I live in Southwestern California just some 100 miles away from the Arizona border and have played piano since I was 8 years old. I'm 16 now and have been self-taught since age 14. I want to take my piano skills up a level and learn to write my own pieces though. I've already been writing some pieces, actually, which you can listen to here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6K0A84L12V-SSOISTHJSLg

ive also been working on a prelude in c major for the piano. if anyone wants to listen to it, heres a preview of it: http://picosong.com/TPw3

I know music theory as I learned it from my piano teacher and even my band teacher when I played saxophone in public school, but its the composition that's tricky for me. I've tried reading books but I just can't absorb the information as well as I probably would if I had someone who knew what they were doing to tell me face to face what to do and how to compose.

The problem is I live on the edge of the desert and there are hardly any good resources online to look for someone to teach me in this specific field. If someone could point me in the right direction or maybe even offer to teach me online I'd really appreciate it. As I'm still a minor though I would have to talk to my parents about paying for any fees just in case someone offers to teach me over the net. Thanks in advance.

4 Answers 4


Check with the music department of the nearest college to where you live (the nearest that has a music department.) Often one of the faculty will be giving private lessons on the side (or even a graduate student.) You may also check with the band director (or choir director or orchestra conductor) of somewhere nearby. Again, people in these positions often give private lessons. In addition, even if not giving lessons themselves, they may be able to steer you to a good teacher.


You may find someone as ttw suggests, local high school/universities are a good start. I'd be somewhat wary of having an orchestra teacher teach you composition in lieu of an actual composer. You wouldn't want to take saxophone lessons from a violinist, right? I suggest you post at composerssite.com and ask for a composer who take you on. Give your email, approximate location (but not your address; anyone can see that), and ask them to contact you and your parents. You say you're a minor. I recommend that your parents ask the teacher to provide references, and strongly suggest that they sit within view of you during lessons. Just my two cents.


Composition and performance cannot be divorced. You dont need a person who does one over the other because music training should cover both.

They are two sides of the same coin. Most of the teaching of music theory is done to get people to compose there own music

I don't see how playing the great music will not help you make your own music. It can inspire you but it can also educate you on things that work thus improving your own music.

Every musician takes inspiration from some other musician. Imitation will be the first step in developing your own style.

Even if you do a full composition based degree program you are still going to spend a sizeable amount of your time playing other peoples music


Where can I find a composition teacher?

I generally agree with the others that answered this question. However, the only thing you really need to concern yourself with is, what sounds good to you.

A very wise composer once said "composition cannot be taught, only encouraged".

One important thing I learned is that a composition teacher can teach you how to improve the craft of composing, not the inspiration. The 'craft' encompasses notation, orchestration and styles of music. As you grow as a composer you will constantly add new skills to your 'tool bag', allowing you to take on larger and more challenging projects. But the inspiration is up to you and the power of your imagination.

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