Composition & Technology

A virtual composition and technology program designed for middle and high school students wanting to learn how to be a composer in the 21st century using contemporary music technology and software.

Fall 2021 Registration Now Closed

Austin’s own internationally-acclaimed composers Peter Stopschinski and Graham Reynolds will guide students through the techniques of being a composer in the 21st century. Students will meet virtually 9 Saturdays during the fall semester to create original works using contemporary music technology (DAW) and/or music notation software, learn the theory behind the compositional process, and develop an understanding of what it takes to turn an idea into a completed work of art. Make this the semester to start or continue nurturing your creative side!

The class has technological elements as well as traditional music theory elements, and will run at the pace of each individual student. Two class options are available; students just starting out to advanced students are all encouraged to enroll. 

Enrolled students will…

  • gain access to TWO experienced composers who will be there to answer questions inside and outside of class
  • receive 9 hours of group class instruction
  • connect with other musicians from all around the country
  • join an engaging and creative outlet to learn new skills
  • achieve a better understanding of music on the highest level
  • continue developing the areas of the brain related to language and reasoning
  • keep the brain engaged by forcing it to think mathematically when composing melodies and rhythms

Classes Offered

Families will agree to all virtual rules and expectations, outlined HERE. Space is limited for each class. No refunds will be offered after registration is completed. If you’re not sure which class to sign up for, want to request financial assistance, or have questions please contact Jeni Gossard at jeni@austinchambermusic.org BEFORE registering!

Option 1: Composition & Technology 101

  • This class is open to middle/high school students that are new or fairly new to composing, DAW technology, and/or music notation software.
  • No experience required! Be prepared to do some setup on your end before class starts to get your composition technology up and running. Free software (see below) is available so any additional expenses are 100% optional.
  • Meets Saturdays via Zoom from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM (Central)
  • 9 Class Sessions between September 11 and December 4
    • September 11 & 18 (no class the 25th)
    • October 2, 9, 23 & 30 (no class the 16th)
    • November 13 & 20 (no class the 6th or 27th)
    • December 4 
  • Tuition: $225
  • Registration deadline: Tuesday, September 7

Option 2: Advanced Composition & Technology

  • This class is open to serious middle/high school students that have experience with composing, DAW technology, and/or music notation software.
  • Think about what you want from this class, as the instructors can adapt to student interests and needs. Make the music you want to make!
  • Meets Saturdays via Zoom from 11:15 AM to 12:15 PM (Central)
  • 9 Class Sessions between September 11 and December 4
    • September 11 & 18 (no class the 25th)
    • October 2, 9, 23 & 30 (no class the 16th)
    • November 13 & 20 (no class the 6th or 27th)
    • December 4 
  • Tuition: $225
  • Registration deadline: Tuesday, September 7

Class Requirements

Abide by all virtual rules and expectations, OUTLINED HERE.

Make/reserve CONSISTENT time to work on your compositions outside of Saturday classes.

Have access to a reliable computer, laptop or iPad, with access to a reliable internet connection. Make sure device used is charged BEFORE class begins.

Download and set up a free or purchased music DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) software for creating and recording music. Some free and cheap options:

  • Bandlab: Easy learning curve; free option; accessible on Chromebook; works on iOS and Windows devices. #1 recommended by class instructors Peter & Graham for those new to using DAW.  
  • Garageband: Easy learning curve; free option; works on iOS devices; downloadable from APP Store.
  • Reaper (robust but harder learning curve)
  • Audacity (robust but harder learning curve)
  • Other options (higher priced): ProTools, Logic, Cubase, Albeton Live

If you decide to work with music notation software instead of DAW (or both) we recommend MuseScore, especially for those just starting out, which is free and has an easy learning curve.

How classes will work each week

  • The first class will be a sort of ‘meet & greet’ with students and instructors. Students will be asked to talk about their music/composition background, what music inspires them, what they expect from class, what they want to learn about in class, and what DAW or music notation software they will be using.
    • All students will have decided on, downloaded, and experimented within the DAW or music notation software they will be using for class prior to the first session.
  • Classes moving forward will focus on topics uniquely tailored to the students enrolled in the class. Students will be encouraged to help customize topics based on interest and exploration of concepts new to them.
  • In addition to topics/lessons there will be time dedicated to listening to each other’s compositions along with giving feedback, having group discussions, asking questions, and talking about the next steps for each student’s composition and/or vision in progress.
  • Students will be expected to upload something into a class google drive each week, the night before each class.

Students are expected to attend all sessions to get the most out of the experience!

Want to get involved?

Contact Jeni Gossard, Director of Education at jeni@austinchambermusic.org, or click below to fill out a contact form, to inquire about how to get involved with the future Composition and Technology classes!

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