Composing Original Musical for a Hudson River Show Soundtrack

Unit: Dancing with the Hudson




Copland House

(914) 788-4659

Cortlandt Manor, NY 10567




6th Grade,7th Grade,8th Grade,9th Grade,10th Grade,11th Grade,12th Grade


Randolph School


Interested students signed up to create the soundtrack for an original student script. They gathered with a visiting composer to read through the script and compiled a list of where sounds or music would be desirable. Then, each signed up to be responsible for one or two pieces. They gathered other students as they deemed necessary, and assigned them to play instruments or other sound-making objects.

They composed, collaborated, rehearsed, fine-tuned, and shared their creations with the teacher, the visiting artist, and others in the class for input. Finally, pieces were digitally recorded by a group of peers (recording is an optional part of this project). Students were excited by the opportunity to use old musical skills and explore new ones in this project that heavily tapped their imaginations.

Creativity, improvisation, and collaboration were given as much attention as conventional music notation, instrumentation, and technique. Pieces changed often as they were rehearsed and new ideas were suggested. The process was very rich for those unaccustomed to it. A team of students used digital recording skills learned earlier in the year to record the pieces, which added another layer of valuable exposure to a useful skill.

The end product was a truly unique recording full of pieces that fully captured students' musical interpretations of the accompanying theatrical action. Note that the process of composing original pieces to fit a scene, dance, mood, or action can stand on its own, and does not need an original writ, or major production, or recording component attached. More Overview