Resources for (Young) Composers

On this page you will find a an array of advice and resources for composers - especially younger composers without access to a teacher/mentor, academic program, or financial means. The art and craft of composition belongs to everyone regardless of age, gender/identification, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, location, education/training, etc. 


1) Listen to as much interesting music as possible! Immerse yourself in a variety of styles, genres, and historical eras. To paraphrase bestselling author Stephen King, if you don't have time to read, you don't have time to write. Being knowledgable about the repertoire provides creative impulses and tools you need to compose.

Don't know where to begin? I have created a playlist on my YouTube channel of compositions/albums/songs that have influenced me over the years. Go listen! 

This playlist will be ever-expanding and includes everything from hip hop to gamelan, Claude Debussy to Stevie Wonder, opera to EDM, Talking Heads to Brahms, Rebecca Clarke to film scores, string quartets to free jazz.

Having "open ears" is a must for any creative musical soul!

Alan Theisen's Playlist of Influential/Must-Listen Music



3) Be aware of representation issues. 



5) Find a mentor! You are not alone, I promise. Seek out somebody who has experience composing and learn everything you can from them. If you want me to look over compositions you have completed, listen to music you are working on, or help you get started, I offer one free Skype/FaceTime lesson to any composer under the age of 23 who does not otherwise have access to a composition teacher.