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Freyja K. Ragnarsson
First prize winner in Ages 12-14 division
Winning composition: Lost in the Dark
How old were you when you started composing?
10 years old

What do you love most about composing music?
One of the things that I like most about composing is that I can decide exactly how the piece will sound. If I don't like something, I can go in to change it so that it's exactly the way I want it to be. The finished piece is different from anything else that's been made before and I'm the one who has made it. I feel excited because I have created something new. Also, I enjoy writing pieces as gifts for people, like the Christmas present I gave to my father.

What was your process/approach to composing your piece for YWCC?
I started with a melody in my head. Then I wrote it down and started messing around with the instruments to see if it would work. I decided that the violin should start with the melody, and the other instruments would play variations of it throughout the piece, sometimes all together. I put in key changes to make the repetitions of the melody sound different. I decided to connect appearances of the melody with chords and other sections. When I had a draft of what felt like the whole piece put together, I started revising to see if the rhythms were interesting enough and if there was anything more I should change or add. I would listen to the whole piece through to decide what changes were needed. There were several things, and I figured them out a little bit at a time.

What is your favorite instrument to compose for and why?
I most enjoy composing for the oboe because it is the instrument that I know best. Also, then I can play the pieces that I've composed.

What is your advice to someone who is interested in composing a piece but does not know where to start?
Try humming something out loud, experimenting until you like it. Then try to write it down and keep building off of it and around it.