When people think of piano composers, the big names come to mind: Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, etc. The works of these famous composers tend to intimidate pianists from composing themselves – what can I possibly compose that would compare? After all, the art of composing seems quite complex, utilizing both musical knowledge and creativity to craft various melodies, accompaniments, and styles. Where does one even begin?
Rather than feel discouraged with the mindset that everything good has already been composed, take the opportunities to become inspired, creating your unique arrangement of melodies. For instance, MTAC (Music Teachers’ Association of California) offers the Composers Today program, which “invites students to develop musicianship skills, have access to professional feedback, and a chance to perform their musical creation.” One of our Oclef students, Naman Siddheshwar, participated in the program and recently won an astonishing 3rd place for the state of California. Read on below to learn about Naman’s journey and passion for music…
1. Tell us about yourself
Hi! I’m Naman Siddheshwar, an 11-year-old aspiring computer scientist with a huge passion for music. I started learning the piano when I was three and a half years old because my parents noticed my interest in music. At age four, I began taking classes with Mr. Julian, who at that time was working at a school called PPS. Mr. Julian made piano education fun and interesting for me. I appreciate the variety of emotions one can express with the piano in addition to the diversity of the repertoire, the polyharmonic capabilities, and the ranges (both dynamically and pitch-wise).
2. How has Oclef shaped your piano education?
Mr. Julian started Oclef and I joined soon after in the summer of 2019 and it reshaped my piano education. I now had many resources to learn and depend on and I could try out many ideas. Oclef has many classes, including theory and one-on-ones, but one of the classes I find very helpful that was different from other schools was their Kaizen classes. Kaizen classes are classes where you can practice your repertoire and sight-reading, and a teacher occasionally drops in and checks on your progress and gives feedback. In addition to the standard biannual recitals, Oclef conducts monthly performance seminars in which a student is expected to perform one of his/her pieces before students and Mr. Julian, who provide critical feedback. This has helped my confidence during performance. Oclef is continuing to add to its helpful materials and staff.
3. How did you prepare for the CT State Contest?
This is my first year competing in the MTAC composition contest. Mr. Julian pointed me to this contest and encouraged me to do my best. I started composing the piece, Rondo in E-Flat Major, around late January/early February. I chose this to be a rondo, which is a musical form, because I feel that the rondo form includes a medley of different emotions, and ties them all together in the end. I feel that the key, E-flat major, brings about the emotions of spring, which happened to be the season of the competition. I’m thankful for the important pointers, help, and tips from the Oclef staff such as Mr. Julian and Dr. Bell. An added bonus was when I recorded the piece with Oclef’s new grand piano.
4. What do you hope to musically accomplish in future years?
I hope to learn new techniques in repertoire and composition, and new concepts in theory. I hope to add more range and emotions to my compositions. I also hope to learn new software/tools and to perfect recordings and compositions.
Thanks for showing your support by reading about Naman! Stay tuned for more content featuring our students.