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Sage Gateshead

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Composition & Music Language

Composition & Music Language

Study Leader: Alix Shepherd

In Composition & Music Language, you will work with our experienced tutors in creating a portfolio of work across a range of genres and for a variety of instruments, with performance and workshop opportunities being made available. We recommend composition students have a second study, ideally piano, but this is not compulsory. Please contact us on for more information.

Music Language

At CAT we have a broad philosophical approach to musical education. Rather than focusing on one methodology to the exclusion of others, we embrace a wide range of approaches and pedagogies in order to provide the best possible learning environment for each student. Our aims at CAT are to develop musical knowledge and skills and support instrumental and vocal studies in an enjoyable and exciting musical environment. We intend to provide education and qualifications which broaden musical horizons and enhance future study and career opportunities. Students are encouraged to view music in its historical, social and cultural perspectives and to explore the widest possible range of musical styles, including jazz, rock, pop, folk and non-western music.

CAT musicianship sessions are designed to support the development of each individual student, whatever their experiences and interest. Those who do not already hold ABRSM Grade 5 Music Theory are given teaching and support in order to do so; however this is underpinned by the development of a firm foundation in aural perception and musical awareness.

Students who hold Grade 5 ABRSM Music Theory and have reached a good level of aural ability will undertake a programme of further musical study that includes a Carousel session and an Option session. These will develop knowledge and skills which will:

  • support instrumental and vocal studies
  • supplement GCSE and A-level studies
  • form the foundation of further ABRSM studies
  • provide an introduction to future musical opportunities

All students will be given a small amount of homework from each class which is expected to be completed by the following week. This is mainly to help them review and revise their classroom learning, and they are therefore welcome to complete this work during their day at CAT, and they may wish to collaborate with their classmates to consolidate their understanding.

Aural training includes practice needed for aural tests taken as part of ABRSM Practical examinations. Assistance is also provided in the paperwork and aural training required as part of any performance diploma.

For further information on the Centre for Advanced Training, including on dates and content of auditions, please click on Information for Students

The Music Language Team
  • Study Leader: Alix Shepherd BMus (Hons)
  • Paul Armstrong
  • Maria Athanasiou BMus (Hons), Ma, Ph.D.
  • Nick Butters BA (Hons)
  • Edd Campbell-Rowntree BMus, MSt
  • Kate Halsall DipRCM, ARCM
  • Dr Christopher Randall BMus, MMus, Ph.D.
  • Sarah Robinson BMus LRSM

I was so impressed by the musicianship of the students and how they embraced the creative challenges of the workshop so positively and imaginatively. Not many students would be up for blending Ravel and Prokofiev. But they were, and it sounded great!
-Jonathan James, Music Educator and Conductor