Proposal for an Association for Student Composers


Creating original music is a national arts standard and is as foundational to music experience as listening and playing. But unlike most states, the Colorado Music Educators Association does not provide opportunities for student composers. The purpose of this proposed organization is to promote the inclusion and practice of creating original music in school music programs by providing composition resources, opportunities, and communities.

Colorado All-State Composers

The first initiative of the Association for Student Composers would be a Colorado All-State composers program, an annual celebration of the original music coming out of Colorado’s education system. Students would submit their original music, and those demonstrating exceptional musical ideas, craftsmanship, and affect would be named All-State composers.


To be eligible, you must be a Colorado student, your submission must be your own original music, and you can’t have submitted it before. If you borrowed substantial musical ideas from other music, you must credit the name of the music and the musicians who created it. If you aren’t sure if you should credit them, ask your music teacher for help.

To apply, visit the program’s website and submit: a web form, a recording, and optional notation.

For at least the first year, submitting will be free. Recordings may be audio or video, and audio recordings may be of acoustic or synthesized instruments, such as MIDI. Submit these recordings using WeTransfer. The web form will ask for the names of the composers, their grades, schools, a contact email address, the title of the piece, instrumentation, any additional credits, and up to 250 words about the music. The optional third component may be a PDF or image of any form of notation. If you need help, ask your music teacher. Music teachers, if you need help, contact us.

Selected composers will have their works uploaded to our YouTube channel. By submitting this piece, you are agreeing to have your submission uploaded to YouTube. You may request that the video be removed at any time.

The submission deadline is January 1, 2021, and all participants will be emailed the results on March 1. Submissions for the following year will open August 1.


Submissions will be evaluated on musical ideas, craftsmanship, and affect, as compared to other submissions of a similar grade level. Initially the evaluators would be myself and any other qualified composers who volunteer. If the number of submissions is significant, we may in the future charge a small amount per submission, divide submissions into categories by style, pay professional composers to evaluate the music in their area of expertise, and to provide feedback. In this case, submissions would only be compared to others of the same style, and these categories would be reevaluated after each year. We may also stratify submissions by CMEA district in order to account to some extent for differences in privilege and school resources. If there are enough submissions, we would announce All-District composers in February and All-State composers in March. These names would be announced on our website, social media, and newsletter, along with links for viewing the corresponding pieces.

Thanks for reading! If you found this article worth reading, you can thank me by sharing it with someone.

Create a website or blog at