Introduction to the Composer's Craft

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

We're not your average online course.
Find out about our mentorship approach.

Starts April 7

Six Week Mentor-Guided Course

Money‑Back Guarantee

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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4 Days Left to Join the Next Session

Payment plans available. to find out more.

  • Unlimited access to interactive and video content
  • Weekly feedback and support from an expert Soundfly Mentor
  • Membership in our growing online Slack community of students and mentors

Price $499

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.

Mahea Lee

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

Ian Temple

Composer & Pianist
  • Composer marrying piano, strings & electronics
  • Multiple video soundtracks, including award-winning film
  • Works performed at major venues on three continents


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. 

Is there a money-back guarantee? 

YES. If you sign up 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. The reason that the second week of the course is a cut-off for our guarantee is simply that if we go past that deadline, our mentors will have likely put in a lot of time, energy, and effort already. 

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! 

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 as a Mainstage student? 

The Mainstage experience is built on our science-backed active learning model, which helps you learn more efficiently and effectively than typical online courses. The key difference is our mentorship approach — one-on-one coaching with a trained Soundfly Mentor who has extensive experience in the subject. 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'll also get unlimited, lifetime access to all the course content — including in-depth lessons, activities with answer keys, quizzes, video tutorials, and downloadable resources — so you can review anytime and keep your skills sharp.

As an extra perk, you’ll get 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.

What does it mean that the course starts on a specific date?

As soon as you purchase a course at any level, you can begin exploring the course material immediately. On the start date, the session begins, which means you'll begin a guided experience that includes weekly activities, feedback from Soundfly Mentors, 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! Check back shortly for firm dates, or sign up for a Soundfly account to receive email updates about course dates and new course launches.