The 7 Best Music Composition Courses for Beginners

Published: June 27, 2024

The editor’s top choice is Marc Jovani’s music composition momentum program, which covers essential topics like composition fundamentals, film scoring skills, Pro Tools, and working with a live orchestra.

Its structured curriculum, hands-on projects, and direct interaction with Hollywood professionals provide invaluable real-world experience, making it the best choice for aspiring film and video game composers.

Music composition is the creation of new pieces of music.

Music composers create scores for many industries, including film, games, animation, advertising, and theater. Their work requires creativity in writing original songs, harmonizing sounds, and playing instruments.

However, many people can find this too challenging and give up before they figure out the basics. Therefore, you must be well-equipped to enter this industry and pursue a career as a composer.

According to Comparably, the salaries of music composers in the US range from $19,468 to $180,407, and the average is $42,147

So, to become a professional music composer, start by learning composition techniques.

In this post, we will explore the 7 best music composition courses to help you acquire the skills and knowledge to develop a better understanding of theory and how to create interesting harmonic progressions and melodic lines.

List of the 7 Top-Ranked Music Composition Classes

Here’s the list of top-rated music composition courses:

  1. The Music Composition Momentum Program: This is the editor’s best choice; it covers essential aspects of music composition, including orchestration and film scoring. It provides hands-on experience with digital audio workstations and practical opportunities to collaborate with peers, enhancing your learning experience.
  2. Music Composition Masterclass: The best budget-friendly option for those students who want to develop a compositional voice through in-depth learning of music theory and practical composition techniques. The course format is flexible, offering both online and in-person classes.
  3. The Fundamentals of Musical Composition: The most comprehensive course emphasizes learners’ exploration of melody, harmony, rhythm, and form with a structured curriculum that includes assignments and feedback.
  4. Music Composition Course 101: The best self-paced course that teaches music composition’s fundamental principles, myths, theory, and techniques. Practical assignments and instructor feedback enhance the learning experience, while access to DAWs ensures students develop essential skills.
  5. Music Composition Course 1: It is the best course for advanced learners, as the curriculum includes orchestration and arranging, with Daws’s hands-on experience, a supportive community, and feedback from peers and professionals from the industry.
  6. The Pillars of Composition: This is a full-time course that provides knowledge about melody, harmony, rhythm, and form. Learners receive high-quality instruction and valuable insights into music composition.
  7. Music Composition Course: The best intermediate course for learners, it offers insights into unique interval theory techniques, which are compatible with prior writing and reading music knowledge. The course provides access to resources such as recording studios and software (DAWs).

Our Criteria for Choosing Music Composition Programs

We have a well-defined set of criteria for choosing music composition courses. We ensure that these courses align with your educational and career goals and provide you with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the industry.

Here are the criteria on which we evaluated our music composition courses.

  • Course Curriculum: We evaluated the course curriculum to ensure it covers all the essential topics, such as music theory, orchestration, digital audio workstations (DAWs), and writing for different instruments and ensembles.
  • Instructor Expertise: We looked for courses taught by experienced composers or music professionals with a strong learning track record. We reviewed their backgrounds, compositions, and teaching philosophies to ensure they align with your goals and interests. An instructor with industry experience better prepares you for music composition.
  • Course Format: We considered the course’s flexibility in terms of scheduling, format (online, hybrid, or in-person), and pacing (part-time or full-time). Online and hybrid courses offer greater flexibility, allowing you to balance your studies with other commitments.
  • Practical Opportunities: We looked for courses that offered practical opportunities to collaborate with other musicians, perform your compositions, or have your work reviewed by peers and professionals.
  • Resources and Support: We checked if the course provides access to relevant resources such as recording studios, practice rooms, software, and musical instruments. Support services such as academic advising, career counseling, and technical support are also essential for completing the course and beyond.
  • Accreditation and Reputation: We reviewed courses accredited or offered by reputable institutions or experts to open more opportunities in music composition. Accreditation ensures that the course meets certain educational standards and that employers and other educational institutions will recognize your qualifications.
  • Affordability and Value: We checked the course prices and evaluated whether the investment aligns with your budget and financial situation. Compare the potential benefits, such as career opportunities and earning potential, to determine if the course offers good value for money.
  • Graduate Student Stories: We looked into the success stories of alumni. Are they working in the music industry or achieving success in their chosen field? Alumni success can also indicate the quality of the network you will be joining and the potential opportunities for mentorship and collaboration.
  • Industry Connections and Internship Opportunities: We looked for courses that provided networking with industry professionals, internships, or placements. The connections made during the lessons will be invaluable for finding job opportunities and gaining practical experience.

7 Best Music Composition Lessons – Detailed Review

1. The Music Composition Momentum Program – The Editor’s Best Choice for Beginners

momentum - what's new what's coming

The editor’s perspective on this course

The Music Composition Momentum program, led by Marc Jovani, is an intensive six-month course that guides students through the fundamentals of composition, the revision process, and working with a live orchestra.

The program’s structured approach, rigorous curriculum, and access to industry professionals set it apart from other online music courses.

The program’s first half focuses on essential film scoring skills, including learning Pro Tools and understanding the basics of scoring a movie versus a scene.

