This intensive and inspiring five-day online course attracts musicians from all over the world who want to strengthen their composition skills. It offers individual tuition from a respected and creative team of the Royal Conservatoire’s professionally-active composition lecturers – all from the comfort of your own home.
This course is aimed at people aged 16 and above who want to continue their creative learning at home, develop their composition and creative skills, and connect with like-minded people. This course will be delivered on MS Teams and Zoom.
By the end of the course you will have had the opportunity to:
- Develop your individual compositional technique and voice
- Be challenged and supported by experienced professional composers
- Receive 1:1 feedback on the work you develop throughout the week
- Engage in online workshops with musicians
- Receive a workshop recording of your new work, played by an ensemble of musicians from the RCS
Please see Entry Requirements to find out more about the application process for this course.
For more information about how our online courses work please see our FAQs.
Please note, on application you will be asked to confirm that you have read and understood our Online Teaching Policy – please read this in advance of applying.
We offer multiple course and siblings discounts on our summer school courses – find out more.
If you have any questions in advance of booking, please contact us at email@example.com
Each day will consist of a mixture of group discussions, composer talks and individual lessons with time for writing between sessions.
There will be live sessions throughout the day when you will be in a virtual classroom with the other students on the course, and your tutor. Throughout the rest of the day, you will continue to work on your composition using feedback provided in your tutorials.
Each participant will receive three, one-hour tutorials with staff members throughout the week. There will also be a series of talks from composition staff (speaking about their own work), as well as classes on contemporary repertoire.
There will be a 45-minute lunchbreak in the middle of the day, and all other times your tutor will be online and available via MS Teams to provide support and guidance.
Aside from the taught aspects of the course (around 3 hours per day), participants will be encouraged to work on their own music, in preparation for tutorials with staff.
This course is for dynamic and imaginative composers, focusing on the thoughts, ideas and desires that you put in your music. It will help you to think on your own, to create in your own distinctive way and communicate with performers, other composers and audience.
Students who would benefit from this intensive and highly practical course may be composers who are:
- preparing to audition for courses in music conservatoires
- currently studying at a conservatoire or university
- wishing to enhance their compositional skills and experiences
- wishing to enhance their musical experience by working with the composition team and musicians at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Please note this course is not suitable for composers who wish to focus on writing for film.
Applicants should have a relatively advanced understanding of notational skills and preferably access to music composition software such as Sibelius or Finale in order to fully benefit from this summer school.
The course is aimed at people age 16+, but younger students may be accepted at the discretion of the course leader.
Students will be required to submit scores and recordings (electronically if possible) for consideration by the Course Leader in advance of being accepted on to the summer school.
You can submit your recording in two ways:
- Upload as a Sibelius or Finale file to the last page of the online booking form (MP3 links also acceptable)
- Upload to a video platform, such as YouTube, as an unlisted file and enter the URL on the last page of the online booking form.
Please remember to title your file or video as: Your Name – Course Name
If you have any questions or problems with the upload, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Students should bring the beginnings of a piece (for any instrumentation), which will be developed in conversation with tutors over the course of the week. Students can submit sketches to the course leader in advance of the course start date if they wish.
You will need access to a device such as a desktop computer, laptop or tablet which allows you to access the internet with a screen large enough to see the group members during online sessions. You will also need to have access to a mobile phone or another device which you can record ensemble parts on.
You will need internet connection which is fast enough to take part in live teaching sessions.
You may also want to consider whether you have a space you can use where you can work without interruption. Please keep in mind that the other students taking part in the course will be able to see what’s behind you when you are online.
If you have any questions in advance of booking, please contact us at email@example.com
Choosing a course
Q) Which course is right for me?
Most of our courses are open access meaning that anyone can attend. We ask that bookers check the age range for the class. Our Adult classes are for ages 16+, our Children and Young People courses are generally split by age/school group.
If your child or young person is not based in Scotland please see the general age equivalents below.
