Orchestration for Strings

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

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

Starts April 7

Six Week Mentor-Guided Course

Money‑Back Guarantee

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
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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

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.
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.

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

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


Course Outline

  1. Start
    Section 1


  2. Start
    Section 2

    The String Section

  3. Start
    Section 3

    The Violin

  4. Start
    Section 4

    The Viola

  5. Start
    Section 5

    The Cello

  6. Start
    Section 6

    The Contrabass

  7. Start
    Section 7


  8. Start
    Section 8


  9. Start
    Section 9


  10. Start
    Section 10


  11. Start
    Section 11


  12. Start
    Section 12



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. 

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 because 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! 

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.

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, 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. 

Can I take this course without a Soundfly Mentor?

We believe strongly that accountability, feedback, and support are critical to active learning — where you learn by putting your knowledge into practice and engaging thoughtfully with what you're learning. And we think that active learning is a more effective path to learning a new skill than passive learning — where you're simply watching videos and reading text.

However, if you don't need the mentorship component of our course, whether it's because you're working with a private instructor, or don't have the time, or maybe you are a private instructor and want to use the course content with a student, you can buy unlimited access to the course content for $129.80. Please email [email protected] for a code to purchase the course content at the discounted rate.

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.