British Journal of Music Education

Dunwich Revisited: collaborative composition and performance with new technologies

Jonathan Savage a1 and Mike Challis a2


Dunwich Revisited was a curriculum-based music project run at Debenham CEVC High School between December 1999 and March 2000. All pupils in Years 7, 8 and 9, together with a Year 10 GCSE group, participated in the composition of an electroacoustic piece based on Dunwich (a place with a remarkable history on the east coast of Suffolk). A distinctive feature of the project was the use of a range of technologies to compose, develop and perform musical ideas. The final piece was performed by thirty-five pupils at the Celebration of Schools' Music held at Snape Maltings Concert Hall on 7 March 2000.

This article shares insights from this curriculum project drawn from a range of qualitative data collected by Jonathan Savage, the Head of Music, and Mike Challis, an electroacoustic composer who is also a member of the school staff. These insights are placed within the context of other recent research evidence describing the relationships between composition, performance and listening as prescribed in the English National Curriculum for music. The article considers how these technologies, some old and some new, can have an impact on music teaching and learning in the classroom environment.