Making composition accessible to all

Young Composer Project

Visiting Composition Tutor and Young Composers Project Leader Dr Kirsty Devaney has carried out research on how music education can play a role in addressing gender inequality in music composition.

Composition remains a male-dominated field within Western music. Through the analysis of two education schemes for composition: Equity in Composing led by Sibelius Academy University of the Arts, Helsinki; and the Young Composers Project at RBC; the research sought to better understand how music education can play a role in addressing and alleviating gender inequality in music composing.

The research discusses three topics related to inequality in composition: Challenging narrow perceptions of ‘The Composer’; addressing the lack of diverse role models; and introducing diverse pedagogical approaches when composing.

Kirsty set up the Young Composers Project when she graduated from RBC in 2013, after recognising a gap in provision for young people. One of the core aims of the project is to create an inclusive space and community where young people from diverse backgrounds can meet, learn from each other, and create new music together.

The scheme has run for nearly ten years and has supported many young composers to take their next step in their composition journey, including young women and non-gender binary people.

Kirsty said: “It has been great to be able to share some of the learnings and practices we have developed at the project through the research paper and on the Music Teachers Podcast. I believe the more we can share best practice within music education and talk about issues pertaining to equality, diversity and inclusion, the more we can work together to alleviate barriers and discriminatory practices.”

Read more about the study here and listen to Kirsty on the Music Teachers Association’s podcast discussing the study here (episode 89).

Return to the previous page.