I often think about what it takes to truly master the subject of composition. It can be frustrating from the standpoint of student, finding yourself writing pieces that you have written before… just in a new way. I remember an instructor pilot of mine, when I was learning to fly helicopters say, “There are guys […]
After working together for over 40 years, John Williams and Steven Spielberg have some incredible insights to making a collaboration go smooth. John Williams describes it as an “Unbuttoned Trust”. Learn the secrets to building this unbuttoned trust, that every film composer and director should know.
So where to begin the study of counterpoint? This is a dilemma that I have faced in the past, and for the most part, has been the biggest stumbling block. In this post, we will examine how Bach learned and taught counterpoint, and how this will become our model for learning as well. Books on […]
Why learn counterpoint? Because counterpoint. In this article, I explain the reason everyone needs to learn, and master the fine art of counterpoint, and how that fits into all facets of composition.
It’s time to go an inch wide and a mile deep. We are starting a series in which we will try to really get to know Mahler… What makes him tick? How did he become great? What are his characteristic style traits and Mahlerisms? Read on to learn about Mahler, the man… the composer.
Orchestration is a tempting thing for any composer. The excitement of conducting your own piece in front of 80-120 players, bringing the audience to tears… it’s hard to beat. But are you ready for it? In this episode, learn about the principles of orchestration.
Failure happens for a reason. And contrary to what you may think, failure can be a good thing. Find out how you can learn to deal with it, and why failure is actually important.
Musical form is a tool that has been used by every great composer from Bach, to Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mahler, and even living composers. But what is musical form, and how does it work? In this episode learn the fundamentals of classical musical form.
Effective modulation is one of the skills that sets apart great composers from amateurs. In the 2nd installment of the Art of Modulation series, learn all about common chord modulation, and what it can do for your composing.
Modulation is a tool that every composer needs to master. Learn about the simplest form of modulation – direct modulation.
Episode 7 of the Art of Composing Podcast. In this episode, we look at creativity – what it is, how to find it, and how to explore your creative boundaries.
Having a mentor can really help catapult your apprenticeship and speed up your process of mastery. But how do you find a mentor? And how do you take advantage of that mentor-protege relationship? Find out in this episode of the Art of Composing Podcast.
http://traffic.libsyn.com/artofcomposing/05_AOC_005_-_The_Pathway_to_Mastery_Part_2_-_The_Ideal_Composer_Apprenticeship.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download | EmbedSubscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS | MoreEpisode 5 of the Art of Composing Podcast. In this episode, I cover the next stage of your pathway to mastery, the apprenticeship. Find out about why an apprenticeship is so important, the different phases of an apprenticeship, and […]
http://traffic.libsyn.com/artofcomposing/04_AOC_004_-_The_Pathway_to_Mastery_Part_1.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download | EmbedSubscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS | MoreEpisode 4 of the Art of Composing Podcast. This episode is all about starting on the pathway to mastery. What is mastery? Well, it is the state that you achieve, where you have almost magical powers of control over […]
http://traffic.libsyn.com/artofcomposing/03_AOC_003_-_So_You_Want_to_Become_a_Composer.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download | EmbedSubscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS | MoreEpisode 3 of the Art of Composing Podcast. In this episode, I talk about what it takes to start composing immediately. What is in this episode: The mindset you need to learn to compose music. How to approach the […]
There are just too many great melodies to pick from. None the less, I picked 10. These are guys that you can consider kung fu masters of melody. Like Mr. Miyagi says, “Everything is Melody… I mean Kung Fu.” 1. Jules Massenet – Meditation from Thais This is a beautiful piece that has such a […]
Ever wonder what the process of composing music is really all about? Are you confused about how to even start composing, let alone, how to develop a piece of music and when to stop? Find out about the process I go through when composing, and for a special treat, listen to me actually compose an entire piece of music live.
In this first episode of the Art of Composing Podcast, I talk a little bit about who I am, why I started artofcomposing.com, and the Art of Composing Podcast. Next, I go into what music composition is and the stages of learning to compose music… also known as the trivium.
The hardest part of composing is staring at a blank page. It is easy to get caught up in the nothingness and find yourself completely out of ideas. So here are a few tips for generating melodic ideas. Phrase Storming One of my favorite techniques is called Phrase Storming. Basically you try and write out […]
When composing a melody, you have to be able to simultaneously comprehend all of the different aspects of a melody, while at the same time, push them out of the active working part of your mind, so your creativity can take over. This was discussed in my previous article, Creativity and The Importance of Melody. […]
I am a huge proponent of studying music theory. I have many reasons for this, but the main reasons really comes back to this – good music theory is written by very smart people thinking very deeply about what great composers have done. Sometimes they miss the mark. But sometimes they are able to describe […]
Voting begins now, and ends next Friday, October 4th, 2013, at midnight California time. Vote for your favorite composition!
Hear ye! Hear ye! I’d like to announce the official start of the first Art of Composing Challenge. For this challenge, you will be required to write a piece, based solely on a title and a key signature. There are no restrictions as to instrumentation, style, or time… but keep in mind, if you write […]
What courageous decision are you avoiding, that you know will change your life?
So most of the time, I like to talk about composing on this site, and for good reason… it’s called Art of Composing. But today I thought I would venture into a little more of the motivational side. In the end, it will probably help your composing in one way or another.
When I started this site back in 2011, I wasn’t sure where it was going to take me. I knew I wanted to improve my composing, and I knew I wanted to teach others what I was learning, but I wasn’t sure about anything after that.
Why It Is Okay to Copy Other Composers (Preferably Public Domain) I am currently listening to the third movement of Mendelssohn’s 5th Symphony, “Reformation”. I have heard some people say that Mendelssohn lost his youthful edginess and his later music just doesn’t reflect the genius of his earlier pieces like the Octet or Midsummer Night’s […]
How to Really Start Improving Your Composing Since I started artofcomposing.com back in August of 2011, I have been searching for different methods, techniques, theory… in fact just about anything that can improve my composing. You Are What You Eat Along the way, I’ve read some great books on psychology and mastery. Influencer: The New […]
Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis The Lark Ascending
Internet Forums, Symbols, Value, and the Golden Rule If you are a regular visitor to artofcomposing.com, you may have realized I have not been posting very much recently. The main reason is, I have been doing a lot of reading. And consequently, I’ve also been doing a lot of thinking. Most of this has actually […]
Recently I’ve had ideas for a novel, that I think could be pretty good… if not down right awesome. The problem is, I don’t know how to write. Actually, I know how to write, I just don’t know how to write a 50,000 word novel. When I originally had the idea, I decided to do […]
Actually, thats not true, but hopefully I got your attention. The fact is, most people will get this idea in their head at least once in their career. Many will get it over and over again. So let’s take a look at why you may think your compositions suck. I have spent the last year […]