The latter half explores advanced techniques like scene spotting, score creation, and working with a live orchestra.

The course videos are high-quality, with clear audio and visuals. The live classes provide real-time interaction and immediate feedback, which enhances the learning experience.

It is a one-of-a-kind masterclass that rotates talent and allows students to gain niche insights from experts in specific areas, providing a more personalized learning experience.

The course emphasizes technical skills and real-world knowledge, such as contract negotiations and communication with directors, often overlooked in traditional music education.

The program offers extensive reference materials, including detailed lecture notes, scores, and compositions from professional projects, as well as in-depth guides on software tutorials.

The direct interaction with top industry professionals in Hollywood is invaluable. This network can be crucial for aspiring composers looking to break into the competitive field of film scoring.

The Momentum program includes numerous assignments and quizzes designed to test understanding and practical application of the material.

The individualized assignment revisions ensure that students receive personalized feedback.

Also, the course provides access to a supportive network, a community of peers, and mentors who provide ongoing support.

The program’s cost might be a barrier for some aspiring composers, but the quality and opportunities are worth the investment.

Overall, it is the best course for aspiring film and video game music composers, with access to industry professionals and a focus on practical skills.

Source: YouTube

Who should take this course?

This course is for aspiring composers who want to break into the film and video game industries, especially those seeking intensive training, real-world experience, and direct interaction with Hollywood professionals.

What topics are covered?

The topics covered in this course include:

  1. Fundamentals of Composition
  2. Practical Film Scoring Skills
  3. Working with Pro Tools
  4. Understanding the Revision Process
  5. Scene Spotting
  6. Score Creation
  7. Working with a Live Orchestra
  8. Real-World Skills in the Music Industry

Who is the instructor?

marc jovani is a distinguished composer, educational innovator, and mentor in the music industry. he has earned acclaim in various musical composition arenas

Marc Jovani is a distinguished composer, educational innovator, and mentor in the music industry. He has earned acclaim in various musical composition arenas.

He has worked on 30+ films on platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, ION, and SyFy and has extended his work to video games, TV series, and shorts. His far-reaching influence is a testament to his talent and versatility.

He is also the founder of Cinematic Composing, a pioneering educational platform that has transformed the careers of 10,000+ students worldwide since 2017.

He also oversees the transformative Momentum program, sharing his industry expertise and practical knowledge with up-and-coming composers.

He creates a rich learning environment that equips students with the skills to make their mark in music composition.

Alongside an impressive team of Hollywood professionals, he guides learners through an innovative, step-by-step approach to mastering the art of scoring.

From transitioning aspiring composers to industry-ready professionals, he is committed to revolutionizing how musicians learn, create, and thrive.

Does the instructor offer other courses?

No.

Does the course offer hands-on projects or assignments to reinforce learning?

Hands-on projects and assignments in the Momentum program include:

  • Score Creation for Tailored Scenes: Composing music for specific film or game scenes.
  • Individualized Assignment Revisions: Receiving and incorporating feedback from instructors on compositions.
  • Real-World Projects: Working on actual industry projects to apply learned skills.
  • Weekly Live Scoring-to-Picture Sessions: Creating and refining scores in real-time under professional guidance.

What are the prerequisites to study?

A basic understanding of music composition and technology is recommended.

What does social media sentiment tell us?

According to the reviews and discussions on Reddit, this course offers insights from industry experts, and each submission is critiqued while giving suggestions to improve each person’s work individually.

Another user said he would recommend this program as it was very intensive and best. It included additional materials, weekly Q&As, mentorship, pre-recorded videos, and more.

reviews and discussions on reddit, this course offers insights from industry experts, and each submission is critiqued while giving suggestions to improve each person's work individually.

Source: Reddit

As per the comments on the YouTube video, the instructor has been praised for his content delivery. While some users found it helpful, some couldn’t enroll in the previous program due to financial constraints.

comments on the youtube video the instructor has been praised for his content delivery

Source: YouTube

2. Music Composition Masterclass – The Best Budget-friendly Option

mike verta’s music composition 1 masterclass is one of the most budget-friendly beginner options. Its affordable lessons provide an in-depth insight into music composition

The editor’s perspective on this course

Mike Verta’s Music Composition Masterclass for Beginners. It offers in-depth insight into music composition.

The course focuses on achieving realistic and dynamic composition, equipping students with practical techniques and insider tips for composing and producing cinematic music.

The extensive curriculum covers melody writing, pattern and rhythm techniques, and practical application by replicating and comparing music.

The live sessions of 3+ hours provide hands-on experience in recording cues in various styles.

The practical rhythm techniques taught during the lessons using simple concepts enhance the application of percussive patterns to melodic lines.

Using real-life examples and comparing student work with original sheet music helps students understand and improve their composition skills.

The course videos are highly engaging and well-produced. Mike Verta’s informal teaching style makes the sessions feel more like collaborative workshops than traditional classes.

The course includes helpful reference materials and templates that complement the video lessons, making it easy for beginners to understand and apply the concepts.

Students are encouraged to apply what they’ve learned by creating their own music and comparing it to professional examples.

However, the course assumes a basic understanding of music theory and composition, which might be challenging for beginners.

