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In my latest piece (a string quartet) I had to limit myself to write only what is possible to play for the rather poor students at my school. I am not sure whether I managed to keep it on their level entirely though.
I also have experienced some trouble in writing "fun" and interesting parts.
On top of that (I didn't really experience that this time) might come the conflict of compromizing on what you would really want to write in order to stay within the limitations given.

Has anyone else written for students and/or amateurs and exprienced something similar?
Or have you encountered other aspects positive or negative on this sort of writing/these types of limitations?

It would be interesting to hear how you handled it and how it affected you and your music and writing.

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Hi David,

I think that writing for amateurs/students is simply another type of art and can be challenging and fun. Like writing TV jingles, it could be something which anyone could find fault with, but to me, the restrictions (how technically simple to make it, e.g.) are just part of the challenge. Many composers have written music specifically aimed at young players, and of necessity this music is simple. I have written music for young players, as young as absolute beginners, and found it very enjoyable -

Cheers -


Every day of my life! Lol.
I find it hard, Rodney, to imagine anyhing else.

Any anecdotes you'd like to share?
To be learned from or for pure enjoyment?

Rodney Carlyle Money said:
Every day of my life! Lol.
The best thing to do is throw out everything you know about how to write for the instrument, and then write specifically on the strengths of the performers. Make a demo of the music so they can practice the piece at home. The best way to write fun music is to make it rhythmic.

I have written music that was intended for amateurs. It is definitely a very tricky group to write for because they are growing so fast and learning so much in a short period of time. When I write I try to remember what it was like for me when I first starting playing music. I also try to listen to as much music that middle school and high school ensembles play (luckily I have a ton of friends who are now band, orchestra, and choir directors of high school and middle school) If you look at the literature for young musicians, you will find that it is as complex as pieces for professionals. I know I never felt that I had to compromise my music, I just had to be mindful of the limitations they might have (mainly when it comes to range and stamina). Young musicians want to be challenged so don't feel that you have to water it all down for them. 

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