Music Composition Lessonsmusic composition | songwriting | music theory | music production | improvisation
Music Composition Lessons
If you’d like to learn to compose music, extend your songwriting skills, deepen your understanding of music theory, or simply improve your improvisation chops, I’ll help you achieve your goals! I teach private, 1-on-1 online lessons, but if you happen to live in or close to Utrecht, you are welcome to come to my home studio for face-to-face lessons as well.
What to Expect from Lessons
During our online or face-to-face lessons you can expect some or all of the following…
- A wide variety of compositional exercises meant to develop your toolbox to solve musical problems.
- Analysis of other composers’ works. We’ll see what we can learn and apply from inspiring composers throughout history.
- Reading sessions with live musicians – you learn SO much more through this experience than by merely memorizing “rules”.
- Honest and constructive feedback on all of your assignments.
Am I the Right Teacher for you?
We’ll probably be a good match as teacher-student if you are…
- Interested in learning to compose music from scratch, or, if feel stuck at your current level of competency and need some guidance on how to progress further.
- Interested in musical development rather than cool sound design and technical tricks – all the best mixing choices in the world won’t save a poorly composed piece of music!
- Looking for regular and in-depth feedback on your work and enjoy the personal attention of 1-on-1 lessons.
For Just-Starting Musicians30-minute lessons weekly, fortnightly, or monthly
- Suitable for anyone just starting out
- Fundamentals of music – rhythm, pitch, and timbre
- Fluency in reading sheet music & midi roll
- Scales – major, minor, chromatic, pentatonic and more
- Chords, harmony, and simple progressions
- Creating simple but compelling melodies
- Introduction to Counterpoint
- Short musical forms
- Arranging for small ensembles
- Aural training
- Overview of music history
- Setting up your own home studio
For Developing Composers & Writers60-minute lessons weekly, fortnightly, or monthly
- Suitable for students with ambitions of writing more complex music
- In depth workings of scales and scale degrees
- Functional 4-part harmony and simple to complex progressions
- Creating compelling melodies with continuous development
- Species Counterpoint
- Creating coherent longer form musical structures
- Orchestrating your ideas for a full orchestra
- Notating your music correctly for orchestral players
- Score study and transcription of old masterworks
- Getting the most out of music distribution, sales, and licensing
- Scoring to Picture
- Developing interactive & adaptive music
- Opportunities to get your music read and performer by live musicians
Inquire & 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.
I am available after hours as well to accommodate adult students who work full time. Let’s make some music!
Q : "What equipment or gear do I need for lessons?"
A : 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. 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.
Q : "Are lessons only for writing in certain genres?"
A : Nope! The concepts and techniques I teach are completely genre-agnostic. Unless you are making extremely experimental music which sits of the far fringes, the same principles apply, whether it’s classical, rock, pop, videogame music, electronic, or whatever.
Q : "What frequency of lessons is best?"
Q : 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.
Q : "How much time is required to complete assignments and exercises between lessons?"
Q : I firmly believe in learning by doing. Too often, especially now in the age of endless YouTube tutorials, one can get stuck absorbing information instead of actually doing a thing. 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.
Q : "Do I need to be able to read sheet music?"
A : 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.