Overall, it is the most affordable music production lesson, with interactive and real-time feedback from a cinematic music composition expert instructor.

Who should take this course?

This course is for beginner-level students who understand basic music theory. They should take it to enhance their cinematic composition skills and gain practical, real-world insights into cinematic music production.

What topics are covered?

The topics covered in this budget-friendly Masterclass include:

  • Fundamentals of Music Theory: This course will help you gain a solid understanding of music theory principles, including scales, chords, and harmonic progressions.
  • Melody Writing: Learn techniques for crafting compelling melodies that capture listeners’ emotions and attention.
  • Harmony and Counterpoint: Explore the relationship between different musical voices and how to create harmonically rich compositions.
  • Orchestration Techniques: Discover how to effectively arrange and orchestrate musical ideas for various instruments and ensembles.
  • Workflow Optimization: Learn strategies for streamlining the composition process to enhance creativity and productivity.
  • Creative Expression: Develop your unique musical voice and learn to communicate emotions and ideas effectively through music.
  • Analytical Listening: Cultivate the ability to critically analyze and deconstruct existing compositions to understand their structure and techniques.
  • Real-World Applications: Learn the practical aspects of composing music for different mediums, including film, television, and video games.

Who is the instructor?

mike verta is a multi-talented american artist, respected composer, orchestrator, and educator renowned for his contributions to various creative fields.<br>

Mike Verta is a multi-talented American artist, respected composer, orchestrator, and educator renowned for his contributions to various creative fields.

With decades of experience in the industry, Verta has composed music for numerous films and television shows, including notable titles like Wicked Game, Forbidden Warrior, and Return of Pink Five.

His involvement in short films and acting appearances also highlights his diverse talents and creative capabilities.

In his Composition Masterclass, students benefit from the knowledge, guiding them through essential topics such as music theory, melody writing, orchestration techniques, and real-world examples, ensuring a comprehensive learning experience for aspiring composers.

Does the instructor offer other courses?

The instructor offers a range of Masterclass courses, including

  • The Music of Aliem
  • Scoring 2
  • Ethnic & World
  • On Horner
  • Composition 2
  • Action Scenes
  • Scoring 1
  • Orchestration 1
  • Putting It All Together Case Study: The Race
  • Rhythm & PERC
  • Here’s Johnny, Too
  • Orchestration 2
  • Needful Things
  • The Terminator
  • Kickstarter
  • Here’s Johnny!
  • The Business
  • The Horror
  • Counterpoint 1
  • Impressions
  • All That Jazz
  • Secret Weapons
  • Virtuosity
  • How to Score a Film in 7 Days
  • The Mod Squad
  • Theory 1
  • Simply Silvestri
  • Structure
  • 50 Years of Star Trek
  • Film School 101
  • Orchestration 3 – Presets
  • A Better Main Title
  • Template Balancing
  • Live Symphonic Brass
  • Jerry Goldsmith
  • Cartoons & Comedy
  • Composition 4
  • So 80’s
  • Chord Voicing
  • Playing By Eye
  • The Elfman Cometh
  • Piano Lesson 1

Does the course offer hands-on projects or assignments to reinforce learning?

The Composition Masterclass offers hands-on projects that involve composing music pieces or applying learned techniques to practical exercises.

What are the prerequisites to study?

A basic understanding of music theory and some experience with music composition are essential.

What does social media sentiment tell us?

According to a discussion on Reddit, users highly recommend Mike Verta’s Masterclass as the best choice for learning composition and orchestration classes.

according to a discussion on reddit, users highly recommend mike verta’s masterclass as the best choice for learning composition and orchestration classes.

Source: Reddit

According to the comments on YouTube, the users stated that they learned the process of composing, and it fueled them to move forward.

Some stated the compositions as incredibly inspiring and a creative way to approach composing when writer’s block occurs.

according to the comments on youtube, the users stated that they learned the process of composing, and it fueled them to move forward.

Source: YouTube

Positive words about the course were shared on an online discussion forum, where one learner stated that Composition Masterclass was a high-worth course.

positive words about the course were shared on an online discussion forum, where one learner stated that composition masterclass 1 was a high-worth course.

Source: Vi-Control

3. The Fundamentals of Musical Composition – The Most Comprehensive Course With a Structured Approach

the instructor delivers clear and concise explanations via video lectures, providing real-world examples integrated with concepts.

The editor’s perspective on this course

The Fundamentals of Musical Composition is the most comprehensive course, led by Jon Brantingham. It is a well-structured course designed to provide a foundation for beginners and intermediate composers.

It covers melody, harmony, form, and ornamentation through video lessons, a detailed workbook, and practical exercises.

The course curriculum is structured to ensure a logical progression.

It breaks down the composition process into manageable steps, starting with basic melody creation and gradually introducing more complex concepts like harmony, form, and modulation.

Starting with simple techniques to craft a melody, the learners explore aspects of using chord tones, passing tones, and neighbor tones to add variety.

Moreover, the learners are introduced to fundamental harmony and create chord progressions while exploring different forms and structures of musical themes.

As the course progresses, the instructor discusses voice leading, harmonization, embellishing techniques, and composing in Ternary form.

