When most people think of a composer, they imagine someone sitting in a dusty attic with a grand piano, big white wig, and the year is 1800. That might have been accurate back then, but the modern composer is just like you and me. In fact, I am one.
In this course I'll show you techniques I use for writing music in a variety of styles and situations. I've worked with major american orchestras, film studios, and video game designers, so I've got more than a little experience. I'm also a PhD in music composition and a university professor (of music composition).
Recently I was named as a semi-finalist for the Grammy Foundation's Music Educator of the Year award because of my in-person university classes. Now I'm taking those classes to Udemy in an online format in order to reach more students, and give them the joy of Music Theory.
I'm planning on making several "sections" of this class, and this is only part 1. As the class grows, we will go deeper and deeper into my techniques. This class is focused on the beginning: Generating ideas and getting started.
In this class, we will cover:
And of course, once you sign up for this "section" of the class, future sections will come to you at steep discounts! Over half off for all future sections!
You will not have another opportunity to learn Music Composition in a more comprehensive way than this. Start here.
Dr. Jason Allen is an Ableton Certified Trainer, and a PhD in Music Composition and master of Electronic Sounds. His music has been heard internationally in film, radio, video games, and industrial sound, as well as the concert hall and theater. His 2015 album, Aniscorcia, reaching the CMJ Top200 Charts and radio broadcasts nationwide. In 2014 he was named a semi-finalist for the Grammy Music Educator Award.
He currently as an adjunct professor of composition at the University of St. Thomas, and the CEO of Slam Academy in Minneapolis.
Praise for classes by Dr. Jason Allen:
Lets get started with a quick introduction to what we will cover in this class.
A little about me, my experiences, and my background.
A see a lot of students stumped at this when they start writing music. Lets discuss.
There are several pieces of software available for composers. I'll talk about the ins and outs of each in this section.
Nothing beats some good staff paper and a nice sharp pencil.
The obvious thing to do is have your instrument handy while you are writing. Or is it?
Some quick tips for diving into the deep end of the music pool.
When you are faced with a big empty page and need to start writing, use this tip.
One of the most powerful compositional tools is program music.
Here is a score and program note for the piece I talked about in the previous lecture.
One of my personal favorite devices to use when writing a piece is a character sketch.
Sometimes you just need to go outside, climb a tree, and start writing.
This is a technique I use to explore a melody, and see what I can make with it.
Lets talk about one of the most famous quotes about writing music to have ever existed.
What is form, and why do we care about it?
There are a lot of different places to begin with form. Lets look at 4 to get started.
Form impacts us as composers because we need to know the shape of what we are writing before we start.
This is a trick I do to help me visualize an entire piece before I've written any notes at all.
The most basic building blocks of harmony are called triads.
The recipe for a triad is root, third, fifth.
When we put all the triads available in a key, we have the diatonic chord progression.
Triads by themselves don't sound all that interesting. But if we add some inversions, it starts to get interesting.
This is a tool we use to analyze other music so we can figure out how it ticks.
Lets look at a fairly simple piece and see if we can figure out how it works.
Next, lets look in a little more detail at this piece.
You have probably seen this chart hanging on a wall somewhere. Its more useful than you think.
Now that we know how this works, lets use it for writing music.
Now we will look at another piece of music and pick it apart, using what we've learned.
Not every note in a melody needs to be part of the chord.
One more analysis of a song you've probably heard before.
In can be very difficult to just pop off a melody. But there are some tricks to coming up with a good one.
This is a technique that is hundreds of years old that usually produces a good, memorable melody.
If you already have a harmony, and are adding a melody, things before a little easier.
Sometimes the best melodies are all around you.
This is really only the beginning of this class - so stay tuned!
Thats all for now!
You've come this far... maybe you are willing to keep going?
J. Anthony Allen has worn the hats of composer, producer, songwriter, engineer, sound designer, DJ, remix artist, multi-media artist, performer, inventor, and entrepreneur. Allen is a versatile creator whose diverse project experience ranges from works written for the Minnesota Orchestra to pieces developed for film, TV, and radio. An innovator in the field of electronic performance, Allen performs on a set of “glove” controllers, which he has designed, built, and programmed by himself. When he’s not working as a solo artist, Allen is a serial collaborator. His primary collaborative vehicle is the group Ballet Mech, for which Allen is one of three producers.
J. Anthony Allen teaches at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN., and is an Ableton Live Certified Trainer. He is a co-founder and owner of Slam Academy, a multimedia educational space in downtown Minneapolis. Recently, Allen founded Hackademica – an innovative net-label for new music.
J. has a PhD in music composition, 2 Master’s degrees in music composition and electronic music, and a bachelors degree in guitar performance. Through his academic travels, Dr. Allen has received numerous awards along the way.
If you run into him on the street, he prefers to be addressed as J. (as in, Jay.)