music for use

Music for Use Project: Overview

The Music for Use Project is a new effort to connect university-level student composers with youth music ensembles through no-cost commissions. Once matched with an ensemble and music director, composers will, according to the specifications of a commission contract that is mutually agreed upon, write a new piece for student musicians in school bands, choirs, orchestras, or other combinations. Ensembles can join the project by contacting Music for Use directly, and composers join the project by submitting an application.

By exchanging time and commitment instead of money, these commissions are more accessible to programs that would not typically be able to work with a composer directly. Composers, in turn, benefit from an extended relationship with the performing ensemble including feedback, multiple rehearsals, and at least one performance. 

Benefits to Youth Music Ensembles

  • Creation of new and instrumentation-specific music for young musicians. 
  • Student exposure to the composition process.
  • Student interaction with an outside university- or conservatory- trained musician. 
  • Increased ownership of rehearsal and performance. 

Benefits to Student Composers

  • Experience with a commissioning agreement and relationship.
  • Unique test of orchestration skills and compositional creativity.
  • Extended timeline that allows for revision before a first performance.
  • Rehearsed performance and recording. 


Outreach and Applications

The Music for Use Project will contact youth music directors independently to gauge interest in the project and to find ensembles that might benefit from participation in the project. 

Composers will apply to be matched to a youth music ensemble, and, when accepted, will be given information to contact a music director and move forward with the commissioning process. 

Planning — 1 month window

Each composer will meet with their matched ensemble director to draft a commission contract based on Music for Use Project guidelines. Hopefully, the composer will have an opportunity to observe a rehearsal of their commissioning ensemble. 

Composing (Part 1: Rough Draft and Feedback) — 3-4 weeks

Each composer will write a piece according to the terms of their commission contract. This finished product will be considered a draft, and each composer will provide an electronic or loose-leaf printed copy of the draft score to their commissioning director. In addition, a director may decide to schedule a reading of the draft, in which case the composer will also provide loose-leaf printed parts. 

Each commissioning director (and, perhaps, members of the ensemble) will provide verbal and/or written feedback to their commissioned composer about the draft piece. 

Composing (Part 2: Edits and Final Draft) — 3-4 weeks

Based on received feedback, each composer will edit and complete a final draft of their commissioned work. This will include professional-quality, printed and bound score and parts. Each score and set of parts will be delivered by a deadline established in the commission contract. 

Rehearsal and Performance

Each piece will then be rehearsed and publicly performed. The Music for Use project will publicize and attempt to create archival recordings of every performance.