At the end of the course, learners must complete a capstone project. This project allows them to apply all their learned skills to compose bagatelles, providing a practical and creative demonstration.

The instructor delivers clear and concise explanations via video lectures, providing real-world examples integrated with concepts.

The course includes a comprehensive 96-page workbook that guides students through each exercise with detailed instructions and tips.

These exercises are designed with a clear purpose and step-by-step process to ensure students learn to create music composition.

However, the self-paced nature of the course requires a high level of self-discipline and motivation.

Students can post their compositions on community forums and receive feedback, creating a collaborative learning environment.

Also, the private podcast feed offers an alternative way to revisit the course content.

Overall, the course is detailed with resources and lessons on composing music and provides lifetime access for learners to benefit from this invaluable opportunity.

Who should take this course?

This course is ideal for beginners with no experience composing music and advanced-intermediate composers who want to deepen their understanding of musical composition.

What topics are covered?

This course offers a structured curriculum with 91 lessons categorized into the following topics:

  1. Create a Basic Melody
  2. Master the Essentials of Harmony
  3. Compose a Sentence
  4. How Harmony Works
  5. Master Melodic Composition
  6. Compose a Period
  7. Understand Voice Leading and Harmonization
  8. Add Accompaniment
  9. Embellish Your Melody
  10. Small Ternary Form
  11. Capstone Project: A Few Bagatelles
  12. Bonus: C Major and Fundamental Chord Progressions
  13. Bonus: Generating and Refining Basic Ideas
  14. Bonus: Beginning, Middle, and Ending Vocabulary
  15. Capstone Project: A Few Bagatelles

Who is the instructor?

jon brantingham, a film composer based in thousand oaks, ca, works at art of composing

Jon Brantingham, a film composer based in Thousand Oaks, CA, works at Art of Composing.

He graduated from the UCLA Extension Film Scoring Program and has experience scoring short films across various genres.

Combining practical experience with a deep understanding of composition techniques, Jon brings a unique perspective to his teaching.

His journey from studying music theory and history at Furman University to serving as an Officer and Scout Helicopter Pilot in the U.S. Army reflects his dedication to music and service.

As a course instructor, Jon leverages his diverse background and passion for music theory to share valuable insights into the fundamentals of musical composition.

Does the instructor offer other courses?

Here are the other courses offered by the instructor:

  • Composing in Sonata Form
  • Fundamentals Preview: Build Your Composition Vocabulary

Does the course offer hands-on projects or assignments to reinforce learning?

No. However, the course offers a workbook to exercise the skills and techniques students need to learn.

What are the prerequisites to study?

There are no prerequisites for enrolling in this course. However, one should know how to read basic music notation in both treble and bass clef and have access to a computer or mobile device.

What does social media sentiment tell us?

According to the reviews, the learners found this course informative and helpful. One learner stated it is the best course for balancing music theory concepts and practical techniques.

according to the reviews, the learners found this course informative and helpful. one learner stated it is the best course for balancing music theory concepts and practical techniques

Source: Art of Composing

4. Music Composition Course 101: The Best Self-Paced Course to Learn Fundamentals, Principles and Myths

as we reviewed, this is one of the best self-paced music composition courses led by j. anthony allena, a phd and an experienced professional in the field.

The editor’s perspective on this course

As we reviewed, this music composition course 101, led by J. Anthony Allena, a PhD and an experienced professional in the field.

The course offers some great real-life techniques for composing music in various styles, which are hard to find in any traditional academic course.

The course also offers access to excerpts from the instructor’s other classes and some of his compositions, which serve as excellent learning tools.

The curriculum is designed for self-paced learners, ensuring depth and structure. The course starts with an introduction to the instructor’s background and music, which helps build credibility and sets the stage for the lessons.

It then moves into the core essentials, such as music theory, music notation, and music software and technology.

The section on misconceptions about composing is particularly beneficial for beginners. It addresses common fears and myths, making the process seem more accessible.

The course also covers practical topics like how to start a composition, the importance of form, and the business side of composing, including getting gigs and building a portfolio.

The course videos are engaging and professionally produced. The instructor’s clear explanations and follow-along make it easier for the learners.

The real-life examples and excerpts from the instructor’s compositions add depth to the learning and help learners understand how these techniques can be applied.

The course includes reference materials such as downloadable content like the Symphony Fantastique score, which students can study to understand how professional compositions are structured.

Another valuable resource is the comprehensive 96-page workbook. It offers detailed exercises with clear purposes and step-by-step instructions.

However, some beginners may find the depth of the curriculum challenging without prior knowledge of music theory.

Overall, the quality of the curriculum, videos, and reference materials make this course highly recommended for aspiring composers who want to learn at their own pace and schedule.

Who should take this course?

It’s suitable for those interested in composing for orchestras, film studios, and video games and anyone seeking to dispel common myths about music composition and build a solid foundation in this field.

What topics are covered?

