Music Composition Intro Camp


Are you a musician who has always wanted to compose your own works? At the Music Composition Intro Camp, we will learn to build and engrave our own compositions. Through structured listening, discussion, application, and improvisation, you will learn elements of the composer’s creative process. Topics will include melodic construction, harmony, counterpoint, form, instrumentation, and contemporary practices. We will also explore digital notation software and how to prepare works for publishing and delivering to a performer. At the end of camp, you will have the chance to showcase your new work!

What you should know to take this workshop: Basic understanding of treble and bass clef, experience playing an instrument, and a basic understanding of music theory (scales, key signatures, time signatures). Participants are encouraged to bring in pieces they are currently working on, although it is not required.

Course Objectives

  • Critical listening skills, and an expanded musical literacy through structured listening and score study of a diverse series of works. 
  • Training in improvisation–how to incorporate improvisation into compositional practice. 
  • Instrumentation and orchestration. Learning how to write idiomatically for an instrument…going beyond dots on a page to understand how a part will work on an instrument. 
  • Engraving, preparing a score for delivering to a player. 
  • Melodic, harmonic, and formal construction 
  • Species counterpoint exercises 

Tentative Schedule

Day 1: Daily Listening and improvisation exercises, discussion. Compositional process overview. Exercises in melodic and harmonic construction, counterpoint.  

Day 2: Daily Listening and improvisation exercises, discussion. Formal processes, instrumentation and orchestration for a small set of instruments from various families…score study. Final project choices, Pre-composition sketches of a new work. 

Day 3: Daily Listening and improvisation exercises, discussion. Engraving, delivering a score to a performer. Further exercises in counterpoint and orchestration. Free composing time. Preparing new pieces for the morning reading session. 

Day 4: Initial reading sessions. Daily Listening and improvisation exercises, discussion. Presentation by guest presenter. Time for revisions based on feedback from reading session. Free composing time. 

Day 5: Revised reading sessions. Practice presentations for showcase. Showcase concert.  

Ages: 13-18

Dates: June 24 – 28, 2024
9:00 am – 4:00 pm 

Tuition: $467

Location: Mason Fairfax Campus, deLaski Performing Arts Building

Program Faculty

Casey Yates


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Casey Yates is a music composer, theorist, and educator. As a composer, Casey has written music professionally for narrative media such as video games and film. A former software engineer, Casey is passionate about using technology to create music and to educate others. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Technology from George Mason University in 2022.

Todd Wilcox (Coming Soon)


  • Please note that group classes are subject to cancellation if minimum enrollment is not reached.
  • Be sure to check our policies and procedures regarding registration, withdrawals, refunds, and more for summer group classes.
  • All students will receive a Welcome Letter via email at least 1 week before the class starts with all necessary details.
  • Online registration closes 2 business days before the first class, however space may still be available. Please contact for more information. A $10 late registration fee may apply.
  • For additional information, please contact the Academy at