5 Best Music Composition Courses for 2024

Published: May 17, 2024

Key Takeaways

The Music Composition Course by Thomas Chase Jones is overall the best choice amongst the courses we reviewed.

It offers a comprehensive curriculum, integrates theory with practical application, and ensures a deep understanding of the subject matter. It has high-quality video lessons, and students receive expert instruction.

Moreover, the course provides access to an online community for invaluable support, making this a perfect choice for professionals seeking to advance their skills and knowledge.

Music is a multifaceted industry with diverse career opportunities.

According to Comparably, the salaries of music composers in the US range from $19,468 to $180,407, and the average is $42,147. However, the employment of music composers is projected to show little or no change from 2022 to 2032.

So, if you’re interested in becoming a professional music composer, start by learning composition techniques.

In this post, we’ve researched and reviewed the 5 best music composition courses to help you better understand the skills and knowledge you can develop as a beginner or expert.

List of the 5 Best Music Composition Courses – Quick Overview

We have compiled an extensive list of top-rated music composition courses that fit beginner and advanced-level professionals pursuing career advancement, skill acquisition, or even a new career path.

  1. Music Composition Course (M.I.T) – This is overall the best course as it integrates M.I.T. (Music Interval Theory) into the scoring of animation, live-action TV, and film. It costs around $101.
  2. Essential Composing Foundation – This is the most popular course for mastering the basics of music theory and application, leveling up your essential skills to start your composition journey. It is priced at $497.
  3. Composition 1 Masterclass – This budget-friendly course is simple, compelling, and engaging but has the inherent building blocks to develop your expertise. It costs $30 only.
  4. The Fundamentals of Musical Composition – This is the most comprehensive and structured course. It offers a simple yet deep dive curriculum with 13 hours of video lessons paired with a thorough workbook to guide you in applying the knowledge and ensuring the learning of the foundational aspects of composition, all for just $100.
  5. Music Composition 101: Fundamentals, Principles, and Myths – This is the best self-paced course, with 2.5 hours of recorded videos, 3 articles, 1 downloadable resource, and a certificate of completion. It is a complete guide to getting started in music composition with a price of $54.99.

These courses are created by expert songwriters, music, and compositing artists to provide valuable resources, real-life examples, an in-depth understanding of the topics, and value for money.

How did we Evaluate the Music Composition Courses?

Here are the criteria we followed to evaluate the finest music composition classes listed in this article:

  • Curriculum depth and coverage: The extent to which these courses cover essential topics in music composition and provide access to materials.
  • Instructor expertise and credentials: The instructor’s background in music composition, including their experience, education, and achievements, ensures they are qualified to provide valuable insights and guidance.
  • Interactive learning opportunities: Gain in-depth insight into the course’s interactive learning elements, such as assignments, projects, workbooks, templates, or live sessions, to enhance engagement and facilitate the practical application of concepts.
  • Accessibility and flexibility: These courses were evaluated based on duration, access period, and compatibility with the schedule to ensure they fit the lifestyle and learning preferences of diverse students.
  • Reviews and testimonials: Thoroughly review the feedback shared by previous course participants to gauge the course’s effectiveness, quality of instruction, and student satisfaction.
  • Affordable and valuable: We ensure affordability and value by evaluating the course price relative to the content provided, including any additional resources or certification upon completion, to guarantee the best return on your investment.

5 Best Courses to Learn Music Composition – Detailed Review

Let’s explore each course review in detail to enroll in the best option.

1. Music Composition Course – The Best Choice

The Editor’s Perspective on this Course

editor's perspective regarding music composition course by thomas chase jones

As we researched the best music composition classes, Thomas Chase Jones’s course offers extensive insight into music composition and a unique methodology for writing music based on Interval Theory.

The introduction to music interval theory includes scoring to animated and film clips. The students are introduced to M.I.T. and get an insight into this wonderful method of composition.

Moreover, the course focuses on the theory, helping students understand the relationships between notes and chords and enhancing their abilities to compose, improvise, and analyze music.

It provides a structured approach to both beginner and advanced musicians seeking to learn the application of music theory.

As you progress through the course, you can learn the proven and most practical composition techniques and integration of theory into the scoring of animation and live-action T.V. /Film.

This course will also help you lay out a cue, sketch the composition, and learn to use tools to develop the cue/composition.

Overall, it is the best course for those who want to learn music notation, composition techniques, various genres and styles, powerful musical storytellers, and access to an active community.

What topics are covered?

