Episode 9: Composition Conversations with Aaron McMichael

Have you ever wondered how to compose fun pieces that students are excited about? Our guest is giving you an inside look at what it’s like composing engaging pieces for students. Today, composer and band director Aaron McMichael is joining us to talk about his experiences as a band director and composer. 

Composing pieces for grades one through three that students love can be a challenge. Aaron is giving us some insight into what his experiences have been like as a band director and composer for beginning bands. He is sharing how he got into composing, an overview of his compositions, 3 of his pieces that students love, what he aims to include when writing pieces, his inspirations and processes, how he maintains a work-life balance, and tips for new composers.  

Born July 2nd, 1979 in Biloxi, Mississippi, Mr. McMichael started his music career at the age of 5 in Panama. He first learned to play violin and eventually started trumpet at the age of 10. He then went on to earn his A.A. from Jones County Junior College, B.M.E. from Troy State University, and M.M. from University of Texas at Brownsville. 

Mr. McMichael has been active as a band director, composer, and music producer over the last 19 years. He is a member of the Texas Band Masters Association, Association of Texas Small School Bands, Texas Music Educators Association, American School Band Directors Association, and a member of (BMI). Recently The Brave Warrior, The Conquest, and Sunrise by South Padre Island were named a JWPepper Editors Choice and Listeners Choice Honorable Mention. Angels in the Sky is also an ATSSB Honorable Mention for 2021.

 In 2022 Mr. McMichael has accomplished 4 huge mile stones: marched the Rose Bowl Parade on New Years Day, won the Grand Mesa Composition Competition, took a Sub-Non Varsity Middle School Band to UIL and received a sweepstakes, and took Progreso H.S. Band (3A) to Area E Marching Competition for the first time in school history.

Are you looking for a music theory supplement for your beginning band class? The Quarter Note Companion Theory Book bundle includes instrument specific books that focus on skills that each instrument needs to learn. This book is the perfect supplement to the Quarter Note Companion First Level Method Book

In this episode we cover:

  • Aaron’s experience and background as a composer and band director
  • How he has grown his program after starting with just 11 students
  • How Aaron got started composing
  • An overview of his compositions
  • What Aaron aims to include in his compositions to make them fun and engaging for all students
  • Where he gets inspiration for his pieces
  • What his process for composing looks like
  • What the qualities of a successful grade 1 piece are
  • How Aaron maintains a work-life balance
  • Aaron’s tips for new composers

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More about The First Six Notes with Classroom Composers

The First Six Notes Podcast with Classroom Composers is for band teachers and string teachers looking for great information from experienced teachers. 

Every other week, we’ll dive into everything about teaching band and string music students. We’re covering everything from pedagogy to fundraising and interviewing successful music teachers, composers, admin, professional private studio teachers, and more to uncover and share their strategies for musical success. 

Classroom Composers is a married team of two music teachers, Kevin Hoff and Jessica Frank. Between the two of us, we have experience teaching K-6 general music, elementary 4/5 band/strings, and middle school band/strings/guitar who want to share our knowledge and experience with other teachers.

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