of Fire held in the Vermont Senate Chambers
Katya is a senior from Hartford High School and is headed to Oberlin College of Arts and Sciences after a gap year. She will pursue a dual degree in both music composition and creative writing.
Performed by Jaime Laredo and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra