For the first one I decided to make a duet arrangement using the Shaker song "Simple Gifts". I was inspired by two versions of this popular melody: first, Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring-- which, with its full orchestral sound just fills your heart-- and second, a recording by Yo-Yo Ma and Alison Krauss that features a simple and absolutely beautiful arrangement.
I didn't really know how to get started; I essentially needed to compose two pieces that would be played at the same time and hopefully sound great. I started by writing out the melody and assigning the harmonies I wanted for each chord change. After this I found an accompaniment style I liked: a repetitive drone. Next I pieced it all together, trying to make sure both parts shared some of the melody, and toward the end inserted a few fun canon-like entries. So take a listen and see what you think of the finished product: a Grade 1/2 level duet arrangement of Simple Gifts.