An informal survey of sorts.

So I have been wanting to teach composition or theory or some kind of music class for a while. Though I am pretty sure at some point I will teach at the university level (probably even before I have my degree) I also wanted to see if there was a viable market outside of the traditional norms. 

After a few years of talking I get the feeling that their might be a need out there for an alternative to taking college music courses. But to make sure there is such a need and how much if any I need to ask a few questions:

(please answer if applies)

If a affordable course or lessons were available would you take advantage of them?

Which would you prefer; Composition Lessons Online, Music Theory Online Course, Music History Online Corse, or a hybrid of some the preceding. 

What would be reasonable requirements for the students in your opinion (ex; finale, Sibelius, Skype, etc.)?

What would you hope to gain from such a course or lessons?

How much would you pay for such a course or lessons?

Add anything else you feel is pertinent. 

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  • If a affordable course or lessons were available would you take advantage of them?  

    Yup.

    Which would you prefer; Composition Lessons Online, Music Theory Online Course, Music History Online Corse, or a hybrid of some the preceding

    Composition lessons, or sure. There are plenty of resources for learning music theory, but few in actually applying it. I love music history, but would prefer to continue studying that on my own.

    Here are some classes I'd like to take:

    • Group Composition class where we are all writing for a specific ensemble and/or genre (ie: string quartet in the style of Beethoven (or jazz, or your own choice) ) Music history is thrown in as it applies, and as we go along. We get to do show and tell with the rest of the group periodically (weekly) as our pieces progress, with comments by the teacher. There might be a certain required element the pieces, such as a modulation, motive development, or counterpoint, that would be discussed in depth. These classes would be limited to a certain number of weeks, with the expectation of finishing a piece by the end. Attention would also be given to the notation, so it would be suited for real musicians.
    • Private Composition Lessons. I would appreciate this on an occasional basis, helping me with specific projects where I might be stuck, or for accountability, or affirmation I'm in the right direction. I might take only a handful of lessons in a year, or might consider monthly lessons. I might also appreciate someone to look over my work before submitting it to competitions or publishers.
    • Applied Group Music Theory Lessons. Similar to the Group Composition lessons, these would would be consist of separate lessons like "How to Harmonize an existing Melody" and "How to Developing a Chord Progression for Adding a Melody on Top" I would expect each of this classes to be about 4 weeks, long enough to try different things and get feedback. A student with aptitude might end up with several of their own melodies harmonized by the end of the class, or several chord progressions with added melodies. A student who learns a little slower might harmonize an existing melody, or have one chord progression with added melody by the end of the course.

    What would be reasonable requirements for the students in your opinion (ex; finale, Sibelius, Skype, etc.)?

    In terms of group lessons, the ability to make PDFs from Finale, Sibelius, or MuseScore, and sound files to share. I don't  know what all technology is available to "meet" and discuss. Is there a group video chat? If so, is there a limited number that can partake at a given time? Even a personal/private web site with uploading and chat features (similar to CF) would work.

    What would you hope to gain from such a course or lessons?

    From group comp lessons, I want "finished" pieces that are playable for the ensemble written for, and an understanding of the instruments of that ensemble, how they work well together, and of the music genre chosen for the project.

    How much would you pay for such a course or lessons?

    For the applied music theory group class, $40 for the month. For a 10 to 12 week project based group composition class, $99-$150. If there was a promise of having the piece read/performed at the end, and getting a recording of it, double that.

    There is a non-profit organization in the city I live that gives composition and music appreciation lessons, centered on Jazz music. They meet in a local jazz club, and have group composition lessons for differing levels and ensembles/jazz genres two to three times a year (for a total of about 9 to 12 classes a year.) The fees include a rehearsal and final concert at the club, open to the public. The cost for tuition is only about $150 per class. 15 to 20 students usually sign up, and that number dwindles down to 10-13. The students usually split the cost of an audio/video specialist to record the event, and get copies. I took a class once, at it was a great experience. I know others who sign up regularly. I would be one of them, if only I loved jazz!

  • Although it's probably not helpful to you, I do imagine there is more demand for online sequencer based lessons than traditional music theory. I wouldnt mind some myself, as a piece im working on right now doesnt shine at all with my mixing skills. There might be some demand for online proof reading of scores online. Wiith many of us producing scores online, that might be a useful service, as well as preparing parts from a score .
  • This might be of interest to you; it's non-credit composition lessons offered by  a uni professor: http://continuingstudies.wisc.edu/lsa/online/music/composition.htm

  • Im getting ideas from this, Thanks



    Janet Spangenberg said:

    This might be of interest to you; it's non-credit composition lessons offered by  a uni professor: http://continuingstudies.wisc.edu/lsa/online/music/composition.htm

    An informal survey of sorts.
    So I have been wanting to teach composition or theory or some kind of music class for a while. Though I am pretty sure at some point I will teach at…
  • What would be reasonable requirements for the students in your opinion (ex; finale, Sibelius, Skype, etc.)?

    Well Skype is free, useful and fairly easy to use, so that would be a good one.
    For Scoring/Music making, it depends on which course the student is interested in. For regular lessons, if you are happy to read pdfs and/or listen to mp3s then I guess it doesn't matter how they produced them.

