Introduction to Child Composers

Young Composers  /   /  By William Rubel
Stone Soup Magazine
January 2018

Manuscript of Lilian by Benjamin Britten, 1929, young composer.

“Lillian” composed by Benjamin Britten in 1929 at age 16.

One of the most extraordinary things about the world we live in today is that is possible for people who would have had no way to be heard or discovered to find a large audience. We are all familiar with child writers but much less so with child composers. This is an exciting time in the history of music. For the first time, we are beginning to see a real body of work by child composers.

If you are a parent or a teacher please introduce your students to these composers. If, by chance, you are a music teacher and already do some composing with your students, then please get in touch with us. We’d love to hear what your students are doing. We are always looking for music by kids to be included in digital editions of Stone Soup. You may write to me, William Rubel, at

If you have an interest in child composers and would like to help develop this page, please contact me.

About the Author

In 1973, I was twenty years old, teaching children's art classes at my college, the University of California, Santa Cruz, and came up with the idea that the best way to encourage children to write was to introduce them to the best writing by their peers. Stone Soup grew out of that idea. Along with co-editor Gerry Mandel, I have continued to edit and publish Stone Soup for all these years. I am also a culinary historian. I write about traditional foodways. My book, "The Magic of Fire," is about hearth cooking. My book, "Bread, a global history," speaks for itself. I am currently writing a bread history for a University Press. I publish articles on gardening and traditional foodways at Mother Earth News. I also publish on wild mushrooms and other food-related subjects.

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