There are hundreds of thousands of musicians in the world, many of them being very capable and incredible masters of their art form. Yet even among those great performers very few actually compose any of the music that they play. Why is that?
My take on it is that as a part of our training, music students are taught only the basics of composition such as scales, modes, rhythms, chord progressions and the like. Yet even with the knowledge of these concepts very few musicians ever come to comprehend how to use those concepts to actually create their own compositions. In many ways it is like handing construction students all of the tools and materials that they need but never actually going the extra step to show them how to use those tools to build a house with them.
Gary Guttman and Greg Miller are both composers. Gary has spent the last 30 years as a Hollywood composer for film and television and Greg is a successful computer and software consultant and programmer.Together they created the Secret Composer software to help teach musicians how to use the tools they have been given and show people just how easy it can be to take an idea and turn it into a unique composition.
All About Secret Computer
Secret Composer is broken down into three basic parts. An extensive theory section teaches all of the concepts that are needed later in the program, but also serves as a quick reference while completing the other portions of the instruction. The orchestration section of the program provides similar information that relates to how to arrange music for specific situations. The included sections discuss each of the most commonly used string and wind instruments (as well as percussion) and include charts of their acceptable playing ranges and transpositions.
It is in the composition section of the program that students are taken step by step through the process to turn a simple five note melody into a harmonized composition. All of the composition lessons are done in a methodical, easy to understand manner. If a student doesn't know (or has forgotten) a portion of the music theory that relates to the composition topics being used they are hyperlinked back to the appropriate theory tutorials to help bring them up to speed.
Believe me, I know that becoming a true composer does not happen overnight. This program in and of itself may not turn anyone into the next Mozart, but what it does do very well in my opinion is break down the barrier of confusion that surrounds the art of composition. It helps to show the user that yes, THEY CAN DO IT! I'd highly recommend this program for any teacher considering adding a composition component to their middle school or high school classes. I'd also recommend it to anyone who, like me, always wanted to compose music but always felt like it was beyond their abilities. Give it a try and see if it helps light a spark of creativity that you didn't know was there.