The idea of actually creating a complete piece of music to play frightens many students. They just don't understand how someone could come up with something, put it down on paper, and call it their own.
The good news is that you don't need to read music to compose. All you need is to understand a little about chords and musical phrases.
For example, in the lesson "Reflections in Water," we have 4 chords to create with. We have the order in which the chords are to be played - and then we play, creating an entire piece of music.
Now this piece is actually an improvisation. But if I wanted to "compose" this same piece, I would just draw bar lines, notate where the chords should be played, i.e. every 2-bars, every 4-bars, etc., and either pencil in the first 2-bars of melody, or record it so I could remember the melodic idea.
This is how I compose! I've been doing it for a very long time and it's a great method to quickly capture musical ideas. If I were to write out the same piece note for note, it would take hours! There's no need to do this because once you have your chord changes down and know the arrangement of the piece (Reflections in Water is a broken-chord arrangement) that's that!
Edward Weiss is a pianist/composer and webmaster of Quiescence Music's online piano lessons. He has been helping students learn how to play piano in the New Age style for over 14 years and works with students in private, in groups, and now over the internet. Stop by now at http://www.quiescencemusic.com/piano_lessons.html for a FREE piano lesson!