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Lesson 12: Composing Your First Mashup Etude

Welcome to a truly exciting challenge! Having worked through all the core lessons, you’re now ready to take a creative leap – compose your very own mashup etude. This exercise is about combining elements you’ve learned into a unique composition.

Creating Your Etude:

  1. Collect and Combine: Revisit your favorite exercises from the lessons. Then, mix and match these parts to create your etude. Since all core lessons are in the key of A minor, any combination you choose will harmonically fit together.
  2. Monthly Composition Exercise: Make this a regular practice. Each month, create a new etude from the exercises you’ve learned. This process will not only reinforce what you’ve learned but also enhance your skills in composition and improvisation.

Fun Inspiration:

  • One of my 8-year-old students embraced this challenge creatively by physically cutting out exercises from his workbook and gluing his favorites together. Feel free to be as imaginative in your approach!

Approach this as Closed-System Improvisation:

  • While you’re not creating from scratch, you have complete control over the order and arrangement of the exercises. This is a step towards improvisation, where you’re rearranging known elements to create something fresh and personal. Read more about this in the Materials Tab.

Additional Challenge:

  1. Learn My Version: Watch the video and learn my mashup etude note by note.
  2. Play Along: Download the accompanying MP3 track and play along with it.

Levels of Mastery:

  • Level 1 (Basic): Play the etude three times.
  • Level 2 (Solid): Play the etude correctly three times. These don’t need to be consecutive.
  • Level 3 (Pro): Aim for a professional touch by playing the etude flawlessly three times in a row.

Additional Tips for Approaching the Mashup Etude Exercise:

Exploration and Selection: Play through all the sight reading exercises and etudes you've learned. Pay close attention to how each one makes you feel. You'll likely find that some exercises don't resonate with you, while others might have certain appealing aspects or could be enjoyable from start to finish.

Levels of Creativity:

Level 1 - Simple Selection: Choose What You Love: The easiest way to approach this challenge is to focus on the parts you truly like and discard the rest. You might find that only a few out of the many exercises you've practiced truly appeal to you. Arrange these favorites in a sequence you like, such as A B C, ABAC, or AABACBA. This is your composition, so follow your instincts. Level 2 - Extracting and Enhancing: Focus on Resonating Elements: Often, only a small part of an etude might resonate with you. That's okay and can be even more exciting. Extracting a single bar or a few notes from the melody and using them in your composition can result in an even more intriguing and personalized creation. Level 3 - Further Investigation and Modification: Modify as Needed: If you find an etude that’s almost perfect except for a certain aspect, feel free to change it. For instance, if the bass line doesn’t suit your taste, alter it to find the sound you’re looking for. If a melody takes a turn you don’t like, steer it in a direction that sounds beautiful to you. You have full permission to creatively alter and reassemble my pieces. This Exercise Is Fundamental, Not Just Preliminary: Remember, this isn't just a stepping stone to 'real' music once you become more advanced. This process of listening, being moved by certain musical moments, and then integrating these into your own style is a core part of being a musician. We all do it – we hear something that speaks to us, and we weave it into our creations, transforming it into something uniquely ours.