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With media in a constant state of evolution, it seems that more and more opportunities are popping up for music composers every day, whether for movies, television, games, apps, or podcasts.
Of course, a greater number of opportunities for composing music also means a greater competition base, which is why it’s so important for anyone thinking of a career in music composition to have as much knowledge of the art as possible.
To become an expert-level music composer, your best bet is to go the education route. Thankfully, the rise of online learning has paved the way for anyone, anywhere, to learn music composition online at their own pace.
Come dive in with us as we explore the best online music composition courses on the market, so you can expand on your basic music theory knowledge and start composing music professionally.
Table of Contents
Related: The Best Music Production Schools
Point Blank Music School – Music Composition In Depth
Point Blank Music School got its start during the 1990s in the U.K. and has gone on to become what the readers of DJ Mag called the world’s ‘Best Music Production School’. It also happens to have one of the best music composition programs around.
From its humble beginnings as a commercial recording studio in London, Point Blank eventually extended its musical tentacles worldwide, integrating its brand into a vast network of college-level institutions. As of today, you can find physical campuses in Los Angeles, China, Mumbai, Ibiza, and more.
Of course, it’s the online course accessibility that truly propelled the brand to educational stardom, as it offers burgeoning music professionals of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds the opportunity to learn from some of the most successful names in the industry.
With more than 50,000 students and alumni having gone through the school’s wide range of music-related programs, including sound engineering, music production, music business, music performance, and music composition, Point Blank has quite a bit of experience in churning out success.
In fact, you may recognize some of the many big names that call themselves Point Blank alumni, including Goldie, Claude VonStroke, Aluna Francis, and Dave Rene.
If you’re looking to join a diverse global network of passionate music experts, Point Blank is one of the top modern music schools around.
Music Composition in Depth
Point Blank’s extensive Music Composition In-Depth course is designed to equip students with the skills and expertise to craft a wide array of complex, intricately structured musical compositions and unleash new forms of creativity in their own music.
As you move through the course, you’ll learn about the art of writing riffs, hooks, chord progressions, and more. However, what sets Point Blank apart from many other online schools is that the lecturers make it a point to let their students’ personalities shine through.
You’ll discover how to blend various musical styles with your unique musical identity so that your compositions can stand out amidst the competition.
The course itself is six months long and is split into two terms — music composition and advanced composition.
In the music composition module, students will explore the core elements of music composition, the course covers rhythm, harmony, melody, arrangement, and structure, all while focusing on commercially popular Western styles of music.
Point Blank know that being able to compose music is a core skill for contemporary producers and artists, one that allows them to realise their creative ambitions and make informed production decisions. The musi composition module focuses explicitly on commercial styles, genres and their aesthetics. You will have chance to investigate technical and stylistic aspects of these styles and genres, developing your confidence and abilities in composition. You’ll also gain experience in composing original musical elements and arranging these elements into a full musical composition.
- Commercial composition techniques
- Use of rhythm in drum-beats and melodies
- Key, modes, and scales
- Use of melodies
- Writing basslines
- Composing musical ‘hooks’
- Listening and analysis
- Use of harmony: chord sequences and modulation
- Form, structure and arrangement
Then, students will then move on the advanced compostion module, focusing on in-depth musical analysis, non-western music traditions, creative strategies, non-traditional composition forms, and more. The module will help to expand your knowledge of stylistic, rhythmic, harmonic, and structural conventions and gain skill in their musical application.
This module will really help you focus on developing your individual voice as a music composer via personal exploration and technical study of musical forms, theories of rhythm and harmony, extra-musical stimuli, and contemporary methods of sonic manipulation.
The module includes:
- Aesthetics of music
- Implementing concepts drawn from a musical analysis
- Composing in traditional and novel forms and structures
- Composing for electronic and acoustic instruments
- Non-Western music traditions
- Creative strategies: experimentation and improvisation
- Understanding and developing a compositional brief
- Developing a portfolio and the composer’s place in the music industry
The course itself is taught by several big-name industry experts, including mixing engineer Max Heyes, professional vocalist Bridget Amofah, and famed composer Linton Bennett.
Overall, it might be one of the best music composition courses for anyone looking to take their music career to the next level.
