Do you struggle learning composition and theory on your own?

Don’t get overwhelmed with mountains of theory, and no clear starting point.

Most people never make it past the beginner stage of composing.

Back in 2011, I was at that point in my own development - competent beginner. But I knew I wanted more. So I set out to discover the hidden craft of composition.

The Art of Composing Academy is the result of that searching.

I began to discover certain problems were getting in the way of real progress.

Problem #1: Measuring my progress against master composers

Wanting to emulate some of my favorite composers, like Chopin, Beethoven, Mahler, or John Williams, I would gravitate to specific techniques that sounded really cool, like interesting harmonies, or cool orchestration tricks. But I was neglecting the fundamentals those composers had deep knowledge of, and that formed the backbone of their music.

I didn’t really understand the basic principles of composition.

Problem #2: Attempting advanced techniques before understanding the basics

I love great music - the way it sounds, the way it resonates with me. And naturally I wanted to emulate that music. So I would sit down and begin writing fully orchestrated Symphonies, in what I thought was the style of Mahler, only to end up abandoning them after a few measures. I only had faint ideas of the kinds of sounds I wanted to compose...

But I didn’t know how to take an idea, and develop it.

A Better Way to Learn Composition

What I learned through all this searching, was a better way to learn and teach music composition. These techniques are based in solid music theory, psychology, performance research, and historical precedence. They just work.

Understand and use the fundamentals

Some of the greatest music ever written uses very simple chord progressions, and has what seem to be very simple melodies. But more often than not, what makes them great is the deep thought that goes into their construction, not necessarily the complexity of the material.

The Academy teaches the fundamentals of composition in a way that you can actually use them.

Start with the most important things first

Great music is about memorable moments. I am sure you can think about the moments in a symphony you love, that resonate deep down in your core. I know I can. Experiencing the music, and composing are not all the different. You need to be able to write the most important music first, and work from there.

The Academy teaches you to write solid, thematic music. And then develop that music into more substantial works.

Use techniques to get you through the process, even when it’s hard

Just like real life, composing can be mentally and emotionally demanding. You need a toolset to help you through the tough times, when you don’t have that “creative drive.”

The Academy gives you the tools to compose, even when your inspiration let’s you down.

Write, rewrite, and polish

When you reach the end of your piece, you need to understand what techniques you can use to rewrite and polish your music.

The Academy teaches you the process of working and reworking your music to something you can truly be proud of.

The Art of Composing Academy

In the Art of Composing Academy, we focus on a few core ideas:

  1. We master the fundamentals of composition first, and only focus on advanced techniques when you are ready for them. Become a master of writing a single theme, and then you’re ready for larger works.
  2. We emulate great composers to learn directly from them. Just imagine sitting with Beethoven for a lesson on writing a piano sonatas. Unfortunately he didn’t write a book on it, but he did the next best thing - he wrote a bunch of piano sonatas we can study and emulate.
  3. We practice composition. It turns out, that you need to practice things to get good at them. Composition is no different from every other skill, so we practice the techniques we’ve learned in a low stress way, without getting wrapped up in the lore of genius, inspiration, or masterworks. If it’s just practice, you can handle it.

Why the Academy?

The Academy gives you the knowledge you need to know, in order to compose the music you love, without paying $40,000 in tuition and reading thousands of pages of theory books with nothing to show for it.

What you get inside the Academy


Over 12 hours of video lessons covering the fundamentals of harmony, melody, form, and process.

Composer Symposium

The Weekly Symposium, an online meeting with me and other members, to discuss composition in all it’s intricate details with like-minded individuals.


Comprehensive workbooks, weekly guided “composer workouts,” and composing cheat sheets, covering everything you learn in the academy.

Start Learning to Compose Today

Melody · Harmony · Form · Voice Leading · Counterpoint

  • ✓ Over 40 lessons on the most important skills of composition
  • ✓ Weekly "Composer's Symposium" webinar, to discuss composition with me and other composers
  • ✓ No Composition experience required
  • ✓ Mac, Windows, iPhone, iPad, and Android
  • ✓ Secure checkout
  • ✓ Cancel at any time

Join us for $40/month

What Do I Need to Know Before Joining?

The course is comprehensive in composition, but I assume you are able to read music. This doesn’t mean you have to be a fluent sight-reader. You just need to be able to read the music that I use for examples.