School Group /Age Range in Scotland
Primary 1 – 4/5 years old
Primary 2 – 5/6 years old
Primary 3 – 6/7 years old
Primary 4 – 7/8 years old
Primary 5 – 8/9 years old
Primary 6 – 9/10 years old
Primary 7 – 10/11 years old
Secondary 1 – 11/12 years old
Secondary 2 – 12/13 years old
Secondary 3 – 13/14 years old
Secondary 4 – 14/15 years old
Secondary 5 – 15/16 years old
Secondary 6 – 16/17 years old
Q) I have no previous experience, can I take this course?
Most of our courses are open access – meaning that anyone can take part. If there is an entry requirement or specific previous experience is recommended for the course, there will be a tab on the course webpage to specify this.
Generally, if you have no experience, or have been away from your study for a number of years – we would encourage you to look at courses with Beginner or Introduction in the title.
Q) I’m an adult learner – am I too old for this course?
Never! Our adult classes are for anyone 16+. We often have a range of people aged from their late teens/early twenties to their late sixties and above. Our tutors are adept at creating a comfortable learning atmosphere for all the people in the group. We can’t predict the ages of the people on the course – but we can assure you that now is the right time to learn something new!
Q) Are the courses accredited?
In general, our courses are unaccredited however we can provide a certificate of attendance on completion if required. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request this 2 weeks prior to the end of your course.
Introduction to Actor Training is an auditioned and accredited course. Please see the course page for further details.
Q) English isn’t my first language, can I still take the course?
Yes! Our courses welcome students from across the world. You do not need a certificate in English in order to take Short Courses at the RCS. However, as all classes are delivered in English we do ask that you are comfortable following instructions, discussing ideas and sight-reading English aloud within the class.
Bookings/Booking a course?
Q) What is Schooble? Why do I need it?
The first time you book a short course you will need to set up a Schooble account – this is your customer account for our online booking system, Experios. You need a Schooble account to book your course, change or update your personal information, and check when payments are due/make a payment. Details of all the courses you have attended or are attending can be found on your account.
Q) I’ve not been sent a verification code?
If you are trying to set up a Schooble account or change your password, you might see that you have been sent a verification code. This code will be sent to the email associated with the account and often goes to your junk mail. Please check there first, and then email us if you cannot locate it.
Q) I haven’t received my course confirmation?
You will receive an automated email from our booking operator, Experios, to confirm that you have been successful in booking your course. This may get filtered to your junk mail – so please remember to check. If you are in any doubt – you can email us for further confirmation.
You will receive your course welcome information from us 1 to 2 weeks ahead of the course start date. This includes all the information you will need to attend the course including details of advance preparation is this is required.
Q) How do I update my email/password/address?
Log into your Schooble account by going to rcs.paritor.com. From there click the Clock icon on the left-hand side, and then click My Details. You can click Change Sign-in or Change Password as required. If you are changing your address, click Update.
Q) I’ve forgotten my password?
Go to rcs.paritor.com and click the Forgotten Password button. Enter the email address you used when you set up your account to receive a verification code. Once you have verified your email address you will be able to follow the steps to change your password.
If you are struggling with this, please email email@example.com for assistance.
Q) Why do I need to put an emergency contact down?
We offer classes to people ages 1-100, and during our courses our student’s safety is our priority. By giving us emergency contact information, you can ensure that should anything happen to you/your child during our courses – we will be able to contact someone to make them aware.
Q) Why are you asking for my age and school?
Our booking form accommodates a wide range of classes, and is the same for children, young people, and adults. As an adult you can click, I’m an Adult to avoid some of these questions.
As a young person, we ask for your age and school to ensure that you are in the correct age group for your class.
Q) Why do you ask for my medical information?
We take our student’s safety and wellbeing seriously and want to support everyone to learn in a way that suits them. If you have listed a medical condition or disability, we will contact to you to ask if there is any specific support we can put in place for you.
Q) What email address should I use for Microsoft Teams?
