Category: Composing

  • Opera in education

    I felt hugely lucky to be part of the development of Royal Opera House’s Create and Sing. I was a few years into my own singing lessons and but virtue of these lessons being with the tenor Ian Caley operatic arias were part of my vocal diet. A great deal of the developmental process, that […]

  • Let’s have some serious fun

    I discovered this wonderful video clip from a 1985 documentary following the vocal group ‘Fascinating Aida’. It reminded me of the King Singers equally amusing video about the history of Music: And then the even more amusing: I don’t see it as a problem to make something amusing of something serious; the Kings’ Singers performance […]

  • Orchestral Disturbance

    I stumbled upon this: ‘Modern Toss presents a comedy take on a Classical Music concert’ And that it does. It got me thinking that is kind of activity would be excellent to try with classes. Give them the video performance of a piece of music and let them recreate the sounds. They have to think […]

  • Keep being taught to learn

    “Musical Futures is a global movement that transforms, engages and inspires people through making music that is meaningful to them; the festival builds on its aims to create exciting, innovative, tried-and-tested learning methods and approaches which are based on the way self-taught musicians learn. Dedicated to providing hands-on training and resources, the Music Learning Revolution […]

  • How important is planning composing at GCSE?

    I spent a lovely afternoon meeting the Music Department at the Stephen Perse Foundation Senior School. We discussed approaches to developing free composition skills at GCSE and reflected on the value of pre-planning; how much is useful, necessary? I wondered if the more one plans *before* the actual composing does it speed up or limit […]

  • Winterreise re-imagined?

    I had high hopes for Daniel Behle and his Winterreise arrangement, performed at the Wigmore Hall on 19 April. I had in my mind the ‘reimaginings’ of Christopher O’Riley, Luciano Berio and could not decide whether I would hear a mere extension of the original or something completely different. The interpretation of the cycle was […]

  • Composing water at GCSE and A-level

    There regularly seems to be a composition brief about water. Many composers have attempted to capture unending, unpredictable and delicate water and it remains a challenge to do well. You can hear perhaps the most famous example of a river in music <a href=””>here</a&gt;. Notice how the river is established musically (the flowing water manifests […]

  • Engaging young people with new music

    Two things always surprise me about using ‘new’ music with my classes; one, they consistently will describe it as ‘odd’ and secondly they will question its value as ‘music’. It makes me smile every time. With scientific precision pupils will find much ‘contemporary’ music to be unattractive. Something changes though, if I introduce the music. […]

  • Twitterverse

    The American composer Garrett Schumann kindly mentioned some of my music in his weekly blog post series ‘Mapping my Musical Twitterverse‘. He had this to say:   Steven Berryman is a composer and teacher based in London. From his SoundCloud page, I listened to Echo, for women’s choir and piano, Cypher, for orchestra, and Vera est in loctum, for choir. To […]

  • Watford Festival 2014

    I had a wonderful  afternoon meeting a few young composers who had entered the Watford Music and Drama Festival Composition Class of 2014. There is always a buzz when you’re about to hear a piece performed for the first time, and it was pleasing to hear live performances of the works for the most part. […]