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Developing Composition Skills & Techniques at GCSE and A Level

Course Code:


This practically based course, brand new for Autumn 2023 will demonstrate how to develop and improve student’s skills in A level composition work. The course will explore and provide a range of practical, effective strategies, methods and idea to support students in acquiring the essential composition fundamentals – how to create and develop convincing and coherent musical ideas, how to achieve fluency, musical unity and coherence and expressive and technical control. The range of music examples will include working with songs, popular songs, film music as well as Western Classical briefs. The course is aimed for teachers all teachers of music at GCSE and A level looking to extend their range of composition approaches, methods and ideas while at the same extending their students’ compositional abilities and final pieces.


  • Extend your range of composition teaching techniques, methods and ideas to raise composition technique levels in your students.
  •  Explore range of approaches to create and develop musical ideas
  • Take away effective strategies to manage the varying skill set in the classroom
  • Find out more about how to use your knowledge of the assessment criteria in your teaching techniques
  • Sample compositions will be discussed and marked


Getting Started

10.00 – 10.30am
  •  Selecting good, diverse materials as examples for students, whatever their musical backgrounds and musical interests.
  • How to plan composition with your students to give them clear focus as they move forward and to give you a clear framework for assessment.

Creating and Developing Musical Ideas

10.30 – 11.30pm
  • Ensuring good musical structures and processes
  • Helping your students to get the balance between musical unity and variety
  • Techniques to build and develop musical ideas to a create a coherent and convincing composition with a sense of direction, a fluency
  •  What does ‘unity and coherence’ mean across different genres?
  • Developing different musical ideas when working to a brief – progressing your students’ work in developing their skills and techniques
  • l Ways to use sources to inspire your students’ ideas, to demonstrate formal processes

Morning break

11.30 – 11.45am

Developing and Extending Musical Ideas

11.45 – 12.45pm
  • How to guide students towards the essential- ‘A sense of wholeness with a sophisticated sense of unity.’
  • What makes a strong, well developed musical idea? How can we build up to this? What are the progression routes? What are the best ways?
  • Working with melody – starting points, melodic continuation, analysis
  • Crafting an initial idea, analysing the idea, extending and developing the idea
  • Working with harmony, putting together a harmonic sequence, combining melody and harmony
  •  The great balancing act – embracing variety whilst maintaining unity
  •  Examples in a variety of genres which successfully develop and extend musical ideas


12.45 – 1.45pm

Supporting and Developing Weak and Incoherent Structures

1.45 – 2.20pm
  •  Tackling the weak composition
  • Different ways of supporting and developing weak and incoherent structures
  • Effective resources, examples, ideas, approaches

Creating and Developing Musical Ideas with Expressive & Technical Control

2.20- 3.05pm
  • What is ‘expressive control’ and how can our students build up to and acquire this?
  • Different ways to work with a brief
  • Capturing mood and atmosphere and writing music for an occasion
  • Good source material
  • Examples – Unpacking the brief – Music for Film
  • Creating and Developing Musical Ideas with technical control

Afternoon Break

3.05 – 3.10pm

How to Write Idiomatic Music

3.10 – 3.40pm
  • Practical methods, ideas and techniques to write idiomatic music
  • Writing ‘appropriate music’ within a chosen genre
  • Supporting technical control across genres
  • Does free composition mean free composition?


London | Thursday 16 November 2023

Please select your preferred date

London | Thursday 16 November 2023

This course, tailored to suit, can be delivered in your school. Discuss this further with our CPD team on 01625 532974 or click below to make an enquiry.



  •  Heads of Performing Arts
  •  Heads of Music Departments
  • Teachers of A-Level Music


  • A Specially prepared notes, practical advice and guidance by the course leader
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance

Enquiry Form

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