That is exactly the vision behind Music-COMP (formerly the Vermont Midi Project). The organization began in 1995 with the purpose of “encourage[ing] and support[ing] students in composing and arranging music.” This is accomplished via “A community of professional composers, teachers, pre-service educators, and students engage in mentoring and online discussion of student work.”
I had to do a little bit of digging to understand exactly how the program works. (I’m sure once they have fully completed the switch to their new program name and website things will be a little easier to navigate!) Schools or individuals can enroll in the program for a yearly membership fee which provides them access to the online mentoring website where students can submit compositions for critique and reflection. They also have the opportunity to be mentored by a professional composer for an additional fee.
One of the biggest perks of the Music-COMP program is that students can submit compositions for live performances by professional musicians. The motivation for and reward of composing rises to a whole new level when students can hear their work performed by live musicians, not just a computer sound card. This year’s Opus 24 will take place on Wednesday, May 2, in Ludlow, Vermont.
As a huge advocate for expanded approaches to education, I think this would be a fabulous real-world opportunity for any school, studio, or student interested in gaining experience and expertise in the field of composing!