New Music Composition Class – Fall 2013 NYC

Composers & Performers | Douglas Gibson, Music Composition Lessons

I would like to make an announcement for those who live in New York City. In the fall I will be offering a composition/ orchestration class.

The main goal of the class is to write your music which will then be read and performed by professional musicians. They will give you honest and clear feedback on what it feels like to perform your work. You get to hear the music, gain experience working with professional players, and this is a opportunity to try out new compositional ideas. In my opinion there is nothing better for a composer than working with the best musicians you can find.

The class will run for 10 weeks, and be limited to only 3 composers.
For each instrument we write for the format will be to have a live demonstration of the instrument first, then the next week we do score study and you receive feedback on your rough draft. (everything must be notated) Finally we will conclude by having a live reading of your piece. We will run through this format 3 times over the semester focusing on Strings, Woodwinds, and Brass (No percussion. I can’t really get the timpani on the subway !)

An example of how the format would work:

We pick a solo or duo instrument to compose for

For example the goal would be compose a 3 minute piece for trumpet and piano.

1st session we have the trumpet player come in a do a 75 minute walk through of trumpet. You get to ask questions (could be about mutes, or effects etc.) and they play though typical trumpet passages. You can present short 8-12 bar sketches to them so you get a feel for what you might write.

The next week we look at your rough draft composition. You get custom detailed feedback on notation, instrumentation, and the composition. (you are free to write in any style you like)

Then the next week the players come in and read through your piece.
They will give you their honest feedback on what it feels like to play, what worked, and what does not.

I run this with my current students, and they are loving so much I thought I would look into adding on extra sessions.

As I mentioned above I limit the class to only three composers. I do this for a few reasons

More individual time for each composer to have their piece played.

Small class size means it fosters a stronger sense of community and encourages experimentation

More customized feedback on your work

You learn from hearing others work. (one of the coolest things about having the small group format is your fellow classmates may try out ideas that will expand your own musical curiosity)

I have a zoom H4N which I will tape the reading (you are free to bring in your own device) so you can always refer back to for leaning, and you can use for demo purposes.

Here are the logistics

It will be on Monday nights starting in mid September and run for 10 weeks

Each class runs for 75 minutes. (Example 5:30 to 6:45) This gives each composer 25 minutes on the reading days.

We will cover woodwind, brass and strings. (no percussion- logistically to much of a challenge.)

The studio is 2 blocks from Carnegie hall right in the middle of NYC, and very accessible to get to by subway.

If you are interested please contact me by PM or dropping me a line from my web site ( or email me here
I can send you an example syllabus, and we can set up a time to speak by phone so we can go over any questions, and see if this class is right for you.

The most important thing is a strong desire to learn. You will also need a music notation program (Example: Sibelius, Finale) and a understanding of how it works to notate your music for the musicians.


Posted on June 6, 2013 in Music Composition

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About the Author

An award-winning composer, accomplished musician and sonic storyteller, Douglas Gibson resides in New York City, where he composes and gives music composition lessons locally and online worldwide.
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