Second semester, two students have been taking creative project classes in our music department. These projects are created at the start of the semester with our music teacher, Mike Wagner. Students work all semester, learning music skills required to complete their projects, then they show off their hard work by the end of the year. This semester, due to the pandemic, we’d thought we would share the hard work that our students have done. Mike and one of the students, senior Ainsley Shaw, have written up a small description of her project as well as included some examples of her work!

Ainsley’s Composing Project

Ainsley’s project focused on classical music theory and music writing. We began the semester by learning the fundamentals of music theory, from writing notes to full chords. Our plan was by the end of the semester to write a full piece for our symphonic band to play at the Spring Concert. We ended up finishing the song just before the end of third quarter and were planning on continuing with guitar lessons for the rest of the semester. As we moved to online classes, Ainsley took the initiative and wrote a second song almost entirely by herself, with occasional input from me. Both songs are named from a joke, after a character from our Board Game Club’s game of Dungeons and Dragons. Below is a description of each song.

Leto’s Lament is actually the second song that was written, with Ainsley taking the helm and creating almost everything on her own. Ainsley says that she began writing this piece with no clear mood or theme in mind but as it began to take shape, it turned into a sadder song. This song takes on a haunting melody that moves between all of the instruments. The imagined story here is that the character, Leto, is mourning the loss of her pet rat, Remy. As the music turns hopeful at the end, she vows to continue her adventure. 

Leto’s Lullaby is a very different song, written in a dance-like 6/8 time. We drew inspiration for the melody and pacing from Irish and Gaelic music. This song begins with a slow, peaceful melody, as the main character Leto begins to fall asleep. The faster middle section is Leto’s dream, where the martial artist monk is fighting all the bad guys she can. The end of the song returns to the dream melody, as a way of showing Leto peacefully finding rest, while her dreams are much more chaotic.