Point Blank offers access to a range of Online Learning features to help with learning Music Composition online. Including 1-2-1 sessions so that you can speak to your lecturers and share your projects, allowing for feedback, advice and guidance on specific areas of your assignments
Students at Point Blank also are eligible for discounts on the following brands:
- 50% off Ableton Live
- 50% off NI Komplete
- Discount on Pioneer DJ equipment
- 70% off Eventide plugins
- 40% off Serato DJ
- 35% off selected Waves bundles
- Over 50% off Roland Cloud Ultimate
Overall, Point Blank’s Ableton Live course is one of the best Msuci Composition courses available. Highly recommend to anyone keen to improve their DAW knowledge and learn music production skills.
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Berklee College of Music
Berklee Online was founded in 2002. Two decades later, it is one of the premier providers of music education around the globe, with 75,000 students from over 144 countries. The beauty of Berklee Online is that you get the same curriculum you’d receive from Berklee College of Music at a fraction of the tuition price.
Working hand in hand with Coursera, one of the leading platforms for online courses, Berklee’s award-winning programs are now more accessible than ever.
Songwriting: Writing, Arranging, and Producing Music Specialization
Having the ability to write an original song is the foundation of any great composer’s skillset, and with Berklee’s Songwriting course, you’ll learn how to bring your musical ideas to life.
This month-long musical composition course requires just 10 hours of weekly commitment, and you’ll learn a wide range of skills, including:
- How to produce demo songs using a digital audio workstation (DAW)
- How to develop arrangements for live and recorded performances
- How to write creative and expressive lyrics
- How to arrange supportive melodies and accompaniment
The course itself is split into four distinct “series,” each of which is devoted to a single element of the songwriting process. Once you’ve made your way through the writing and arranging process, the final project will guide you through the actual production process using one of the most innovative DAWs on today’s market – Ableton Live.
At the end of the course, your instructors will provide you with a shareable certificate that you can add to your LinkedIn profile.
From basic music theory to music composition to music production, I love the fact that this course provides you with all the fundamentals you need to take an idea from start to finish.
You also get a certificate upon completion.
Other Berklee College of Music courses that may be of interest:
Udemy is one of the largest online course providers offering a vast range of courses arranged in a module-style framework. With more than 57,000 expert instructors and 35 million users in 180 countries, it has become one of the best places to pick up and master a new skill, such as composing music.
With just over 6,400 students, Songwriting 101 is one of the most popular and highly-rated music composition courses on Udemy. The course is taught by Peter Darling and Tomas George, both of whom have worked in the music industry for more than 15 years as music producers and composers.
The course will teach you:
- How to write and produce music for different genres, including pop, rock, country, and EDM
- How to write memorable melodies that stand out from the crowd
- How to create movement with professional arrangement and musical composition techniques
- How to write lyrics that express your emotions
- How to produce and mix your songs to polished perfection
The course offers over 12.5 hours of on-demand video content and 16 high-quality, downloadable resources that are yours to keep forever!
If you’re in the market for an online music composition course that can improve both your music production and songwriting across different genres, from classical music to pop, then this course is for you!
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Music Composition 1 & 2
Music Composition 1 is a more laser-focused online music composition course that teaches students basic music theory, which they can use to compose their own original music.
The course was put together by award-winning music composer, Jonathan Peters, whose music has been performed by orchestras across the globe. The course ratings speak for themselves.
With more than two hours of on-demand video and 21 downloadable resources, you’ll learn:
- How to compose unique melodies and rhythms
- How to transcribe music
- How to notate music using popular music notation software
It’s worth noting that this music composition course is a prerequisite to Music Composition 2, which focuses more on harmony and advanced composition techniques. In the second half of the course, you’ll learn:
- How to compose complex chord progressions
- How to combine rhythm, melody, and harmony to create texture
- How to translate a single piece into various forms of musical composition
- In-depth music theory and voice-leading techniques
I’d recommend this course to any budding composer who’s looking to get their feet wet and procure a deeper understanding of mid-level music theory.
Kadenze is very similar to Coursera in that the platform partners with leading universities and educational institutions from across the globe to offer top-tier creative courses students can receive college credit for. Whether you’re looking to level up your music theory game, learn how to compose music, or simply get your music fundamentals down, you can find the course you’re looking for on Kadenze.
Loop Repetition and variation in music
Loop: Repetition and Variation in Music is one of the most interesting online music composition courses we’ve come across, as it encourages an experimental approach to composing music.
According to its instructor, Jeffrey Weeter, who is the co-director of CAVE (Cork Audio Visual Ensemble), the goal of this course is for students to “make more from less while maintaining interest in their musical compositions.”
