Modal Mastery

Modes are one of the most important and useful tool in the film composer’s arsenal. (Any composer for that matter). Modal Mastery is a course aimed at the serious student who wants to achieve mastery over the technical and expressive aspects of the modes. Modal Mastery covers the modes in-depth and gives progressive and detailed steps to achieve and build a level of technical freedom and fluency that can only be described as “mastery”.




I’m so excited I’m starting to really understand them [the modes]. I feel it has opened up the spectrum for me.

David Molina

Technical Proficiency

“Modal Mastery’ provides you with the steps and tools to achieve a high degree of technical proficiency in spelling and identifying of the modes. No stones are left unturned here, and no shortcuts taken. Every mode is approached in four difference ways to spell and identify from any tonic.
Technical proficiency is necessary to both build and unlock your imagination.

Sound and Colour

You are given an large amount of information and examples to really unlock the colour of each mode and really understand their potential so you can apply this under any circumstances. With modes you can really tell a story! (Something I actually demonstrate in the video lesson on Modal Modulation 1.)

I make sure you have the tools necessary to achieve technical mastery (from 15 years teaching experience) but then walk you through in detail what colour and  effects each the modes can give through numerous on-screen improvisations (with explanations)  and examples from the literature. And not just classical either, but also includes film scores, folk, traditional ,rock, metal, blues, pop and my own music. This is the biggest collection of examples of modes out there.

Every mode is versatile, so a few examples just don’t cut it. With each lesson you get a solid view of each mode from many different angles to really get a sense of their possibilities.

I already feel the improvements to the way I compose and try to shape ideas even if I had already studied modes 20 years ago!

Alex C.

Exercises and Drills

A worksheet and detailed instructions are given so the student has all the tools to achieve technical proficiency and a mastery of modal colours, lines, harmony and the potential of each mode.

The focus is, of course, on composition. So suggested exercises and drills are not just about spelling – I also explain my approach to “keyboard geography” and progressive steps to improvisation and writing.

Application of Modes

Beyond what each mode can do individually (which is covered in depth in the individal mode lessons), true mastery also requires being able to use the modes in a variety of ways, which includes

  • Tips to master modal chord progressions
  • Three types of modal modulations
  • Using modal lines over non-modal chord progressions

was not sure how to apply modes on composing till I started your Modal Mastery course. The guidelines you have given are fantastic!

I. S.

Lesson Format

The videos are meant to be reviewable, have been formulated and edited to contain no fluff and go straight to the point. Every concept is reinforced for maximum clarity and steps given for your own application of the material while also giving you creative impetus for your own compositional freedom in how you apply it.


Every student gets access to a private student-only forum for this course where you can ask questions and share information with fellow students.

Future of the Course

The course will continue to grow and, of course, as a student you receive unlimited access to all updates, instantly!

So have a look at the curriculum, ask any questions that you may have and hopefully see you inside!


Wonderful course Alain. I thought I was covered with this [modes], but it was Christmas so I treated myself and learned loads!

Ed Buller

Suggested Prerequisites

A working knowledge of:

  • Major and minor scales 
  • Key signatures.
  • Intervals

Course Curriculum

Introduction to Modes 00:03:00
How To Use This Course 00:14:00
Section 1: The Modes
Lesson 1: Spelling Dorian 00:07:00
Lesson 2: The Sound of Dorian 00:11:00
Lesson 3: Phrygian 00:17:00
Lesson 4: Lydian 00:17:00
Lesson 5: Mixolydian 00:17:00
Lesson 6: Aeolian 00:22:00
Lesson 7: Ionian 00:14:00
Lesson 8: Locrian 00:15:00
Section 2: Using the Modes
Modal Modulation I 00:11:00
Modal Modulation II 00:08:00
Modal Modulation III 00:05:00
Modal Lines & Functional Harmony 00:07:00
Composition Exercises 00:02:00

Course Reviews


1 ratings
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  1. 5

    When consider modes in music this is best I have ever seen. Simple, clear, transparent guide. Congratulations on this course and thank you very much!! Please make more courses about orchestration which is the very best and my favorite! Kindest regards.

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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