All the Right Information in One Spot

From Basic Music Theory to Advanced Elements of Composition Not Taught Anywhere Else

• Refresh your music theory and fill in the gaps with all the right information in one spot.

• Learn to write down the music you hear in your head and turn those ideas into finished compositions.

• In-depth video lessons and a start-to-finish workbook to apply what you learn away from the computer.

• Avoid writer’s block by learning how to add your unique creative voice to your music, regardless of your genre or style. 

• Once you purchase, you own it for life. 

• It's self-paced, and designed for in-depth study.

New! Weekly zoom meeting office hours to get direct feedback on your progress.

New! Get the course as a private podcast feed to absorb on the go.

Early Black Friday sale!

Sale ends Cyber Monday

Don't miss out on your opportunity to learn composition at an affordable price.

Buy now for 50% Off

Course Curriculum

  1. 1
    • What Makes a Decent Melody?

    • Help me make a better course by answering a few questions...

    • Fundamental Concepts

    • How We Got To Tonality

    • The Major-Minor System

    • Composing a Basic Melody

    • Download the Course Workbook

    • Worksheets: Simple Chord Tone Melody

    • Guided Exercise 1-2-1: Simple Chord Tone Melody 1

    • Guided Exercise 1-2-2: Simple Chord Tone Melody 2

    • Q&A on Creating Basic Melodies

  2. 2
    • Limitations and Creativity

    • Connecting the Chord Tones

    • Worksheets: Connecting Chord Tones

    • Exercise 1-3-1: Adding Non-Chord Tones 1

    • Exercise 1-3-2: Adding Non-Chord Tones 2

    • Q&A on Connecting the Chord Tones

  3. 3
    • Intervals

    • Making Intervals Intuitive

    • Chromatic Intervals

    • Exercise 2-2-1: Interval Workout

    • Triads and Inversions

    • Making Triads Intuitive

    • Seventh Chords

    • Making Seventh Chords Intuitive

    • Basic Chord Progression No. 1

    • Q&A on the Essentials of Harmony

  4. 4
    • Understanding C Major

    • C Major Worksheet v4

    • Learning Chord Progressions for Composers

  5. 5
    • Intro to Harmonic Functions

    • Tonic Function

    • Dominant Function

    • Pre-Dominant Function

    • Intro to Harmonic Progressions

    • Prolongation Progressions

    • Cadential Progressions

    • Sequential Progressions

    • Q&A on Functional Harmony

  6. 6
    • Applying Harmonic Theory to Your Vocabulary

    • Download: Beginning, Middle, and Ending Progressions Worksheet

    • Combining Beginnings, Middles, and Endings

    • Connecting Progressions with Emotions

    • Improvising with Progressions

    • Improvising a Beginning Idea

  7. 7
    • Introduction: An Overview of Classical Form

    • Discuss Understanding Form

  8. 8
    • The Sentence and the Basic Idea

    • Ex. 3-2-1: Composing the Basic Idea

    • Ex. 3-3-1: Repetition

    • The Continuation Phrase

    • AOC Podcast Interview with William Caplin, author of Classical Form

    • Ex. 3-4-1: The Continuation Phrase

    • Repetition of the Basic Idea

    • Q&A on Composing a Sentence

  9. 9
    • Sketching a Basic Idea, Part 1

    • Sketching a Basic Idea, Part 2

    • Generating Basic Ideas (Live Masterclass 2018)

    • Analyzing and Developing Your Basic Idea (Live Masterclass 2018)

  10. 10
    • Functional Harmony Continued

    • Exercise: Creating a Functional Chord Progression

    • Minor Harmony

    • Ex. 4-2-1: Minor Functional Harmony

    • Making Minor Harmony Intuitive (Live Masterclass 2018)

    • Simple Modulation

    • Ex. 4-3-1: Simple Modulation

    • Making Modulations Intuitive (Live Masterclass 2018)

