My senior capstone project is an exploration of musical arrangement, a process that involves the adaptation of an original composition for the purpose of performance, and such a process usually involves harmonization, orchestration, or the addition of instrumental accompaniment. The underlying question is, when a piece of music outlives its composer or era, how should it be preserved or re-imagined in a relevant way? To answer this question, I have chosen two pieces of music composed by Johann Sebastian Bach, the Prelude from the G Major Cello Suite (BWV 1007) and the Bouree II from English Suite no. 2 in A minor (BWV 807) to arrange for bluegrass instruments.
For my capstone project, I have set four poems by Shel Silverstein to music for children. This project combines two areas of study, music composition and music education. Raising the standard for music education in America is a strong personal interest, and my overall goal is to compose educational as well as entertaining music for young children. Each song is interactive in some way, and has been recorded with the help of both professional musicians and young children. This paper describes how I created the project, from composing the songs to learning musical pedagogy. The paper is presented in five sections. The first section introduces general music education for young children, followed by a biography of Shel Silverstein and analyses of the four poems I selected. The third section discusses children’s albums, while the fourth section describes the composition and recording process I underwent during this project. A conclusion section revisits the objectives of my project as well as summarizes my experiences during this time.