New Directions

Composition Competition

Many thanks and congratulations to everyone who took part, we really enjoyed listening to all your entries and were incredibly impressed with the standard across the board.

In particular a huge congratulations to our winners of 2021:
Rosie Sutton, Rosie Trentham, Benji Gronlie, Adam Howell and Eliot Jardine!

The briefs for next year will be released, and applications opened, in October 2021.

Calling All Young Composers!

The New Directions Composition Competition exists in order to encourage young people, from all walks of life, to create music and to explore the possibilities of communication and creativity that music can bring.

The competition is for anyone below the age of 18. You may compose in any style or genre (a song, an instrumental work, a piece on Logic, hip-hop, ambient etc.). The more inventive the better!

All the information needed can be found in the PDF shown*, or interactive versions can be found below. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at

*This is the 2020/21 leaflet, so briefs and dates will be changed for upcoming academic year – please feel free to have a look through! All information to be updated by October 2021.

Key Dates:

Briefs released and applications open: October 2021 (Date tbc)
Deadline for Submissions: January – February 2022 (Date tbc)

Applications reopen October

2020/21 Briefs

2021/22 Briefs to be released in October

Brief 1: Use one of the following poems by either Zukofsky or A.A. Milne as a starting point for a composition:

A 14, Louis Zukofsky



Wind On The Hill, A. A. Milne

No one can tell me,
Nobody knows,
Where the wind comes from,
Where the wind goes.

It’s flying from somewhere
As fast as it can,
I couldn’t keep up with it,
Not if I ran.

But if I stopped holding
The string of my kite,
It would blow with the wind
For a day and a night.

And then when I found it,
Wherever it blew,
I should know that the wind
Had been going there too.

So then I could tell them
Where the wind goes…
But where the wind comes from
Nobody knows.

Brief 2: Create a composition from the notes C, F#, E, G#, Eb

Brief 3: Depict a stormy sea in music

Brief 4: Using this photograph of the Robinson College Chapel’s stained-glass window by John Piper as a starting point, create a piece of music:

Brief 5: Using the following sequence of numbers (interpreting them however you’d like) to compose a work of music: 5, 7, 4, 3, 0, 1, 3, 6

Introducing Some Instruments


Francis Bushell shares his enthusiasm for – as well as some fascinating features of – the bassoon, sampling some famous pieces in explanation.


The wonderful Aristo Sham introduces some of the exciting techniques and sonorities made possible when writing for the piano.


Calvin Preston introduces a variety of fascinating techniques and genres as well as how they can be applied to writing music for guitar.


Carl Ashworth explores some of the wonderful features of the trombone.

Music Production

Monty Hancock (Miro) discusses three fundamental aspects of music production, clearly and expertly.


Hetta McFarlane teaches about the exciting qualities and mechanics of the violin, providing some charming musical examples.