This music composition course covers the following topics:

  1. Introduction to Music Composition 101
    • What You Need to Know
    • Music Theory
    • Music Notation
    • Music Software and Technology
    • An Example of Music Technology
    • Music History
  2. Misconceptions
    • I Can’t Hear Music in My Head
    • I Can’t Write Down What I Hear
    • What if I Run Out of Ideas
    • Writers Block
  3. What Comes First?
    • Some Excerpts from My Other Classes
    • What Comes First?
    • F Sharp!
    • Program Music and Metaphor
    • Download: Symphony Fantastique
    • Character Sketches
    • Free Writing
    • Canon
    • Good Composers Borrow
  4. Form
    • What is Form?
    • Different Forms
    • Start With a Plan
    • Graphic Representations of Form
  5. The Business of Composting
    • General Thoughts
    • Getting Gigs
    • Building a Portfolio
    • Find Film Makers
    • Don’t Be Afraid of Free
    • More You Can Do
  6. Free Stuff
    • My Latest String Quartet
  7. Wrap Up
    • What’s Next?
    • Bonus Lecture
j. anthony allen is a creator and music composer based in minneapolis, originally from mmichigan.

Who is the instructor?

J. Anthony Allen is a creator and music composer based in Minneapolis, originally from Michigan.

He is the author of the #1 best-selling music theory course on Udemy, Music Theory Comprehensive (21 parts), and Music Theory for Electronic Musicians (5 parts), which more than 170,000 students have purchased in 11 languages in 196 countries.

Allen’s work has been featured worldwide, including in Denmark, the Netherlands, Hungary, the Czech Republic, France, and Italy.

He has composed music for films, the Minnesota Orchestra, TV, radio, and video games.

Passionate about making music education accessible, he founded Slam Academy in 2011 and wrote “Music Theory for Electronic Music Producers.”

Allen holds multiple degrees in music composition and electronic music from the University of Minnesota, Peabody Conservatory, and Grand Valley State University.

His teachers included notable names like Judith Lang Zaimont and Christopher Theofanidis. He has received numerous awards for his compositions and has been recognized as a “Mover and Shaker” by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

He has taught at various institutions, including the University of Minnesota and the Peabody Conservatory. 

Allen is also an entrepreneur, teacher, DJ, and Ableton Live Certified Trainer. Allen’s music is available on platforms like Amazon, Apple, and Spotify.

Does the instructor offer other courses?

J. Anthony Allen offers a wide range of courses, some of them including:

  • Music Theory Comprehensive Complete! (Parts 1, 2, & 3)
  • Music Theory for Electronic Music Complete (Parts 1, 2, & 3)
  • Ableton Certified Training: Ableton Live 11 (Parts 1, 2, & 3)
  • Music Theory Comprehensive Complete: (Parts 4, 5, & 6)
  • Ableton Certified Training: Ableton Live 11 (Part 4, 5, & 6)
  • Music Theory Comprehensive Complete: (Part 7, 8, & 9
  • Ear Training & Aural Skills Masterclass (Parts 1, 2, and 3)
  • The Complete Mixing Masterclass

Does the course offer hands-on projects or assignments to reinforce learning?

The course doesn’t include assignments or quizzes. However, it offers real-life examples and hands-on projects for practical application.

What are the prerequisites to study?

This course has no prerequisites, so anyone interested in music composition can easily take it.

What does social media sentiment tell us?

According to Reddit users, this course thoroughly explains how scales and chords relate.

according to reddit users, this course thoroughly explains how scales and chords relate.

Source: Reddit

Another discussion on Reddit about Allen’s course stated it is a recommended option for easy learning and practicing scales on instruments.

another discussion on Reddit about allen’s course stated it is a recommended option for easy learning and practicing scales on instruments.

Source: Reddit

5. Music Composition Course 1 – Best for Advanced Learners

the course is well-planned and outlined to cover an extensive range of topics essential to enhance the skills of experienced learners

The editor’s perspective on this course

This Music Composition Course 1, led by award-winning composer Jonathan Peters, provides an extensive foundation in rhythmic and melodic composition basics.

The course is well-planned and outlined to cover an extensive range of topics essential to enhance the skills of experienced learners.

The course starts with the basics of rhythmic transcription and concepts such as rhythmic motifs, phrases, periods, and development.

This thorough approach ensures students have a solid understanding of rhythm before moving on to melody.

The melodic part of the course covers melodic motifs, phrases, periods, and various techniques for melodic development.

Students learn to use chord, non-chord, and chromatic tones to create compelling melodies.

The instructor has a clear and systematic teaching style that makes complex concepts accessible.

The course also includes reference materials like diagrams and audio samples. These materials are invaluable for visual and auditory learners and provide multiple ways to engage with the content.

The course includes 21 quizzes and 125 memory questions. Each topic includes memory questions, quizzes, and listening assignments, reinforcing the learning during the course.

The assignments include transcription and composition, enabling learners to practice hearing rhythms and melodies and writing them down.

The learners are taught how to use the Finale NotePad software to ensure students can notate their compositions.

While the course demands a basic understanding of music, the knowledge and skills gained are substantial.v

Overall, the course covers all essential aspects of music composition, with plenty of practical exercises to reinforce learning.

Who should take this course?

It’s perfect for intermediate and advanced-level composers, songwriters, and those with some experience who want to refine their skills and learn new techniques.

What topics are covered?