This course covers extensive topics that are categorized into different lessons. Here’s an overview of the topics included:

  • Lesson 01 – 06: Horizontal Writing and Strong Lines from 1-part to 4-part
  • Lesson 07 – 15: Chord Complexity, the Matrix of Triads, and an Introduction to ICs
  • Lesson 16 – 18: Bass Movement including Coordination of Horizontal and Vertical Movement
  • Lesson 19 – 23: 6/4 and their Intervallic Application with Scale Pairs, Reflection, and Pulsation
  • Lesson 24 – 26: Expansion & Contraction using Scale Tones, Intervals and Equivalents
  • Lesson 27 – 30: Intervallic Application & the Emotional Use of 2nd-octave Chord Structures
  • Lesson 31 – 32: The World of Pentatonic incl. Extended Roots & Pentatonic Chord Structures
  • Lesson 33 – 34: The Matrices of Intervals (3p) – How to Compose with Intervals and the Harmonic Series (or Overtone Series)
  • Lesson 35 – 40: The Nature of the Intervals (TNO-Series) – Part I
  • Lesson 41 – 42: The System of Bitonality & Polytonality, including the Application
  • Lesson 43 – 54: The Nature of the Intervals (TNO-Series) – Part II
  • Lesson 55: The Nature of String Theory, including the Application
  • Lesson 56: The Creative Pool (CP) and the Big Picture of Music Theory

Who is the instructor?

thomas chase jones is the instructor of music composition course

Thomas Chase Jones has composed, produced, and taught music for over 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?

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

  • Orchestration Concepts
  • The Interval Theory Basic Course: Essentials
  • Negative 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?

The course doesn’t offer any specific assignments or hands-on projects, but the students apply all the lessons learned throughout the course to create their own music.

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?

Here’s a testimonial video 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

2. Essential Composing Foundation (ECF) – The Most Popular Course for Beginners

The Editor’s Perspective on this Course

editor's perspective about the essential composing foundation course taught by marc jovani

In this most popular course, you will gain a solid understanding of music fundamentals, learn how to write melodies and give them emotion with harmony.

You will receive a detailed look at the major and minor keys and tools to help you comprehend scales and chords so that you can use them in your own music.

An understanding of basic music theory will help you make the application of advanced topics much easier.

As the course progresses, the instructor introduces techniques for embellishing your ideas without drowning them in clutter or turning them into a muddy mess.

Moreover, the course provides detailed techniques on using instrument groups, learning which sample libraries to use, and how to set them up in a basic template to create a finished track.

The instructor’s insights on arranging templates, from rhythm and phrasing to scales and tonality, and then concluding with intervals and chord building, will help you make your own music into a form.

In addition, the course videos are well-produced and easy to follow, with clear explanations and practical demonstrations. The instructor has given enough emphasis on using layers and counter melodies to hold the listener’s attention.

The instructor also provides templates and access to other resources, but there are no interactive quizzes, which could have enhanced the learning experience further.

This is not a course about memorizing random music theory; it’s a course about inventing music, and it is what makes this course stand out from others.

Overall, ECF course is for anybody who wants to get started and doesn’t require experience. The course is designed to provide a wide range of essential skills and get you composing immediately.

What topics are covered?

This course will introduce students to the fundamental elements of compositional thought and structure, covering a comprehensive list of topics.

  • Introduction: Introduce students to the basic concepts of composition.
  • Music Theory 101: You’ll learn basic music theory in a way that keeps it relevant and fresh. You’ll also discover how to write melodies and harmoniously capture your listeners’ emotions.
  • Harmony: You’ll learn to use layers and counter melodies to keep your cues fresh and evolving. Learn to develop harmony and emotions in composition, as well as techniques for storytelling.
  • The Three Musical Forces: By understanding how to compose using separation techniques, you’ll discover how to keep your musical layers from ‘getting in each other’s way. ‘ This topic includes 3 EGOs, real-life examples for theory, creating the sketch, and orchestrating the sketch, and Q&A.
  • Orchestration: There are many ways to actually ‘play’ orchestral instruments, especially those from the string family. You’ll understand how these articulations sound and when and how to use them for the best effect. Also, you will explore insights into creating separation and association, doubling, and VSL sound combinations for ideas.
  • The Technical Side: What equipment do you need? Computer, MIDI/DAW Controller, Keyboard, Sequencer, Libraries—Basic Concepts. Computer System Part 1—Single or Multiple. Computer System Part 2—Selecting the Right Computer. Computer System Part 3—My Computer Specs and CC MIDI Controllers.
  • Workspace: Discover the tools you need and how to set them up to get the most efficient workflow—your keyboard/controller, your interface, and what DAW to use. We’ll also advise you on what sample libraries the instructor provides to look at to get you up and running without costing you an arm and a leg.
  • Marc’s Go-to Libraries: Learn about Marc’s favorite libraries and set up ‘stems’ to organize all those beautiful tracks into manageable groups.

