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  not using piano to compose?  soundssand at 20:01 on 18 October 2012

I want to go to school for music composition very bad, but right now I have developed arthritis from an old injury and I can't play really any piano. I am working on healing it but I don't know if I will be able to. I will defenitly going to study composition. I am just trying to decide if I want to go to school for composition now and just write on paper or if I should wait (I don't know how long) to see if my elbow heals so I can play piano.

Do you compose with a piano? Do you think it's necessary? Do you think it's worth it to study composition without being able to play piano?

  Re: not using piano to compose?  caitlinrowley at 10:57 on 20 October 2012

I think the answer really depends on you - how comfortable are you writing without playing? Arthritis is a tricky thing and often long-term, and you should probably work on writing without a keyboard (if you're not already comfortable with it), just in case it doesn't improve.

From a general point of view, it shouldn't matter whether you play piano or not. I don't really play it - I start compositions at the piano but run out of fingers after a couple of bars and then transfer to working directly on the computer, or straight onto paper. Nevertheless, I am now studying for my MMus in Composition. One of the things I am exploring during this time is actually being able to get away from the *computer*, so that could also be an approach you could take, to work with your teacher on becoming more proficient at working away from the piano. Do you play any other instruments? And are they affected by the injury?

So, to sum up, it depends entirely on whether you feel comfortable with the prospect of spending a year or multiple years composing intensely without playing the piano. If you don't feel you're quite ready for it, I'd strongly recommend you explore options for taking private composition lessons until either you feel ready or your injury heals sufficiently to allow you to play again. I took private lessons through London College of Music before I applied to college, and it really helped me immensely - I had a great teacher who pushed my ideas and helped me work out the approach I wanted to take in my Masters. If you approach local music colleges, they may be able to recommend teachers, or some of the staff may also teach outside of college hours.

Good luck! I hope some of this helps!

  Re: not using piano to compose?  soundssand at 16:31 on 20 October 2012

Thanks for the advice. I've only written a little bit without piano so far. It's defenitely a challenge, but I surprised myself with some good material. It sounds kind of baroque because I was sticking to my counterpoint knowledge as a crutch. I also play clarinet and sax and those are easier on my arthritis.


* I've only written a little on paper. I've written a good amount on computer, but I realized I have some bad habbits when I do that. Maybe when I get more experience writting on computer will work better.