This course has 21 sections and 120 lectures, categorized into the following sections:

  1. Rhytmic Transcription
  2. The Rhythmic Motif
  3. The Rhythmic Phrase
  4. Types of Rhythmic Phrases
  5. Rhytmic Periods and Phrase Groups
  6. Rhythmic Development – Part 1 and 2
  7. Conveying Mood Through Rhythm
  8. Melodic Transcription
  9. The Melodic Motif
  10. Melodic Development Part 1 and 2
  11. The Melodic Phrase
  12. The Melodic Period
  13. Melodic Development Part 3 and 4
  14. Chord Tones & Non-Chord Tones
  15. Passing Tones & Neighbor Tones
  16. Chromatic Tones & Incomplete Neighbor Tones
  17. Anticipation Tones & Suspension Tones
  18. Tension & Resolution

Who is the instructor?

jonathan peters is an award-winning composer living in colorado. he has been a composer, conductor, arranger, recording artist, educator, and author since 1990

Jonathan Peters is an award-winning composer living in Colorado. He has been a composer, conductor, arranger, recording artist, educator, and author since 1990.

He earned a B.A. in liberal arts from Thomas Aquinas College. He pursued a master’s in music composition at California State University Northridge, where he studied advanced composition, theory, orchestration, and film scoring.

Peter’s music has been featured on NPR’s award-winning show Performance Today and performed by orchestras in the U.S. and internationally.

He has won several awards, including 1st place in the 1996 Composers Today Contest. His extensive work includes 2 operas, a symphony, orchestral and chamber music, choral pieces, and solo piano works.

He created the Scholastic Music Series, educational CDs that use music to teach various subjects. His CD, The Constellations – A Guide to the Orchestra, received top reviews from School Library Journal and is available in libraries nationwide.

Peters has authored nine books, including six on music and three children’s books with downloadable music.

He teaches piano privately and offers online courses in music theory, composition, four-part writing, counterpoint, and orchestration.

Does the instructor offer other courses?

Yes, the instructor offers other courses, including:

  • Music Theory
  • Music Composition 2
  • Orchestration
  • Counterpoint 1
  • Reading Music: Rhythm Training
  • Four-Part Harmony
  • Reading Music – Notes to the Staff and Keyboard
  • Reading Music: Intervals
  • Chords

Does the course offer hands-on projects or assignments to reinforce learning?

Each lesson includes memory questions, quizzes, listening assignments, and transcription/composition assignments.

These activities help summarize critical concepts, test students’ knowledge, and provide practical experience in transcribing and composing music.

Students will also get practice using music notation software to notate their compositions, ensuring they can apply the techniques learned to write their rhythms and melodies.

What are the prerequisites to study?

There are certain prerequisites to study this course, such as:

Basic knowledge of music theory: students who take this course should be able to read notes in treble clef and bass clef and have a basic knowledge of note durations, meter, key, scales, flats, sharps, intervals, chords, and chord inversions.

If you still need to gain a rudimentary understanding of music theory, it is recommended that you take a music theory course before enrolling in this course. 

Must have access to Musescore (free music notation software). Although not a necessity, it is very beneficial that the student has some ability to play the piano (or other instrument).

What does social media sentiment tell us?

According to the reviews, the course offers great insight, and all the aspects were systematically placed to enhance the learning experience. Some praised the step-by-step instructions and helpful exercises.

according to the reviews, the course offers great insight, and all the aspects were systematically placed to enhance the learning experience. some praised the step-by-step instructions and helpful exercises

Source: Udemy

6. The Pillars of Composition – Full-time Course for Beginners & Advanced Learners

as we looked into pillars of composition, led by ryan leach, we discovered that it adopts a spiral learning method

The editor’s perspective on this course

As we review the Pillars of Composition, led by Ryan Leach, we discovered that it adopts a spiral learning method.

Each module builds on the previous ones, reinforcing and expanding the students’ knowledge. 

The course explores the core pillars of music composition. The curriculum is detailed and divided into four main modules: Melody, Harmony, Accompaniment, and Counterpoint.

The first module covers basic melody, form, harmony, accompaniment, and counterpoint concepts.

The second module explores more advanced topics, such as 8-bar themes, secondary dominants, harmonic rhythm, and second-species counterpoint.

The third module introduces small ternary forms, modes, counter melodies, and third species counterpoint.

Lastly, the fourth module refines the student’s skills with lessons on introductions, endings, modal interchange, fills, ornaments, and advanced counterpoint.

The course videos are high quality, clear, and well-organized, and they are presented in a manner that is easy to follow, even for beginners.

Each video is focused on a specific topic, making it simple for students to revisit particular lessons if they need to review certain concepts.

Moreover, additional materials include diagrams, audio samples, and other downloadable resources.

The course also includes quizzes at the end of each module. The instructor provides feedback on submissions and highlights areas for further improvement.

Also, the course consists of three complete project walkthroughs, offering invaluable insight into the concepts’ real-world application, creating a finished piece.

Moreover, learners gain access to private Facebook and Discord groups for additional support and networking. Learners can also gain access to libraries and plugins.

Overall, this establishes a strong foundation with a rich and rewarding learning experience, making it a worthwhile investment for aspiring composers.

