Mile High Music Makers Compose Project

Have you ever wanted to create music to share your voice with others? The Mile High Music Makers are busily engaged in creating music that reflects their individual voices, stage of composing ability and experimentation with sound and multiple instrumentation.

Students in the project utilize Noteflight Learn as their notation software of choice. This web-based software allows students to work at home and in the studio. They can compose “on the go” at any time instead of only composing in the studio.

September 9th, our first theme of the Project begins. You will be able to build your very first composition of the academic year. As you start your musical creation, you will need to keep a few things in mind…

  • Watching the video instruction. Each theme will have a video to assist you with techniques to help you build your composition. Watching the video takes anywhere from 10-20 minutes. The great thing about video instruction is that you can come back to the video over and over again to gain greater insight on how to make your composition better. Video presentations are accessed via the old Colorado Composes site at If you have been a member of Colorado Composes Project, you will have access to the participant log-in. Scroll down to the video, Musical Structure by Sam Ecoff. We will be reviewing the concepts taught in this video.

  • Gaining access to your Noteflight account. Each of you has your own individual Noteflight account. The web address is as follows: You each have your own user name and password. If you have forgotten those two important items, let me know and I will send you your log-in information. As you begin your composition, make sure you put a title and your name in the spaces provided in the piece. Even if you don’t have any idea what the title will be, put in First theme and then change the title.

  • You have a mentor who will guide you through the composition process if you an intermediate, advanced or adult composer. Our mentors have been chosen for their knowledge of composition, ability to communicate concepts effectively and for their love of music. You will need to make use of them, e-mail them if you have questions and really communicate your needs.

  • A composing space. In talking with a number of computer software engineers and creators, every creator needs a quiet place to work without too many interruptions. A computer, small electronic keyboard (you can get an M-Audio keyboard for $75.00), a set of headphones and staff paper at a desk in a quiet location will help. Put your cell phone in the kitchen (or a drawer) and plan to spend at least 20 minutes of creation time as often as you can. We will have some of our more advanced composers in the studio talk about how they compose in a video a few months from now.

Mentor information

Nicolas Ayala: Nicolás M. Ayala Cerón was born in Bogotá, Colombia where he spent his early childhood, relocating to the United States when he was ten. A graduate of Brigham Young University, Nicolás earned his MM in instrumental conducting in 2019 and a BM in music composition in 2017. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in instrumental conducting at the New England Conservatory.

Nicolás has toured the US and abroad as an instrumentalist with different prestigious ensembles, most notably as a member of the BYU Wind Symphony in various world tours, as well as having performed with Alliance Drum Corps of Georgia, the Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Philharmonic Orchestra, the Timpanogos Symphony Orchestra, and the BYU Philharmonic. 

As a composer, Nicolás has won several awards while studying at BYU, including a first place (2016) and second place (2017) award for the Vera Mayhew Composition Competition, as well as receiving the Barlow Student Composition Commission for 2017, leading to the premiere of Fanfare, a new work for wind band, premiered on February 2017 by the BYU Wind Symphony. Additionally, his music has been premiered most recently in Amsterdam.

Susan Ogilvy: owns an innovative music studio in Denton, TX for children of all ages where Clavinovas are incorporated into every actitvity. She has been a consultant for Yamaha Corporation of American, training teachers how to use the Clavinova in their studios and for the Clavinova Festival. Susan holds a BME and MME from the University of North Texas where she studied piano with Robert J. Rogers and Margaret Grubb. Susan and her husband Jim compose digital keyboard ensembles for their publishing company, Ogilvy Music. She has written piano solos for Alfred Publishers and for the “Celebrate Piano/1” method published by Frederick J. Harris.

Emily Holzmer: has composed and arranged music for over 20 years. Her first formal composition was her high school senior class song. Emily has also accompanied choirs and vocal and instrumental soloists and ensembles for over 20 years. She is currently an accompanist with the Colorado Springs Children's Chorale and assists with accompanying Solon Deo Gloria community choir. She has taught piano lessons to students of all ages. Emily holds degrees from College of Southern Idaho, Brigham Young University, and University of Idaho. In her free time, Emily enjoys boxing, learning foreign languages, and spending time with her cat and dog.

Composing Dates and Themes

September: Musical Structure and form with Sam Ecoff

November: Moonscapes and other Interplanetary Bodies with Holst

January: Modes with Carol Matz

March: Preludes with Jason Sifford

May: Song/Hymn/Choral Writing with Dr. David Volk

Students who have entered the MTNA Composition Competition in the Senior Division.

Rebecca Baker, a Junior at Thomas MacClarin School, Kaylee Johnson, a Senior at the Discovery Canyon Campus and Mason Marcy, a Freshman at Air Academy High School.

Sound files will be shared on this website after the results of the state level of the competition have been announced.