Digital Music & Composition Lessons

technology meets classical music theory

about

If you’d like to study and master music theory, learn how to write a song, compose and orchestrate a symphony, or simply sharpen your music production skills, I’d love to help you achieve your goals! My name is Cornelis Jordaan and I teach private, 1-on-1 lessons online or in person (in Houten & Utrecht City Center). All ages and all levels are welcome.

During each lesson, we’ll learn or practice a music theory concept and put it to use by composing a musical idea, arranging that idea into a full composition, and then produce a final record using the latest music production technology. Over time your compositions will become more creatively bold, better controlled, and musically richer.

To find out a little more about me, feel free to visit my home page

tuition plans

music theory i

Learn the fundamentals of music such as rhythm, pitch, and timbre. Delve into reading sheet music & midi piano roll. Naturally, one must master the musical scales – major, minor, chromatic, and pentatonic. We then move on to the principles of harmony, creating chords, and simple progressions.

At the end of this course you will be able to write a simple melody in any key, with any scale, and harmonize it using triadic chords

music theory ii

In this module we explore scale modes and how to use them effectively.  You’ll learn how to use scales beyond the major, minor, and pentatonic and progress to writing functional 4-part harmony.

At the end of this module you’ll be able to build more complex chords – dominants, the diminished flavours, and extended chords.

composition & songwriting

Learn the fundamentals of music such as rhythm, pitch, and timbre. Delve into reading sheet music & midi piano roll. Naturally, one must master the musical scales – major, minor, chromatic, and pentatonic. We then move on to the principles of harmony, creating chords, and simple progressions.

At the end of this course you will be able to write a simple melody in any key, with any scale, and harmonize it using triadic chords

arranging & orchestration

In this module, I’ll guide you in the process of constructing a blueprint or schema for your composition. Together we will arrange your musical ideas into a coherent musical form, simple or complex.

We will also explore how to write, arrange and orchestrate for a wide range of different instruments, either symphonic or for a smaller ensemble. You will also learn how to arrange music for smaller ensembles.

Finally, I’ll show you how to prepare your scores for ease of playing

music production

This module focuses on technology! You’ll learn how to set up your own home studio using budget-friendly hardware and software options. You’ll master the the “big 4” of effects – EQ, compression, delays / reverbs, and limiting.

You’ll also learn how to create a realistic and balanced orchestral / band template. Once you have a finished song, you’ll learn how to mix and master a release-ready record.

Finally, you’ll learn about distributing your music, protecting your rights, and collecting your royalties.

enquire & enroll

If you'd like to sign up for lessons, or would simply like to make an appointment to meet with me to discuss lessons, your expectations, or your musical challenges in more detail, do get in touch using the form below.

10 + 3 =

frequently asked questions

which equipment or "gear" do I need for lessons?

I teach online lessons primarily over skype (but any other online video-calling app will work), thus you’ll need a reasonably stable internet connection as well as a headset to be able to communicate. You don’t need a webcam, but it is nice to be able to talk “face to face” during lessons. Other than that the only requirement is some way to notate your music (manuscript paper + pencil, or notation software), and an instrument of any description (a piano, a guitar, a midi keyboard plugged into your computer, you get the idea).

If you are completely new to all this and don’t have any of these things handy, let’s schedule a primer lesson and I’ll walk you through the best choices.

are lessons only for writing in certain genres?

Certainly not. The concepts and techniques I teach are completely genre-agnostic. Unless you are making extremely experimental music that sits on the far fringes, the same principles apply, whether it’s classical, rock, pop, videogame music, electronic, or whatever.

what frequency of lessons is best?

I think that many students would be most comfortable having a lesson every two weeks. During lessons, we will discuss your latest work and exercises in detail and I’ll be giving you more exercises to work on in the coming weeks. Having two weeks to complete assignments typically works out well – there is a bit of a “deadline” but it’s not so stressful.

how much time is required to complete assignments and exercises between lessons?

You learn to compose fluently by writing as much as possible. Too often, especially now in the age of endless YouTube tutorials, one can get stuck absorbing information instead of actually doing the thing you’re trying to master. It feels like productive work, but it gets you nowhere.

Hence, I tend to give my students a lot of work to do in between lessons. Mostly these are short exercises to practice compositional techniques or to sharpen their skills where they feel lacking. It can look like a lot at first but you’ll see that it goes by fast, and as you start noticing results in your own music you’ll no doubt be even more inspired to work on your compositional exercises whenever you have a moment to do so.

What if you don’t manage to complete your homework assignments?

Don’t fret! I won’t kick you off my student roster :), we’ll simply adjust to suit your pace and move forward from there.

do I need to be able to read sheet music?

Yes, and if you can’t, I’ll teach you! Why do I insist on learning to read sheet music? Because it opens up a completely new world of learning opportunities, and reading music from a score is fundamentally different from reading from midi alone – midi was designed for computers to execute upon, while scores were invented for humans to interpret and perform from. This means that reading a score offers totally different insight into a piece of music.