During your application you will be asked to select an email address to use when we add you to the course Teams group. Microsoft Teams is an online classroom where materials will be posted for your class and you will access the Zoom codes for each session.
Microsoft Teams gets upset by switching emails on a device – so if you already have an account registered for Teams, you should enter that email to avoid confusion.
If you are booking the course for someone else, you should ask them what email they use to access Teams, as only the participant will have access to the Team.
Teams is used by many schools across the UK – so if your child has been accessing Teams for school work, they should use the email already associated with that account – usually their school email address.
Some schools or workplaces do not allow accounts to be used for outside activities, please check, and email us if you wish to change the email address for Teams.
Q) It says the course is full – what do I do?
Courses have a limited number of places available. You can book onto the waiting list by clicking the Book Now button on the webpage. This will take you to the booking form to register your interest but without taking you to the payment page – it does not cost anything to book onto the waiting list.
We encourage all bookers to register for the waiting list if you wish to take the course. We try to respond to demand, and if we have enough people on the waiting list to run another course – we will! So it is worth booking on to register your interest.
Q) How will I be contacted if a space becomes available?
You will be contacted on the email associated with your account. We ask that you respond to your invitation as soon as possible as it allows us to process your application and get you set up for the course. If you no longer wish to take the place, please email us to confirm.
Q) I’ve been invited from the waiting list – do I need to do anything?
Yes! If you have received an automated email saying you have been invited from the waiting list, please log onto rcs.paritor.com and click Accept. This will take you to the payment stage of the booking form to confirm your space. After completing this you should email us so we can confirm your booking and send you over the relevant welcome information.
If you no longer want your place – please email us! We would love to offer the space to someone else and the more notice we are able to give people the better.
Q) Can I pay by instalment?
Yes, you can. When you reach the payment part of your booking form there are different payment options.
Full – paying the course in full at the time of booking.
By Term – paying the course in three instalments, one for each term (only available for full year courses)
Monthly – this will split the course cost over the remaining months until your course completion date.
Please note these options will depend on how much time there is between the booking date and end of the course.
Q) I’m paying by instalments. Can I change my payment date?
You can log onto your Schooble account by visiting rcs.paritor.com. On your home page you will find your Current Fees. By clicking Amend Schedule you will be able to see your current payment schedule and below you are given the option to change your payment day. Please note the options are from the 1st to the 28th of each month and if you change it to a date beyond the course end date your payments might increase. This is because payment for courses must be complete by the last class.
e.g. – your course finished on the 18th April. You currently pay your fees on the 10th of each month, so you are due to complete your payment for the course on the 10th April. You change it until the 28th of each month. Your instalments will increase to ensure you have paid for the course by 28th March, as the course will already be complete by the 28th April.
Q) How do I change my card details?
You can log onto your Schooble account by visiting rcs.paritor.com. On your home page you should find your Current Fees. By clicking Amend Schedule you will be able to Make a Payment and have the option to amend your card details at that stage.
Q) Is there any financial support?
Yes! We have bursary and scholarship programmes which all students can apply for. Please see the Financial Support page on the website for more details. Please check your eligibility for each prior to applying.
Q) How do I withdraw from the course?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with to confirm in writing that you wish to withdraw. You can read our Cancellation and Refunds policy online to see if you will be eligible for a refund.
You are entitled to a 14-day cooling off period from the date of booking the course in which you will be entitled to a refund (unless the course has been complete in this period).
You should be aware at the time of booking that, out with the statutory 14 day cooling off period, there is no automatic right to cancel, and there will be no refund of fees.
How do I access my course?
Q) How do I access my course?
Q) What is Teams?
Microsoft Teams is a virtual classroom. Your Team is your RCS course and will be comprised of the other students on the course, your tutor, and Short Courses staff.
Q) Do I need Teams account?
Yes! Our online class are delivered through Teams and Zoom, and we require bookers to have access to both these platforms to participate.