Through a number of short composition assignments, readings, and class discussions, you’ll dive head-first into lesser-known compositional styles, including ambient, alternative, minimalism, and musique concréte.
By the end of the course, you’ll be able to:
- Adapt unique compositional techniques to your own music
- Compose engaging pieces with minimal source material
- Analyze complex pieces of music to determine the structural form
It’s an excellent music composition course for anyone seeking out left-field music composition skills or ways to integrate alternative thought processes into their own music.
The online learning experience you get with Masterclass is almost unparalleled, as the instructors are all leading professionals in their field. When you become a member of Masterclass, you get access to the impressive catalogue of over 180 courses, each of which features in-depth video lessons and workbooks.
Danny Elfman teaches Music for film
From the Nightmare Before Christmas to The Simpsons, Danny Elfman has been the mastermind behind some of the most iconic themes and soundtracks of all time. Not only is his work both original and memorable, but it’s also some of the most exuberantly strange and off-kilter.
This Masterclass music composition course provides an uncensored look at Danny Elfman’s creative process, from mapping out a score to layering instrumentation in unconventional ways. He even takes students on a compositional journey through the score he wrote for A Simple Plan, explaining his thoughts and choices throughout each step of the process.
Though the entire course takes place in Elfman’s studio, which we can only assume is filled with millions of dollars worth of equipment, his teaching style is very intimate and understanding. By the end, you feel like you have an arsenal of new tips and techniques that you can practically apply to your own work.
Herbie Hancock teaches Jazz
Herbie Hancock is arguably one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, inspiring the beginnings of what would become the post-bop jazz sound. However, what most people aren’t aware of is that his successful jazz career started in his family living room, where he used to try and play along to his favourite records.
Luckily for us, this now-globally celebrated, seasoned musician distilled the journey from his family home to his rise to the top in a 4-and-a-half-hour online music composition course.
Throughout this great course, you’ll get to deep dive Herbie’s approach to compositional techniques, harmony, and improvisation, as well as access to five exclusive solo performances and ten original piano inscriptions.
Herbie’s musical philosophy emphasizes the importance of having an open mind and open ears. It’s learning by listening and improvising by feeling.
From fundamental chord progressions to expert-level compositional techniques, Herbie’s course is sure to take you on a music composition journey that will leave you with a better appreciation for jazz.
Other Masterclass music Composition Courses of interest:
The thing that sets Skillshare apart from many other online course platforms is its membership model. Essentially, you pay a monthly fee, and that fee gives you access to any Skillshare course you want to take.
There are hundreds of top-notch music production, music composition, and songwriting courses, as well as a tight-knit community of students to share and learn with.
Music Composition 101
While Music Composition 101 might be pegged as a beginner course, there’s plenty of material for even intermediate-level musicians to ingest. This 2-and-a-half-hour music composition course provides tips and techniques for those looking to compose music for film, orchestra, video games, and so much more.
Jason Allen leads the class, and with plenty of experience under his belt, including his years of being a professional songwriter, producer, and composer for the Minnesota Orchestra, as well as his semi-finalist status for 2014 Grammy Foundation Music Educator of the Year, anyone who decides to take this class is in good hands.
Music theory can be incredibly complex, and what I love about Jason is that he’s able to strip down the heady bits and pieces, all while providing practical, actionable tips that you can use to compose your own music.
From learning to write for different forms of media to building a music portfolio to acquire more work, I have no doubt that this is one of the best music composition courses for beginners out there.
How can I learn music composition?
The best way to learn to compose music is by just starting! Start to compose your own own songs and pieces of music and explore your creativity.
From there you can expand on your skills as a composer by learning via online music composition courses. A good music composition course will teach you about arrangement, structure and compostional techniques to help improve your compositions.
What is the best Music Composition course?
Point Blank Music School Music Composition In Depth – Best Music Composition Course. Exceptional educational experience provided by one of the best music production schools.
Berklee College of Music – Songwriting: Writing, Arranging, and Producing Music Specialization – Best Introduction to Songwriting for beginners.
Masterclass – Danny Elfman teaches Music for Film: One of the best music composition courses for film scoring.
Masterclass – Herbie Hancock teaches Jazz: One of the best music composition courses for jazz-focused musicians.
Skillshare – Music Composition 101: One of the best beginner music composition courses.