Composition Department

Kids Compose

Kids Compose

Performances of IU composition majors' arrangements for orchestra and band of local kids' melodies during the annual grade school concerts for capacity audiences in the Musical Arts Center.


Started in Bloomington in 2006 by Debbi Ponella and Ruth Boshkoff with assistance from the Jacobs School of Music Composition Department, Kids Compose aims to foster children's natural talent for composing melodies.Kids Compose is sponsored by the Jacobs School of Music, and has received funding from the Bloomington Community Arts Commision and the Community Chamber Music Association.

  • Elementary School children from grades two through six are invited to submit original melodies that fit on one page and are less than one minute in length. Students invent a melody and learn the simple tools needed to get it written in musical form.
  • IU Jacobs School of Music composition students turn the melodies selected by a panel into orchestra or band compositions.
  • The selections will be performed to over 1,600 local 2nd and 5th grade elementary students who visit the Musical Arts Center each school year for youth concerts given by IU Jacobs School of Music ensembles.
  • During the concerts each student melody contributor and the IU composition student will be honored. Recordings will be produced to document the project.
  • 2009-10 Review

Our unique Bloomington community offers everything needed to work this magic: a world-class music school that has pledged its support for the Children's Composition Project, a collaborative school system with highly-qualified MCCSC music teachers, and a sponsoring community groups in the form of the Community Chamber Music Association and Bloomington Community Arts Commission.

For more info, please write to

Download the Kids Compose Registration Form (right click on the link and "save linked file as...")

Previous Years
Recordings, Finalists, Winners and more information for all previous Kids Compose Seasons

2019-2020 Kids Compose Event Information
Grade School Winners

ORCHESTRA - Sofia Urbina, Caleb Lian, Laney Jackson, Abigail Swan
CONCERT BAND - Quinn Walters, Bach Nguyen, Isabel Herron, June Leis

IU Composer Winners

ORCHESTRA - Yuseok Seol, Hippocrates Cheng
CONCERT BAND - Shuyu Lin, Jamie Kunselman

Performance Dates

Spring 2020, February 12, Musical Arts Center (MAC), 10:10 AM

Concert Band
Spring 2020, April 15, Musical Arts Center (MAC), 10:10 AM  ***CANCELLED

IU Composition Majors

The Composition Department is proud to support Kids Compose, a community outreach program started in 2006. Kids Compose aims to foster children's natural talent for composing melodies. Children (grades 2 - 6) may submit melodies of which four will be selected by IU Jacobs School of Music Composition Faculty as winners. These melodies will then be arranged and orchestrated by IU Jacobs School of Music composition students and performed by the band and orchestra at MCCSC MAC series performances. Composition students and winners will be present at the performances, and may take part in a question and answer session at the completion of the performance, as time allows. IU Jacobs School of Music recording students will record, edit and press CDs, which will be presented to the winners, IU composition students and kept for archival purposes.

The four composition majors selected to participate in this venture will each receive an honorarium of $500 which will cover their honorarium and the expenses of providing performance materials. Two works will be for orchestra and two will be for wind ensemble.

The resulting arrangements will be less than two minutes in duration, and should be relatively straightforward, preserving the identity of the Kid's melodies, and making no elaborate or unusual demands of the ensemble, as there will be very little rehearsal time. Faculty will discuss this more with the selected composers. The arrangements should be effective and interesting, but also clear and concise. The IU composers should communicate and interact with the kids while completing the arrangement, and also plan to write a short program note for the website and speak briefly at the concert.

DEADLINE: Monday after Spring Break (noon)

If you are interested in being considered for this project, please upload a PDF example (complete work or excerpt) of your orchestrating for either band or orchestra to the Submissions Folder at:

Use this format for filenames:

If you prefer to write for orchestra:  KC_<lastname>_orch.pdf 
If you prefer to write for orchestra:  KC_<lastname>_band.pdf 
If you have no preference: KC_<lastname>.pdf