Having been introduced to the widest potential of creative music-making while studying with Nigel Osborne at Edinburgh University, Jennifer has gained an enviable reputation as a composer committed to working in a variety of educational and community settings. Her work has taken her to schools across Scotland, adult training centres, prisons, universities and colleges, and has given her a breadth of insight into the creative process which continues to have a direct impact on her own creative practice.
She has devised creative residencies for primary schools relating to many areas of the curriculum, including world religion, geography, history, science and art.
Working over a two-year period in HMP Saughton, she developed a music and animation project for long-term prisoners in collaboration with Edinburgh College of Art, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the University of Edinburgh’s Music Faculty. She guided a group of 20 prisoners through every stage of composing a soundtrack comprising songs, soundscapes and instrumental music. Her work continued there over several years, supervising Music students on placement within the prison.
She has worked for many of Scotland’s leading arts organisations, developing the compositional skills of professional performers, students in Higher Education, arts practitioners, and school children, and has devised a compositional methodology now in use in many schools in Scotland. She has taught composition to individual students for nearly 20 years, within universities, music schools and privately, and she continues to teach at all levels of the education system.
In 2010, Jennifer returned to her work within the Scottish Prison Service, devising and delivering a four-month creative project in HMP Shotts, for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Scottish Opera. The project, ‘From Start to Finish….How to Build an Opera’ was a major strand in a nationwide initiative devised to look specifically at how arts intervention can have a positive impact upon the rehabilitation of offenders. Her work was necessarily sensitive, focused and encouraging of each prisoner’s contribution. Jennifer guided the group as they improvised recitative, arias and choruses, transcribing the melodic lines and chord progressions as they developed. Every decision was collaborative, and the music evolved as the rehearsals progressed.
Jennifer’s approach to this creative work is very much about letting the individual’s voice be heard, through developing their musical skills and awareness, and thus allowing each student to develop their own musical expression.