Composing Workshops

Past workshops:

Compose Yourself!

WORKSHOP: Compose for Piano

Sunday 22nd September 2019 

10:00 - 17:00

A one-day composing workshop for adults with little or no experience* 18+

This workshop will utilise a creative approach to composing which mimics Jenny's own working practice, using pencil line-drawing exercises to free up creativity and to discover potential shapes, gestures and textures which can easily be translated into sound. There will be an introduction to graphic score notation as a method of writing down the newly composed pieces (although other methods may also be used) with an emphasis on creating dramatic and evocative soundworlds rather than technical works with lots of detail and complex notation.

The first part of the day will be spent finding out what the instrument is capable of doing, which will involve some improvising and experimenting at the piano, as a group, and also listening to some examples of contemporary solo piano music.

There will be plenty of individual writing time and one-to-one support from Jenny, and opportunities to hear outcomes and make revisions as the pieces progress. The day will finish with an informal performance and recording of all completed pieces.

The workshop will take place at Jenny's home in Sheffield S11 (the address will be provided on completion of the Booking Form or on request). Spaces are limited: book early to avoid disappointment.

* Please note: this workshop requires no prior composing experience or ability to draw or play the piano.

If you are interested in participating in the workshop but are unsure about your suitability, please email Jenny to discuss your queries.

Deadline for booking: Friday 13th September


Recent workshops include:

Compose Yourself! 

WORKSHOP: Composing for Flute 

21st October 2017
with flautist Rachel Shirley

This one-day workshop guided students through the process of composing a solo flute piece, following a similar model to my own working practice.  There were group activities as well as individual writing time, and plenty of opportunities to hear outcomes and make revisions as the pieces progressed. The day culminated with an informal performance and recording of all completed pieces. 


"Having Rachel's expertise and both your advice on communicating and notating our intentions was invaluable... I felt it was excellently prepared and appreciated the expertise both of you communicated"

"I enjoyed the whole day"

" I got a much better insight into the possibilities of the flute and enjoyed that we had the opportunity to listen to all pieces to finish off the day. I left uplifted and encouraged to write more and be less precious about it"

"The drawing technique and visualising how I wanted my piece to sound was really enjoyable [sic]. Also the fact that I was there and just had to do it. It opened up my creativity."

Compose Yourself! Composing classes

Weekly creative composing classes held at my home in Sheffield. Aimed at adult musicians with no previous composing experience but with some instrumental ability.  Classes are taught in blocks of six weeks, with a specific focus and writing task in each new block.

Please contact Jenny if you are interested.

I am available as a workshop leader for groups of 4-12 adults.  I can also offer one-to-one tuition, if preferred. 

In my own compositional practice, I often use drawing as a starting point for getting ideas down quickly, and this lends itself well to encouraging children and adults with no previous composing experience to have a go at composing their own pieces. Drawing exercises free up creativity and can also, accidentally, offer up strong gestures which can be translated into sound. Graphic scoring can sometimes be the most appropriate notation for recording a composition, but all types of notation can be examined and developed.  Experimentation with instruments and voices, supported by relevant listening and score-reading, combine to equip students with the skills and knowledge required to make their own voices heard.