Composition 1

For this component of the course students must create and submit a composition (a piece written entirely by themselves). Unlike composition 2, this composition can be in whatever style students wish.

It goes without saying that for many students this will be an entirely new experience especially given that they will have so far focused heavily on performance related skills for all of KS3 and year 9 up until they begin the composition unit in year 10.

The requirements of this composition are as follows:

  • You must compose the piece but it can be performed by other musicians provided there is a detailed score which the musicians must strictly follow. We recommend that students play all parts for their composition where possible

  • It can be a multi-tracked recording (each track recorded separately) - usually this is the most popular method allowing for a great deal of flexibility and creativity

  • It can be a sequenced recording where the learner programs all parts (using Cubase, Cakewalk or Garageband software)

  • It can be performed completely live

  • Must be between 1 minute 30 seconds and 5 minutes

  • NB: other performers to not have to be GCSE learners

Unless performed live, students typically use one of three Digital Audio Workstation software packages (commonly referred to as a DAW). The names below will take also link to the manufacturer website where you can purchase and find out information about each piece of software. Many students show interest in obtaining the software so they may work on their compositions at home, though this is NOT a requirement. The cost of Cubase itself can be quite prohibitive. However, Cakewalk by Bandlab and GarageBand ARE BOTH FREE. Both of these programs are exceptionally powerful.

Cubase 7.5 Elements (current version is now version 10)

Cakewalk by Bandlab


The composition booklet, available here and linked above in the title is the most important resource for students to be able to complete their composition. They must take the time to read it carefully and use it constantly to create their piece.

Click here or above for our best composition examples (1st compositions only)

Click here for help on how to start your composition