Who should take this course?

This course is ideal for beginners and advanced-level learners who want to refine their music composition skills and improve melody, harmony, accompaniment, and counterpoint.

What topics are covered?

The following modules are covered in this in-depth course, which explore the four core pillars of music composition:

  1. Module I – Melody & Form
  2. Module I – Harmony
  3. Module I – Accompaniment
  4. Module I – Counterpoint
  5. Module I – Project
  6. Module II- Melody & Form
  7. Module II – Harmony
  8. Module II – Accompaniment
  9. Module II – Counterpoint
  10. Module II – Project
  11. Module III – Melody & Form
  12. Module III – Harmony
  13. Module III – Accompaniment
  14. Module III – Counterpoint
  15. Module III – Project
  16. Module IV – Melody & Form 
  17. Module IV – Harmony
  18. Module IV – Accompaniment
  19. Module IV – Counterpoint
  20. Module IV – Project
  21. Bonus Final Project A – First Adventure
  22. Bonus Final Project B – Emerging From the Depths
  23. Bonus Final Project C – The Bridge Over the Abbey

Who is the instructor?

ryan is an award-winning composer for film and tv. his clients include Disney, the california lottery, mtv, lowe's, and rainn wilson's soulpancake

Ryan is an award-winning composer for Film and TV. His clients include Disney, The California Lottery, MTV, Lowe’s, and Rainn Wilson’s SoulPancake.

He earned a degree in Film Scoring from Berklee College of Music and worked as an assistant to veteran composer Michael Levine at Hans Zimmer’s Remote Control Productions.

Ryan Leach is a composer who recently scored the Netflix film Candy Jar, which features Helen Hunt, Christina Hendricks, and Uzo Aduba.

He has worked on projects like “Fire City: End of Days” and “The Emissary,” and has scored over a dozen feature films, including “Pastor Shepherd” and “Skinning.”

He won Best Original Score at the Maverick Movie Awards for “Devils Racecourse.” His music has been featured in TV shows like “20/20,” “Pawn Stars,” and “The Colbert Report,” and he has contributed to major films like “Bee Movie” and “The Dark Knight.”

He has also received several awards and honors for his work.

Does the instructor offer other courses?

Yes, the other courses offered by the instructor include:

  • The Legend of Otoe
  • Composing Worlds: Vikings and Dragons
  • Composing Worlds: Wizards and Witches

Does the course offer hands-on projects or assignments to reinforce learning?

At the end of each module, learners must complete their quizzes. Also, you’ll need to complete three projects and create a finished piece.

What are the prerequisites to study?

As a prerequisite to this course, the enrollees must have a basic notation reading and an understanding of music theory.

What does social media sentiment tell us?

According to the reviews, this course is an incredible resource for learners and provides a roadmap to enhance skills. Some reviews stated this as the best course for returning composers.

according to the reviews, this course is an incredible resource for learners and provides a roadmap to enhance skills.

Source: Masterthescore

According to the discussion on Reddit, the users found this course great and praised the video content.

 according to the discussion on reddit, the users found this course great and praised the video content

Source: Reddit

7. Music Composition Course – Best for Intermediate

the music composition course, led by thomas chase jones, offers a fresh perspective on music theory and composition

The editor’s perspective on this course

Lastly, the Music Composition Course, led by Thomas Chase Jones, offers a fresh perspective on music theory and composition.

The course emphasizes Interval Theory, a lesser-known but highly effective approach to composition.

This methodology helps composers break free from conventional patterns and avoid writer’s block.

The curriculum covers various topics, from basic melody writing to advanced concepts like polytonality and string theory.

The course curriculum is detailed, with over 50 lessons. It begins with foundational topics like melody writing and gradually progresses to more complex subjects such as chord structures, bass movement, and intervallic applications.

The first six lessons focus on creating strong melodies and horizontal writing, essential for musical storytelling.

Lessons 7-15 explore chord structures, triads, and seventh chords, combining horizontal and vertical writing.

While Lessons 16-18 focus on bass movement, emphasizing the importance of the lower register in composition.

The latter part of the course covers advanced topics like polytonality, expansion, and contraction and the nature of intervals, providing an understanding of complex compositional techniques.

Each lesson includes assignments that encourage practical application of the concepts taught.

The course provides direct access to co-founders, teachers, and graduates, allowing for personalized feedback and guidance.

The course includes video lessons that are 1-2 hours long, accompanied by downloadable PDFs and MP3s for offline access.

The videos are well-produced, featuring clear explanations and visuals that enhance understanding.

The reference materials are extensive, with each lesson offering 20-60 pages of additional content.

Also, the learners will gain direct access to instructors, and a community of like-minded individuals will enhance the learning experience.

Overall, it is a good music production course that takes a unique approach, integrates lessons, and promotes active learning.

However, its advanced content and prerequisites mean it is best suited for those with a foundational understanding of music theory.

Who should take this course?

This course is ideal for those who have a basic understanding of music theory and can read music. Such as music students and professional composers seeking to refine their craft and learn new techniques.

What topics are covered?