On Teams you will be able to view materials the tutor has posted, ask questions, upload any tasks the tutor has set, and access the Zoom codes for each class.
Your Teams account is linked to the email address you supplied in that section of the booking form. To read more about setting up your Teams, please see below.
Q) How do I set up Teams?
Before the course, you will be sent an invite to your Team to the email address you supplied in your booking form.
If you have never used Teams before:
- Click the purple Open in Microsoft Teams box in the email.
- Your internet browser will take you to a Microsoft page that offer to Create account – with the email listed below. Click Next.
- Create a password – and click Next.
- Fill out the remaining account information (date of birth).
- Follow the information to verify your email. Enter the code into the box.
- Fill out the captcha and click Next.
- You will then be taken to an RCS page. Read the permissions and click Accept.
- Once you have clicked Accept, you will be redirected to a page. On the page there will be two options: Download the Windows/Mac app or Use the web app instead. We advise all users to download the app. Follow the steps to do so.
If you have already downloaded the app, a pop up will appear on the screen and you can click Open Microsoft Teams.
- Once you have done this you will either be directed to the online version or the desktop version as selected. You will then be asked to enter your email to sign in. This is the email you received your Teams invitation to, and the account you have just created.
- Enter the password you just created for this account.
- You may have a ‘Welcome to Teams!’ page. Please select Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (Guest) if not already shown. Click Continue.
- At this point – you are in Teams. You should be automatically taken to the RCS Course Team. You will see a General tab, and a Zoom Codes tab. These are channels where the tutors will post the relevant information.
Here is a video of the process if you need a visual aid:
Q) Where is my RCS email account?
As a Short Courses student you are not a matriculated student of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (other than Introduction to Actor Training). You therefore do not have an RCS email account. If you are asked to select the type of Teams you will be using, please click Personal.
Q) Where do I find the Zoom codes for my class?
You will find the codes in the Zoom Codes channel of Teams. You will see it on the left-hand side of your screen, and by clicking on that Channel you’ll see where the Tutor has posted the Zoom code and password for the session.
Please note that the Zoom codes are different for each week. In order to keep all our customers safe online, we require bookers to log into Teams to access the codes. This limits the amount of people who will see the codes and stops them getting forwarded via email. For this reason, we cannot send you the Zoom codes via email.
Q) When will I have access to my course Team?
Once you have been sent the Welcome Information, you will be added to the Teams group. You will receive an automated message from Microsoft Teams notifying you of this. We will aim to send this information out 1 to 2 weeks ahead of the course start date.
Q) Where is my Teams invite?
If you have received your Welcome Information, you should have received your Teams invite. Please check your Junk Mail before emailing us. Remember that the Teams invite will go to the email address you entered for Teams – this may be different to the email address you have listed for communication from us.
If you have not received an email, it may be due to an error in the email provided to us.
Q) I can’t see my RCS Team?
Sometimes Microsoft Teams can get confused. Please sign out and sign back in by clicking your initials at the top right-hand corner. Try clicking the Open Microsoft Teams in the invitation email again. Try logging in via the Microsoft Teams website. If you are unsuccessful, please email email@example.com with screenshots and we will endeavour to help you
Q) How long will I have access to the Team?
You will have access to the Team for up to a week after the course ends. On the day of the final class, we ask that you download any materials and save any links you wish to keep from the Team. One week after the course, we will remove all members from the Team and delete it.
Q) How do I upload something to the Team?
You can either upload a file by posting a message in the General Channel, or you can upload it to the Files section, by clicking the Files button at the top.
You need to wait until the full file is uploaded. For video files this can take a number of minutes. You need to keep the Teams page up while your file uploads. You will see a green line crossing the bottom of the File – only once that has completed is the file fully uploaded – and then you are ready to hit post. Remember to check your file works once it has been uploaded.
Please note that anything you upload to Teams can be seen by your classmates – this is great as it offers the opportunity for peer review as you would in a usual classroom setting. If you would rather send something directly to the tutor, you can email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will pass it along.
