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Kid composer hits a high note

Roessleville student’s work recognized at a young age

Come April, 9-year-old Shashaank Narayanan will take his one of his compositions, “Mystery Cave,” to the Young Composer Concert in Hartford, Conn., where his piece will be performed as the winning entry in the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) Eastern Division Young Composers Contest.

Come April, 9-year-old Shashaank Narayanan will take his one of his compositions, “Mystery Cave,” to the Young Composer Concert in Hartford, Conn., where his piece will be performed as the winning entry in the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) Eastern Division Young Composers Contest. Submitted Photo

— “It’s an imaginary trip that I thought about, going to a cave that has unusual things,” Shashaank said.

Danahy, who has been teaching Shashaank for more than three years, moved to South Carolina recently but has continued lessons with Shashaank on Skype. Danahy uses the teaching methods of Dr. Edwin E. Gordon, a nationally-known music professor who has made major contributions to the study of music.

“Most students, even when they graduate from high school, are incapable of composing a piece of music. Even kids who come out of a band or orchestra program, only a few of them actually compose music,” Danahy said. “When a fourth-grader is doing it, it’s even more remarkable.”

Danahy helped Shashaank along the way with “Mystery Cave” and said he is “absolutely thrilled” about his achievement.

“I think it’s well deserved. His composition is very unique sounding,” Danahy said. “It demonstrates a vast understanding of musical elements.”

Shashaank’s mother said Shashaank succeeds in many other fields, including math, reading and science.

“He’s a very quick learner. He shows a lot of interest in learning,” Narayanan said. “We’re always happy for him whatever he does. He’s definitely a very special child.”

Shashaank’s composition will be performed in a Young Composer Concert during the 2013 NAfME Eastern Division Conference in Hartford, Conn., April 4 through 7. Pieces were chosen based on three different criteria: compositional technique, overall musical appeal and originality.

Inspired by composers like John Williams, Shashaank said he wants to be a composer when he’s older, too.

“My hope is that he will continue composing and continue winning competitions,” Danahy said. “Eventually, I’d like to see professional orchestras and musical ensembles begin to perform his work at concerts.”

To listen to Shashaank’s award-winning composition, visit www.southcolonieschools.org/Roessleville/pdf/mysterycavelisten.mp3.

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