Tips for New Piano Composers

Douglas Paone, MD, a concierge physician in Florida, enjoys playing the piano in his free time. Dr. Douglas Paone has played for more than 50 years and composes his own music as well.

When first starting to compose, you must first consider the type of music that you want to share with the world. Some composers tend toward the classical style, while others feel more moved by jazz or rock. Once you have a genre in mind, you can start to think about whether you would like to create a gentle and slow piece or a tune with a fierce, energetic style.

Many composers begin a piece by creating a melody or theme that can be developed throughout the work. You may choose to do this first, or you may prefer to start with a form that lays out where your repeating and contrasting sections will be. In either case, you will ultimately need a motif that you then develop through repetition, sequencing, and other ways of manipulating the melody. You will most likely also need a contrasting section to add color to your piece and create compositional interest, though the length and placement of this section is up to you.

Ultimately, your composition will develop from time spent experimenting and keeping what you like. Experts urge beginning composers to embrace mistakes and change what they feel needs changing. That way, you tie yourself down to nothing and leave yourself open to any idea you may have.