Bringing alive compositions
17 April 2013
AS and A Level music students from Croesyceiliog School visited the University's School of Music recently to hear their compositions performed by undergraduate students.
Hearing your pieces played live, not just played back on composition software, is important for any composer and the event was designed to give the Croesyceiliog students the chance to hear their pieces performed by talented musicians.
The rehearsal and performance workshop was organised by Dr Dan Bickerton, a recent PhD graduate from the School of Music, who spent some time visiting the Croesyceiliog music department providing instrumental writing workshops and giving composition tutorials as the students worked on their pieces.
Students were welcomed by Professor David Wyn Jones, Head of the School of Music, to a study day which saw compositions ranging from pieces for solo piano to large ensemble, each experimenting with a variety of musical styles and influences. The undergraduate students had spent time rehearsing the music and were able to offer constructive advice during the workshops before each piece was recorded using the School's studio facilities.
Dr Dan Bickerton said: "I was absolutely delighted with how successful the event was; it was an exciting day of learning for both the students of Croesyceiliog School and our own musicians at the School of Music. I was particularly pleased with how the event showed the positive interaction of performance and composition reflecting how diverse musical study can be at Higher Education level. The high quality of musicianship shown by all of our undergraduate students is testament to why the School of Music is one of the most vibrant and dynamic places to study music at university."
Mr David Hale and Mr Neil Parker, music teachers at Croesyceiliog School, accompanied the students to Cardiff. They said: "Thanks to Dr Bickerton and the Cardiff University students; a great day was enjoyed by all. I'm sure the experience has inspired our pupils to further their musical futures."
Mr Hale added: "Getting to hear their compositions performed has been a fantastic opportunity for our students. Listening back to compositions in Sibelius (software) is never ideal and some of these compositions on Sibelius were coming out as D's and E's. The live performances today have really changed things – they're helping to raise grades and it's great for our students to get ideas and advice on their compositions. It's also given them a good insight into life as university students."
Croesyceiliog student Tom Daley, who joined the undergraduate students on stage and played a vibraphone cadenza in his piece for large ensemble, said: "I really appreciated the opportunity and experience. Although I had initially intended to study performance at a conservatoire, I am seriously considering composition study as a result of working with composer Dr. Bickerton and all of the University students today. It was amazing."
Fellow student Robert Mundy said: "It's been really good to have an opportunity to hear all our pieces come alive. We've had chances to communicate with the Cardiff students today and get lots of ideas for improving our compositions." Emily Maloney agreed: "It was really useful to be able to discuss our pieces with university students as they're close to us in age and can give really good advice."