Get Composing 2019-2020

Get Composing is a flexible programme exploring composition and creative music in a fun and relaxed environment with professional composers and musicians. 

Based in Aberdeen, Get Composing is for young people at secondary school aged 11+ with a general interest in creative composition as well as those who are studying music and need to compose as part of their SQA course. 

You don’t need to have previous experience of composition to take part. If you're enthusiastic about creating your own original music, keen to try out new ideas and develop your skills to the best of your abilities then Get Composing is for you. 

You will meet like-minded young composers in north-east Scotland and also have opportunities to attend behind the scenes events connected to our annual soundfestival.

Get Composing is particularly suited to those who are thinking about pursuing music at a higher education or those who play an instrument and want to broaden their understanding of music theory or try out some improvisation. 

You can either sign up to all of the workshops or specific sessions. Please see below for full details and a link to our online booking form.

For further information please contact Ellen by email:

The Get Composing programme is generously supported by Creative Scotland, Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council, David and June Gordon Memorial Trust, Aberdeen Endowments Trust, The Robertson Trust, Michael Tippett Foundation, and the Hugh Fraser Foundation. 

Programme 2019-2020 

Taster Workshop with Tom Butler

Sunday 22 September | 2-4pm | NESMS, 21 Huntly St, Aberdeen AB10 1TJ

Come a long and have some compositional fun! This FREE taster aims to give you a flavour of what Get Composing is actually like. With the help and guidance of composer Tom Butler we’ll get you composing in no time at all using some innovative starting points. There will also be an opportunity to meet the sound team at this session and ask any questions about the programme.

Free of charge but please email if you plan to come along. 

"Go Compose and Get Composing are great as they help you come away with not only a piece of music you have created, but a whole host of skills and abilities enabling you to push more boundaries and even apply to RCS! I really wouldn’t be anywhere close to going to study composition without the amazing expertise of all the composers and musicians I have met during this time.” 

Amy Stewart, Get Composing participant

Go Compose! 

A 3-day composition course working with professional composersn Ailie Robertson and Linda Buckley, and musicians to create your own original piece from start to finish. This year you will write for violin, flute and cello and all pieces will be performed by Red Note Ensemble at the end of the course and recorded. 

Sunday 13 October 2019 | 2pm – 8pm 
Monday 14 October 2019 | 10am – 5pm 
Tuesday 15 October 2019 | 10am – 5pm with a performance at 6pm 

The Barn, Banchory, Aberdeenshire 

Ages: 14 – 19 years old

Cost for the course: £55
Supervised accommodation (if required): £40

Go Compose is produced in partnership with Red Note and Sound and Music. 

To take part in Go Compose! complete the online application form here

Get Composing Sessions 

These six workshops each focus on a different aspect of composition and will give you an opportunity to develop your technique through practical exercises, guidance from professionals and experimentation! Each workshop will be delivered by a different composer to give you the broadest range of expertise and knowledge to learn from.  

Session 1: Inspiration from non-western music and electronics with Linda Buckley 
Sunday 17 November 2019 | 2-5pm | MacRobert Building, University of Aberdeen (Room 055), 581 King Street, Aberdeen

Session 2: What’s next? How to move ideas on with Edwin Hillier
Sunday 1 December 2019 | 2-5pm | MacRobert Building, University of Aberdeen (Room 055), 581 King Street, Aberdeen

Session 3: Guide to 21st century music ideas with John De Simone
Sunday 19 January 2020 | 2-5pm | MacRobert Building, University of Aberdeen (Room 055), 581 King Street, Aberdeen

Session 4: Using the piano as an orchestra with Pippa Murphy 
Sunday 23 February 2020 | 2-5pm | MacRobert Building, University of Aberdeen (Room 055), 581 King Street, Aberdeen

Session 5: Using chords in different ways with Tom Butler
Sunday 22 March 2020 | 2-5pm | MacRobert Building, University of Aberdeen (Room 055), 581 King Street, Aberdeen

Session 6: Writing for the Harp with Ailie Robertson
Sunday 26 April 2020 | 2-5pm  MacRobert Building, University of Aberdeen (Room 055), 581 King Street, Aberdeen

Cost: £10 per session


Get Composing Weekend 

Put your skills into practice by writing over a weekend using the ideas and techniques taught throughout the year under the guidance of composer Pete Stollery. Bring along your sketches and ideas from previous workshops and develop your own material, you can even write a part for yourself to play on an instrument alongside our professional musicians. The weekend will end with an informal sharing session.

Saturday 6 June 2020 | 10am-5pm
Sunday 7 June 2020 | 2-5pm 
MacRobert Building, University of Aberdeen (Room 055), 581 King Street, Aberdeen

Cost: £25 for the weekend

1:1 Sessions

In addition to the Get Composing workshops, you can sign up for a 30 minute 1:1 with one of our composers to discuss any aspect of composition you like. This can be support with a school piece, an in-depth breakdown of a particular technique, or general advice and guidance on higher education. 1:1 sessions take place before each of the six main Get Composing sessions. Use the booking form to sign up for as many slots as you like at 12.30pm, 1pm or 1.30pm. These are subject to availability. 

Cost: £5 per 1:1 session

How to take part

To sign up to the programme please complete an online Booking Form. Please note that there are two booking forms; one for the Go Compose course, and another for Get Composing. We recommend that you download and save your booking form for your own records. Payment can be sent by cheque or bank transfer. Payment instructions are on the relevant booking form.   

For more information about bookings or payment please contact Kadri Soerunurk in the sound office on 01330 826526 or email 

To take part in Get Composing complete the online registration form here.

Terms and Conditions

Get Composing is suitable for young people at secondary school aged 11+. Places might be limited.

If you are unable to attend a workshop you have booked please do let us know in advance as there may be a waiting list. You must book and pay for all sessions in advance using our online booking form.  

1:1 sessions are subject to availability and will be confirmed in advance by a member of the sound team. 

The deadline for applications to Go Compose is Friday 20 September 2019 and course places will be confirmed by Friday 27 September 2019.
Places on Go Compose are limited.