Yesterday evening we held our first ever teachers network day in Somerset House! 11 teachers attended the event, which explored how they could improve the education of music composition within the classroom.

The workshop involved discussions around the teachers’ current classroom practice and how they individually approach lessons with each year group. They shared creative solutions with one another, and were also posed a series of questions by Martin Fautley, a Professor of Education at Birmingham City University.

Following the discussions, a practical dimension to the workshop ensued. Each member of the group brought along their own instrument and was asked to improvise a short phrase. Once everyone had played, they were then asked to develop their ideas to involve other musical elements; maybe the pitch changed, or the instrument was played unconventionally.

The ultimate end goal was making everyone realise that simple ideas can be used to compose, and that these same ideas can be used to teach students composition. Whilst young people might not yet have a technical musical vocabulary, they will have the ability to explore sounds and instruments. It’s important that they do this first, and that this curiosity and self-recognition of being able to compose is what informs their deeper understanding and pursuit of the subject.

To close the session, everyone discussed how they might use what they had learned in the classroom. A big question was how to develop these teaching ideas for GCSE composition and beyond?

We’ll discuss this in further detail at our next event, scheduled to take place in June. If you are interested, please email education@soundandmusic.org