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John Muehleisen

John Muehleisen

Interest Session 5

1/26/24 | 8:45-9:45am

An Organic Approach to Text Setting - Unleashing Your Musical Imagination

Session Description

This practical, interactive session on composing effective and meaningful musical settings focuses on several rarely discussed topics. Through a combination of lecture, guided discovery, and practical application, attendees will learn tools and techniques for: (1) Choosing a text, (2) Analyzing the structure and meaning of a text to gain a deeper understanding of it, (3) Internalizing the text so that it influences your musical imagination and allows the music to emerge organically, and (4) Ideation: Developing a compelling concept for the composition. Additional guidelines include how to: (1) Avoid composing "too soon" before understanding the text, (2) Avoid getting compositionally “stuck,” (3) Mark up and sketch conceptual and musical ideas on the text, and (4) Compose using voice first and piano later.

Clinician Bio

Composer John Muehleisen’s 150+ vocal and choral works have been described as “masterful… imaginatively harmonized…beautifully realized…and brilliantly crafted.” John’s compositions have focused on topics ranging from humor—his works Eat Your Vegetables! and Cantata Caffeinata—to more serious issues, including spiritual and emotional dimensions of suffering and healing; gun violence; immigration; how we treat those different than ourselves, hate crime, and the personal cost of war (in his award-winning oratorio, But Who Shall Return Us Our Children? - A Kipling Passion). John served as Repertoire and Resources Chair for Composers and Composition for the NW Region of ACDA from 2017–2022.

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