Breathing World competition FAQ’s

Breathing World is a nationwide competition aimed at young composers aged 12 to 18 years in partnership with Laura Wright and run by DSWF. The competition is open from Thursday 9th September 2021 until 5pm (UK time) on the the 11th November 2021. It provides a chance for younger people to harness their creativity and use the arts to raise awareness about conservation and environmental issues. For more information on the Breathing World competition and how it came about, click here and to enter this exciting youth composer competition click here. Below are some of the competition FAQ’s, if you have any further questions having reviewed all the available information, please contact the DSWF team on events@davidshepherd.org.

Who can enter Breathing World?

The Breathing World competition is open to composers of all types of music who reside in the UK and are aged between 12-18 years of age on the closing date of 11th November 2021 (5pm UK time). 

The work should be up to 5 minutes in length when performed at the time signature set.

Which genre of music should this Work fit under?

All genres of music are encouraged. In order for the judges to compare all Works submitted fairly and in order to perform the winning Work on 11 March, DSWF has asked that all submissions are written for SATB (soprano, alto, tenor & bass voices). Variants of this scoring will certainly be considered including the addition of a solo line for mezzo-soprano if so desired.

What do you mean you will help orchestrate and arrange my Work after submission?

If you believe your work could be orchestrated (accompanied by an orchestra or orchestral instruments) or sung by more than 4 different types of voices (not just SATB) but you are not sure how to write for a fuller choir or for the various instruments that you wish to hear in your piece, or if you don’t know how to write the music down on manuscript paper, we have a team of professionals to help you should your Work be chosen as the winner of DSWF’s first Breathing World competition. It is important you tell is about your musical aspirations in the description paragraph that accompanies your submission.

What are the judges looking for?

The judges are looking for not only cleverly written music with lyrics that are truly inspired by the Composer’s love of nature, but also a Work that really talks to its audience about conservation through its live and recorded performances. The judges will want to find a creative writer who genuinely loves the world in which they write and who is willing to be bold and to be heard.

I can’t write music on leger lines but I have GarageBand software and have an idea for a 4-piece song

If you have Sibelius or other music notation software, it would be useful to see a score of some sort, however it is not at all essential. Our judges will certainly listen to audio only submissions. Should you be successful, our team of experts can help you write out the music from your audio if, for example, you need the singers to read notes to perform your piece.

I don’t have a piece of music for four voices but I can write for voice, guitar, bass and drums

In order to judge from a level playing field, the Work must be a piece of vocal music written for a minimum of four different voices. If you wish to write for more than 4 vocal ranges or add instrumentation to your 4 different voices, that would be fine.

What does S.A.T.B mean?

SATB are the initials of the four vocal ranges in a Choir. They stand for Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass. Many choirs are made up of these four voices. Sometimes they sing in unison and sometimes they sing in harmony. 

My song is for two female voices and two male voices but I’m not sure they’re SATB exactly

Don’t worry too much about fitting into any SATB rule box on this occasion. A composition which works with a mixture of voices is what the judges are looking for.

Does my composition have to be 5 minutes long exactly or can it be less?

No. Your composition can be shorter. We just ask that compositions are not more than 5 minutes in length. 

What if my composition is more than 5 minutes long?

In order to judge everyone’s work fairly and due to constraints to perform and record the Work live, the Work must be 5 minutes in length or less. A piece of vocal music which is more than 5 minutes in length cannot be considered unfortunately.

Can I submit a .wav file of my Work?

Due to its limited charitable resources, DSWF ask for your audio file to be uploaded as a digitally compressed file i.e. as an MP3 file please. Make sure your file is of a decent bit rate (ideally 160 kbps or 192 kbps). 

I’ve got a couple of SATB compositions I’ve written that I’d like to submit. Is that OK?

Yes but they must have been written in the last 5 year. The maximum number of entries per person is 3. Please submit each Work separately using separate application forms, separate audio files and/or scores. Each piece must be unpublished and original, having been inspired by nature and you must be the sole author and owner of the copyright of both the music and any lyrics.  

To read more about Breathing World, click here and to enter the competition click here.