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Hastings High School Student Nationally Recognized for Original Composition

Freshman Jasper Zimmerman A Hastings High School student has been named a winner in the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) 2021 Student Composers Competition.

Freshman Jasper Zimmerman was named a winner in the competition for his original composition “Going Places,” a piece he entered while in eighth grade at Farragut Middle School. Zimmerman was one of only two student composers in the nationwide Grade K-8 category to be recognized.

“It was really exciting to hear that I won,” said Zimmerman. “It’s pretty cool and it's a big honor. It was a good experience to compose for an ensemble and realizing I won was a bonus.”

Students in elementary school, secondary school, college, and graduate school are eligible to submit compositions for the competition each year with up to 13 composers receiving cash awards and national recognition.

Last year, Zimmerman was awarded an honorable mention in the competition for his original composition “Swing State” but this year he said he wanted to try something different.

“Last year’s arrangement was more straightforward than this one,” he said. “This was kind of chaotic, not in a bad way, but I just tried to go toward a lot of different things at once.”

In fact, going in different directions for this piece is what led to its name.

“I like to listen to a lot of different types of music from a lot of different places in the world and combine them with jazz,” Zimmerman said. “I mixed in a lot of genres for this and that’s why it is called ‘Going Places.’”

For Zimmerman, the most enjoyable part of composing original music is about making everything work together.

“One of the most interesting parts for me is taking a melody and harmonizing it,” he said. “With a melody, you can add a lot of underlying harmonies to it and if all the harmonies work together you can get something that’s really cool. I do that a bunch in my music.”

For the future, Zimmerman plans to continue composing music and entering competitions.

“I am going to try to do other competitions as well but also just compose songs by myself,” he said. “I am also working on getting better at playing the piano.”
You can listen to Zimmerman’s composition “Going Places” here.

You can also see the list of the 2021 Student Composers Competition winners, including the honorable mention for Jasper, Mr. Riss, and Farragut Middle School, on the NAfME website: