Compose Yourself!


Contact Jim Stephenson for full video




For 15 player chamber ensemble.
1111 – 1111 – perc. – hp – str quartet + bass – narrator

View Chamber Score

For orchestra.
*2222 – 3221 – t + 2 – hp – str – narrator

View Full Orchestra Score





Janice Crews, former Education Director Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

“Compose Yourself! by James Stephenson has the perfect blend of education and entertainment. Students learn about the instruments of the orchestra and even get to participate in composing a piece using three elements of music- melody, harmony, and rhythm. The program is lighthearted and comical and the musicians really got into the theatrical aspects of it. The Atlanta Symphony will definitely be using this fantastic educational program again!”

Jim Stephenson’s popular “Compose Yourself!” – composed in 2002 for the Naples Philharmonicis a 50-minute showcase for symphony orchestra, designed to introduce young audiences to the wonders of the orchestra. Additionally, it engages them in the compositional process, resulting in a unique world premiere created each and every performance.

Supremely crafted and well-paced, Compose Yourself! delights the students with bottle-music, hosaphones, snake-charming oboes, powerful trumpets, and more, always educating, and always entertaining, so that the children are learning, loving, and laughing about classical music throughout the event.

Additional options include:

  • colorful banners.
  • video powerpoint.
  • teachers’ guides.
  • lighting and tech cues to allow for an array of possibilities per the needs of the orchestra.

An interactive, educational and entertaining show designed to introduce children of all ages to the instruments of the symphony orchestra.

Hose instruments for the brass demonstration are included with the purchase of a set of parts.

  • Program Highlights

    • Students compose their own World Premiere!
    • Humorous and engaging introduction to the orchestra
    • Entertaining for students and the musicians
    • Flexible orchestration
    • Performed over 350 times nationwide since 2002 premiere
    • Jim Stephenson as guest narrator or guest conductor (additional fees apply)
  • What The Kids Say

    Performed now around the world over 350 times, Compose Yourself! continues to inspire and motivate:

    “My favorite part of the show was when three of my classmates went up and composed some music”
    – Amy, age 11

    “I never knew you could make music with a garden hose”
    – Trent, age 8

    “It was funny when they used the shoes, bucket and nail polish to make music. I just can’t stop talking about it!”
    -Natalie, age 9

Set of 15 custom made stand banners, one for each instrument of the ensemble needed for Compose Yourself. Each banner made from costume satin, and attachable by magnets or clips. Please allow 6 weeks for delivery.

Wendy Evans; Education Manager, Elgin Symphony

I highly recommend “Compose Yourself” by Jim Stephenson for grades K through 8. The engaging content is interactive and highly educational and the original music is unique, fun and sophisticated. Each of the instruments of the orchestra gets a moment in the spotlight, and then volunteers from the audience get to come up on stage to help compose a piece. One lucky student gets to conduct the orchestra! The students were captivated for the entire 50 minutes and they were smiling all the way back to the bus!
Performing musicians applaud Compose Yourself! for its unique combination of intellectually stimulating yet kid-friendly approach to music and the symphony orchestra.

Additional information


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