Teacher Hub

Review - I Can Compose

Written by Anna Gower09/05/24

Founder Rachel Shapey describes I Can Compose as ‘a unique educational resource’, that brings together ‘informative, educational secondary composition resources you won’t find anywhere else’. The organisation’s mission is to 'educate and inspire the next generation of music composers' and this rich bank of resources certainly goes a long way to supporting teachers and students with materials that can be used in a variety of ways. The resources and courses that I explored were pitched at KS3, GCSE and A Level.

The website is laid out in 3 main areas, entitled Resources, Inspiration and Courses.

The Resources section includes:

  • Listening banks
  • Posters
  • Composer of the week
  • Cover packs

    The Inspiration section takes inspiration from existing pieces of music, with notes of things to listen for, or for learners to just enjoy hearing some music!

    There are several different access and price points for subscriptions to Courses, or you can buy individual courses (£10 per course) which allows for plenty of opportunities to engage with I Can Compose, depending on the budget available.

    You can access courses as an Individual, or buy ‘seats’ for classroom or independent use by students as appropriate for your setting. There is also a subscription level for access to all courses plus resources.

    Within the Courses there are plenty of themes to choose from and these are categorised by:

    • Category (creative, exam, style and genre, technical)
    • Difficulty (beginner, intermediate, advanced)
    • Level (AL, GCSE, KS3)

      There are several suggested ways to use the courses:

      • Teachers use them to inform their own planning / improve their own confidence levels with composing.
      • Display the course at the front of the class and work through aspects with the whole class.
      • Students work through the courses at home / in school at their own pace (with Classroom Access Plan). They can dip in and out of lessons and choose what is most relevant to them.

        The courses are clearly laid out and easy to follow. Relevant musical keywords, at the appropriate level, are used in the context of what learners are looking at or listening to at the time, and the inclusion of listening examples and a guide to what to listen for in relation to the course title at the start of each course is a great time saver for teachers, as the planning is all done for them! Learners are able to listen to the examples as they work through, as well as see written examples.

        It is necessary for learners to be familiar with staff notation so as with all good resources, there are plenty of opportunities to jump off and teach an aspect in more depth before continuing. It is also a great way to challenge those students who may have more experience with staff notation and concepts from western classical music, whilst allowing teachers work to support other students in other ways.

        For more information, visit the I Can Compose website, or contact them here.