Everything else from the first note of your first melody, is explained in depth.


Don't just take it from me, listen to what former student's have to say... and more importantly, the music they wrote as their final projects for Music Composition 101.

Monty Kerson

"I truly enjoyed this class and recommend it to anyone who is interested in composing. I found that Jon’s method for teaching composition is an excellent way for beginners to get started with writing music without being completely overwhelmed by music theory. Those who are farther along the path will find this class as a great resource. All the information that you might need put together in a nice package so you can go back over the years and look up some of these solid tools for composing."

Hur Ozan Cerrahoglu

"Buying all the sounds or sample libraries available on the market, without the necessary skills to use them is waste of time and money - which I did. If you are tired of writing viola ostinatos with growling brass on it, or crossing your fingers each time you start a project, this course is for you."

Reinhard Willutzki

"Dear Jon, Thank you very much for this great course! I enjoyed everything in it! I'm a Pianist in a Jazz Quintet. Since long ago, I've tried also to write Music. I've read some theory books, but I was not satisfied. With your course, I now have the pieces together that I can see more a whole picture, what composing is all about. Thank you again !P.S. I'm looking forward to the course on Sonata Composition. I already tried to write one with the Help of your great book "How to write Music in Sonata form". My first Sonata will appear in a few months on my Soundcloud account. Nevertheless I'm already waiting for the next Course.


Note: Reinhard has since finished the first movement to his Sonata. Here it is:

Frequently Asked Questions

What Do I Need to Know Before Joining the Academy?

The basic requirement is an ability to read music. As long as you start with Music Composition 101, everything else is explained.

Each course in the Art of Composing Academy has different recommended musical knowledge levels. You are not restricted from any courses, but some will require more knowledge than others.
For Music Composition 101: The Fundamentals - as long as you can read music, you are ready.
Music Composition 201: Sonata Form, is more advanced and you should be able to understand the concepts in 101 first. Check each course page for the recommended knowledge and skill required.

How Are the Courses Structured?

The courses are based around learning specific skill sets, and then putting those skills into practice. Each course features multiple modules, focusing on things like melody, harmony, or form. Each module has several lessons. Each lessons breaks down the key skills that you learn.

Every course has a comprehensive workbook that is designed for you to be able to successfully put into practice all the concepts from that course.
On top of this, I have recorded myself completing each of the exercises. This really helps understanding.

Are the Courses Available on iPad, iPhone, Android, or other mobile devices?

Yes. The site is fully mobile compatible. You can watch it and do the exercises anywhere you want, as long as you have an internet connection and a printer to print the exercises, or a notation program. If you have any issues with formatting, you can always email at

Can I download and save the videos to my computer?

Unfortunately, for security reasons I do not offer the videos for download and saving to your computer. On top of that, I am constantly adding new videos, and frequently make updates to workbooks, or add additional exercise explanations. The courses are always improving.

Do I have access to the entire course as soon as I join?

Yes. You have access to the entire course from the moment you sign up, nothing is drip fed. However, I don't recommend rushing through it. The benefit is in practicing the exercises and compositions enough to where you don't have to think about the theory and can just "let go" while you compose.

None the less, the course is available in it's entirety and you could watch all 8 hours on the first day if you wanted.

The exception right now, is music composition 201, which is still being completed. That is about a third of the way complete, approximately 3 hours are available, with about 6-8 hours left to complete.

Will I get to talk to you during the course or I will only get the material and trust my self-study skills?

Yes. I am jus starting up a weekly private web meeting, called "Composer Symposiums". This is your chance to talk to me, and ask any questions you have. It's also an opportunity to meet other academy members - like minded composers all wanting to improve.

You can always leave a comment on the lesson pages which I answer, or email a question as well.

Start Learning to Compose Today

Melody · Harmony · Form · Voice Leading · Counterpoint

  • ✓ Over 40 lessons on the most important skills of composition
  • ✓ Weekly "Composer's Symposium" webinar, to discuss composition with me and other composers
  • ✓ No Composition experience required
  • ✓ Mac, Windows, iPhone, iPad, and Android
  • ✓ Secure checkout
  • ✓ Cancel at any time

Join us for $40/month

Join for the year at a 40% discount