Composer Masterclasses

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Looking for some inspiration? Love creating your own sound and music? Want to learn how to take it to the next level from industry professionals?

Check out our free series of online masterclasses, led by some of the most exciting professional composers, artists, producers and music creators in the UK.

As part of our Digital Summer School, we recorded a week of virtual classes led by masters in their field: live coding and computer music expert Lizzie Wilson, artist and director Mella Faye, electronic composer Caro C, interdisciplinary pianist David Austin Grey, hip-hop producer Sami Baha and jazz saxophonist & bandleader Shabaka Hutchings.

Although originally made with young people aged 13 – 19 in mind, the following masterclasses are relevant to learners of all ages. You can now watch several of these masterclasses below; enjoy trying new approaches to making music from the comfort of your own home!

Masterclass #1: Live Coding with Lizzie Wilson


This session will help you learn the basics of how to make computer music for live performance or musical tracks and make musical patterns using the program TidalCycles. It also offers a quick but fascinating introduction to the origins and ethos of the live-coding scene. Lizzie Wilson recommends trying the code out for yourself if you have access to a computer and an internet connection!

Masterclass #2: Ideas & Inspiration with David Austin Grey and Mella Faye


This two-part session is led by two of Sound and Music’s acclaimed New Voices artists. In the first hour, pianist and composer David Austin Grey explores different methods of generating and developing musical ideas, with a view, to how the music might be performed and reinterpreted by a live ensemble, as well as writing for film, dance, and other mediums. Some knowledge of writing music and theory might be helpful, but is not 100% necessary.

For the second half, Mella Faye shows us how to look inwards for inspiration, helping you build confidence in your own unique sound or story and develop your innate creativity. No technical knowledge is needed – just curiosity!

Masterclass #3: Beatmaking with Sami Baha


Combining familiar, trap-based hip hop production with his roots in Turkish popular music, Sami Baha crafts slow, moody tracks with miles-deep bass and explosive samples. His masterclass focuses on making hip-hop beats and tracks using FL Studio, an industry standard piece of software with boundless creative potential for beat-making and mixing.

Using its hip-hop friendly layout, Sami will boost your confidence in composing with FL Studio and provide detailed tips and tricks for making professional tracks. If you’re new to music production and don’t know where to start, this is the place!

Masterclass 5: Creative approaches to composing and improvising with Shabaka Hutchings 


The creative driving force behind jazz giants Shabaka and the AncestorsSons of Kemet and Comet is Coming, composer and saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings is constantly evaluating the nature of his relationship with musical material and tradition. As part of the Caribbean diaspora, he sees his role as pushing the boundaries of what musical elements are considered to be Caribbean. In this unique session, Shabaka offers unique insight into his approach and methods as a composer.

Learn more about the Sound and Music Summer School

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