    • Q&A on Creating Chord Progressions

  11. 11
    • Introduction to Melodic Techniques

    • Melodic Traps

    • The Ingredients of a Melody and Scale Lines

    • Chord Line Melodies

    • Rhythm

    • Q&A on Melodic Composition

  12. 12
    • Intro to Voice Leading

    • Range

    • Doubling

    • Completeness

    • Spacing

    • Melodic Motion

    • How to Harmonize a Melody

    • Q&A on Voice Leading

  13. 13
    • The Period

    • Q&A on The Period

  14. 14
    • Intro to Embellishment

    • Start with a Simple Melody

    • Identify Your Essential Tones

    • Add Neighbor Tones

    • Add Suspensions and Anticipations

    • Add Turns and Use Rubato

    • Transpose and Add Appoggiaturas

    • Q&A on Melodic Embellishment

  15. 15
    • Intro to Small Ternary Form

    • Exposition

    • Contrasting Middle

    • Recapitulation

    • Creating Contrast

    • Compose Your Contrasting Middle and Recapitulation

    • Q&A on Small Ternary Form

  16. 16
    • Accompaniment 1: Principles of Clarity

    • Accompaniment 2: Patterns for Composing

    • Q&A on Accompaniment

  17. 17
    • Bagatelle No. 1 - Lesson

    • Bagatelle No. 1 - PDF

    • Bagatelle No. 1 - Audio

    • Bagatelle No. 2 - Lesson

    • Bagatelle No. 2 - PDF

    • Bagatelle No. 2 - Audio

    • Q&A on the Capstone Projects

Featured Reviews

5 star rating

Fantastic course

B Mark

Thanks for the great course Jon! You clearly put a lot of effort into its design and delivery. I found it dived deep enough into the subject to provide a solid foundation, yet the pace and format kept it interesting and enjoyable. Would be great to see more from you in the future.

Thanks for the great course Jon! You clearly put a lot of effort into its design and delivery. I found it dived deep enough into the subject to provide a solid foundation, yet the pace and format kept it interesting and enjoyable. Would be great to see more from you in the future.

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5 star rating

Great course!

Shon Meckfessel

So many courses that claim to cover musical composition are really just an introduction to some basic theory, without a thorough explanation to how pieces are constructed as wholes. The AOC course is different - it really covers the way that larger pieces are put together and given coherence, while not neglecting the elements (like melody and harmony) that make those pieces up. Highly recommended!

So many courses that claim to cover musical composition are really just an introduction to some basic theory, without a thorough explanation to how pieces are constructed as wholes. The AOC course is different - it really covers the way that larger pieces are put together and given coherence, while not neglecting the elements (like melody and harmony) that make those pieces up. Highly recommended!

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5 star rating

Oustanding Teaching and Course!

Matthew Plaski

I very much enjoyed this course, and I will definitely be taking more of Jon's composing courses in the future. He explains difficult concepts well and makes them easier to understand. I especially liked the applied examples from Beethoven, Mozart, and Mahler. Also, the workbook exercises help solidify the concepts without becoming tedious or boring. Overall, it was a fantastic course, and I learned a great deal about melody, harmony, and form.

I very much enjoyed this course, and I will definitely be taking more of Jon's composing courses in the future. He explains difficult concepts well and makes them easier to understand. I especially liked the applied examples from Beethoven, Mozart, and Mahler. Also, the workbook exercises help solidify the concepts without becoming tedious or boring. Overall, it was a fantastic course, and I learned a great deal about melody, harmony, and form.

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FAQ

  • Do I need prior composition experience?

    No. You must be able to read music notation in treble and bass clef. Everything else is explained in the course.

  • Will it work for my style or genre of music?

    Yes. When you learn the technique, we focus on classical style, but almost every concept taught in the course can be, with a little imagination, used in just about any genre.

  • Does it work on mobile?

    Yes. At least it should be... if something isn't working let me know.

  • Is there a certificate at the end?

    Yes. The certification is hosted through Accredible and can be shared.

  • What payment methods do you accept?

    PayPal, and Stripe. I accept all major credit and debit cards.

Normally $100

Get it today for $50

Don't miss out on your opportunity to learn composition at an affordable price. Sale ends after cyber monday.

Buy now - 50% Off

More Student Reviews

5 star rating

Such a great course ...

Michael Thom

Precise exposition of 'musical expectations' and how to apply them. The Fundamentals of Musical Composition has opened a world of understanding and possibility for me. Thank you Jon.

Precise exposition of 'musical expectations' and how to apply them. The Fundamentals of Musical Composition has opened a world of understanding and possibility for me. Thank you Jon.

