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!
2) Read up on composing, arranging, notation, orchestration, and the state of new music. Study the scores of great composers (and be aware of sources of free PDF scores of music in the public domain).
Twentieth Century Harmony: Creative Aspects and Practice by Vincent Persichetti
Contemporary Harmony: Romanticism Through the 12-Tone Row by Ludmila Ulehla
The Study of Orchestration, 4th Ed. by Samuel Adler
The Complete Arranger by Sammy Nestico
Inside the Score by Rayburn Wright
Behind Bars: The Definitive Guide to Music Notation by Elaine Gould
Music Notation: A Manual of Modern Practice by Gardner Read
I Care If You Listen
IMSLP - Petrucci Music Library (PDFs of public domain scores)
3) Be aware of representation issues.
4) Join organizations, attend conferences (if able), and engage with new musicians on social media.
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.