Britten: The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra

Course Description

This is a practical introductory course for those interested in composing music of any genre. It focuses on developing composition skills such as melodic construction and fostering your understanding of harmony, rhythm, and instrumentation. The instructor will provide you with weekly structured exercises that will help you play around with ideas and essentially develop them into your pieces or songs. These exercises are designed to emphasize artisanship and to stimulate the imagination. Given that the class puts forth the premise that anyone can make music, the course is designed to welcome beginners, more experienced composers, and enthusiasts. It helps if you can play an instrument to some extent, and if you have some familiarity with musical notation but these skills are not essential to participation in the course. This course will also examine notational systems and the specifics of notating music, teaching you to put your music into a form that will be transferable to others in the field. 

Students will be using Musescore or Finale notation software.

Who this course is for:
Music students
Beginning Composers/Songwriters
Composers or songwriters who have some experience and want to hone their skills
Anyone who has always wanted to learn some new tricks that can be used in any genre they're interested in

This is not the class for you if you want to learn the following in-depth:
How to read music
Western music literature
Music theory
How to read and write lead sheets
World music
Electronic music

Course Aim
To give students a greater understanding of the craft and techniques of composition and to apply this to their compositions.

Teaching methods
Lectures and hands-on workshops.
Illustrations of relevant works of the great composers

Learner Outcomes
Compose your rhythms and melodies.
Learn a wide variety of compositional techniques.
Apply techniques and develop your rhythmic and melodic material.
Get familiar with a wide range of non-traditional approaches to music composition.
Experiment with different approaches to music composition.
Learn how to transcribe what you hear.
Practice notating music using a music notation software.
Increase the level of craftsmanship in their compositions.
Get ready for the next advanced composition course.


"I'm very glad I had a chance to take this class. I've learned quite a bit this semester. Issa has been informational and inspiring. The exercises and lectures made me think of musical concepts I had never considered." Ed Federmeyer

Enroll Now - Select a section to enroll in
Section Title
Elements of Music Composition
Online: With Live Meetings
Sep 09, 2021 to Dec 02, 2021
Contact Hours
Course Fee(s)
Tuition and Fees non-credit $349.00
Section Notes
This is an online self-paced class. Communication about live instruction, video instruction, and online meetings will be communicated directly to students. The instructor will meet with students individually for two hours total. The whole class will meet as a whole for 4 hours total. Course material will be available in Blackboard. 
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