The topics covered in this course:

  1. Lesson 1 – 6: Horizontal Writing and Strong Lines from 1-part to 4-part
  2. Lesson 7 – 15: Chord Complexity, the Matrix of Triads, and an Introduction to ICs
  3. Lesson 16 – 18: Bass Movement including Coordination of Horizontal and Vertical Movement
  4. Lesson 19 – 23: 6/4 and their Intervallic Application with Scale Pairs, Reflection, and Pulsation
  5. Lesson 24 – 26: Expansion & Contraction using Scale Tones, Intervals and Equivalents
  6. Lesson 27 – 30: Intervallic Application & the Emotional Use of 2nd-octave Chord Structures
  7. Lesson 31 – 32: The World of Pentatonic incl. Extended Roots & Pentatonic Chord Structures
  8. Lesson 33 – 34: The Matrices of Intervals (3p) – How to Compose with Intervals and the Harmonic Series (or Overtone Series)
  9. Lesson 35 – 40: The Nature of the Intervals (TNO-Series) – Part I
  10. Lesson 41 – 42: The System of Bitonality & Polytonality, including the Application
  11. Lesson 43 – 54: The Nature of the Intervals (TNO-Series) – Part II
  12. Lesson 55: The Nature of String Theory, including the Application
  13. Lesson 56: The Creative Pool (CP) and the Big Picture of Music Theory

Who is the instructor?

Thomas Chase Jones has been a composer, producer, and music teacher for more than 42 years

Thomas Chase Jones has been a composer, producer, and music teacher for more than 42 years. He has experience working with big studios for entertainment companies such as Disney and Warner Bros.

He scored in internationally-aired animated series, which include The Batman, Powerpuff Girls, Dexter’s Laboratory, Woody Woodpecker, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Scooby-Doo (Direct to Disc), Gummi Bears, Ducktales, Wuzzles, Captain Planet, and more.

Does the instructor offer other courses?

Here’s a list of other courses offered by the instructor:

  • Orchestration Concepts
  • The Interval Theory Basic Course: Essentials
  • Harmful Harmony I: The Basics and Essentials
  • Smart Line Writing Concepts: The Interval Theory Application of Counterpoint
  • The OTS Modes I: Theory & The Application
  • The OTS Modes II: Polytonality & Pivot Points
  • String Theory I: Horizontal Application & Harmony
  • String Theory II: Applied to the OTS Modes
  • Portals Workshop: Chord Progression Booster
  • Composition From Scratch Workshop: Creativity Booster

Does the course offer hands-on projects or assignments to reinforce learning?

Each lesson has a different type of hands-on project, such as simple melody writing, sketching melodies that transition smoothly between different scales, 

What are the prerequisites to study?

You must have a basic understanding of conventional music theory and the Diatonic System, can read music (treble and bass clef), and can devote 1-2 hours each week to your studies.

What does social media sentiment tell us?

According to a video testimonial shared by Daniel Poissant, a student of the Music Composition Course.

He shares an in-depth analysis of how the course’s learning enabled him to create his own music and take his career to the next level.

daniel poissant, a former student of the music composition course shared a detailed video review

Source: YouTube

Best Music Composition Courses FAQs

Is music composition a good career?

Music composition is a good career option for those passionate about creating music. It offers diverse film, TV, video game, and concert music opportunities. According to BLS, the average annual wage for music directors and composers is $62,590. Success often requires creativity, persistence, and the ability to network.

Can music composition be taught?

Yes, music composition can be taught through structured courses, mentorship, and practice. This inspiring activity enriches and motivates students to continue creating music. Hands-on projects and exercises help teach music theory, how to play instruments, and use different software tools for musical notations.

Why is music composition hard?

Music composition is hard because it requires a blend of creativity, technical skill, theoretical knowledge, and the ability to convey emotion through music.

What are the four basics of music composition?

The four basics of music composition are melody, harmony, rhythm, and form. Melody is the sequence of notes creating the main theme; harmony supports the melody with chords; rhythm dictates the timing and flow of the music; and form provides the structure and organization of musical ideas within a composition.

What degree do you need for music composition?

A degree in music composition or a related field, such as a Bachelor of Music (B.Mus) or a Bachelor of Arts in Music (B.A.), is typically required for advanced study and career opportunities.

What do I need for music composition?

For music composition, you need a solid understanding of music theory, proficiency in an instrument or digital audio workstation (DAW), creativity and inspiration, access to notation software or manuscript paper, and regular practice to develop your skills.

Conclusion

Learning music composition is not just about understanding theory; it involves developing practical skills, gaining industry insights, and building a network of professional connections.

Acquiring these skills impacts the quality of work produced. Composers understand how to evoke emotions, create atmospheres, and enhance narratives through music.

Knowledgeable and skilled composers are adept at using digital audio workstations (DAWs), collaborating with other artists, and adapting to different genres and styles.

In this post, we reviewed the best music composition courses to equip students to tackle real-world challenges, understand composition concepts, and be better prepared to negotiate contracts, communicate effectively with directors, and create impactful scores that resonate with audiences.

So, whether you’re an aspiring film scorer, video game composer, or interested in another niche within music composition, one of these top-rated courses can provide you with the skills to succeed.

However, we recommend choosing a course that best aligns with your goals and interests.