New Directions

Composing 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 Composing 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 here.

Key Dates:

Briefs released and applications open: October 2021
Deadline for Submissions: January – February 2022
18 and Under: 30th Jan
15 and Under: 13th Feb
12 and Under: 28th Feb

2021-2022 Briefs

Brief 1: Use one of the following poems as a starting point for a composition.

Remember they are a starting point. There is no need to set the entire poem, or any of it, and you could take individual lines, words, and key ideas as inspiration.

Here is the Beehive, Anonymous

Here is the Beehive
But where are all the bees?
Hiding away where nobody sees.
Here they come creeping
Out of their hive,
One and two and three, four, five.

The poet asks his beloved about the 'Enchanted City' of Cuenca, Lorca

Did you like the city carved by water,
drop by drop, in the heart of the pinetrees?
Did you see dreams and faces and streets
and wailing walls lashed by the air?
Did you see the blue crack of broken moon
the river Júcar wets with glass and song?
Were your fingers kissed by the hawthorns
that crown with love the distant stones?
And did you remember me when you went
up into the silence suffered by the serpent,
the captive of crickets and shadows?
Did you see in the transparent air
that dahlia of sorrow and pleasure
my warm heart had sent you?

Brief 2: Create a composition using these five notes as a starting point:  B, G, A, F, Eb.

Again, these are a starting point (perhaps for important motifs and/or chords), the whole piece does not need to be comprised of only five notes! Although you are more than welcome to try that as an idea as well.

Brief 3: Depict an enchanted forest in music

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

Brief 5: Use this close-up photograph of the Robinson College Chapel’s stained-glass window, designed by John Piper, to create a piece of music:

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.