Composing Drama: an introduction to writing opera

Age: 13-18

Group size: 4 to 30

Experience required: Grade 3+

Duration: 2.5 hours to 1 day

Spaces & resources required: One main room with white board with 5-line staves and audio playback, break-out rooms with keyboards/pianos/students' instruments

Objectives: Learn about and create music for voice, expressing emotion and atmosphere

Activity: Working with a composer and a singer, students learn about word setting for stage, analysing opera and musicals then using this learning to create expressive music which communicates drama, emotion and mood. Students' work is workshopped then performed by the the singer in a plenary session.

Links to national curriculum, qualification or other relevant benefits:
National Curriculum Key stage 3 content:
 play and perform confidently in a range of solo and ensemble contexts using their voice, playing instruments musically, fluently and with accuracy and expression
• improvise and compose; and extend and develop musical ideas by drawing on a range of musical structures, styles, genres and traditions
• use staff and other relevant notations appropriately and accurately in a range of musical styles, genres and traditions
• identify and use the inter-related dimensions of music expressively and with increasing sophistication, including use of tonalities, different types of scales and other musical devices
• listen with increasing discrimination to a wide range of music from great composers and musicians
• develop a deepening understanding of the music that they perform and to which they listen, and its history.
GCSE: AQA Unit 1 strands a) & b), Unit 2, Unit 4 Edexcel Unit 2 & Unit 1 AoS 2, OCR Unit B351 composition (singers only), B352 composition or arrangement, Unit B353, Unit B354 AoS4.
A-level: AQA Unit 1 AoS1 & AoS2b, Unit 2B, Unit 4 AoS1, Unit 5B, Edexcel Unit 2 topics 3 & 4, Unit 3, Unit 5 topic 4, Unit 6, OCR Unit G355, Unit G356.
ABRSM / TCL: theory grades 3-5: simple phrase structure, writing a rhythm to words, composing a melody, instruments and voices, voices in score, performance directions

SecondaryEd Scolding