010: From Concept to Composition with Susan Staples Bell

010: From Concept to Composition with Susan Staples Bell

In today’s episode, we’re joined by the multi-talented Susan Staples Bell, who wears many hats as both a composer and instructor, passionate about composing engaging sheet music and resources for piano teachers and students. With over 30 years of experience in music education and various roles, Susan brings a wealth of knowledge to her compositions. Join us as she shares insights into her journey, from piano teacher to published composer. Learn about her unique approach to teaching lead sheets and the diverse inspirations behind her music, ranging from medieval melodies to video game soundtracks. Get ready to be inspired as we explore the world of composing with Susan Staples Bell!

  • Susan shares her journey as a piano teacher and her current music studio in the San Antonio area.
  • She discusses her lifelong dream of publishing music.
  • How her composition journey began, rooted in her childhood piano lessons and later jazz lessons.
  • A broad overview of her published music, which includes pieces for concert band, jazz ensemble, church choir and various piano levels.
  • Susan shared her approach to teaching lead sheets and her method books for lead sheet reading.
  • Her inspiration for composing, drawing from her love of medieval music, video games, and her desire to express emotions and tell stories through music.
  • How she prevents her music from sounding the same while still maintaining her unique style.
  • She shared some of her favorite and most creative pieces.
  • Her composing process and the importance of starting with a clear idea and then brainstorming musical elements.
  • Some of her influences as a musician and educator, mentioning her jazz instructor and junior high band director.
  • Susan shared recent projects she has worked on.

Guest Links:

Links Mentioned

Today’s Guest

Susan Staples Bell is equal part composer and instructor, with her main focus being on creating exciting Sheet music and educational resources for Piano teachers and their students. She loves to draw students in with some fun music, then intrigue them, when they discover there’s really lots more learning here than meets the eye!

Susan has served the Music community for over 30 years in various positions: Church musician (Organist, Accompanist, Praise Band Pianist, and Choir & Hand Bell Director), Middle School Band Director, and Piano Instructor: for the last decade, her Studio has been in the San Antonio, TX area. Each of these positions have given her unique experiences that shape the music she writes.

You can find Susan’s pieces published at her website: www.susanstaplesbellmusic.com , and popular arrangements like Top Gun, at Sheet Music Plus. Sit back and listen to her Youtube: Susan Staples Bell | Piano Sheet Music to Inspire.

About Rachel Ehring

Dr. Rachel Ehring is a pianist, teacher, music administrator, and lover of piano teaching gadgets. She holds a DMA in Collaborative Piano from the University of Colorado Boulder and a MM in Accompanying from the University of Kansas. She currently serves as Director at St. John’s Conservatory of the Arts in Orange County, CA. Previously, she held positions at Concordia University Irvine and Henderson State University. Rachel is passionate about empowering music teachers to create engaging and exciting lessons for students of all ages. When she isn’t playing the piano, you might find Rachel reading books with her son or walking her beagle Frieda.


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