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5 star rating

The Fundamentals of Musical Composition

Jeremy Penalosa

The whole course is very informative. I personally enjoyed it and learned something new.

The whole course is very informative. I personally enjoyed it and learned something new.

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5 star rating

Good information

Christopher Wheeler

There are very few people that present theory in this way online. Most people probably think theory is just knowing scales and circle of fifths and a lot of places online present it like that. This course presents the theory of what the musical system is and how to use it and the functions it has. People disregard theory because they think it is a bunch of rules and it will limit their creativity while this couldn't be further from the truth. The musical system which we use was designed and created by people and is a system with some technicalities and must be properly understood.

There are very few people that present theory in this way online. Most people probably think theory is just knowing scales and circle of fifths and a lot of places online present it like that. This course presents the theory of what the musical system is and how to use it and the functions it has. People disregard theory because they think it is a bunch of rules and it will limit their creativity while this couldn't be further from the truth. The musical system which we use was designed and created by people and is a system with some technicalities and must be properly understood.

Read Less
5 star rating

Fundamentals of Musical Composition

Chris Carter

I'm really enjoying the Art Of Composing online courses! My composing is has improved so much since I started a month ago. All the lessons are presented clearly with nice musical examples! I can't wait to dive into another lesson today! Thanks Jon!

I'm really enjoying the Art Of Composing online courses! My composing is has improved so much since I started a month ago. All the lessons are presented clearly with nice musical examples! I can't wait to dive into another lesson today! Thanks Jon!

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Even More Student Reviews...

5 star rating

I wish that I had had this course when I started college.

Tom Harvey

Every music student should have a course like this.

Every music student should have a course like this.

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5 star rating

Finally! What we all have wanted

Luke Van Grouw

I finally found what I have been looking for. This course is for all who want to compose, but never thought they could! Without going into confusing subjects, it teaches all the fundamentals of composing. I can't wait to finish and start composing full pieces.

I finally found what I have been looking for. This course is for all who want to compose, but never thought they could! Without going into confusing subjects, it teaches all the fundamentals of composing. I can't wait to finish and start composing full pieces.

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Watch this lesson on melody from the course

Don't worry if you don't know all the terms, you will by the this point in the course.

More Student Reviews

5 star rating

The title is appropriate to the subject matter

Skevos Alachouzos

I particularly like the stress upon the importance of self-imposed limitations; and I suspect that the same principle holds true in all forms of creative work including poetry, prose writing etc and even (e.g.) painting (as in, for instance, limiting onself to a particular, restricted palette of colours).

I particularly like the stress upon the importance of self-imposed limitations; and I suspect that the same principle holds true in all forms of creative work including poetry, prose writing etc and even (e.g.) painting (as in, for instance, limiting onself to a particular, restricted palette of colours).

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4 star rating

totally diggin' it !

MR Mark

Hey Jon, I am really loving the fun way you have gone about constructing a course that is based on some fundamental building blocks, and incorporates useful limitations that enable anyone to start composing.

Hey Jon, I am really loving the fun way you have gone about constructing a course that is based on some fundamental building blocks, and incorporates useful limitations that enable anyone to start composing.

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5 star rating

Excellent

chris maxwell

The course is very logical and well thought out. It begins at the beginning, so to speak, and is thorough and comprehensive. Most excellent for learning to compose in the classical style, which would be a good beginning point for any composing style. The course is a very useful learning tool.

The course is very logical and well thought out. It begins at the beginning, so to speak, and is thorough and comprehensive. Most excellent for learning to compose in the classical style, which would be a good beginning point for any composing style. The course is a very useful learning tool.

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5 star rating

Such a great course ...

Michael Thom

Precise exposition of 'musical expectations' and how to apply them. The Fundamentals of Musical Composition has opened a world of understanding and possibility for me. Thank you Jon.

Precise exposition of 'musical expectations' and how to apply them. The Fundamentals of Musical Composition has opened a world of understanding and possibility for me. Thank you Jon.

Read Less

Meet Your Composition Teacher

Creator of Art of Composing

Jon Brantingham

I've composed for over twenty years, and I am passionate about teaching and learning composition.
Early Black Friday sale!

Sale ends Cyber Monday

Don't miss out on your opportunity to learn composition at an affordable price.

Buy now for 50% Off