Welcome to Music Composition 101: Fundamentals, Principals, and Myths. The complete guide to getting started in music composition.
This is a class designed for the average person who is ready to take their music career (or music interest) and develop it into something more. Whether you are an active musician or an aspiring musician, this class is perfect for you.
When most people think of a composer, they imagine someone sitting in a dusty attic with a grand piano, a big white wig, and the year is 1800. That might have been accurate back then, but the modern composer is just like you and me. In fact, I am one.
In this course, I'll show you the techniques I use for writing music in a variety of styles and situations. I've worked with major American orchestras, film studios, and video game designers, so I've got more than a little experience. I'm also a PhD in music composition and a university professor (of music composition).
Recently I was named as a semi-finalist for the Grammy Foundation's Music Educator of the Year award because of my in-person university classes. Now I'm taking those classes to Udemy in an online format in order to reach more students and give them the joy of Music Theory.
This course starts with common misconceptions about the art of writing music. I'll give you the first one right now: You don't have to be a genius. Music Composition is a skill that can be learned, with practice.

Some of the topics we will cover in this class are:

  • My background, and listen to some of my music
  • What you need to know
  • Myths of the composer
  • Tools of the trade: Software
  • Tools of the trade: Pencils and fine paper
  • How do you start?
  • The process
  • Program music and metaphors
  • Character sketches
  • Writing through canon
  • Form
  • Starting with a plan
  • Graphic form representations
  • Film Music and Tension Cues
  • Composing for Films and Games
  • Any much, much, more!

Course Outline

  • Introduction
    • Introduction & Welcome
    • My Background
    • Let’s talk frankly about music composition
  • 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 Metaphore
    • 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 Composing
    • General Thoughts
    • Getting Gigs
    • Building a Portfolio
    • Find Film Makers
    • Don’t Be Afraid of Free
    • More You Can Do
  • Wrap Up
    • What’s Next?
    • We’ve Only Scratched The Surface!

Course Information

Estimated Time: 2.5 Hours

Course Instructor

Jay Allen Author

J. Anthony Allen is an Ableton Certified Trainer, and a PhD in Music Composition and master of Electronic Sounds. His music has been heard internationally in film, radio, video games, and industrial sound, as well as the concert hall and theater. He currently is an adjunct professor of composition at the University of St. Thomas, and is the CEO and co-founder of Slam Academy in Minneapolis.



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