We believe that giving students the tools and support to make creative decisions using music is the best way for them to not only learn how music works but to also build skills and knowledge that can last a lifetime.
YCIW has grown out of the progressive environment at Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin HS. Continual experimentation with student centered learning has given rise to a new approach in music education. We strive to make this experience available to NYC public and independent schools.
YCIW is a free resource for any NYC public school. We believe that the larger and more inclusive our community of teachers and learners, the greater the experience will be for all participants.
Technology allows the young composer to manipulate sound and to create something with an immediacy that was previously reserved only for art class. Using the Noteflight webapp with our progressive curriculum allows our learners to make creative choices first. Our teachers and mentors help put the sounds into context at the appropriate time.
In a visual arts class concepts are explored through the formation of a unique art work. Technology now gives any student, regardless of musical background, the same kind of powerful experience. When a student has the authentic experience of being a composer, the skills and concepts acquired can last a lifetime.
Simply put, technology makes it ok for the student to be wrong. Being wrong is a key component in the experimentation and exploration required in music making. Previously, arranging sounds in a creative way was an involved process reserved only for those who were lucky enough to find the passion to do so. With programs like Noteflight every learner can easily mess around with sounds and instantly get the feedback that fuels their knowledge and passion.
Browse F.A.Q. Topics
How do participants get Noteflight accounts?
Participants receive their own free Noteflight account that is part of the YCIW Noteflight community.
Does YCIW come with a curriculum?
Participants have access to online, interactive web lessons covering a wide range of composition topics. They are ideal for helping brand new composers begin their first piece and progressive to more advanced topics. Each lesson comes with three Noteflight practice assignments. Teachers may utilize these assignments or implement their own curriculum.
How do the composer mentors give feedback?
Composer mentors make helpful comments directly on each student’s score throughout the process. Classroom teachers and peers are able to provide comments also.
When will Metropolis Ensemble play student pieces?
Members of Metropolis Ensemble visit with participants early on in the process and then return to the school for a live performance of each student’s piece.
How much does YCIW cost?
Cost is based on the number of students participating from each school. We apply all fees entirely towards musicians and composer mentors. Contact program director Matt McLean for further details.
How much does YCIW cost for NYC public schools?
YCIW is a free resource for NYC Public Schools.
How long does each Workshop last?
Each workshop session runs approximately 8 to 10 weeks.
What if I have an iBook?
The free compendium iBook Music Works has versions of the web lessons for the iPad. There is also a compendium iTunes YCIW course that is perfect for the iPad. Visit iTunes U YCIW course. The Noteflight web app functions on mobile iOS and is integrated in to both Music Works and the iTunes U Course.
Josh is a trumpeter, composer and educator residing in Queens, New York. A native of Seattle, Josh started as a pianist and composer, before finding an affinity for jazz trumpet in the award-winning jazz bands at Washington Middle School and Garfield High School. Josh went on to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in jazz studies at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where he studied with Danilo PÃ©rez, Bob Brookmeyer, John McNeil, Allan Chase and composer Lee Hyla. A three-time participant at the Banff International Jazz Workshop, Josh worked closely with such musicians as Bill Frisell, Dave Douglas and Kenny Werner. In 2006, Josh was awarded a Graduate Teaching Fellowship to the University of Oregon, and earned a Masters of Music in Jazz Performance and Composition in the spring of 2009. joshdeutsch.net
Harold Meltzer is a composer, a director of a new music ensemble called Sequitur, and a teacher of music composition at Vassar College. His work as a composer has been recognized by awards from the American Academy in Rome, the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, and commissions for new work from institutions including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Fromm Foundation at Harvard University, the Koussevitzky Music Foundation, the McKim Fund at the Library of Congress, Meet The Composer, the Barlow Endowment, the ASCAP Foundation, and Concert Artists Guild. In 2009 his work Brion was a Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Music. Last November the Naxos label released a CD of his chamber and vocal music, which The New York Times put on its best-of-the-year list for 2010. haroldmeltzer.com
