The Art of Composing Podcast

By Jon Brantingham

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The Art of Composing Podcast is all about learning to take your composing, knowledge of music theory, and creativity to the next level.

Episode Date
AOC 013: William Caplin and Analyzing Classical Form
In episode 13 of the AOC Podcast I talk to William Caplin, author of Analyzing Classical Form. This book, and his previous book have been instrumental in my development as a composer.
Apr 14, 2017
AOC 012: Samuel Adler and The Study of Orchestration
In episode 12 of the AOC Podcast I talk to Samuel Adler about Orchestration and his book, The Study of Orchestration.
Apr 07, 2017
AOC 011: Partimenti and the Secrets of the Greatest Composers – An Interview with Robert Gjerdingen
We interview Robert Gjerdingen, author of the book "Music in the Galant Style". We talk about Partimenti, the tool used to train the greatest composers from Mozart to Debussy and Stravinsky.
Mar 14, 2016
AOC 010: Understanding Harmony
Harmony is one of the core elements of music composition, but it can be difficult to get your head wrapped around the subject. In this episode, you'll learn about the fundamentals of harmony, from we get chords to creating chord progressions.
Jan 21, 2016
AOC 009: My Principles of Orchestration
Orchestration is a tempting thing for any composer. The excitement of conducting your own piece in front of 80-120 players, bringing the audience to tears... it's hard to beat. But are you ready for it? In this episode, learn about the principles of orchestration.
Mar 04, 2015
AOC 008: Understanding Musical Form
Musical form is a tool that has been used by every great composer from Bach, to Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mahler, and even living composers. But what is musical form, and how does it work? In this episode learn the fundamentals of classical musical form.
Nov 11, 2014
AOC 007: Creativity and Music Composition
Episode 7 of the Art of Composing Podcast. In this episode, we look at creativity - what it is, how to find it, and how to explore your creative boundaries.
Oct 01, 2014
AOC 006: The Pathway to Mastery, Part 3 – Beyond the Apprencticeship
Having a mentor can really help catapult your apprenticeship and speed up your process of mastery. But how do you find a mentor? And how do you take advantage of that mentor-protege relationship? Find out in this episode of the Art of Composing Podcast.
May 10, 2014
AOC 005: The Pathway to Mastery, Part 2 – The Ideal Composer Apprenticeship
Episode 5 of the Art of Composing Podcast. In this episode, I cover the next stage of your pathway to mastery, the apprenticeship. Find out about why an apprenticeship is so important, the different phases of an apprenticeship, and how to take the most advantage of your composer apprenticeship. What is in this episode: What is an apprenticeship, and how long will it take? The three phases of an apprenticeship. The 8 Strategies for getting the most out of your apprenticeship. Resources and Links Mentioned in this Episode: Mastery by Robert Greene Episode 5 Take Aways The goal of an apprenticeship is not money, a good position, a title, or a diploma, but rather the transformation of your mind and character. There are three phases or three modes to the ideal apprenticeship. They are Deep observation or the passive mode, where you observe and absorb as much as possible about the world you are trying to master. Skills acquisition or the practice mode, where you break down all of the necessary skills in your field and practice them until they become tacit knowledge. And Experimentation or the active mode, in which you take that knowledge and you create your own work so that it can be judged by the public and yourself. You are trying to fill the gaps in your own knowledge so you can become better than you are now. The 8 Strategies For the Ideal Apprenticeship are: Value learning over money. Keep Expanding Your Horizons Revert to a Feeling on Inferiority Trust the process Move towards resistance and pain Apprentice yourself in failure Combine the "How" and the "What" Advance Through Trial and Error Transcript Welcome back to the Art of Composing Podcast. I am excited to have you listening today. Today's episode is going to be about Mastery. What it is, how we can attain it, and why we would want to attain it. But I am not going to just talk about Mastery as an obscure theory. Instead, I thought this would be a good opportunity to a little bit talk about my history, how I started composing, how I got to where I am, and how I see my journey unfolding. I don't consider myself a master of music composition, but I am working towards it. And I hope part of the reason my website, resonates with people is because I am approaching the subject of teaching music composition from the standpoint of having to teach myself. So without further ado, let's get on with the featured content. Featured Content Mastery is a subject not often touched on or talked about in modern society. If you think about it, most things in life are really designed to prevent you from mastering a subject. The biggest culprit for this, I believe, is not TV, although TV doesn't help. No I believe its school. School is designed, from the beginning, to be a place of conformity and regurgitation. You are forced through your most creative, and curious part of your life to listen to teachers talk about subjects you just don't care about. And then after the day is done, you have to go home and study those same