Madhvi Chitoor is 5 years old, and composed a piano piece titled “Joy Within Reach.”  The score can be found here, and a MIDI realization here:

As one sees, this is a motivic piece based on an ascending pattern, from scale degree IV, to V, to VI, VII, and I.  There is a clear development, resolving to a final cadential set of figures.  The composer has good compositional instincts, and can (and should) experiment with other ways of exploring common practices and motivic development.

I do not want to pick apart this piece any further, as I don’t want to read too far into a young child’s beginning steps.  I remember my days of doing the same thing, and so here are my suggestions based on my experience as a child and my current pedagogy:

  1. Listen to as much music as you can, and sing it.  I would suggest, for starters, folk songs, especially in the Kodaly method.  Attend concerts of folk songs, learn to sing along to folk songs, and join a school choir, once the student is old enough.  Ear training, ensemble unity, and exposure to music in an incremental, well-researched way is essential to the building of a strong musical foundation in a child.
  2. If there are any early childhood or Suzuki programs in the child’s area, join their programming.  If you cannot afford it, that is fine, but always inquire about financial aid.  Some schools even allow students and families who work with them a lot a bit of tuition remission for parental volunteering.
  3. Go to concerts of classical music, musical theatre, and sacred music of Western and non-Western traditions.  Classical music concerts can instill a sense of purpose and inclusiveness in our musical world, in addition to providing the student with the most celebrated composers and works of the common practice period.  Musical theatre is vital because it gives the child a wide palette of expression, energy, and collaboration between music, dance, and theatre.  It breaks the child out of the “classical box”.  However, ensure that the musical theatre is age appropriate.  Sacred music of any tradition exposes the child to ancient music and contemporary settings, mostly in the form of vocal writing.  It is important in today’s world that ancient music and music from all traditions is infused into a child’s musical being from the beginning.  Today’s musical culture is global, and not confined to one tradition.

Nice work on this!  To show you that you can keep doing this, here is a piece my elementary school music teacher dug up recently in his files, from my early days.  It is for solo cello (the teacher wrote in the chord changes).

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Happy composing,

Dan