Composer & Laboratory Festival: Writing for Keyboard Percussion

Presented by Co-Artistic Directors Jenni Brandon and
Matthew Coley of Heartland Marimba

Winter/Spring 2021

3 Weekends of Group Sessions | 3 Read-Through Events |
Private & Group Composition Lessons | 
Virtual Conversation Series on Collaboration | Two World Premiere Concerts
Deadline to apply: January 25, 2021

To Register:

  • The Composer Laboratory and Festival brings together composers and percussionists from around the world in this unique setting to collaborate and connect in writing new works for keyboard percussion instruments including Marimba, Vibraphone, Xylophone, Metallophones (Glockenspiel, Chimes, Crotales).
  • Composers will participate online in an interactive setting throughout winter and spring of 2021 where composers will work closely with Co-Artistic Directors Matthew Coley, percussionist/composer and Jenni Brandon, composer, as well as members of Heartland Marimba and other guest percussionists.
  • Go in-depth into the nuts and bolts of writing for these instruments, and get to write etudes and a new work to be premiered by these percussionists. 

Weekend intensives, private composition lessons and read-throughs of new works will take place throughout the winter/spring 2021.


CLF2021 is open to all composers who have previous experience writing music and are interested in learning to write for the keyboard percussion instruments.

 Here are details as to what to expect in this multi-month intensive:

  • Weekend classes 
    • (January 29-31, February 5-7, March 12-14, May 7) – Friday evenings, Saturday and Sundays include morning and afternoon sessions. 
    • Topics include:
      The Nuts and Bolts of writing for the Keyboard Percussion Instruments
        • Marimba, Vibraphone, Xylophone, Metallophones (Glockenspiel, Chimes, Crotales)
        • Techniques unique to each instrument including mallet and extended techniques
  • Listening Party: Score Study and Listening Sessions
        • A deeper dive into repertoire for these instruments
        • Discussions on form, composition tools, techniques

  • Read-Through Fridays and Breakout Sessions (Fridays February 26, April 16, April 23)
        • 3 Group Read-through Sessions of Etudes and drafts of new works 
        • Members of Heartland Marimba and guest percussionists will read through selections of drafts of etudes and new works
          • Group sessions with valuable feedback for all composers – a great way for composers to learn more about the do’s and don’ts of writing for the instruments 
      • Hot Licks! Composer Conversations 
        • Discussions on time management, collaboration, the business of music and making a career out of being a composer
  • Score Preparation
  • Private composition sessions with Jenni to support composers in writing:
    Assigned 30-second etudes for specific instruments and techniques
    New work for Keyboard Percussion instruments to be premiered during Spring/Summer 2021. 
    Works will be considered for future publication with HMPublications.
  • Virtual Conversation Series on Collaboration 
    • Online Public forum conversations with guest composers and music organizations throughout the Winter/Spring 2021.
  • Final concerts of the world premiere of new works and etudes performed by members of Heartland Marimba and guest percussionists.

All sessions take place on Zoom or Facebook Live 

  • Deadline to apply: January 25, 2021
  • Deposit at time of application: $100 (Payment plans and limited scholarships available) 
  • Cost for participation in the Composer Laboratory and Festival: $850

Registration opens December 15th.  To register visit

Please send any questions to