On Monday, a special guest visited, Judith Weir. Seeing her music visually and listening to some of her compositions live was inspirational for me. I really enjoyed the jail folk inspired compositions played by the cello. This was because it explored many extended techniques of the instrument, something that I am very interested in. I […]

“ The Judith Weir workshop session was very informative! I enjoyed listening to the pieces, and it was a great opportunity to take inspiration for future compositions of my own. Judith not only talked about her history as a composer, but also had some of her pieces played by one of the tutoring musicians at […]

Olivia’s Thoughts on the Week The Sound and music Summer School has been amazing. The amount of talent I’ve seen during the course of the week is phenomenal, everybody was as talented as each other and everyone was their own individual. I can’t thank enough the amazing tutors and musicians that were there throughout the […]

As part of the Jazz composition group, I have composed a small jazz piece for a sextet which I managed to finish today. I have never composed for jazz before so it was an amazing experience as I have learnt so much from the tutor group sessions and the tutorials such as different modes, chord […]

Incredible. The second group to perform on the final day were the Instrumental Group, lead by David Horne and accompanied by musicians Richard Harwood (Cello), Tom Kemp (Violin), Hannah Grayson (Flute) and Anna Hashimoto (Clarinet). The compositions presented by the students were jaw-dropping. I found myself (much like the audience) completely stunned by the intricacy […]

I’m having a great time at the SaM composition Summer School 2017 so far! I just finished writing and recording a score for a short film for solo cello. Corinna is an amazing player to just be able to pick up all of these random compositions and record them within a very short amount of […]

This is my first year at the Sound and Music Summer School and I love it! Everyone is very friendly and all the sessions are really interesting, despite sometimes being quite challenging! I am most certainly learning something new every day! My only criticism is that the taster sessions are really short, and I would […]

In the Film Music taster session, we had 30 mins to write a short piece that would accompany a film clip. This was the first time I’d participated in such an activity, and in doing so I got to experience what it might be like to be a film composer! Aidan Goetzee, the film taster […]

The final day of the Summer School commenced with performances from the Vocal composition group, and I think it’s safe to say everyone was blown away! The majority of students within this group had never written specifically for the voice before (as in, entirely for the voice – the only other instrument used was a […]

I am writing a clarinet piece as part of my work in the world music composition group. For the basis of the piece, the entire group passed around a melody that I started, and each student added to it to create a full piece. I found this really interesting as the end product reflected the […]

Before you read Sami’s thoughts on Judith’s workshop, why not read the article on her session to get some context? It’s right here! Sami: I’m reviewing Judith Weir’s workshop concert/workshop at the SAM summer school, which took place on Monday 31st July 2017. Overall, I thought the event was both very engaging and interesting. I […]

Here at the Purcell School, things have been incredibly busy for our young composers! They’ve all begun work on their final pieces (which are already sounding INCREDIBLE), and they’ve been working with the tutors in their groups to develop and realise their ideas. To end the third day, the evening workshop session was lead by […]

For the second and third days of the summer school, the morning’s activities involved us partaking in hour long sessions with all of the key tutor groups. One of today’s sessions was with the Film Group, and involved writing a short piece for cello to accompany a short film. Crucial moments were identified (known as […]

Our guest-lead workshop yesterday evening was delivered by none other than master of the Queen’s music, Judith Weir. The session involved Judith giving us some insight into her early years as a musician and composer, featuring live performance examples of some of her earliest works by tutors working at the Summer School. She discussed her […]

It’s been fantastic to have the opportunity to work within the musical disciplines outside of my Key Tutor Group, such as Film Music. I’ve found that these stylistically varying sessions have broadened my knowledge of how to write for specific instruments and individuals within an ensemble. When working with film, I’ve also gained an understanding […]

Composing a piece as part of the 30 minute Film Group taster session proved incredibly challenging due to both time and orchestration restraints. Nonetheless, it was a valuable learning experience that offered incredible insight into the typically stressful conditions a film composer may encounter on a day-to-day basis. What really pushed me outside my comfort […]

To close the first day of this year’s Sound and Music Summer School, the students received an insightful jazz improvisation session from British jazz multi-instrumentalist, Orphy Robinson. Orphy kicked off the evening by getting each student to produce a completely spontaneous vocal sound on the spot! As a collective, the results were quite profound (make […]

I was set the task of composing music for a Charlie Chaplin film. At first I was worried I would never manage to produce a score by the end of the week, but once the ideas started to come it wasn’t a problem! The tutors encouraged us to use few themes but to use them creatively, so I came up with two different themes to represent two themes of the film – fear and confidence. Then came the fun part of developing the motifs to fit the different parts of the film. I especially enjoyed writing a tense duet for cello and flute when the lion woke up!

Throughout the week I’ve gradually been learning to use Logic, generally by trial and error, but the tutors have been very helpful showing us how to do everything we want to do! I feel incredibly lucky to have my work recorded by such talented musicians and to have such a good introduction into the world of electronic music. I will definitely install Logic on my home computer and hopefully will score lots more films – it’s so satisfying to have your own music playing to a film! Thank you SAM tutors!

Being in the Summer School was a dream come true.  It was the perfect opportunity for composers of many kinds to learn, develop, enjoy and share ideas with like minded people.  The Course was split into five contrasting groups;  Vocal, World music, Jazz, Film music and Instrumental music.   I was in the instrumental group, with David Horne, who helped me and the whole group to craft our music for the last performance.  He was so helpful – he gave great advice and I have learnt so much over the course of the week – I wouldn’t have missed this week for the world.

Brilliant people.

Unrivalled composition.

Talent all around.

As a first-timer to the course, the combination of the grand exterior and the bombardment of music opportunity within the Purcell School’s walls could have been rather overwhelming. Thankfully, the atmosphere created by the tutors, runners, chaperones and my fellow students is anything but – it’s refreshing to be involved with people so talented, yet so grounded. The opportunity to have a piece I have written performed by professionals is scarcely believable for a relative novice like myself. Despite being only a week in length, I have learnt a lot from my tutor, David, about composition and music in general – more than I expected. “The more you know, the less you understand” is a phrase that springs to mind! Hopefully, though, this experience can be a springboard into helping through A level, university and then wherever life takes me.

I’ve just finished my piece now this minute and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support of the tutors on the summer school.

I feel I can write music without anybody’s help (except it won’t sound like Mozart!) but what I love about the summer school is the fact that the student/staff ratio is about 3:2. Because of this amount of tuition available, and the fact that you’re surrounded by other young composers, you’re skills as a composer, orchestrator and general musician can increase dramatically in just one week.

I’m in the standard instrumental group and our key tutor, David, taught us idiomatic writing for instruments and clever harmonic tricks in just two, very interesting lectures. The rest of that time we spent working our compositions and getting advice from him and the other professional musicians.

It doesn’t matter how advanced you are – this course will help you and give you a week of enjoyment. As I said to some people, it doesn’t matter what your summer holiday plans are (whether it’s Disneyworld, Florida or safari in South Africa), this week will be your best!

The Sound and Music Summer School is one of the most enjoyable courses I have ever taken part in. The schedule is packed full of activities and at the end of the first day I felt like I had already learnt enough to make my head burst!

Usually I find the composing process to be quite slow, with a piece taking several months to finish, but at SAM I managed to write a short vocal piece in just a couple of days, which I put down to the constant inspiration coming at me from all directions – tutors, other participants, concerts, taster sessions and masterclasses. When the week ends I will have a typed-up vocal piece and a performance and recording of it by professional musicians.

Despite the action-packed day, there is still time to make friends – everyone is very friendly and there is a real sense of supportiveness and interest in one another’s work.