subjects, and do your homework. This all leads to a lack of motivation on the part of children to care much about school. For me personally, this lead to a habit of procrastinating. You see, procrastination really has nothing to do with you being lazy. I was and I still am, a hard worker. The thing is, I just never wanted to work on what I had to work on. Homework, diaramas, reports, papers, whatever. Let me say first though, that this has nothing to do with the teachers themselves. I had some great teachers growing up, and I have friends now that are teachers, and many of them care deeply about the kids they teach. But they are in a system that is designed to create factory workers, not mastery. So why am I talking about this. Well, I want to make it clear that mastery is attainable for anyone. That is right. Anyone can be a master of their chosen field. Obviously,
Feb 16, 2014
AOC 004: The Pathway to Mastery, Part 1
Episode 4 of the Art of Composing Podcast. This episode is all about starting on the pathway to mastery. What is mastery? Well, it is the state that you achieve, where you have almost magical powers of control over your chosen field. How do you achieve master? You'll just have to listen and find out. I also talk about how I started composing, how I got off the path towards my life's task, and what it took to get back on the pathway. What is in this episode: What is mastery, and how do you achieve it. Jon - An Autobiography (kind of) How to identify your life's task using the 5 strategies from Mastery by Robert Greene. Resources and Links Mentioned in this Episode: Mastery by Robert Greene War of Art by Steven Pressfield Episode 4 Take Aways Mastery is really about a state you can achieve, in which you have a power over reality that most people do not have. This power comes from fully absorbing all aspects of you life's task. Your life's task is the thing that you feel deep down, that you are called to do. To identify your life's task, you have five strategies: Returning to your origins is basically connecting with your true passions. Occupying the Perfect Niche is all about working your way towards a life that will support and nurture your life's task. Avoiding the false path is all about not being steered in the wrong direction. Letting Go of the Past is about looking at the direction you're life has been taking, and having the courage to say whether you've been on a false path, even if you've worked hard in a particular field. Finding Your Way Back is about being willing to make a cut with the progress you've made in order to get back on your true path towards mastery. Transcript - AOC 004
Dec 28, 2013
AOC 003: So You Want to Become a Composer?
Episode 3 of the Art of Composing Podcast. In this episode, I talk about what it takes to start composing immediately. What is in this episode: The mindset you need to learn to compose music. How to approach the act of learning to compose. Why you need 20 hours to become good at composing, and 10,000 hours to become a master. How to setup your studio for zero-friction composing. A little more on why you need to learn your musical grammar and logic. How you can take the free beginner's composing course at Resources and Links Mentioned in this Episode: Art of Composing Podcast on Stitcher Alex Heffes M-Audio Keystation Musical Form Hub A Geometry of Music Sibelius Musescore Digital Performer Reaper Episode 3 Take Aways Becoming a composer first starts with calling yourself a composer. Fake it till you make it, thats what I always say. You need to approach composing with a beginner's mind, this will give you the freedom to accept what you are learning and to grow as a composer. Be prepared to put in at least 20 hours of deliberate practice to get comfortable with composing, and another 9,980 hours to become a master. Don't worry, even if you only do your 20 hours, you'll be a pretty decent composer. Setup your studio so that it is comfortable for you, with all of the basics for composing at an arms reach. At a minimum, have your staff paper, a pencil, an eraser, and some kind of instrument to help orient you on pitch. Learn the grammar of music, and learn it well. It will make your life so much easier. If you are worried about how to start with the first note... then just start with C, that always seems to work out... but seriously, try to think of the shape of your melody, and mixing up scale lines and chord lines. You can also take one of your favorite pieces, and then write a variation on it. Remember, you are practicing, so you can do whatever you want, as long as it helps you progress in your goal of becoming a composer. Finally, learn some basic musical form, basic diatonic harmony, and go through my free beginner's course. It is available at The Diatonic Harmony Charts Major Harmony   Minor Harmony Transcript - AOC 003
Dec 24, 2013
AOC 002: The Process of Composing Music
Ever wonder what the process of composing music is really all about? Are you confused about how to even start composing, let alone, how to develop a piece of music and when to stop? Find out about the process I go through when composing, and for a special treat, listen to me actually compose an entire piece of music live.
Nov 21, 2013
AOC 001: What is Music Composition?
In this first episode of the Art of Composing Podcast, I talk a little bit about who I am, why I started, and the Art of Composing Podcast. Next, I go into what music composition is and the stages of learning to compose music... also known as the trivium.
Nov 17, 2013