    What would you hope to gain from such a course or lessons?
    The ability to compose better music.

    How much would you pay for such a course or lessons?
    I would only potentially pay for something where I would get interactive feedback from the teacher, probably per hour or something like that. I can look up facts with Google, and view lots of tutorial videos for free on YouTube, so it is only the expert feedback that is of interest to me. And I can get useful feedback for free here anyway, so it's going to be difficult to extract money from me at all ;)
    If you felt like creating online lessons for more advanced composition, music theory, history or whatever, pyramind.com and audiotuts.com already have sites set up for this sort of thing, but with fairly introductory content for those categories. You probably wouldn't get much money from working with them, but there would be much less work in setting up the website, getting the traffic and so on.

    Which would you prefer; Composition Lessons Online, Music Theory Online Course, Music History Online Course, or a hybrid of some the preceding.
    Personally, I'm interested in them in that order (composition, theory, history). It may be useful to combine them - the history subject would have little interest to me on its own.

  • Just some quick suggestions, because I like the idea. I agree with what other have said above.

    I would do some market research, what do the market offer and can you do better on some or many instances. And can you hold a niche - have an advantage - teaching courses and theory of certain types? 

    (For you maybe teaching in  theory about classical and choir than jazz? (Just assuming you're not into jazz as well)

    I like the idea on online courses in general and I've taken such before

    Keep us updated :)

     

  • I still think one can teach composition, however it wont be in the traditional sense of the word 'teach.' If and when I decide to teach composition, each lesson would be catered to that particulars pupil's level of knowledge. Much like what all my composition professors did for me, I would act more or less as a couch or a guide:

    • Act as a spring board for ideas.
    • Help pupils develop their own compositional voice by giving them tools to explore with. 
    • Guide them and give advice on pieces they are working or planning on starting.
    • Give them alternative sources of inspiration from places and things they themselves would not normally look. 
    • Help with score preparations 
    • Act as a second pair of eyes to go through music and check for anything that could be improved.
    • Give professional guidance or college advice. 
    • Teach how to apply theory knowledge to composing. 

    These are the things many college professors of composition do, and this would be something I would offer to those not in higher education or those that want to give composing more or less a test try before investing money into a college eduction into composition. Orchestration would be taught as well, being that it is the more factual part of teaching music, but I feel that a few can benefit from composition coaching/lessons. 


    Raymond Kemp said:

    For me, learning anything new in orchestration/composition must start with a "why do I need to know this?" before a "how is it done". This makes a general composition teaching very difficult where each pupil has differing levels of knowledge and experience. IMO you can teach orchestration but composition will always be down to personal choices and/or stealing from others whether it be that of a few notes or a few bars.

    An informal survey of sorts.
    So I have been wanting to teach composition or theory or some kind of music class for a while. Though I am pretty sure at some point I will teach at…
  • Those would be good ideas if I had experience in some of those fields. Though I know how to expand a chord language and develop a 'bigger' sound, I wouldnt know how to relate that to someone who is in a rock or folk band or to people who dont read music normally. I grew up from the start in classical music, I would be no help to those in the popular music genres when it comes to most of what they do. 

    Fredrick zinos said:

    Ray has identified a critical area. Maybe its marketing since your question, Tyler, is really one about marketing research.

     

    Would a theory comp course taught on line be more successful if it targeted musicians and entertainers who were attempting to earn a living related to music? what if, instead of theory 101 the course was titled "how to make your band sound bigger"? "How to improvise" ? "how to expand your vocabulary of chords"?  "How to sound like (or not sound like) Willie Nelson"?

    An informal survey of sorts.
    So I have been wanting to teach composition or theory or some kind of music class for a while. Though I am pretty sure at some point I will teach at…
  • I would love to find some market research, hence why Im asking people here. It difficult because this is a niche market. Unlike other forms of musical teaching (piano lessons, guitar lessons, etc) composition lessons dont necessarily have the tangible or audible results as if you taught a child the piano. Even within music schools and colleges, people outside the composition department look at what they do with a bit of confusion. This venture I would like to do is definitely treading into somewhat uncharted waters for sure, so market research will be difficult.  

    Per-Erik Rosqvist said:

    Just some quick suggestions, because I like the idea. I agree with what other have said above.

    I would do some market research, what do the market offer and can you do better on some or many instances. And can you hold a niche - have an advantage - teaching courses and theory of certain types? 

    (For you maybe teaching in  theory about classical and choir than jazz? (Just assuming you're not into jazz as well)

    I like the idea on online courses in general and I've taken such before

    Keep us updated :)

     

    An informal survey of sorts.
    So I have been wanting to teach composition or theory or some kind of music class for a while. Though I am pretty sure at some point I will teach at…
  • Maybe I misunderstand you completely about whats difficult, but this is how I meant:

    http://www.berkleemusic.com/

    One of many competitors. Write down their niche(s). Google for more, and write down theirs. And so on...

    The teaching company (TTC) is another example:

    http://www.thegreatcourses.com/tgc/professors/professor_detail.aspx...

    Much on music history and general theory and practise for writing music during different periods. 

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