Q) Is Teams private?
Your RCS Course Team is an invite-only group. The only people who have access to the Team are the participants, the tutors, and the Short Courses staff.
Please be aware that anything you put on Teams – much like the rest of the internet – can be accessed by other members of the Team. If you are uploading a video for feedback from the group, this can be downloaded by other members. We kindly ask students to only download RCS materials and not those uploaded by classmates.
Your classmates will only see your username on Teams. Many of our classes choose to set up Whatsapp groups or share emails to stay connected outside class times – however this is up to the booker if they choose to share that information.
Q) The password isn’t working on Zoom?
If you are copy and pasting the password, please remember not to include spaces either side. It is best to type the password in manually if you are in doubt.
Remember to check that you are entering the password for the correct date. Each week there is a new Zoom code and password.
Q) The Zoom link won’t open?
If you are using the Zoom link the URL should be hyperlinked. This means that the Zoom link will be underlined and in a different colour. For example: https://zoom.us/. If it is in the same colour as the general text, and isn’t underlined – https://zoom.us/ – it has not been hyperlinked. You need to copy and paste it into your internet browser.
To do this highlight the text – and right click, click copy. Open your browser, go to the search bar, right click, hit paste.
Q) Is it a new code each week?
Yes! This helps ensure the privacy of the code and makes the link more secure. Please check that you have the most up to date code. If you are struggling, please ask for help by posting a message on your Teams page or emailing email@example.com.
Q) Can I do my course on a phone or tablet?
We have found that our online courses work best when you have a screen big enough to see the whole class at once, and the ability to see any shared screens clearly. This generally means that a phone is too small, some tablets might be suitable, but for best participant experience you should use a laptop or desktop computer.
Q) Can I download stuff from the Team?
Please ask your tutor before you download any materials. Any materials downloaded should not be shared without the permission of the tutor. We kindly ask that you do not download the work of other students without their permission.
Q) The tutor shared a class performance – can I put it on social media?
No – as part of our Online Teaching Policy which you agreed to in your booking form, we specify that all performances are for the eyes of the class and their families/friends only. Much like a live ticketed, performance – only those on the day are able to see the work.
This is to respect participants who do not want their image, work, and name shared without their permission.
Q) Are the classes live?
Yes! All our classes are live, and you must participate in real time. We do not record classes, and although there may be tasks to complete off screen/between classes – all our teaching is live.
Q) Can I participate in a different time zone?
Yes, although all our classes are live and in the GMT zone. Please check when the course takes place in your time zone before completing your booking.
Q) Are the classes recorded?
No. Due to GDPR we do not record our classes. If you are going to miss a class, you can ask classmates to recap the class on the Teams page for you. You should also read through the Teams page to see any tasks that have been set, and/or materials from that lesson.
Q) How much space do I need?
If you are attending a Drama course, you will need enough space to lie flat on the floor uninterrupted. This space allows for any breathing exercises or movement work you might participate in. Dance courses will require more space. Film and Production courses are generally desk based. Music courses will require a suitable space for playing your instrument/singing.
We ask students to be aware of their surroundings – make sure there are no trip hazards, and that you are able to take part in any physical activity safely. Additionally, be aware that your background can be seen by the rest of the class – so be sure to hide any personal items you don’t want other to see.
Q) How much noise am I going to make?
This depends on your course. As our classes are live, you are encouraged to participate in conversations much like in person classes. This shouldn’t be louder than an everyday phone conversation.
If your course involves any acting, singing or playing musical instruments, then you will be making more noise.
Q) Do I need any specialist equipment?
Generally, no. All our classes require you to have a device with a working webcam and microphone, and with internet speeds high enough that you can participate in class.
Beyond that, you should have a device capable of recording videos (with audio) and taking pictures. A smart phone is usually sufficient for these tasks.
Q) Is there anything I should be preparing for a course?
Please check the Course Preparation tab of your course webpage. If there is no course preparation tab, then there is generally nothing to prepare. We will also include any course preparation in our Welcome Information email – so make sure to read it thoroughly.
