Award-winning business I Can Compose provides music composition courses and resources for teachers, students and schools. Designed by music teachers, for music teachers, the online platform offers step-by-step guides on different aspects of composition, with downloadable resources to help teachers prepare lesson plans quickly so they can spend more time with their students.

Founder and music teacher Rachel Shapey spent 12 years in the classroom before setting up I Can Compose to address key challenges, including a lack of high quality teaching materials, an absence of clear teaching structures to help students compose creatively, and poor teacher confidence in the specialist area of composition.

Creative Catalyst awards support business innovation in the creative industries. I Can Compose intends to use the £50,000 award to develop more courses and build up its Classroom Access Plan, which allows teachers to give each of their students access to all available courses from just £8 per learner.

Rachel says: “Composing is a key part of the KS3 National Curriculum and GCSE and A-Level Music specifications. It’s an essential skill for individuals who want to pursue a career in the music industry.

“A 50% reduction in government funding for music in higher education has contributed a decline in students pursuing the subject. Since 2008, the number of students taking GCSE Music in England has fallen by around 38% to 33,795, and there’s been a 44% reduction in UK students taking Music at A-Level since 2011.

“These educational issues pose a significant economic threat, because the creative industries contribute over £100 billion to the UK economy annually. This cannot be sustained in light of the impending skills deficit.

“We’re thrilled to win this award, which will allow us to grow the business and reach more students. Our mission is to inspire the next generation of composers and both reignite interest in music as a viable career path and reinstate its value as a vital creative industry.”

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