In perfect spring weather, it couldn’t have been more lovely to get up early and travel all the way up the Metropolitan Line, through beautiful Swakeleys Park and along the unexpectedly scenic course of the River Pinn. But I doubt this will cut any ice with the students of Vyners School, who have to make this journey every day bent under heavy schoolbags etc.
This unassuming school in Hillingdon constantly impresses me with its numerous, committed A-level music groups, eight students in year 12 on this visit. All are doing free composition, and I so admire the industrious atmosphere in their class, which could be described as a composition lab where the composers work in a relaxed way on their own projects, with friendly interchanges where necessary.
As often encountered nowadays, the theme of their A-level compositions was music for a film, either a pre-exisiting one, or, more popularly an invented film story. The energy put into creating these original scenarios is remarkable, even before the tricky prospect of composing the score is tackled. A film totally emanating from the composer's ideas is an unlikely prospect in real life – the exact opposite of what usually happens in the film industry, where the musical score is the last thing to be added to a completed film. But it’s a great way of getting young people to think about structure and space in music.