Our Composition School is a residential course that gives you the opportunity to explore your musical creativity. Whether you create in a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), with a band, use notation, improvise or are curious about experimenting with creating music and sound, we will support you to bring your ideas to life with the guidance of expert tutors from a range of musical genres.

After 15 years at the Purcell School, the Composition School will have an exciting new home for 2024. It will take place at the University of Huddersfield from 28 July to 2 August as part of In the Making, our new artist development programme for young composers and music creators.

We are proud to host a diverse community of young people and are committed to fostering an environment that is firmly anti-racist, accessible to those with disabilities, LGBTQ+ supportive and gender diverse. We are also committed to removing financial barriers to participation and have a means-tested bursary scheme in place in order to achieve this.

How does it work?

The Composition School is a key part of In the Making, our artist development programme for young people aged 14-18, with the residential taking place during the Residency Phase.

With 70 other young composers,  you’ll be assigned a tutor and group of expert musicians who will work with you to help bring your creative ideas to life. At the end of the course, you’ll have composed a new piece that will be performed and professionally recorded. This can then be used for applications, as part of your portfolio, or shared on your social media platforms.

Who is it for?

The Composition School is for young people taking part in the In the Making programme.

We are committed to being inclusive of anyone with access requirements. You are welcome to get in touch at any stage of the application process to have a chat about how we can best support you. For more details about accessibility and the support we offer, please visit our Access and Support page. 

Where and when?

After 15 incredible years at the Purcell School in Bushey, South Hertfordshire, the Composition School will have a new home this summer, taking place at the University of Huddersfield, from 28 July to 2 August 2024.

We are committed to supporting students with travel and logistics to attend the Composition School.

How much is it?

The costs of Composition School places are heavily subsidised. We ask those who can to pay £500 to attend the residential, which covers all tutoring, accommodation, food and activities.

However, everyone who is accepted on the course should be able to attend regardless of financial circumstances. To ensure this, we have means-tested bursaries and split-payment schemes on offer, generously supported by Faber Music. You can indicate if you’d like support as part of the application form.

As a charity, Sound and Music subsidises the costs of places on the course for all students. If you are in a position to contribute more than the £500 fee and make an additional donation, this would be gratefully received. Donations enable us to continue offering this opportunity to more young people than would otherwise be possible. This will not affect the outcome of any application.

How do I apply?

To join the Composition School, you need to apply to In the Making programme. Applications open on 8 December 2023 and close on 30 April 2024.

The 12-month programme will support 70 young people to grow their confidence and expand their skills and creative ambition in an open and accessible environment.

Alongside the Composition School, all In the Making composers will have access to online workshops and seminars, creative brief challenges, networking, and feedback opportunities throughout the year.

Find out more and apply to In the Making

"I have loved my time here and enjoyed meeting like-minded people. It has been amazing to push myself and take risks in my composition, as well as listening to other people’s music. I am going to miss everyone and all the activities, but hopefully I can come back next year!”
2023 Composition School Student


At the end of each Composition School, every piece of music created in the week is performed by professional musicians in a live concert. 

Explore the final concerts from 2023 

Find out what a week at the Composition School is really like in these quickfire interviews with some of our alumni.

Watch our interviews with young composers

Ben Corrigan profile photo

Young composers of all genres, backgrounds and stages come to the Composition School. Take a look at some people we've supported over the years.

Meet our Composition School alumni

Featured composer

Thank you to our funders

Thank you so much to those that have supported Summer School 2023:

The Bliss Trust
Boris Karloff Charitable Foundation
Faber Music
The Finzi Trust
The John Thaw Foundation
The Lochlands Trust
The Margaret Engering Music Trust
The Rowley Trust
Scops Arts Trust
Three Monkies Trust
Sally Groves