I’m reviewing Orphy Robinson workshop/session at the SaM summer school, which took place on Sunday 31st July 2017. I thought that the workshop was very interesting, engaging and fun as he showed us a new way of expressing our ideas and making music called conduction. I particularly enjoyed the active side of the session as […]

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 […]

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 can’t believe it! We’re already on day 6 of the Summer School! I’m not quite sure how it’s gone by so fast…but there’s still so much more to come! Today is the first day of final performances, which will be from the Film and Jazz groups this evening! Everyone’s been working tremendously hard towards […]

I am currently working on a short marimba piece as part of the world music composition group. I wrote the first couple of bars myself, but it was then passed around the room at five minute intervals, so it has actually been written by six different people. It was an interesting exercise, because the piece […]

My first experience of the SaM Summer School has been absolutely fantastic so far. Opportunities and ideas come at you from all directions, and professional players are always on hand to help and give insight into the details of writing for their instrument. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the week, and hearing […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Having completed the Sound and Music Summer School at the Purcell School I can honestly say that it was one of the best weeks of my life. In that week I grew so much as a composer, and it will be invaluable to me in the future when I pursue my career in music. The […]

The evening of day six and the morning of day seven were dedicated entirely to concerts of the final pieces which people had produced. This started with the ‘Film’ group, and then the ‘Jazz’ group. I particularly enjoyed the Jazz concert, as it was done in such a way that it mimicked a dimly lit […]

The day had come: it was time to hear my piece. Everyone in my group arrived to breakfast the next day rather bleary-eyed and sleep-deprived. I could only assume that they, like me, had pulled a late night trying to finish their compositions in time. I was excited to hear the fruits of everybody’s labour, […]

Day five was the most tiring, intense and stressful day of the lot. Writing three minutes of music, entirely by hand, in a crowded environment, for instruments I had never written before and in just 24 hours was, to put it lightly, hard work. But this is not a complaint; that’s what I came for. […]

Day four marked the first day in which we would be working on our final piece. It was therefore with excitement, but also some slight apprehension, that we headed down to breakfast. Before we could work on our piece though, we first had to listen to everyone’s piece based around the rhythmic cycles we had […]

After being introduced to the instruments which were available to us to use, the obvious next step was for us to learn how we might be using them. We had a fantastic opportunity in having Kuljit Bhamra working with us, a well-established musician, specialising in the Indian Tabla, specifically when being used in more Western […]

This was the first day where we were given taster sessions for the other courses available. For me, this involved the advanced instrumental session and the vocal session. As a classically trained musician, the instrumental session appealed to me naturally. We were given the task of writing a short piece for a solo instrument – […]

Meeting people is always a scary experience. There is always a heavy sense of anticipation as you draw nearer to your destination, which you know is unnecessary but which you just can’t stave off. For this reason the long drive to the Purcell School was nerve-racking, to say the least. This was only made worse […]

Day 2 is always a very busy time with key tutor groups working hard along with two taster sessions for everyone. Here is a flavour of what has taken place in each of the tutor groups today. World Music The World Music Group musicians have demonstrated their instruments including pitched Tabla, Nyckelharpa, Marimba and Clarinet. Pupils […]

Each year the Sound and Music Summer School is slightly different. Whilst the strands follow similar content and the aims are very continuous, there are a number of different evening workshops and events that take place through the week. These vary from talks by inspiring and influential composers to performances by musicians and even workshops where […]

With just one day to go I can feel the excitement building for this year’s Sound and Music Summer School. I always notice the build up to the course… The phone calls start coming in, the messages asking whether things are possible start arriving and activity around the school increases. All this leads to the excitement […]

Pre course thoughts from Aidan Goetzee. We are days away from the 2015 Sound and Music summer course. I’ve more or less chosen the films that the students are going to be working with. Each person in my group is going to be working with a different film and I have to get the variety […]

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!

This is my second time at the SaM summer school, and looking back, I can safely say that I’ve improved in many ways, not only in a practical sense, but also in terms of attitude.

One of the challenges I’ve found is writing a finished piece to a deadline; my first piece had the makings of a completed composition, but lacked a strong identity, something that I feel I’ve captured in this years composition. It helped that between both summer schools I’ve found a sort of ground I can stand on, and not feel insecure about my material or people’s opinion of it.

On a more practical note (like concert C), I have noticed that composing away from the instruments and Sibelius does lead to both more natural and/or ambitious ideas. I feel it is also important to look at your material as a musician, and not just as a composer.

This years composition, and other pieces I have played and/or composed has also led me to believe that material that has been forced, or made to impress people, never really sounds as stuff that I could hear or feel before I put it on paper.

Can I also just say that this year was so rad and inspiring!

Thanks

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.

The second part of day two!

There are so many areas to cover we have split today’s pictures into two posts! Here are the earlier photos…