I have been composing and arranging on my own for about 10 months now, i am confident that they sound good but i am not sure, how good, how to make them better and if taking the proper course will make them better or if it is a waste of resources.

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    Use the site a bit, and when your reputation rises a little, you can post compositions in the chat room to get feedback.
    – Aaron
    Commented Jun 7, 2023 at 19:35
  • Welcome! This is kind of too broad a question to answer; see the topics that are covered here and how to get targeted, factual answers. As Aaron suggests, we have a chat room specifically for sharing work. In the meantime, if you have a specific question about a certain problem or bit of music, feel free to edit to focus on that. Commented Jun 7, 2023 at 20:24
  • What kind of music? You might break out a specific question on arranging/orchestration which often involves more technical considerations than aesthetics/composition. Commented May 15 at 15:02

3 Answers 3


Instead of a "course" in music composition, look for a good teacher. Composition is very individual and you will get the best experience if you have someone with with you one-on-one. Many composers also teach either theory or composition privately to supplement their income. I'd start with a local university music department and ask around. They might be able to teach you, or suggest an advanced student who could get you started.

A good teacher will assess where you are at now and decide what you should be working on next. They can also probably help you find musicians to perform your music, or at least read it for you, which is valuable!

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    In college (a long time ago) I took an independent study in composition as a non-music major. My first assignment: write a piece for solo flute. Not what I expected. At the end of the semester the flute professor played it at the music student's concert. It's hard to have such an opportunity without college professors. Commented May 15 at 17:13
  • @MichaelCurtis indeed! It's not only the level of expertise and experience but also the network that makes this a good avenue.
    – nuggethead
    Commented May 15 at 18:14

You have given very little detail about what kind of music your write and what compositions you have completed. It makes it hard to give specific, useful advice. But, I suppose when someone says "composer" instead of "song writer" some assumptions can be made.

If you haven't done all the exercises in Fux's species counterpoint, do that.

Certain textbooks on harmony and counterpoint, while not composition textbooks per se, provide so many writing exercises for each chapter, they certainly make great training from the point of view of craftsmanship. Books by Walter Piston and Keenan are my choices.

Even if that stuff is not your style of writing, such exercises are common training for a composer. If you haven't done them, it something you could do and check off a list of basic skills training.

Whatever your composition style, spend a lot of time playing and analyzing that kind of music. Make the analysis deep, cover hierarchical levels of structure, and don't just do Roman numeral analysis (RNA), look at things like rhythm, harmonic rhythm, metrical placement, melodic contour, motif development, non-chord tone use, texture changes, part writing, instrumental technique, etc. There are so many things to look at beyond chord progression and making melodies "fit" progressions.

There are composition textbooks. Have you used those resources? If you have access to a good college library, browse there music textbooks for composition study. Find the books that reflect your personal taste and attitude. Do the exercises in the books.

If you are teaching yourself, you need to find a balance between self criticism and confidence. When doing analysis and writing you might take an attitude of always looking for a second or third alternate to first choices. Then after consideration, decide on a deliberate choice. We are dealing with art, so there is rarely absolute right and wrong. But if you are a student, don't fall in love with your first choices. Explore alternatives. It's probably more worthwhile to keep a sketchbook of multiple version of an exercise than making multiple revisions of a single thing. Keep the scale small. If your ten months into composition study, a symphony probably is not the model to work with.

  • +1 for Fux. timeless!
    – danmcb
    Commented May 16 at 7:03

Music is impossible to compose using just schemes. I mean it's technically possible, but unfeasible to write music that is sincere and elicits warm feedback from the other person's heart using only theory and schemes.

Of course, the best way is if you're fluent in music theory, but it's hardly enough. You can't describe all music with "math".

There's something much more important behind all of that.

If it sounds good, truly and sincere sends a message about what's in your heart, and it's all about good things, not containing anything even remotely close to something sinful and vice, that's how it has to be!

Don't overthink, especially if you feel it's not a good moment for doing so.

P.S. Flee from bad things in music and music industry, related to any sin or not innocent even a bit, avoid them no matter what by any means, they'll brazenly bait you but then that will hurt sooooooo much, it will be such an unbearable pain and inner devastation you probably can't even imagine now. I know what I'm talking about. Don't write music for fame, it makes ZERO sense, create music for people you love. Even for everyone, even for the people you don't know.

Don't overthink like "I want to write a cool melody, wanna make it hard, deeply detailed, so...how do I make a complicated accompaniment?..." that's a FAIL.

Just write simply and sincerely what's in your heart, not "I want to compose just to compose".

  • Re. schemes. I took an example of harmonic template elaborated to full melody from an Allen Forte textbook, used my own chord progression, did the melody as a Baroque adagio, set to oboe and strings. Unassumingly played the result for a friend. They said it made them teary eyed. Schemes and good craft work too. If that didn't work, we wouldn't have the huge amount of Baroque and Classical music that exists. Commented May 15 at 14:44

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