Essential Composer Training: Foundation

The one that started it all, back by popular demand! A unique and powerful approach to composition training for the serious film composer. Originally called “Composer Training: Module 1”, this course combines in a synergistic way harmony, voice-leading, harmonizing, arranging and tons more into a powerful all-in-one course that can best be described as professional training.


The methodology you teach, and the thought process you repeat, teaches me what to think about constantly and what is really important during composition. Your real world experience shows through the videos and inspires me.

Eric Griffin

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This course was specifically designed for film composers by:

  • giving a solid foundation that is based on understanding the rules of harmony and voice-leading rather than blindly following them.
  • and approaching every musical element from the point of view of sound and effect, so the student learns to control musical colours like a painter, to tell stories with sound.
  • being usable right away in real-world situations.

This course is very result-driven and aims to provide an academic-level foundation applicable to the sound of music today.


  • Covers all diatonic harmony: triads and seventh chords
  • Goes way beyond by including work methods, harmonizing, arranging and more
  • 12 video lessons totaling over 6 hours
  • Detailed study and exercise guide PDF for every lesson

I am very very happy to have found a course like yours that finally takes the composition student by the hand and teaches solid craft, good working habits and to make music from the outset with the knowledge acquired.

Massimo Tofone


Every lesson is filled with tips and tricks from a working composer, and aims to get you making music from the get-go.


Every element is demonstrated with on-screen writing and is reinforced through repetition in order to explore them from various angles.


This unique course was developed by Alain through 12 years of teaching professional and serious amateur composer. The results from this approach have been proven time and again.


Musicianship is an essential to being a great composer. So this course is designed to support and develop musicianship.

I think this is by far the best, most practical and accessible presentation of the material that I've seen. Very nicely done!

Certainly gets my recommendation.

D. Kardell


Built on 12 years of teaching, the unique structure and pacing of the course was carefully designed to lead maximally from one lesson to the other. Every lesson and exercise builds on the previous one and concepts are presented at the right time to allow reinforcement of previous concepts for maximum retention.

I love the fact that you take me through the same process repeatedly as the techniques get more sophisticated. This instills ALL of the process in my mind and enforces the discipline we must consistently have from start to finish.

Eric Griffin


Beyond theory, this course also fosters good creative and working habits that lead to maximum fluency for when you need to be creative on demand.


All students gain access to a private, student-only forum where they can ask questions and interact with each other.

This course is streaming video, so no need to download and you have unlimited, lifetime access!

NOTE: This course does not include getting your work corrected.


  • Basic rudiments (key signatures, scales, intervals, triads and seventh chords)
  • Basic music reading
  • Basic keyboard skills


Course Curriculum

Part I: Voice-Leading and Harmony
Getting Started and Study Guide 00:05:00
1 – Voicings and Voice-Leading 00:23:00
2 – Tonic and Dominant 00:27:00
3 – Subdominant 00:36:00
4 – Supertonic & Sudmediant 00:26:00
5 – Mediant and Dominant 7 00:28:00
Part II: Making Music
6 – Harmonizing part I 00:31:00
7 – Inversions 00:40:00
8 – Making Music 00:36:00
9 – Figuration 00:31:00
10 – Composing Out 00:33:00
11 – Harmonizing Part II 00:28:00
12 – Seventh Chords 00:22:00

Course Reviews


4 ratings
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  1. Most helpful 'Musical Composition' course & tuition I have ever come across


    I write this review with having gone through all of the 12 modules, taking notes for all of them and completing the exercises for the first 8 (The other 4 module’s exercises will be done in the near future but I was enjoying the course too much to not get to the end of it more quickly to gain a general overview). The fact that this is a lifetime course means that I have the advantage of being able to go back anytime and watch any videos where I perhaps missed some points or just wish to reinforce a concept I had learned before.

    I am a self-taught musician who has been trying to improve my writing for a few years now. I have delved into a few harmony and counterpoint books working through the exercises in them trying to gain a grasp of composition. I also looked into other online music courses and resources as I am not a big fan of the formal education system.

    However, none of these succeeded in giving me a musical process to follow in order to create something out of nothing. This probably has to do with the fact that the authors were/are more theorists than performance musicians and so the tone and context is quite dry, in addition to not being overly inspiring. What I love about Alain’s course is the following:

    1) His enthusiasm is there from the the start and that really ‘comes out of the screen’ having a positive effect on the student and igniting his/her enthusiasm for learning.

    2) It’s clear, light and not complicated (Not what you would expect from a traditional music theory course).

    3) It’s musical & practical (you will see Alain playing some musical ideas in every video to make sure you understand and ‘feel’ what has just been taught to you) and you can follow along on the piano too.

    4) By the end of each video you get a firm grasp of what has been taught and can apply the skills straight away in exercises accompanying each module. These are generally fun and from the outset you are encouraged to try and create something musical using, even with the most basic tools given. (I love that he focuses on film/tv music as a medium but also incorporates many other different musical styles in his teaching).

    5) As a bonus, there is also a forum for the course and you can ask questions if you get stuck somewhere or need something explained in more detail. Shout out: seriously Alain, great job on this front as I realise you have other endeavours but you are always so quick to reply with the most clearly detailed response one could hope for! Thanks! 🙂

    Nothing related to the course itself but I had hoped the community would get more involved in the forums so we could all help each other out and go on this journey of musical discovery together (but again, Alain did his best to answer any queries I had so no problems there).

    I actually think this course should cost more as it is an absolute steal at this price for any self-studious musician who wishes to take his/her musical ideas to the next level. I have learned so much and I still have a long way (possibly) to go to create complete pieces I am happy with. However, If I keep doing the advised music writing drills, and I’m not afraid to make mistakes, then I’m certain that eventually I will start to churn out beautiful pieces thanks to the applicable skills I have learned in this course.

    Best of luck!

    Many Thanks

    PS. In the future I would love to see some material on modulation, tonicization, rare chords and musical form.

  2. Ultimate Refresher Course for the Experienced


    This course was a wonderful back-to-basics review. The concepts and practices have immediate musical application. You will walk away with efficient techniques that will guide your creative process and keep you writing without getting stuck wondering where to go next. Highly recommended for composers at any level!

  3. Good foundation.


    For me it was like back to basics. Step by step.
    I recommend this course for all composers.

  4. Clear, concise, and fast-paced!


    I can’t say enough about this course. I’ve been composing for well over 10 years with a self-taught sense of theory. On top of everything new that I learned, this course solidified many topics that were a little scatterbrained for me. Foundation is a great descriptor for this course and I think every composer with or without formal training should take this course. Alain is clear about what he’s teaching and regularly emphasizes that breaking the rules can have nice results. Taking a class from a working musician is invaluable.

About Alain Mayrand

Alain is a working composer, orchestrator, conductor and orchestrator. His credits include "Elysium", "Ender's Game" and more.

Read more about Alain on the About Page

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