New York City-based bassoonist and composer Brad Balliett is gaining a reputation for unusual and thought-provoking programming, performance and composition. As a bassoonist, Brad performs regularly with Metropolis Ensemble, Signal, the Declassified, and Ensemble ACJW. Formerly acting principal of the Hartford Symphony, Brad has also appeared as principal bassoon with the Houston Symphony and American Ballet Theater, and has performed with International Contemporary Ensemble, Anthony Braxton, Zakir Hussain, and Miguel Zenon. Brad is an alumni of Carnegie Hall’s The Academy, and is a founding member of The Declassified, the Deviant Septet, and DZ4. Brad graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University in 2005, and holds an MM from Rice University. Brad is also active as a composer, and makes hip-hop albums with his band The Oracle Hysterical. bradballiett.com
Robinson McClellan (b.1976) is a composer, teacher, scholar, and concert presenter. His music has been commissioned and/or played by/at performers and venues including the Albany, Ft. Worth, and Knox-Galesburg Symphonies, the Museum of Biblical Art (NYC), Amsterdamâ€™s Gaudeamus Competition, the Monteverdi Kamerkoor Utrecht, Nektarios Antoniou’s Greek Byzantine Choir, Yale Schola Cantorum, the Hudson Opera House, Moira Smiley and VOCO, Trio Eos, and many others. He has received residencies and awards from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, ASCAP, and Vassar College. His choral music is published in Music by Heart, an Episcopal hymnal, and Feniarco’s Choraliter, an Italian choral anthology. Robin is on the music faculty at Rutgers University, Manhattan College, Hunter College, St. Francis College, and Lucy Moses School; between them he teaches composition, music theory, music history, and world music to fifth graders, teenagers, college students, and adults. He is also spearheading ComposerCraft, a new composition intensive for young composers at the Special Music School. For more info visit: He earned his doctorate in composition (DMA) at the Yale School of Music and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. He previously studied music at Vassar College, and his teachers have been Ingram Marshall, Ezra Laderman, Annea Lockwood, Richard Wilson, Martin Bresnick, and Aaron Jay Kernis. robinsonmcclellan.com
Janelle Reichman, saxophonist, clarinetist, flutist, composer, and educator, has performed with musical greats such as Doc Severinsen, Les Paul, Anne Hampton Callaway, Sherrie Maricle and DIVA, Dave Liebman, Donny McCaslin and many others. Janelle first discovered her love of music when she picked up the clarinet in fifth grade, and would go on to become a multi-instrumentalist. As a teenager, Janelle was a member of bands that opened for Nicholas Payton’s ensemble and The Jazz at Lincoln Center Sextet, as well as attended numerous festivals around the country, including the Detroit International Jazz Festival, where Janelle was named Best High School Saxophonist. At age 17, she was accepted into Dave Liebman’s International Saxophone Masterclass, a weeklong intensive workshop located in Liebman’s hometown of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Janelle has a Bachelors degree in jazz saxophone from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where she performed with Ahmad Jamal, Curtis Fuller, Kenny Wheeler, Joshua Redman, and Mulgrew Miller, among others. She also holds a Masters degree from the Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with Dick Oatts, Bob Mintzer and Steve Wilson. She has lived in the NYC area for the past five years. Her debut album as a leader, entitled “Middleground” and co-produced by Steve Wilson, was released in the Spring of 2011. janellereichman.com
Karl was born in Chicago in 1973. His earliest formative musical experiences include touring, performing and recording with the Texas Boys Choir. Karl began composing music in high school, and since studied with Noel Zahler, Katherine Hoover, Robert Maggio, Larry Nelson, Robert Carl and Ingram Marshall. After moving to Connecticut in 2003, Karl earned a doctorate from the Hartt School and currently resides in Simsbury with his wife and daughter. Karl’s music reflects the influences of the American experimentalist tradition, drawing inspiration from generations of composers from Charles Ives and Henry Cowell to Lou Harrison, Terry Riley and Peter Garland. Recent projects include a commission from the Studio of Electronic Music, Inc. in collaboration with the Full Force Dance Theater.
Matt is a full time music teacher at Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School. Having over 16 years of full time teaching experience he has led jazz ensembles, marching bands and wind ensembles in public and private schools throughout New York City. His progressive philosophy towards music education was shaped at Columbia University’s Teachers College where he earned a master’s degree for Music Education in 1998. He holds a B.A. in music composition from Connecticut College where he studied with Noel Zahler and an M.M. in saxophone performance from the Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College. Matt actively performs with his jazz quartet in and around New York City.