Young Composer Mentorship

DSSA and UMD Composition Mentorship

The DSSA and UMD Composition Studies will offer a semester long mentorship to 6 Youth Orchestras students with UMD Composition Students.

Eligibility Requirements for Youth:

  • Students should have some composition experience (self taught, lessons, anything that has resulted in any musical idea that can be played by the student or is notated) but not necessarily fully developed ideas or written down/in music writing software.
  • Ages 14-18
  • Commitment to 10 hours of mentorship in the Spring Semester (February-May)
  • Ability to get to UMD for mentorship hours
  • Fee: free for DSSYO members, $50 for non-DSSYO members


Application Requirements:

  • Fill out the application form via Google Forms below
  • Include an example of a composition you have written—it can be either handwritten music, electronic file of music written in music notation software, or a recording (played on whatever instrument the student uses for inspiration)
    • The piece should be at least 15 seconds and written for two or more instruments
    • If you have not written anything prior to the application, or would like to write specifically for the project in the application, please write at least 15 seconds of a piece for piano and violin
  • Include a personal essay about your interest and experience in composition and what you hope to gain from the mentorship
  • Composition, application and essay must all be submitted as attachments via email by January 3, 2020 to : Heidi Lord, Director of Artistic Operations at [email protected]



  • December
    • Applications will be accepted and reviewed
  • January
    • Applicants will be notified and those accepted will be paired with a UMD student; Youth and UMD Students will connect via email by January 23, 2020
    • Students should start to work up at least 1 minute of their piece for piano and violin either using music notation software or manuscript; if the student does not yet have the skill set to notate music, 1 minute of a recording will be accepted
  • February
  • Meet and greet with students and parents, UMD students, Composition Faculty and DSSO staff; tour of UMD facilities
  • Justin Rubin, UMD Composition Studies Professor, will talk through the timeline and goals of the compositions
  • Mentorship teams will schedule a first meeting before leaving that day
  • March to May
  • Mentorship partners meet and work on a 3-5 minute piece for piano and violin; in person at least 4 hours, communication via email/phone call will also be utilized
  • One check in with Justin during that time will be scheduled by the Mentor
  • May
  • Recital of the students’ compositions and recording (date is TBD)
  • Evaluation of mentorship (survey, feedback)


Applications due January 3, 2020 – submissions due via Google form

composition materials should be sent via email to [email protected] or if you are unable to upload your composition, mail to Heidi Lord 130 W. Superior St. LL2 Duluth, MN 55802 BEFORE January 3, 2020.