A young Colwood piano student has received an honourable mention in an international competition for her composition Shadows.
Kayla Brodrick, 8, wrote her piece early this year and said she came to it by playing around with a group of notes that appealed to her. The finished 25-bar piece is a moody, haunting piece of music that earns its title.
“I named it that because most of the notes are played with the left hand and they’re all lower,” Kayla said. “And it just goes really well with that title.”
A student at Colwood elementary school, Kayla has been playing the piano for two years. She takes lessons with Catharine Kemp-Roth, an instructor in Colwood who teachers the Music for Young Children program out of her Sonatina Piano Studio.
As a part of the slightly unorthodox approach to teaching piano, which includes group lessons, games and improvisation, Kemp-Roth introduces her players to composing as they learn to play.
In total, 24,000 entries are submitted to the overall competition, which is put on by the Music for Young Children organizers. Kayla competed in the western region, which runs from Alaska down the coast to California.
The recognition came as a surprise to Kayla, who said Kemp-Roth acted sly about the award during a class with other students. She made sure to hand out Kayla’s results last, knowing she had earned an honour.
“I was really, really excited,” Kayla said. “I love music, it’s just one of my favourite things. It’s really fun.”
Kemp-Roth is a former piano instructor at the Victoria Conservatory of Music who now runs lessons out of her home studio. She said the Music for Young Children program is an inventive and fun program for her students. It encourages creativity but still teaches the theory and essential foundations of the instrument.
“It’s very engaging and very child friendly, as compared with strapping them to the piano bench and cracking their fingers with a ruler,” Kemp-Roth said. “As a teacher, I try to find ways to make it really engaging but at the same time give them a solid skillset, because it has to be both.”
Kayla wrote the piece before she was even at the level that she could play it herself.
Kemp-Roth would play it for her and help her work through the process.
Now Kayla can play her own composition.
“It’s about conceiving of the idea and being able to assemble it logically,” Kemp-Roth said. “But now she’s had to play it, which I think is great.”
For more information on the Music for Young Children program visit myc.com.