Introduction to the Composer's Craft

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

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. You'll explore the beat, time signatures, rhythm, tonality, timbre, texture, and structure, with key examples to demonstrate along the way, as well as weekly personalized feedback from an expert Soundfly Mentor. By the end of this course, you'll be able to employ 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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Work with an Expert Mentor for Six Weeks

Sign up for this course with six weeks of personal mentorship from an expert, and get unlimited access to the content, forever.

Price $499

Payment plans available. to find out more.

Subscribe for Access to All Our Courses

Get access to all our premium courses without mentorship for a low monthly price.

Price $39/month

Compose more interesting music

By the end of this course, you'll be able to write complex music employing various foundational tools to bring your work to life.

Embrace the Elements

This course is built around dissecting essential compositional elements such as rhythm, beat, texture, tonality, and more.

Listen & Analyze Concepts in Action

We explore and analyze contemporary works by modern composers who use these concepts in their music.

Cultivate Your Toolkit Through Practice

We offer a series of constrained writing prompts to get you applying the concepts to your music right away.

Start Building Your Own Unique Portfolio

We'll help you develop your own compositional style using these elements as your starting point.
Are you an educator? If so, you can access educator discounts. !


Our expert mentors do whatever it takes to ensure that you achieve your musical goals for the course and leap forward in your learning.

Tim Maryon

Film Scorer, Arranger
  • Award-winning composer
  • MA in Film Scoring from the Royal College of Music
  • Has written for clients including the BBC and Victoria Beckham

Andre Madatian

Composer, Film Scorer
  • Degree in Film Scoring from Berklee College of Music
  • Music has appeared Bravo, CBS, Oprah Winfrey Network, and more
  • Touring guitarist and performer

Mahea Lee

Composer, Arranger, Educator
  • Contemporary Writing & Production grad from Berklee College of Music
  • Classically-trained pianist with 25 years experience
  • Composition experience in classical, jazz, pop, & contemporary genres


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. 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 every day 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.

How does a Soundfly course work?

We offer two ways to experience our courses: with mentorship or with a subscription. Enrolling with mentorship involves in-depth weekly personalized support and feedback from an expert for the six week duration of the course.

Enrolling with a subscription does not include mentorship but gives you access to all of the courses on to go through at your own pace for as long as you're subscribed (and tons of extra perks — see below).

What do I get if I enroll as a subscriber?

As a subscriber, you'll get unlimited access to all the course content on, including this course and all our other premium courses, to go through at your own pace. This includes all the videos, tutorials, demos, quizzes, activities, downloads, and other materials within our courses. You're also entitled to discounts of up to 33% on our mentorship programs, you will be invited to join our exclusive community Slack group, and you'll have access to exclusive discount perks courtesy of our partner brands. You can cancel anytime.

You can find out more about subscribing here.

What do I get if I enroll with mentorship?

Our mentorship program is our science-backed learning model designed to help you learn more efficiently and effectively. When you sign up, we'll pair you with an expert who will tailor the course to your experience level, offer detailed weekly feedback on your work, answer any questions you have, help you blow past obstacles, and keep you on track to accomplish your musical goals.

You can find out more about mentorship and our expert mentors here.

You'll also get unlimited, lifetime access to all the course content and lifetime access to our tight-knit musician community group on Slack, where you'll find peer-to-peer feedback and support, lots of inspiration, and fun, musical conversations with fellow Soundfly students, mentors, and staff.

How does the pricing work?

A subscription costs $39/month or only $19/month if you enroll annually.

Enrolling with mentorship costs $499 for six weeks of intensive support from an expert, plus lifetime access to the specific course you're purchasing. Payment plans are available — reach out to [email protected] to find out more.

Is there a money-back guarantee?

Yes, if you enroll with mentorship. If you enroll with mentorship and the course isn't what you expected, we will give you a full refund as long as you tell us before the start of the second week, in order to honor the valuable time of our mentors.

We're also happy to move you to a subsequent session, if you end up not having as much time as you expected. Once again, let us know as soon as possible!

How long does this course last?

Our courses were designed to be taken in six weeks. If you enroll with a mentor, you will go through that six week curriculum. If you enroll with a subscription on the other hand, you can choose to use the six week structure, or you can ignore it and jump around as much as you want.

Will there be future sessions of the course?

Yes! Check back shortly for firm dates, or sign up for a Soundfly account to receive email updates about course dates and new course launches.