Listen Imagine Compose

Produced by: 
Sound and Music

Listen Imagine Compose 

Listen Imagine Compose is a partnership project between Sound and Music, Birmimgham Contemporary Music Group and Birmingham City University.  It investigates how composing is taught and learned in secondary schools and draws on the expertise of teachers and their pupils, composers, music education academics and arts organisations.  

Since 2010, it has been undertaking action research, holding symposia and running CPD.  The project continues to develop.

Phase 1

Phase 1: Comprised a series of symposia and six action research questions that look at six key questions.

These ranged from examining strategies for creative learning in music, to ways of evaluating pupils' work, the role of listening, and on the importance of introducing students to music they did not know. The project also studied how expert performers and composers can best be used and how ICT can be used creatively in composing and performing.

This culminated in the publication of a major report by Lead Academic Professor Martin Fautley detailing ways that every school can support young people learn to ‘Listen, Imagine, Compose’. 

The report can be downloaded here and the executive summary here.  More info on Phase 1 is here

'Fundamental to the success of the partnership has been the meticulous manner in which the projects have been planned and evaluated by all parties. In the latest project, Listen, Imagine, Compose, one third of the project time was devoted to the learning needs and professional development of the participating adults. Consequently, this partnership has played a significant part in improving the musical and educational understanding of professional musicians, teachers and academics' - Mark Phillips, HMI Music, 2012

Phase 2

Phase 2: Drawing on the recommendations of the Phase 1 report, the Listen Imagine Compose team designed a Continuing Professional Development course for secondary teachers which was piloted during the 2014/15 academic year.

This was delivered in Birmingham and in London in partnership with Teach Through Music

Below is a video about the CPD course in London.

Teach Through Music - Listen Imagine Compose, Exploring Composing Through Action Research from Trinity Laban on Vimeo.

Phase 3

Phase 3: The Listen Imagine Compose CPD is being delivered in Birmingham, with participating teachers working towards a Masters in Teaching and Learning, or in Educational Leadership.  We are now open for enquires from teachers interested in doing the course during 2017/18; it is available in any location in the UK provided a viable group can be formed. 

The CPD has an option for accreditation by Birmingham City University as a Diploma or MA in Teaching and Learning, or in Educational Leadership.  The CPD offers secondary music teachers the opportunity to develop skills in teaching composing with KS3, GCSE and A level students.  

FREE Listen Imagine Compose resources

Some of the resources on offer to teachers attending the CPD are available free of charge. The resources include:

  • Schemes of work and lesson plans: Each of the 6 Listen Imagine Compose action research projects were written up in the form of a Scheme of Work and a set of lesson plans so that teachers can replicate the projects with their own pupils.  Each SoW and series of lesson plans addresses one of the Key Questions but all projects are a useful source of ideas for composing, including starting points, compositional activity and assessment.
  • Information on Action Research and how it can be used as a tool for professional development by teachers.
  • Information on creativity and creative learning.
  • The Listen Imagine Compose reports.
  • References and reading lists to support professional development and reflection on teaching practice around composing at KS3 and KS4.

You can also contact Judith Robinson at Sound and Music if you wish to be kept informed about Listen Imagine Compose as it enters its next phase.

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Developed by

Sound and Music in partnership with Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and Birmingham City University

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