Designed to inspire composers to think about their work in new ways, the focus can be on electronic music, big band, small jazz group, or solo compositions where the composer is also the performer. It can be structured as a lecture where Christian shares his compositional processes or as an interactive workshop where student composers present pieces for commentary and development. (The latter is particularly effective when student composers send their work to Christian in-advance for review.)
In addition to composing music that he performs himself, Christian continues to compose music for other musicians to interpret. In his first composition lesson with Bob Brookmeyer, Christian recalls, “…he told me that the job of the composer is to ask the right questions of a piece. Now, with years of experience since then, I am able to help my own students find the questions which are most appropriate to their needs to take their compositions in the direction they want them to go and identify areas of weaknesses.”
Some questions addressed in this workshop are:
• How to balance unity and variation?
• How does one organize all of one’s material?
• How to start a composition?
• How to know when a composition is finished?
• How and when does the title of a piece come about?
• How to distinguish ideas which are working from those that aren’t?