Teaching

...I would like to express my gratitude to Chris Best, my composition tutor, for his encouragement and support.... His inspirational tutorials and enlightened seminars have been of a great value for my personal development as a young aspiring composer...

former student Kateryna Padlyevs’Ka

...Incredibly passionate about his craft and willing to go over and above for students. Always available for advice and feedback. Just an absolute pleasure to be taught by.

student statement for Falmouth University Students' Union 'You're Brilliant' awards 2019

Background

I have had over thirty years of experience in education work. After cutting my teeth on adult education work, I went on to design and run the country's first H.N.D. and BA Degree courses in composition at Coventry University. In 1998, I became senior lecturer and subsequently Reader in Music Composition at Dartington College of Arts in South Devon. In September 2010, I relocated to Falmouth University in Cornwall. I have twice been Musical Director of the Composers/ Choreographers Exchange at the South Bank in London and have conducted similar workshops in manchester, Spain, Holland, Sweden and Malta. I also co-directed the Music and Dance Exchange (m&de) at Dartington College with internationally acclaimed choreographer Emilyn Claid.

With former student Catherine Hornig. Photo courtesy Ella Cross

Lecturing

As a former 'Reader in Music Composition' at Dartington College of Arts and now Senior Lecturer and Head of Composition at Falmouth University, I have given tutorials and seminars in contemporary composition practice, lectures in many aspects of new music and extensive performance coaching. I teach at undergraduate, masters and doctoral level and have delivered numerous guest lectures at home and abroad.

I identify close connections between my teaching and creative work. Over the years many of my compositions have been either written for students and colleagues, or performed by them. I have consistently drawn upon the colleges' wealth of unusual instruments (always a goldmine for the composer) including a range of Ghanaian drums and percussion and a Balinese Gamelan orchestra. I encourage students to challenge the limitations of their own instruments, by exploring non-standard tunings or playing methods.

Music and Dance Workshops

Having participated in the 'Composers and Choreographers Exchange' at the South Bank Centre in 1996, I went on to become its music director for two years and from there continued similar work in Madrid and Manchester. Between 2005 and 2007 I worked alongside the choreographer Emilyn Claid, running the annual Music and Dance Exchange at Dartington College. Plans are ongoing to introduce further collaborative workshops in Cornwall from 2020.

Mentoring and Tutoring

I can offer a wide range of workshops and lectures in composition related activity covering all age groups from Year 12 upwards, either as one-off events or as a sequential package. I am also available for private composition coaching, mentoring or consultation work including help with score/part-writing, questions of orchestration, notation, layout etc. For availability and rates, or to discuss your ideas and needs, please use the Contact page.