For composers, music is the foundation of our lives. Music is a way to give form to our inner thoughts without attaching them to events or objects. You can share concepts in notes, memories in bars, and stories in songs.
Music is ultimately what brings people together. It runs deep into our history, heritage and is passed down as a legacy from generation to generation.
This month we chose Audrey West as our composer of the month! After listening to some of her well-written compositions, we saw how well she deserved this title. Her pieces captivated us and moved our souls and we just really want to share her story with you!
Audrey West is a 16-year-old composer and pianist from Southwest Florida. Her playing dates back to when she was young! At just 6 years old, she started piano lessons.
“I fell in love with it. I fell in love with the fact that I could make people feel things with my music and play what sounded like a whole orchestra with just my hands”
Ten years later, she is still taking piano lessons and is just as much in love as before! It is truly remarkable how quickly people evolve in music. She started taking piano lessons as a child and now wants to pursue a career in music.
Audrey comes from a family of 10 children, she and two of her siblings have a penchant for music. Since her musical talents are not genetic, she says it all comes from the music her family often listened to. Genres such as country, rap, and hip-hop. Such a contrast in musical tastes and genres within her large family has allowed her to develop a strong appreciation for a wide range of music. This is one of the main factors that have played a role in her musical journey.
Her time on Flat
She stumbled upon Flat after experimenting with several other software for composing and notating music.
“The layouts were confusing and the communities just didn’t impress me. I had not enjoyed composing due to not having a platform I liked”
Her friend later suggested using Flat, and she joined in October of 2020. Since finding our community, composing quickly became a hobby she loved.
“The support from the staff is amazing and the community is so welcoming and friendly. I love it”
🥺 We love hearing this kind of stuff about our platform! As an interactive community, we try our best to do everything in our power to welcome our users!
In her 17 month time spent here on Flat, she has composed dozens of pieces but she says:
“My favorite piece I’ve published has to be my piano duet “Drowning”. I wrote it for Joshua Holmberg’s competition. In this competition, you had to compose a piece that had a story to go along with your creation”
Isn’t that just amazing? Audrey is genuinely an amazing composer and an amazing author as well!
She says she spent what seemed like an "eternity" coming up with ideas for her play, but the ideas started flowing.
“I think the end product sounds pretty good!”
We love to see these competitions here on Flat because it allows people to participate in the community, meet new people, and branch out of their comfort zones.
Audrey has found inspiration in a lot of different things! She claims she finds inspiration “in anything and everything.” Being able to find genuine inspiration in things is important. Some people find inspiration from personal struggles or emotions, others take inspiration from their favorite composers.
“I’ve heard a door squeak and ran to get my phone to record the sound it makes because I thought I could use it for something”
As funny as that may sound, that is a great trait to be able to have! To be able to find the positive in things even as small as the squeak of a door.
Though her first answer was pretty broad, she also takes great inspiration from composers such as Ludivico Einaudi and Lorne Balfe. She listens to their music quite often to find the inspiration she needs and has even hinted at a possible career in film-scoring later in life!
We all have our unique ways and processes of writing our music. But for Audrey, her creative writing process usually starts with some simple improvisation.
She sits down at the piano and lets her thoughts, emotions, and ideas take over.
"Most people start their songs with a chord progression….but I start with the opposite”
Instead of starting with chords, she starts with the melody, building chords around that melody. She continues to add harmonies and countermelodies.
As Audrey has shown us, creativity doesn’t have to stick to boundaries. You can write however you feel like, you can start a song in a different order than what others may do.
Audrey claims that her style is very “modern”.
“I don’t think I have a unique or special style, but my friends tell me I do”
After listening to her music, we couldn’t agree more! When discussing with her friend, what her “style” might be, he said “You can take the most basic chords and turn them into a unique piece that screams “It’s Audrey!”
Music is like a composer’s voice, each has a unique and different way of “speaking”. Some speak louder than others, some speak quieter than others but in the end, the music all comes out unique.
What music means to her
For Audrey, music is her everything. It is her way to express herself.
“I am not the best at words but the second I put notes on the page, I can transform my thoughts into music”
Music is truly an amazing way to express yourself. It is a way to portray your emotions whether that is happiness, sadness, joy, or grief. With just a few notes, you can tell whole stories and speak entire memories.
“I can speak a thousand words with just a few notes. I can make others see what I see. Music is its language– A language anyone can speak. Even a little kid can “speak” this beautiful language when they clap their hands, tap their foot, or bop their head to the beat”
Music is such a special blessing in our lives and is truly a language of its own.
We would like to share some advice that Audrey gives new, old, experienced, and inexperienced composers:
✨ Keep your expectations of yourself as low as possible in the beginning. That way, when you look back on yourself and your creations, you will be amazed by your growth.
✨ The saying ‘practice makes perfect isn’t entirely true. Practice makes growth. Nothing will ever be perfect. But practice makes things better and easier.
✨ Give yourself time, push your limits and be patient with yourself.
✨ Never give up!
“Don’t be afraid to try something new. If you hear a song that hits you and you want to compose something like it, go for it, no matter how hard it seems or no matter how out of your style it may be. Even the Moon seemed too far for us at one point”
Thank you, Audrey, for your time and for sharing your story!
Until next time,