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Skye Neal
Second prize winner in Ages 12-14 division
Winning composition: Waltz in B-flat Major
How old were you when you started composing?
I started trying out very simple melodies on the piano around age 3, but it wasn't until I was 7 that I would put together more completed pieces.

What do you love most about composing music?
I really love composing music because it's such an excellent creative outlet. I find that when I compose, I am able to take all of my stress, excitement, whatever it is, and just pour all of it into the music.

Tell us a little about your winning YWCC composition
In the past, I had included waltz movements as part of larger suites, but with this piece, I wanted to dive deep into my love of waltzes and develop it into a full piece. It starts out more simple-sounding, with some small flourishes in the piano, but then it enters the development with lots of conversational material between the violin and the piano. I really enjoyed the experience of writing this piece as it gave me a chance to work on variation and development.

What was your process/approach to composing your piece for YWCC?
I started out with a small theme I had written, then developed it further into lots of variations. After drafting an outline, I began to fill it with different harmonies and sounds. Lastly, I touched up on some smaller details like voice-leading and orchestration.

What is your advice to someone who is interested in composing a piece but does not know where to start?
Don't be hypercritical of yourself. If you are worried about every single detail as you try to write, you'll just end up getting frustrated with yourself. Instead, turn off your inner editor, let yourself write, and worry about editing later. I find that I write much better when I'm not worried about what it will sound like in the end.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself!
I really love rowing! I've been rowing for about 2.5 years now, and my favorite thing about the sport is that I have the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of nature while getting great exercise.
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