This new webinar is designed for all teachers of A level Music who wish to maximise their students’ marks in Composition and in particular in vocal compositions. Emphasis will be on able students attaining grades A/A* as well as focus on ways to develop, stretch and enable students of more modest abilities to achieve well in their compositions.

This session – 1 of 3 – concentrates of vocal music and within this, will focus on solo vocal music in classical contemporary styles, songs for shows/popular music styles, and choral music.


  • Explore a ‘knowledge-rich’ curriculum in music and understand how to implement this expertly in your department
  • Thoroughly prepare for OFSTED ‘Deep Dive’ inspections with an in depth understanding of Intent, Implementation and Impact in Music
  • Gain expert practical strategies which have proven success with implementing a ‘knowledge-rich’ curriculum to all groups of pupils whilst maintaining music as the main language in the classroom.
DATES & LOCATION Wednesday 30 June 2021
  • Heads of Performing Arts
  • Heads of Music
  • Teachers with responsibility for Music
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Course
  • A specially prepared folder of 50+ pages full of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance


4.00pm: Welcome & Introduction

4.05 – 4.35pm: Developing Vocal Composition Skills to Create Outstanding Vocal Compositions – practical strategies and approaches

  • Exceptional vocal writing which exploits the full spectrum of techniques available,  with careful and considered use of range in key moments
  • Composing strategies to ensure the accompaniment is drawn organically from the melodic line, not considered afterwards
  • Approaches to creating unexpected and imaginative moments that surprise the listener whilst maintain a cohesive structure
  • If there is a verse and chorus, the verse will build into the chorus and the two will complement each other in interesting and unique ways.
  • How do the contemporary vocal composers write inspiring and radical music? Exploring examples of vocal writing that go beyond merely setting texts.
  • Exploring music by recognized experts in sung music, including Macmillan, Rutter and Sondheim, and also include some of the speaker’s own works. This will inspire your students to write vocal music that stands out and is unique.

4.35 – 5.05pm: Exploiting harmonies in vocal compositions to provide the extra magic    

  • This session will look at specific details of unusual harmonies that composers exploit to provide the extra ‘magic’ in their vocal compositions. We know how music can move us at key moments, but not necessarily how this is achieved. Here the details are examined: how to delay cadences, colour chords, create climactic moments that move beyond the clichéd and lift the composition to another level.
  • A range of examples in different styles will be drawn upon to explore this technique in full

5.00 – 5.35pm: Pushing the Boundaries

  • This session will look at ‘extra techniques’ composers use. This includes using space imaginatively, employing techniques beyond singing and making sure they are not merely tokenistic but an integral part of the music. Examples of outstanding students’ compositions will also be looked at here to see why these pieces gained the top marks at A-level.

5.35pm: Summary

Edmund Joliffe

Edmund studied music at Oxford University and completed a Masters in Film Composition at the Royal College of Music. He has completed artistic residencies at the Banff Centre, Canada and the Wurlitzer Foundation, Taos, New Mexico. He was Assistant Director of Music at Westminster Under School for 15 years and taught GCSE and A-Level Music at Junior Trinity College of Music for 7 years. He has been a visiting composer at King’s High School, Warwick where he focused specifically on GCSE composition and also teaches composition privately. He now teaches composition at the Junior Department of the Royal Academy of Music and is a Visiting Lecturer at City University in Media Composition. He is a regular composition tutor on Pro Corda Chamber courses, where his work focuses on aiding students with attaining top marks in GCSE and A-level composition. More information about him can be found at: www.edmundjolliffe.com

Pearson A level Drama