Go Compose, South Africa!

In September 2021, The Commonwealth Resounds ran Go Compose, South Africa, in partnership with Access Music South Africa, sponsored by the ABRSM. In spite of very dodgy internet access in South Africa, this lovely project enabled 12 young South African musicians to compose their own music and hear it performed for the very first time.

The Go Compose concept is a very exciting one and having now experienced the project, it was just wonderful to see how well it works. The presenters were able to introduce compositional techniques and ideas in such a simple and accessible way. We really appreciated the flexibility of the project – allowing learners to use their own tastes and inspirations to inform their work, without sticking rigidly to the style. I really loved seeing how the learners’ original work was honoured, while really simple suggestions were made that enhanced the compositions. I think this will have really opened up our learners’ eyes to compositional processes as well as giving them insight into all the kinds of creative possibilities that are out there.

After the concert I asked the learners what they made of the whole process. I asked if they found it difficult and most expressed that it had indeed been challenging (which is only natural and also a good thing), but I asked if the workshop had given them a feeling that they would like to try more composing and there was a genuine and unanimous yes! They were already asking how we can do more of this and when?

I think the concert and video aspect of the project is just brilliant. It was so affirming for the learners to see results from their work -finished products performed by professional musicians – and to have their achievements recorded on a public platform in a professionally produced video. I really hope there will be scope for you to continue this great work as it truly is a very
special project.

Shiloh Marsh

Project Manager, Access Music, South Africa