Voices from Summer School

Summer School student
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Our annual Composition Summer School residential course, now open for applications until 24th April, celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. To give you a flavour of the impact this course has on the 75 young people who attend each year, we spoke to some of our alumni from the 2022 course about their memories of the week and what it means to them.

“I’ve been to the Summer School twice now, two years in a row, and I loved it each time. Over both I have made such great friends, who I still talk to regularly, and I still see. I’m sure they’ll be friends for life. You are so much encouraged to do your own thing and to be creative in your own way. And that’s so empowering. Especially as a composer, you don’t often get a space to just do that. Every day now I do music, and I don’t really do much else, because, you know, I love it. And the summer school was definitely a big part in that.  It sparked a passion. It gives you such a sense of confidence. It’s so wonderful.”  Summer School 2022 participant

“Everything you do at the at the [Summer] school – when you have breakfast, when you’re eating, when you’re about to go to sleep – everything is about your piece. Talking to each other about that piece over food – it’s just like 24 hours. I never thought that I could have written a three- or four-minute piece in a week. And I did. I would say if you’re at all interested in composing, whether that’s as a hobby or thinking about it as a career, I’d definitely recommend going, and I definitely want to go again.”  Summer School 2022 participant

“My son has a diagnosis of autism and he’s very reluctant to try new things. He needs to have somebody that almost says ‘we really want you to be here’ – and that’s what the interview was like. They gave him an answer immediately … it’s just really amazing. The bursary really helped – it was the difference between him going or not. The summer school was an exceptional experience for him. He was in his element just being around kids that were also as obsessed with music as he was. He came back standing so much more upright and engaging more with things, more grown-up. It’s really given him an insight and connected him with people – some are now friends. He just totally loved it.”  Parent of Summer School 2022 participant

“I loved all of it. When I got in, I thought ‘I might as well go’ and then it ended up being the best course I’ve ever been on. The biggest thing for me is just even considering doing composition, because I hadn’t really had an insight into actually thinking like a composer because I hadn’t been around any [composers]. Summer School made me think about the way that I can be both a composer and a performer.”  Summer School 2022 participant


See what these young people can achieve in a week – watch the 2022 Summer School concerts

The experiences of these young people, all aged between 14-18, are made possible with the generous support of individuals like you. There are many ways to get involved and every donation really does make a difference. 

Read about the 2023 Summer School Bursary Fund appeal started by our CEO Susanna Eastburn.

You can also visit our support page or contact Chris Lillywhite, Fundraising Co-ordinator, directly at fundraising@soundandmusic.org. We’d love to hear from you!

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