Composition

Composition Course

Audition Requirements

Undergraduate and Postgraduate Candidates

Candidates should complete their online application first.

In the online application, candidates should include a digital portfolio with the audition programme as prescribed here below.
After the digital portfolios have been assessed, candidates will be informed whether the department has selected them for an online interview (both for On-Campus degrees and for Online courses).

All the portfolios submitted should indicate the applicant’s name and ID number if any, the program applied to and the contents of the file.

For online courses only, portfolio needs to be submitted 2 weeks before the beginning of the term.
For full academic year enrolment starting September 2021, portfolios needs to be submitted by 31st January 2021.

Part One: Digital Portfolio

UNDERGRADUATE: candidates shall submit a digital portfolio containing several examples of their own original work, including one larger scale piece, as follow:
1. digital copies of manuscripts or digital scores (pdf versions)
2. digital recordings or midi versions of the submitted compositions (mp3/Wav/Flac format or link to Soundcloud/Youtube channel)
3. a brief written statement of purpose or goals in the program.

POSTGRADUATE: candidates shall submit a digital portfolio containing at least 3 pieces of their own original work. These should be written for a variety of forces and delivered as follow:
1. digital copies of manuscripts or digital scores (pdf versions)
2. digital recordings or midi versions of the submitted compositions (mp3/Wav/Flac format or link to Soundcloud/Youtube channel).
3. a brief written statement of purpose or goals in the program.

MMus candidates must also include in their portfolio at least two examples of their academic written work, each piece of written work being 1000-2000 words in length and in English. The candidate’s written work should aim to demonstrate:
• Responsiveness to music and musical issues
• Quality of critical engagement
• Capacity for research enquiry

Part Two: Panel Interview

Following the practical assessment, a panel interview will be conducted with the candidate. This will:
• Allow the panel to further examine the candidate’s knowledge of music and their suitability for the course,
• Provide an opportunity for the candidate to ask questions and discuss their performance during the audition.
• Allow the panel to gain a clear understanding of what the student hopes to achieve from the course if they are accepted.

Part Two-bis: In person Audition

For On-Campus enrolments, candidates short-listed from the digital portfolio examination will be invited for an audition in person.
During the audition, the panel will also test the musicianship and piano skills of the applicant with:
• Setting a series of tests of on musicianship
• Asking the candidate to perform a short piano piece chosen and prepared in advance by the candidate
Candidates will also take a 50-minute written test that will include:
• Harmonisation of a simple melody
• A choice of short essay questions of general musical nature (you will be allowed to use a dictionary)

General Notes

Throughout the audition, candidates should note and strictly adhere to the following:
• Wherever possible, candidates shall ensure that their instruments are fully ready and warmed-up prior to entering the audition room. A warm-up room will be available for this purpose close to the audition room. No warm-up will be allowed during the actual audition.
• Prior to commencing the audition, the candidate must provide the music they will be performing in the practical assessment. This should be given to the steward in a suitable folder which must be clearly marked with the candidate’s name and a list of contents. The folder must contain copies of the score or lead sheet for use by the panel along with the melodic and rhythm section parts.
• Additionally, undergraduate (BMus) candidates must also complete the LPMAM written paper on the day of the audition in person. This requirement does not apply to postgraduate candidates.

Composition Course Syllabus

The course is run over a period of four years, each comprising the following core elements: Principal Study lessons, Composer’s workshops, Academic and Supporting Studies with the chance to take part in concerts and masterclasses.
In order to extend contextual understanding and broaden their ability to write for different instruments and players, students are actively encouraged to listen to a broad range of repertoires including those unrelated to the student’s own work, observe rehearsals, attend concerts and gigs and participate in masterclasses and workshops that are regularly organised with visiting composers.
Throughout the duration of the course, the scale and scope of the student’s portfolio will develop and be subject to negotiation with the Principal Study Tutor.
Assessment will be focused on the student’s attitude and ability in practical studies and attendance – to include punctuality, preparation for lessons, classes & rehearsals and composing skills.

All year students will benefit from:
• 90 minutes individual tuition each week
• Weekly classes in Academic and Supporting Studies
• Opportunity to undertake a second or related study

The following outlines the performance and coursework expectations required from students for each year of this programme:

Year 1

Year 2

In this year, the weekly individual tutorials will focus on developing student’s self-discipline and assured technique. Analytical work will be developed, and the findings from that may be used to form the basis of technical exercises in composition. Tutors will continue to work closely with students with the aim of equipping them with the necessary skills to compose with assurance and an individual flair.

Assessment 1:
At the end of the second year, students shall submit a portfolio (accompanied by recordings, software files and a short analytical programme note of each compositions) for assessment. This will include:
• a maximum of 4 original compositions for any forces (maximum 10 minutes each)
• one original composition for either small orchestra or expanded chamber ensemble (mixed resources) (maximum 10 minutes)

Assessment 2 (live performance):
Students will arrange, prepare and present a live performance of at least one of their original composition in concert. This can be filmed and submitted to the Head of Composition.

Coursework:
Compulsory coursework components of the second year include:
Principal Study Lessons, Composer’s workshops and forums, Applied community music and Practical Composition skills.

Optional coursework components of the second year include:
Orchestra and Ensamble collaborations, Second/Related Study Lessons, Symphony/Chamber/Opera Orchestra, Wind Orchestra, Chamber Music and Early Music.

Year 3

The weekly individual tutorials in the third year will continue to focus on developing the student’s particular compositional voice. Using the ‘Teaching Techniques’ course, students will develop an understanding of good teaching practice. This will involve lectures, specialist workshops, as well as observing of the principal study lesson of another student.

Assessment 1:
At the end of the third year, students shall submit a portfolio (accompanied by recordings, software files and a short analytical programme note of each compositions) for assessment. This will include:
• maximum 5 original compositions for any forces (maximum 15 minutes each)

Assessment 2 (live performance):
Students will arrange, prepare and present a live performance of at least one of their original composition in concert. This can be filmed and sublimed to the Head of Composition.

Coursework:
Compulsory coursework components of the third year include:
Principal Study Lessons, Special Project, Composer’s workshops and forums.

Optional coursework components of the third year include:
Second/Related Study Lessons, Symphony/Chamber/Opera Orchestra collaboration, Conducting, Chamber Music and Early Music, Practical Composition Skills, Keyboard Skills.

Year 4

The weekly individual tutorials will continue through the fourth year to develop and extend the student’s particular compositional voice.

Assessment 1:
At the end of the fourth year, students shall submit a portfolio (accompanied by recordings, software files and a short analytical programme note of each compositions) for assessment. This will include 5 original compositions for any forces, of which at least one needs to be:
• one original composition for orchestra or large ensemble
• or one original composition for voices with accompaniment
• or an original work for soloist and orchestra

Assessment 2 (live performance):
Students will arrange, prepare and present a live performance of at least one of their original composition in concert. This can be filmed and sublimed to the Head of Composition.

Coursework:
Compulsory coursework components of the fourth year include:
Principal Study Lessons, Applied Community Music, Viva Voce, Composer’s workshops and forums.

Optional coursework components of the fourth year include: Second/Related Study Lessons, Symphony/Chamber/Opera Orchestra collaboration, Conducting, Chamber Music and Early Music, Practical Composition Skills, Keyboard Skills.