New Course: Craft of Composition

Craft of Composition provides a thorough foundation in compositional craftsmanship by working through 30 progressive musical models and composition projects for piano.

This course centers on the piano as a foundation for good writing and serving as an essential step to good ensemble writing and orchestration.

Anyone can string one note after another, but good composition is good design, and that is what this course teaches.


  • An understanding of what musical craftsmanship is, what constitutes good and clean writing.
  • Expanding the range of your melodic ideas.
  • Writing of melodic lines and accompaniments that support formal structure.
  • Understanding how phrases fit within the form with tools to accomplish it.
  • How to write cohesive pieces where the elements all fit together motivically and structurally.
  • How to create phrases and accompaniments that give direction and structure to the music.
  • An increase in musicianship.
  • A foundation for orchestration: orchestration begins with good writing!
  • An understanding of how articulations are actually performed by musicians, not just textbooks definitions.
  • How to notate, engrave and present your music in a professional way.
  • And a lot more.

You will end with your own collection of short, well-written and engraved pieces, ready to show to any pianist, and you will have built a foundation of good writing that will improve all aspects of your composition and orchestration.


  • Phrase structure, contour and direction.
  • Motivic design, contour and how to use them well.
  • Two- and three-part musical forms and concepts of form.
  • How all phrases function within a form: form is a lot more than just letters!
  • How to give shape and direction to your writing.
  • Multiple ways to establish contrast.
  • How phrases function within form to give direction to your writing.
  • A musician’s view of basic articulations to improve your notation, how to communicate well with you writing, and what to expect from a performance.
  • Understanding context in musical interpretation of notation.
  • Proper beaming to show musical design.
  • How to properly voice, double voices and voice-lead multiple approaches to writing beyond SATB, but building on those concepts.
  • Harmonic analysis tips.
  • Piano voicings beyond four-voice writing.
  • How accompaniment supports structure.


The pieces are taken and adapted from Czerny, the father of modern piano technique. They are carefully chosen to present concepts gradually, reducing overwhelm and allowing the student to assimilate concepts and put them into practice immediately.

The model pieces are also all chosen and adapted to use only diatonic harmony, no chromaticism, making this course accessible to the novice student without having to wait to reach secondary dominants and modulations.

This is a perfect course to follow Essential Composer Training: Foundation.

I am very proud of this course. Enjoy and keep that pencil moving!


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