Attending the course
Q) I am going to be absent/late – who do I tell?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to notify us of an absence. You should do this as early as possible so we can assure our administrative staff have updated the registers and made the tutor aware so they can adjust their lesson plans, as necessary.
Please do not private message your tutor or other Short Courses staff on Teams (or email) to notify them of the absence. Most of our staff work varying hours and we cannot guarantee that the person you are messaging will be available to pick up the message in time.
Emailing email@example.com assures that your message will be picked up by staff who are working.
Q) Why do I need to tell you if I’ll be off?
We want our classes to run as smoothly as possible. By telling our staff if you are going to be absent or late, you are ensuring the class can start promptly. It stops tutors wondering if you are late, or not coming, and means that Short Courses staff won’t tag you on Teams or email you.
Q) Why am I being asked to turn my screen on?
Our classes are designed to be participated in live. It is important that our students are able to engage with each other and the tutor.
We completely understand that online learning is difficult for some students. If you suffer from mental health conditions, or a medical condition that causes anxiety, you should mention this in your Medical Information, and can privately message the tutor on Zoom to let them know that you will be sitting with your camera off.
If you need to step away from your screen, or suddenly leave the Zoom – please email firstname.lastname@example.org so, we know that you will no longer be attending that session.
Q) What happens if I miss a class?
If you miss a class, you can ask for a recap from your classmates by posting on the Teams page. You should read the Teams page when you are able to as you will be able to see any tasks or materials that were posted during the last session.
Due to our online teaching policy, we are unable to record our sessions.
Q) Why do I need to wave at the tutor at the start of an online class?
If you have been asked to appear on screen at the start of each class, it is because your child is aged 13 or under. Our Online Teaching Policy – which you agree to in our booking form – specifies that in order to safeguard young people learning online, our tutors must see a parent for a quick wave at the start of class – don’t worry, you won’t be asked to participate, and it only takes a second!
Q) Do I need to stay in the room during my child’s online class?
For all Primary School classes – children ages 4 to 11 – you should remain in the room, or close by, during your child’s online class.
Younger students may need help muting and unmuting their Zoom, they may run into technical difficulties and drop out of the Zoom call – so we need an adult to be present to assist with this. Additionally, our Tutors are not able to ensure student safety as they would normally in the building, so it is good to be around to check your child is working safely.
Q) Will I be asked to participate in my child’s online class?
No – we are keen for the online classes to run as normally as possible. You won’t be asked to participate in any of the activity for your child’s class. We just ask that parents are present to assist with any technical difficulties and make sure their young person is participating safely.
Q) My child has a sibling – can they join in?
We understand that home working and learning means that the family space works a little differently. If your child’s sibling pops into the online class every now and again, that is okay. However, we do ask that parents are around to make sure that this does not detract too much from the students participating in class.
We do run classes for a variety of age ranges and offer a sibling discount. So please look at the website to see if there is a class for their age range.
Feedback from students on our online Composition Summer School 2020
“I received exactly what I was hoping for – knowledge, insight, criticism and inspiration and a clarity about going forward from here.”
“Amazing to be taught by tutors at the top of their profession – a real privilege.”
“The tutorials were really helpful – it was great to get feedback on the draft ideas I had for a piece. The presentations were excellent – really enjoyed hearing from the teaching staff about their compositional processes – with examples of their work.”
“An opportunity to develop your compositional skills and work towards finding your individual voice whatever your previous experience.”
Agnes Allan Bursary
Agnes Allan was a teacher, passionate about inclusion, and this bursary scheme exists to offer support to students to participate in the performing or production arts.
The Agnes Allan Bursary provides some support to students who may require financial assistance to take part in a short course in dance, drama, music, production or screen.
Anyone who wishes to take part in our Short Courses and faces a financial barrier can apply for bursary support to help meet the cost of tuition fees.
More information about the Agnes Allan Bursary.