Can somebody help me?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by pjb120, Dec 23, 2004.

  1. pjb120

    pjb120 Member

    Hi, I am interested in starting a composition course in the near future, which is predominantly geared toward (or can be geared toward) brass bands. However, I have little knowledge of theory (having never studied music as a subject, although I am a fairly decent brass player), and it would need to fit around my full time work.

    Does anybody therefore know of any decent composition courses, either a home study or distance learning course? It would be interesting to hear where people studied, and how the course was stuctured and assessed. Any useful website links would also be handy. Many thanks!
  2. peatair

    peatair Member

    Many people start with "arranging." There are "arranging" courses available - one advertises quite often in The British Bandsman - it's called Charles Cross Music School. There is also a brass course at Accrington College - which you can find on the internet. Many music theory books exist - though some of the older ones can be a bit hard going.

    Apart from the above, I only know of University Degree courses.

    Hope this helps.
  3. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    If you have little knowledge of theory, you probably are taking on a bit much to attempt composition. You need to at least understand key relationships, transposition, basic harmony, cadences, etc before you can successfully arrange. You may want to consider doing some basic theory work before starting a composition class, if for nothing else to understand the terminology.

  4. davidsait

    davidsait Member

  5. pjb120

    pjb120 Member

    Thanks for all your replies, I do think that doing arrangement first would be best to get me started, and familar with theory. I'm just a little apprehensive with starting home study courses, as many of them are more concerned with taking money off you rather than teaching you. Can anybody who has had experience with arranging courses give any honest feedback - were they worth their money? Many thanks.
  6. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    First rule of arranging. If it feels wrong, it probably is. Pull it around until it feels right! A composition package, Sibelius for example, is a big help because you can hear what you're writing, rather than just putting the notes on paper. Makes a MASSIVE difference.

    Composition is something I can't really speak of. I've done a lot of arrangements, but compsing a piece from scratch is pretty hard work. Don't let that put you off trying if there's a tune in your head though! I'd reccomend arranging first, to learn about writing for band without having to worry about making up something original. And there's no reason you can't start arranging with even the most basic knowledge of theory. It'll improve your playing as well because you'll be better able to see what effects a composer is trying to achieve by certain methods.

    The main thing is don't get put off. Even real brass band heavyweights like Phillip Sparke and Goff Richards started somewhere! My first arrangement is an absolute shocker now I listen to it again. So bad it almost defies description! But I learned from it, picked up new things, and incorporated them elsewhere, and now I'm fairly confident at writing. Focus on how the music feels, and you won't go far wrong.

    Go for it!!!

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