Intro to Music Composition

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From structured in-class listening, discussion, and application, students will learn basic elements of the composer’s creative process, including melodic construction, harmony and counterpoint. This foundational program will use traditional methods as well as music notation software and other digital apps to help participants begin building their own compositions!

What you should know to take this workshop: basic understanding of treble and bass clef, experience playing an instrument, 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.

More advanced composition students should enroll in our Music Composition Explorations workshop for ages 13–18!


Ages:  13 – 18
Dates:  June 21 – 25, 2021
Times:  1:00 pm – 4:00 pm (M-F)
Tuition:  $250
Location:  Mason Community Arts Academy Building in Fairfax, VA
After Care option not available for this program



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Andrew Cote Music Composition Classes
Instructor: Dr. Andrew Cote
Mason School of Music Faculty
Read about Dr. Cote

As a composer of acoustic and electronic music, Dr. Cote’s compositions have been performed and recorded across three continents. His works have been featured at the 2017 Navy Band International Saxophone Symposium, the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic, the 2015 World Saxophone Congress, the North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial National Conference, the Tutti New Music Festival, and many more. His latest album, Ulterior Motives: The Saxophone Music of Andrew Cote, was released in December 2016 and is available on Itunes, Amazon, and most other online retailers.

As a rock and popular music artist, Dr. Cote has recorded with several groups including Aaron Tinjum and the Tangents, Winterstar, Marijke, The Double Yellow, The Dino Monkeys, Armaniche’s Architects, Famous Ladies, and several more. He is an active studio drummer, recording on several albums each year. Andrew currently teaches orchestration, aural skills, and popular music history at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. Andrew also is the Staff Arranger and Director of Choirs at Truro Anglican Church, also in Fairfax, VA.

Dr. Cote earned a Doctorate in Music Composition from George Mason University, a Master’s degree in Music Composition from Central Michigan University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of New Hampshire. His former composition instructors include Mark Camphouse, David R. Gillingham, Andrew Boysen Jr., David Hollinden, Jay Batzner, and Michael Annicchiarico.




“I loved that, even I with very little background information about composing, I could compose something everyday after the lessons!”―Intro to Music Composition 2020 Participant

“I like that I made my first composition and received positive feedback”―Intro to Music Composition 2020 Participant

“My favorite parts of the program were learning about forms in classical music, composing, and getting feedback about our compositions.”―Intro to Music Composition 2020 Participant

“My favorite part of the program was the composition challenges, where Mr. Andrew would sit us down, give us a list of requirements, and say, ‘Now compose a piece!’”―Intro to Music Composition 2019 Participant




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