Who is the instructor?

marc jovani is the instructor of essential composing foundation course

Source: LinkedIn

Marc Jovani is a distinguished composer, educator, and co-founder of Cinematic Composing, currently based in Los Angeles.

With an impressive career, Marc has composed soundtracks for more than 50 movies, showcasing his versatility and mastery across various genres and storytelling mediums.

His compositions have provided music for major studios such as Netflix, Amazon, Lionsgate, Syfy, and FOX. Marc’s ability to craft immersive musical notes has earned him recognition and acclaim in the film industry.

His movies have been distributed internationally on leading, nationally broadcasted television channels, such as Lifetime (USA), TF1 (France), the Hallmark Channel (USA), Canale 5 (Italy), Antena 3 (Spain), and HBO (USA).

As a former Berklee College of Music Composition and orchestration teacher, Marc’s expertise enhances the Essential Composing Foundation course. Backed by a decade of industry experience, Marc offers aspiring composers practical insights and real-world techniques.

Through his expertise, experience, real-world applications, and proven techniques, students will gain invaluable knowledge and skills to advance their careers in composing.

Does the instructor offer other courses?

Here are some of the other key courses offered by Marc Jovani:

  • Momentum Program: A 6-month online film-scoring course
  • Orchestral Programming (Synthestration)
  • I’m A Composer
  • Symphonic Virtual Orchestration

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

The course doesn’t include assignments or hands-on projects, but real-life examples are shared with the students at each module stage to provide a detailed understanding of the topic.

What are the prerequisites to study?

This course does not require a prior music background and will cover everything from complete beginners to advanced techniques.

What does social media sentiment tell us?

The testimonials and reviews posted on the course website showcase a strong reputation for the quality of lessons, videos, templates, and overall content provided to the students.

positive reviews posted about the essential composing foundation course on official website

Source: Cinematic Composing

Here are some positive reviews and discussions on Reddit regarding the Fundamentals of Music Composition course.

The discussion on this platform indicates that it has become popular among music enthusiasts with valuable knowledge and skills.

Source: Reddit

3. Composition 1 Masterclass – The Best Budget-friendly Option

The Editor’s Perspective on this Course

editor's opinion about composition 1 masterclass by mike verta

We looked into Mike Verta’s budget-friendly Composition 1 Masterclass. It offers a solid composition foundation with a curriculum covering a wide range of topics, from melody writing to orchestration techniques, ensuring a thorough learning experience.

The course videos are well-produced and engaging, with clear explanations and practical demonstrations by the instructor.

As the course progresses, reference materials and templates help students understand the key concepts outside the video lessons, enhancing learning.

There are no quizzes or assignments to assess the student, but the practical application of everyday learning from the course, such as creating one’s own music, enhances its effectiveness.

The real-life examples that the instructor brings to the topic make complex concepts easy to understand.

However, beginner students may find it difficult due to the depth of the curriculum and the assumed basic understanding of music theory and composition principles.

What topics are covered?

  • 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 own unique musical voice and learn how to communicate emotions and ideas through music effectively.
  • Analytical Listening: Cultivate the ability to critically analyze and deconstruct existing compositions to understand their structure and techniques.
  • Real-World Applications: Gain insights into the practical aspects of composing music for different mediums, including film, television, and video games.

Who is the instructor?

Source: LinkedIn

Mike Verta is a multi-talented American artist, respected composer, orchestrator, and educator, he is 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 1 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 Theminator
  • Kickstarters
  • 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?

Yes. The Composition 1 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.

What does social media sentiment tell us?

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

Students have posted positive reviews under the course instructor’s YouTube video, showcasing the content’s depth and information.

positive reviews under the course instructor's YouTube video

Source: YouTube

4. The Fundamentals of Musical Composition – The Most Comprehensive and Structured Course

editor's review regarding the fundamentals of musical composition course by jon brantingham

The Editor’s Perspective on this Course

As we researched this comprehensive course, it includes everything related to music composition, theory, and creativity to help you start on the right foot when learning to compose.

The high-quality video lessons, complemented by a thorough workbook, ensure an in-depth understanding of learning the art and craft of music composition. This provides hands-on learning and application.

Throughout the course, the instructor shares tips and tricks and, most importantly, knowledge about how and what you can do to find your own composing voice.

The curriculum is designed to enable students to learn at their own pace, with a private podcast feed ensuring accessibility anytime, anywhere. The course’s clarity on theoretical concepts suits learners of all levels and musical backgrounds.

However, some learners may find the information overwhelming and lose focus due to the depth of the course and hands-on application in the workbook.

This course is for people serious about learning to compose and have tried to understand composition in the past and failed.

What topics are covered?

