I felt this was a great chance. I may never get an orchestra to play my work again in my whole life.
I signed up for the class by our music teacher with just one other student. The two of us were responsible for scoring one half of an assigned song.
I knew nothing about orchestration. I just knew how to compose simple melodies.
I had a hard time learning the skills and terms of orchestration.
The piece we had to orchestrate was a song called Flying Free. I started thinking of rhythms and notes to go with the lyrics.
I began experimenting with the sounds of different instruments. I arranged them in a way to suit the lyrics. My teacher found quite a number of mistakes in my first version. What I had done wrong was write down the sound I wanted without considering if it could be played on an instrument.
I corrected the score by taking into account the difficulties of playing different instruments. We then merged my composition with my classmate's.
A primary school choir was to play our score. I first thought that it would be a small orchestra. It turned out to have some 60 or 70 members!
On the day of the performance, I was really excited. The orchestra accompanied a 200-member choir on stage. I realised that the strings were too powerful, drowning out the sound of the choir and other instruments.
But I was quite pleased with their performance and felt elated at hearing my arrangement played. Scoring a piece of music for an orchestra was a fantastic experience. It helped me discover that I can create music not only by performing on an instrument but also by contributing to the arrangement of a piece for other performers.
I continue taking lessons from my teacher. I have since arranged other pieces for both Chinese- and Western-style musical ensembles.