Introduction to the Composer's Craft

Write more interesting pieces of music by better understanding the foundational elements of composition.

Gifting options available at checkout.

Next Session Starts April 19

2 Hours A Week

10 Sections

As a composer, there are many different tools in your toolbelt that can bring interest and originality to your music. You can use time signatures to add complexity, tonality to add emotional pull, rhythm to add drive, or something else to create some other unique dynamic. 

This course will take you through the essential elements of modern composing. Led by Australian composer Tim Hansen, you'll explore the beat, time signatures, rhythm, tonality, timbre, texture, and structure, with key examples to demonstrate along the way. By the end of this course, you'll be able to employee these tools more effectively in your compositions. 


Tim Hansen

Composer, Songwriter, Educator

Tim is a composer, songwriter, music director and storyteller inspired by a variety of gleefully dark sources. An enthusiastic and charismatic educator, Tim has created lessons for TEDed, is composer in residence at Santa Sabina College, and is engaged with Musica Viva’s ‘Musician in the Classroom’ program in Sydney. He is a co-founding director of W4 New Music collective in New York and has worked with ensembles including Synergy Percussion, the Song Company, Contemporaneous, Cadillac Moon and TRANSIT. Tim has studied with Michael Gordon and Martin Bresnick amongst others, and holds a Masters in Music Theory and Composition from NYU.

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Course Outline

  1. Start
    Section 1


  2. Start
    Section 2

    Getting Started

  3. Start
    Section 3

    Beats and Subdivision

  4. Start
    Section 4

    Time Signatures

  5. Start
    Section 5


  6. Start
    Section 6


  7. Start
    Section 7


  8. Start
    Section 8


  9. Start
    Section 9

    Structure and Form

  10. Start
    Section 10



Who is this course for? 

This course is perfect for beginners looking to get more into composing. With tons of practice activities, this course will provide a boost to anyone who's interested in learning more about composition and looking to start their portfolio. 

What will I learn? 

Composing from scratch is one of the most challenging things you can do as a musician. In this course we intend to introduce you to the common concepts that composers deal with everyday when creating original music. By the end of this course, you will have a full understanding of some of the essential elements of composition, including rhythm, beat, texture, tonality, time signatures, and more. Each of these concepts can be directly applied to your own music. 

What are the pre-reqs? 

This course assumes a very basic knowledge of music notation, but it assumes little prior composing experience. If you feel the need to brush up on your music notation in advance, you can always check out our free course on how to read music

What do I get at the Basic level? 

At the Basic level, you get immediate, unlimited access to all the course content, including 45 lessons, 11 video tutorials, 13 in-depth song studies, and lots of activities.

What do I get at the Pro level? 

The Pro level is for students really committed to taking their art to the next level. You'll receive everything in the other two levels, plus an in-depth weekly check-in with a personal mentor who has extensive experience in the subject. This "Course Advisor" will help you stay accountable to your goals and offer detailed weekly feedback on your work. 

Can I upgrade after I've purchased the course?

Of course! If you've started the course at the Basic or Plus level but decide you'd like the extra support from classmates or expert advisors, just send us an email to [email protected], and we'll help you make the upgrade. You'll be placed in either a current or a future session. 

What does it mean that the course starts on April 19?

As soon as you purchase a course at any level, you can start exploring the course material immediately. On April 19, the session begins, which means that if you're in the Pro level, you'll begin a guided experience that includes weekly activities, feedback from Course Advisors, and much more. This is intended to help you stay accountable and get the feedback you need to succeed. 

Will there be future sessions of the course?

Yes! We plan to run new sessions roughly every two months. Check back shortly for firm dates, or sign up for a Soundfly account to receive email updates about course dates and new course launches.

How do I give the course as a gift?

Soundfly courses make great gifts for the music lover in your life. To purchase a course as a gift, first sign into your Soundfly account, or create a new account for you (the purchaser). Pick the price level you'd like to give, click to purchase, fill in your information, check the box below the credit card form saying you're buying the course as a gift, and click to pay. You'll shortly receive an email gift certificate that you can give to a friend.

How do I sign up for a course using a gift certificate?

Create your own Soundfly account, navigate to the course you've been gifted, and click to "buy now." On the check out page at the bottom of the form, you'll see a field where you can enter the code on your gift certificate. Enter the code, no credit card info needed, click "Apply," and enjoy the course!