Patricia Riley is an associate professor of music and the coordinator of the music education program at the University of Vermont in Burlington. Previously, she taught at the Crane School of Music, the State University of New York at Potsdam and Green Mountain College in Poultney; and instrumental, general, and choral music for twenty years in the public schools of New Jersey and Vermont. This December, she published Creating Music: What Children From Around the World Can Teach Us.

Children create music in individually unique ways, but also using common processes. Each creating process component stated in the United States’ National Music Standards (imagine, plan and make, evaluate and refine, and present; NCCAS, 2014) is explored in this text using children’s creations from China, India, Ireland, Mexico, and the United States as examples. What can the characteristics of music created by children from five diverse locations teach us about creating music? How do the sounds surrounding children in their schools, homes, and communities affect the music they create and what can be learned from this? How do children’s similar creating processes inform how we teach music? These questions are investigated as the children’s music compositions and improvisations are shared and examined. As this narrative unfolds, readers will become acquainted with the children, their original music, and what the children say about their music and its creation. What we learn from this exploration leads to teaching strategies, projects, lesson plans, and mentoring recommendations that will help music educators benefit from these particular children’s creations. 


"Patricia Riley's Creating Music: What Children From Around the World Can Teach Us is not only a first-rate exploration of how children across the globe create with music, but it is an extremely valuable deep-dive on the composition and improvisation components of the new National Music Standards. As a member of the writing team of the High School Composition and Theory Standards, I am overjoyed that Riley has done such extensive research and put this text together in a cogent and useful manner. The chapter on process alone is worth the price of admission!" (Rob Deemer, PhD, head of music composition, State University of New York at Fredonia and chair of the NYSSMA Composition & Improvisation Committee)

"In her illuminating book, Dr. Patricia Riley helps teachers to understand and teach the “creating process” that is a key component of the National Music Standards. Anyone interested in music education will benefit from reading this book, but it is a gift to teachers who may be confused or intimidated by the composition component of the new standards. Riley accomplishes this with her deft presentation of the entire compositional process through the creative voices of children from China, India, Ireland, Mexico, and the United States. The children’s conversations, colorful sketches, and compositions bring the theoretical principles down to earth with charming immediacy, and Riley’s global perspective makes this book a unique contribution to music education literature." (Daniel Deutsch, founding chair of the National Association for Music Education’s Council for Music Composition)

"This book is timely and important. Teachers will address the new National Music Standards and embed them into existing curricula that are often weak in the Creating artistic process. Of special importance is the chapter on mentoring - abundant with children's examples, process guides, and narrative descriptions. As teachers move forward, mentoring is a key element in furthering children's composition, so well articulated here." (Sandi MacLeod, EdD, executive director, Music-COMP)