Marching to her own tune: Judd pursues future in music composition


Aubrey Phillips

Coppell High School sophomore Anna Judd practices her original piano composition on Sunday at her house. Judd composes many pieces of music, one of which she will be performing at the Purely Rhythmic percussion concert tomorrow at 7 p.m. in the CHS auditorium.

Anthony Cesario, Co-Student Life Editor

Music has always been a part of Coppell High School sophomore Anna Judd’s life.


Judd’s older brother, 2016 CHS graduate Ethan Judd, played percussion in school and her father, Dayton Judd, has played piano since he was 5.


Though Judd participated in sports, art and choir when she was younger, she was always interested in going into band. She joined band when she was in sixth grade and is currently in percussion at CHS, playing the vibraphone in the front ensemble during marching season.


Judd does not only participate in band to improve her percussion skills by practicing songs written by professional musicians. She also composes her own music, which has been a longtime activity of hers.   


“I have this memory of when I was a kid, I used to make up songs,” Judd said. “It’s always been something I’ve been drawn to doing. I don’t have any family members that compose, but I’ve been inspired by some of the great composers, like Debussy and Beethoven.”


Judd started out by mainly composing piano solos that she played when she was younger, but has recently transcribed one of her piano songs into a vibraphone duet that her and her friends will be playing at the Purely Rhythmic percussion concert. It will be the only student-made composition featured in the concert.


The concert will take place tomorrow at 7 p.m. in the CHS auditorium.


“The thing I like most about composing is that there’s so many different things you can do,” Judd said. “There’s been so much music that’s been made, but it’s really cool to be able to make different kinds and be able to come up with new ideas that you can share with people.”


CHS sophomore Karen Lu and Judd met as seventh graders at a summer percussion camp. Lu plays percussion with Judd and is in the front ensemble during the fall semester.


Judd often shares her compositions with Lu, one of her closest friends, for feedback and critiques.


“Whenever Anna shares her music with me, it’s usually in person during the band period or, if she is really excited about a piece, she sends me a recording,” Lu said. “Out of the two of us, Anna is more knowledgeable in composition, but since we are both in band and enjoy music, I’m able to tell her general ideas, such as when a key change doesn’t fit in with the rest of the piece.”


Judd is also able to share her music compositions with assistant percussion director Jonathan Anderson, who is in his second year teaching Judd, for a more professional opinion.


According to Judd, Anderson has greatly influenced her music writing.


“Usually, when [Judd] would come to me, I would give her suggestions of things to listen to, things that I thought were similar to what she was trying to accomplish,” Anderson said. “I would give her as much in-depth musical theory as I could in those situations, but frequently I would point to things that I just thought didn’t work, or could work better, and then encouraged her to improve those things in the way she would.”


Composing her own music and being part of the CHS band has granted Judd many opportunities to grow both personally and musically.


“I’ve learned through composing music that music is something that’s super important, that’s really special and it helps me a lot to get out tough emotions if I have a bad day at school,” Judd said. “Band has really helped me to have a good environment of people who share my interest and my passion, love for music.”


Judd plans to continue with her musical endeavors by attending a college with a good music program and a good composition program. She has come to the realization that music is something that is very important to her and something she wants to do with her future.


“Anna has definitely grown as a musician and as a person over the years,” Lu said. “When I first met her, she was just beginning to write her own music, but this year alone, she’s written a duet for our Purely Rhythmic percussion concert and a solo for her little sister to play. Anna has [also] become braver in her musical endeavors and in her interactions with others. She is no longer too shy to show others her personality and explore uncharted territories in music and in life.”

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