Orchestration for Strings

Arrange and compose your own original pieces for the string section of an orchestra.

Learn on Your Schedule.
Learn from anywhere, anytime, at your own pace.

Go Deep.
Get unlimited access to countless high-quality lessons.

Challenge Yourself.
Take on practice activities & exercises to help you improve.

Get Help & Feedback.
Join our Discord community where you can get support 24/7.

Creating a string arrangement is the most powerful way to make a piece of music soar. Whether adding an epic string part to your latest pop song or composing for a classical quartet, there's so much you can do with these dynamic instruments. 

This course is all about helping you compose and arrange for violin, viola, cello, and bass. We'll look at the individual instruments of the bowed string family and explore a specific textural framework for creating better arrangements. Along the way, you'll get personalized feedback on your work from an expert Soundfly Mentor. By the end, you'll understand how to create monophonic, polyphonic, chordal, and homophonic textures, and have a portfolio of original works ready to unveil at your next performance. 

Ian Davis

Composer, Arranger, Art Rocker

Ian is a composer/arranger/teacher living in Brooklyn, NY. He's written orchestral arrangements for such indie luminaries as Feist, Daniel Rossen, My Brightest Diamond, Landlady, and others. He plays and tours with Landlady and Relatives. He is an associate teaching artist with the New York Philharmonic's Very Young Composer's program. His music can be heard at

More About Ian
Less About Ian
orchestration for strings
ian davis
string instruments

Subscribe Now for Unlimited Access

Take this course for as low as $12/month with a Soundfly subscription, and get access to all the creative courses we offer, and much more. Cancel anytime.

Want to work on this course with 1-on-1 support from an expert mentor? Request a mentor through our
custom mentorship program here.

Write better arrangements for string instruments

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to confidently write original music or arrangements for the string section of an orchestra or a quartet.

Study the Particulars of Each Instrument

We start by exploring the specific sounds, ranges, and dynamics of each individual string instrument.

Master a Texture-Based Approach to Arranging

We practice and explore four important textures to facilitate composing and arranging.

Create Your Own Portfolio of Works

We include multiple writing prompts to get you composing and building your portfolio right away.

Practice Writing Various Bowing Techniques

We look at how bowing techniques can inject dynamism into a performance and practice writing them.


Add a custom mentorship session on top of your course subscription to work through the material one-on-one with an expert mentor. Get a more personalized experience featuring weekly calls, feedback, additional resources, and more. Tell us about your goals below to learn more.

Ian Temple

Composer, Pianist
  • Composer marrying piano, strings, & electronics
  • Multiple video soundtracks, including award-winning film
  • Has had works performed at major venues across three continents

Tim Maryon

Arranger, Film Scorer
  • 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

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


Course Outline

  1. Section 1


  2. Section 2

    The String Section

  3. Section 3

    The Violin

  4. Preview
    Section 4

    The Viola

  5. Section 5

    The Cello

  6. Section 6

    The Contrabass

  7. Section 7


  8. Section 8


  9. Preview
    Section 9


  10. Section 10


  11. Section 11


  12. Section 12



Who this course for?

This course is for beginning orchestrators, as well as more experienced composers looking to better understand traditional approaches to writing for the string section of an orchestra.

What will I learn in this course?

You'll learn about the quirks of the individual instruments of the string section, the violin, viola, cello, and contrabass, and how to compose for all of them, individually and all together. By the end of this course, you'll have your own portfolio of original works ready to show off.

Are there any pre-reqs?

The expectation is that you already know how to read and write music notation. If you don't, you can always check out our free course for a quick refresher. No prior knowledge of the string section or orchestra is necessary.

How long does this course take?

This course was designed to be completed in roughly six weeks, assuming students would have a few hours a week to spend on it. Each "week" includes a certain section and challenge activity for you to take on. That said, that timeline is just a casual recommendation — you can choose to blow through it all in one sitting or take a year with it, if you'd like.

Is there a specific start date?

You can start the course anytime. If you'd like more accountability and guided feedback from a professional, you can request to work through the course and your own goals with a Soundfly Mentor for four or six weeks, and get a more personalized experience for a specific period of time.  

Learn more about custom mentorship here.

How many lessons are there?

This course includes 41 lessons, including videos, graphics, text, activities, demos, a downloadable original score, and much more. 

What do I get if I enroll as a subscriber?

As a subscriber, you'll get unlimited access to all courses on, including this 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 full suite of courses.

You're also entitled to a 25% discount on our custom mentorship program, you will be invited to join our exclusive community Discord group, you'll be able join subscriber-only Study Groups, artist Q&As and workshops, annual contests and giveaways, and you'll have access to a growing list of exclusive discount perks courtesy of our partner brands. Cancel anytime.

You can find out more about subscribing here.

Can I take this course with a mentor?

Yes, absolutely. If you would like to go through the course with support, accountability, feedback, and guidance from an expert, you can request a mentor by filling out this form. A Soundfly staffperson will reach out within 48 hours to learn more about your goals, your music, and your skills level, and pair you with a mentor who can help you achieve your next musical milestone. Our mentorship program is our science-backed learning model designed to help you learn more efficiently and effectively. Your mentor will tailor the course to your experience and interests, 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 goals.

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