Schmonzcast #11: If music theory assignments are compositions, this is not the first Schmonzcast I’ve composed. If computer music renderings are performances, this is not the first Schmonzcast performed by someone other than me. What is this, then? It’s my first real composition. Written from no starting point other than my own ideas, constrained by nothing but time and the available instruments, this is my first composition with a bit of training under my belt, and the first intended to be publicly performed by professional musicians. Happily, it’s also my first piece to sound the way I imagined. Given the choice of piano, violin, viola, cello, and clarinet, I’d hoped to avoid writing only for piano, figuring there’d be plenty of time for that later. But composing turns out to be terrifically difficult and time-consuming, especially for a novice, and with the deadline looming it was all I could do to finish a reasonably coherent piece for one familiar instrument. I suppose it’s a fitting start to my career. And yes, writing this piece settled a big question for me. In its aftermath, I’m exceedingly aware of where I need more training — form, counterpoint, fugue, and instrumentation, to name a few — but I’m also exceedingly certain that composing is what I should be doing, and I’m confident you’ll agree when you hear the ensemble’s pianist play my Student-Piece #1.