Tuesday 18 May 2021

Code: 8298


Composition has never been an easy subject to teach; deciding where to start in itself can be difficult, let alone refining ideas into well-crafted and cohesive pieces.

This new webinar  will demonstrate how to guide your students to higher grade expectations including grades 7 – 9. Led by our highly respected and successful presenter and composer, Edmund Jolliffe, the webinar will demonstrate teaching and learning ideas for briefs for instrumental music, film music and visual stimuli which will stretch and challenge students and develop their higher level skills.


  • Focused on identifying the demands of grades 7 – 9 in composing to a brief
  • Guidance of where extra marks can be gained for able students
  • Looking at imaginative responses to the brief with a well-developed sense of audience and occasion.
  • Examples of compositions that relate creatively to the briefs and get top marks.


4.00 – 4.05 pm Welcome and Introduction

4.05 – 4.20 pm: What do you need to do to achieve grade 7-9 in composition?

  • Effective strategies for guiding students to pick the right brief for them that shows their skills off in the best light
  • What does the examiner expect to see in a top mark composition? We will look at examples of responses to a brief that score highly.

4.20 – 4.45pm: Responding to the stimuli to create an effective composition

  • Using examples from available briefs – how to refine initial ideas carefully, and work on ways to develop initial material in a musical and focussed way
  • What are the pros and cons to choosing a musical stimulus as opposed to a non-musical one?
  • How to support your students in gaining structural clarity, thoughtful melodic substance and rhythmic ideas of interest.
  • Ways to ensure your students demonstrate appropriate stylistic characteristics and conventions for the chosen genre/style selected and handle this convincingly throughout.
  • How to support your students in developing ideas using compositional techniques applied in an entirely appropriate way.

4.45  -5.30pm pm: Instrumental Music

  • Stretching and challenging able students to demonstrate in depth knowledge of composing for real performers versus a computer. We will examine how to handle vocal/instrument forces idiomatically.
  • Grade 7-9 instrumental compositions –  ways demonstrate flair and stylistic intervention in order to create effective pieces. We look at advanced use of musical elements to achieve this.
  • Gifted students think beyond the notes to get top marks. We consider exceptional uses of compositional techniques that are important to attain the highest level marks.

5.30 – 6.00 pm: Film Music/Visual stimuli                                              

  • Film composers responding to visual imagery think differently in order to produce a satisfying and flowing succession of musical moods and atmospheres. We will look at the best examples of this and how they can be applied to GCSE compositions.
  • We consider how to apply a motif in a filmic/narrative way that avoids the usual clichés and makes the music unique.
  • We examine how to layer and contrast timbres and textures to enhance visual or dramatic action in inspirational ways.



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: