This new composition course is a practical course from which teachers can take away a range of effective approaches to composition to support students of all abilities, including ways to support the weaker GCSE composition student and challenging the more able students.

The course will also examine recent feedback on GCSE compositions, assessment criteria and consider how best to enthuse and motivate students to develop a love for composing.


  • Develop your teaching to raise standards in composition
  • Deepen your understanding of assessment criteria to inform your teaching
  • Learn a range of effective approaches to generate and develop musical ideas
  • Take away techniques which work across the full student composing range of ability
COURSE DATE Online | Tuesday 09 March 2021
Online | Tuesday 06 July 2021
  • Heads of Music
  • Teachers of 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
  • Two course restaurant lunch
  • Refreshments throughout the day
  • Guaranteed high quality venues


10.00 – 11.15am
Getting started: Overcoming the blank page/screen

  • Generating visibly differentiated ideas, activities, resources, materials which work across the ability range, from non–readers to highly able pupils
  • Different ways to create motifs, composing freely without effort: what to do with your initial ideas
  • Building in creative, imaginative, musical, approaches in your teaching
  • Using external stimuli for inspiration
  • Using existing works as starting points for composing
  • Examples drawn from a broad range of musical styles

11.15 – 11.30am
Discussion: coffee break

11.30 – 12.15pm
Responding to a Brief

  • Exploring how to achieve real musical development
  • Considering different forms imaginatively: ground bass/variations/ternary form
  • How to teach for genuine melodic and rhythmic growth rather than just layering of musical
    lines and instruments
  • How to write idiomatically
  • Using existing pieces to arrange and stimulate ideas
  • Relating the brief to its intended audience
  • Adding the extra bit of ‘magic’ to make the composition stand out

12.15 – 1.00pm
Setting Words to Music – hearing the text in a new way

  • Understanding how words work with music
  • Ideas for creating texts to set
  • Examining different song form structures eg strophic, verse and chorus
  • Creating imaginative melodies, with strong shape and direction
  • Developing songs that are imaginative and ambitious; exploiting the voice
  • Bringing it all together to create a strong sense of style and coherence
  • Different examples used which can work in the context of a classroom lesson

1.00 – 2.00pm
Lunch and informal discussion

2.00 – 3.00pm
Stage and Screen: Diving into the World of Film

  • Putting film music into context: a background and useful clips to enthuse your students
  • The speaker will use some of his own personal experiences in this area as examples
  • Exploring how to create atmospheres, moods and characters
  • Considering textural variety and tension
  • Relating other areas of composition to work in the context of film

3.00 – 3.05pm
Discussion: afternoon tea

3.05 – 3.40pm
Putting it all together

  • Refining the process into a polished piece – the pitfalls to watch out for
  • Marking and giving good feedback on compositions; writing to a brief
  • How to give effective feedback on candidates’ work
  • Range of examples and chance to mark and discuss work; assessing accurately

Edmund Jolliffe

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