Get a solid grasp of basic music theory to advanced concepts with 94 lessons categorized in the following topics:

  • Create a Basic Melody
  • Make More of Your Melody
  • Master the Essentials of Harmony
  • C Major and Fundamental Chord Progressions
  • How Harmony Works
  • Harmony and the Real Power of Limitations
  • Understanding Form
  • Compose a Sentence
  • Generating and Refining Basic Ideas
  • Chord Progressions, Minor Keys, and Simple Modulation
  • Master Melodic Composition
  • Understand Voice Leading and Harmonization
  • Compose a Period
  • Embellish Your Melod
  • Composing a Beginning, Middle, and End – Small Ternary Form
  • Add Accompaniment
  • Capstone Project: A Few Bagatelles

Who is the instructor?

jon brantingham is the instructor of fundamentals of musical composition course

Source: LinkedIn

Jon Brantingham is a film composer based in Thousand Oaks, CA, who works at Art of Composing. He graduated from the UCLA Extension Film Scoring Program and has experience scoring short films across various genres.

Jon combines practical experience with a deep understanding of composition techniques.

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

As a course instructor, Jon brings a diverse background and a passion for music theory and shares knowledge about the tools and techniques, offering 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 for students to learn.

What are the prerequisites to study?

None. This course is for beginners with no experience composing but can read music notation in both treble and bass clef and have access to a computer or mobile.

What does social media sentiment tell us?

Here are some of the reviews posted on the course website showcasing that students can understand music theory and music composition through the topics covered.

Source: Art of Composing

5. Music Composition 101 – The Best Self-paced Course

editor's perspective regarding music composition 101 course: fundamentals, principles, and myths

The Editor’s Perspective on this Course

As we reviewed this self-paced Music Composition Course 101, the curriculum offers an in-depth knowledge of composing music, dispelling common myths, and providing practical techniques for aspiring musicians.

The course covers various styles and situations, drawing from the instructor’s extensive real-life experience working with major orchestras, film studios, and video game designers.

While the course videos are engaging and informative, additional reference materials enhance the learning experience.

However, the absence of quizzes or interactive elements may limit student engagement.

This is an ideal course for experienced and aspiring musicians looking to develop their composition skills and launch a music career.

This course is invaluable for anyone interested in learning the fundamentals of music composition, whether for personal enjoyment or professional advancement.

What topics are covered?

The music composition lessons in this course include:

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Form
    • What is Form?
    • Different Forms
    • Start With a Plan
    • Graphic Representations of Form
  • The Business of Composting
    • General Thoughts
    • Getting Gigs
    • Building a Portfolio
    • Find Film Makers
    • Don’t Be Afraid of Free
    • More You Can Do
  • Free Stuff
    • My Latest String Quartet
  • Wrap Up
    • What’s Next?
    • Bonus Lecture

Who is the instructor?

J. Anthony Allen is a musician and entrepreneur, a Ph.D. in music, a university professor, and course instructor of music Composition 101: fundamentals, principles, and myths

Source: LinkedIn

J. Anthony Allen is a musician and entrepreneur, a Ph.D. in music, a university professor, and a best-selling music producer.

He is a versatile creator whose diverse project experience includes works written for the Minnesota Orchestra and pieces developed for film, TV, and radio.

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.

He also authorizes the best-selling book Music Theory for Electronic Musicians.

Recently, Allen founded Hackademica – an innovative next label for new music. As the co-founder of Slam Academy and CTO of Ion Concert Media, Allen continues to push boundaries in music technology and education.

Does the instructor offer other courses?

J. Anthony Allen offers a wide range of courses:

  • 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 any assignments or quizzes. However, the course offers real-life examples and hands-on projects for practical application.

What are the prerequisites to study?

No prior experience is needed.

What does social media sentiment tell us?

As we researched on Reddit, students who have recently completed their Music Composition 101 course by Jason have posted positive feedback and even recommended others.

students reviews on reddit, who have completed their Music Composition 101 course by Jason

Source: Reddit

Conclusion

To become an expert-level music composer, your best bet is to undertake a course that will enhance your skills and knowledge.

You can acquire the essential skills to craft melodies, harmonies, and arrangements that resonate with audiences through structured learning and guidance.

The best music composition courses we reviewed provided a comprehensive understanding of music theory, instrumentation, and technical proficiency in composition software.

The options are diverse and expansive, from the comprehensive integration of Music Interval Theory (M.I.T.) in animation and film scoring to mastering essential cinematic composition skills.

Courses like the Composition 1 Masterclass and The Fundamentals of Musical Composition provide accessible and engaging platforms for learning, while Music Composition 101 offers a concise yet comprehensive guide to excel in your composition career.

With the ease of online learning, expert instruction, and practical application, these courses will help you become well-equipped and take your music-making to the next level.