Collective Composition workshops are an integral and eagerly-anticipated part of OrchKids programming. Students of every age and musical ability come together in a non-hierarchical setting to create an original and impactful piece of music. Student voice and leadership are central to the compositions, as students are given a space to explore ideas that are important to them, and a chance to process their own experiences and/or current events. Through improvisatory and innovative group activities, often facilitated by older students and OrchKids alumni, participants strengthen their sense of both community and individual voice as they share and develop ideas to create a collectively-conceived piece of music.
The resulting piece is fully owned by and representative of the students. Often the music that students create is more complex than what they learn through playing sheet music in their regular lessons and ensembles, as they are not confined by limitations of notation. This allows them to develop important musical skills that are not often emphasized in classical music training, such as improvisation, playing by ear, and organic in-the-moment nonverbal musical communication.
These workshops do not require participants to have any specific musical background already, as the projects emphasize the innate ability anyone has to make music.