Listen to Sophie’s original composition submitted with her entry.

Sophie McLaren (Age 14, Vic)

TO COUNTRY: Dawn

My name is Sophie. I turned 14 in May. I am in Year 9 at Methodist Ladies’ College in Melbourne. I play 3 instruments: piano, violin and trombone, and I also like to sing.

I started the violin as part of the string program at school in Year 2. I have always enjoyed the more modern compositions in the AMEB syllabus. I usually play the viola in our school’s advanced string ensemble, because there is only one other viola! I started trombone in Year 5. I enjoy the variety of ensembles for trombone – from Symphonic Band to Jazz Improv with MYO. My school band marched in the ANZAC Day parade this year, which was an awesome experience. Being at a girls’ school, I am usually the only trombone in the Big Band and Concert Orchestra!

Piano was my first instrument and is the one I probably enjoy the most. This is the instrument I typically tinker on. Music has always been important to me as an outlet when I’m stressed. I love composing and I’m always full of ideas. I like to create music to attempt to capture the mood of a book or a game.

COMPOSITION INSPIRATION

I composed this piece, “Dawn”, while I was on a 2-month exchange to France. I was living in the middle of the city of Lyon. I was bombarded constantly with the noises of the big city and I really missed Australia, especially the peacefulness. Where I live in Melbourne, we are surrounded by trees, and there is always the sound of birdsong and the wind in the trees. I especially love the development of sounds early in the morning.

I chose the time signature of 6/4 because I think it gives the piece a feeling of forward motion. I chose the key of F# because it is one of my favourites. I probably like it because of how rarely I hear it.

The piece is split into 2 sections. The first represents the rising of the sun, and the warmth and light that comes with it. The second section switches to a slower tempo, and takes more of a rhythm resembling the time signature of 6/8. It represents nature waking up and the day beginning.

The first composition that I scored was one that I wrote in lockdown. It was called, rather unimaginatively, “The Lockdown Song”! It used the time signature of 4/4, and was in the key of B flat minor.