Nyla Ralph of Castlegar received honorable mention in the Music For Young Children international composition contest. Photo submitted

Castlegar student receives honorable mention for composition

Nyla Ralph of Castlegar received an honourable mention for her song titled The Tree is Falling.

A Castlegar music student is being recognized for her composition.

In March, compositions were submitted by over 5,500 Music for Young Children students competing in the 32nd annual International Composition Festival. Students are between the ages of three and nine and begin their musical journey at the following entry points: Sunshine (ages three and four), Sunbeams (ages five and six), and Moonbeams (ages seven to nine).

Within these levels compositions are judged from four different regions: Western Canada, Eastern Canada, the United States and Asia (Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and South Korea). After the top four from each region and level have been selected, they move on to compete in the International Round where the top four are chosen to place internationally within their level.

Congratulations goes out to Sunshine student Nyla Ralph of Castlegar who received an honourable mention for her song titled The Tree is Falling. Her teacher, Tammy Francis (or “Miss Tammy” to her students), is very pleased with the award. “Nyla loves music and had fun composing her piece,” Francis said. “She is very proud of the piece she wrote and played it for the year-end recital.”

Ralph competed against over 200 children in her level who had also sent in compositions. Every composition was played by a panel of ten reviewers, and in order to receive an honourable mention, it must be approved by a minimum of three judges.

When asked how children are taught to write original music, Francis explained, “Each student is taught how to compose a piece of music with different techniques that composers use. As they learn how to take a musical idea and turn it into a piece, it often inspires kids to keep composing and improvising on their own. They learn that they can express their own ideas and thoughts through music that they come up with, and not just other people’s ideas.”

Francis has been teaching Music for Young Children for over 28 years, because as she puts it, it is “the greatest keyboard-based program available for children. It gives children a broad, yet solid foundation upon which to build their musical knowledge. Not only do children learn the skill of how to play the piano, but they also sing, play rhythm instruments, do solfege, develop listening skills, study theory, learn about composers, and composing, all the while having fun.”


Nyla Ralph of Castlegar received honorable mention in the Music For Young Children international composition contest. She is seen here with instructor Tammy Francis.

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