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Music Composition Lessons, Courses, and Academic Programs

The process of learning music composition can include various educational forms. You can choose lessons, private or online, you can participate in a variety of courses, also local or online, and you can choose to participate in any number of academic programs.

Music Composition Lessons

If you are interested in private music composition lessons, I suggest you seek and find a local composer. You can also have a few online lessons with me, just to get you started, and thereafter, I can help you find an appropriate teacher in your area.

Where can you find a local composer willing to give you lessons?

I'd suggest checking the local orchestra(s) and the local universities.

Just give them a call and find out if they have a composer-in-residence. Some composers, however, especially the composers-in-residence at major symphony orchestras are very busy and very expensive. $100/hr is not unreasonable.

If you are seeking assistance in notating songs, I invite you to purchase my eBook: Learn How to Write YOUR Songs Down.

Music Composition Courses

Again, you can choose between online and private classes.

Online Music Composition Courses

Here are a few links to schools providing online classes related to music composition.

    --I don't see composition as available online

    ---Supposedly, the Boston College of Fine Arts has an online program, but I can't find the link at this time.

    --This looks like a well-thought out concept, and it is much less expensive than Berklee's courses.

In-person Music Composition Courses

For Music Composition Courses in your area, check the listings of your local colleges and universities. I suggest calling the university and talking with the teacher/professor. A good preparatory exercise for speaking with a potential new teacher is the free music composition lesson at this site.

Academic Programs in Music Composition

If you are committed to making music composition your career, then you can choose to pursue an academic degree in music composition. I recommend interviewing the school and the composer thoroughly. How many of the graduates of their composition program go on to become successful in the realm of music composition? Often, even very good programs and composition professors will leave "commercial success" up to the student. Often, the programs can make you into a skilled composer, but they will not help you with job placement or with the acquisition of "cushy composition jobs."

If you are already a professional, seeking to hone in on your compositional craft, going back to school may be "just the ticket," yet, without proper planning, you might just go broke and be "chasing a dream." That's why this site is here, music is so incredibly powerful, and it has such a forceful call, that one is often willing to risk everything, just to go and get "the real stuff," just to go and get what one feels "one is missing."

I urge you to gain some perspective over your wonderful urge to create pursue, but not to get lost, to jump in the water, but not without knowing how to swim.

If you are young and considering entering a college composition program, I highly suggest that you start gathering as much success-related information as possible. I suggest that you make it an absolute priority to be financially independent while pursuing your composition career...or at least make financial independence your goal for when you graduate. Do not enter into a composition program and then go looking for a "composition job" or a job as a producer...or whatever. Please, do not go into an academic program in music composition "blind." Yes, music can be blinding, but please, don't be blinded.

You may wind up in the best composition program in the country, and you may become a great composer. That does not guarantee an economic subsistence even at the most rudimentary level.

If your parents are nervous about supporting your desire to get a composition degree...I urge that you understand them, and that you start quelling their fears by taking your financial future into you own hands. You may need to purchase additional books, books on success in the music industry, or books on "how to protect your intellectual property," because your university may not provide some of the most essential information for your financial survival as a composer. You can address these issues, and you can become financially successful as a composer. I urge you to go through your program of study and include this concept/challenge/question in your education:

  1. How you will be financially independent as a composer/musician?

I urge you to treat that concept/challenge/question as a separate course...I urge you to give yourself homework assignments and allot a specific number of hours per week to creating a secure answer to the question. If your answer is "I'll just be famous," OK, but will that fame happen instantly when you graduate? Why will you be famous? Who what when where why how?