I have really enjoyed the taster sessions, simply because they offer us as composers the opportunity to experience different styles and methods of composing. They really broaden your knowledge and open your mind to new ideas at the start of the week! In the jazz taster sessions, we learned about improvising in various modes, alongside […]

The film music taster sessions tested my ability to write music in a limited time frame, and I ultimately found that I could do so. It provided me with an introductory experience to writing music that mimics the movements and actions within a 30 second film clip. The initial challenge of the task pushed me […]

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 […]

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 […]

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.