Composition Lessons

“Amy is the real deal!”

Mark Snow: Film & TV Composer best known for ‘The X-Files’.

 Amy Bastow

 What Can I Learn in My Composition Lessons with Amy?

  • Writing Music for Film, TV, Games and Media
  • Writing Your Own Music (in whatever style you are drawn to)
  • Orchestration
  • Songwriting
  • Notation
  • Music Composition Software (Sibelius, Logic Pro)
  • Improvisation
  • Can you already play an instrument but would love to know how to write your own music for it?
  • Are you already writing music but get stuck and don’t know how to take it further?
  • Are you wishing you had the knowledge to put your ideas down on paper or into music notation software?
  • Are you interested in writing music for film or television?
  • Music Theory, Harmony, Chord Progressions, Key Relationships
  • AMEB Music Theory / Musicianship (Preliminary – 6th Grade)

It’s all about achieving YOUR music-writing goals, so tailoring the lesson to suit your needs is Amy’s priority.

Amy’s nurturing and inspiring approach to music education, plus her real-world experience as a working Film & Television Composer make her a sought-after teacher and mentor with composition students around the country and the world.

 

What Will We Do in Our Composition Lessons?

Your composition goals are very specific to you, so Amy’s lessons are tailored to help you achieve those goals…whether that be writing music for film, writing an orchestral piece, releasing your first pop-music album, or just getting creative with your new music software.

  • Learning composition can be a slow and complex task with many facets and challenges to overcome.
  • Many young composers often find themselves stuck, not knowing how to complete a composition, or how to get it out of their head onto paper (or into the computer).
  • Composing music uses both the left and right sides of the brain (creative and analytical), so Amy designs her lessons to be creatively immersive, whilst also offering you a well-rounded education in all the other aspects of composition from technology to business.
  • This puts you in the best possible position to challenge yourself creatively, reach your potential and achieve your goals as quickly as possible.

Our composition lessons can involve any or all of the following:

  1. Your Compositions – Listening to any composition work you have done during the week…providing feedback, suggestions on how to improve, orchestration ideas, how to use your music software to achieve the best result etc.
  2. Technology – a HUGE part of composition these days is learning the technology and software that is available to assist with our music-making. So many young composers don’t know how to get their ideas out of their heads and into a form that other people can listen to. Amy can help you learn music notation software (Sibelius) and music sequencing software (Digital Audio Workstations) commonly used for recording music, and for writing Film and TV music (Logic Pro) and ultimately, help you set up your own studio.
  3. Theory – composing intuitively is an amazing feeling; but knowing the nuts and bolts of how music actually works can help take your compositions to the next level.
  4. Improvisation – whilst it is important to learn the theory and the technology, it’s also important to just let your creative juices flow…and improvisation on an instrument (or with a piece of technology) is one essential tool for composition. We can spend time in our lesson improvising around a certain chord progression, scales, melodic ideas, rhythmic ideas etc etc to develop your creative ideas further.
  5. Analysis – Listening to the music of your favourite composers or songwriters, and analysing what they are doing. This is a great way to get fresh ideas of your own.
  6. Instrumentation and Orchestration – f you play an instrument, chances are you may have tried composing for that instrument. But how do you go about writing for instruments you can’t play? This is where we learn about instrumentation and orchestration…how to write for an orchestra, a brass band, a wind quintet, a string quartet, etc etc.
  7. Creative Tasks to Complete – Each week, you will be assigned a creative task, a theoretical task and a music technology task to take home and work on during the week, which you would show me at the following lesson. This will be tailored to your specific areas of interest, and you will have the opportunity to email Amy your “works-in-progress” during the week to get feedback.
  8. Music Business – We can also include lessons on music business, getting started in the industry, marketing yourself and equipping your with skills you will need if you are serious about establishing yourself as a professional working composer.
  9. Film Music – how would you write music for a sad scene, or a scary scene in a movie? What kind of music would you write for an action movie, or a love story? How do you develop a musical theme? How do I synchronise my music with a movie? How can I get a start in the industry? Amy’s speciality is Film and TV Music!
  • Amy can assign you with film music tasks to complete during the week, which you can then use to build up your own portfolio.
  • Offer you tricks, tips, resources, examples and information on how to compose for different scenes, genres, moods and styles.
  • Amy can listen to your tasks, discuss them with you and offer suggestions for improvement.
  • Amy can also alert you to film music opportunities, competitions, workshops, industry events etc.

 Please bare in mind, that we cannot fit all of the above into a short 30 minute lesson. If you are serious about composition, 60 minute lessons are recommended. 

 

Where Does Amy Teach?

  • Composition lessons are conducted from Amy’s production studio in Brunswick, Melbourne (see photo below). The same production studio Amy uses for her real-life Film and TV projects.
  • Amy’s studio is Apple Mac – based and uses Logic Pro X as her main DAW,
  • Composition lessons can also be taken online and via Skype (see further information below).
  • Amy’s studio is a 3 minute walk from Anstey Train Station (15 mins train ride from Flinders Street Station).
  • Parking on Amy’s street is free.
Amy's Production Studio
Amy’s Production Studio

 

Lesson Types and Financial Investment.

1: Weekly In-Person Lessons at Amy’s Studio in Brunswick.

Payment Options.

OPTION 1: Paying Per Lesson

  • 30 minutes = $60.00
  • 45 minutes = $90.00
  • 60 minutes = $120.00
  1. Paying ‘per lesson’ means you pay for your piano lesson each week as you go.
  2. No up-front costs or bulk payments necessary.
  3. If you miss a lesson due to a holiday, sickness, clashing schedule etc, you have no financial obligation to pay for the lesson you cancelled.
  4. If you go away on an extended break, you can suspend lesson payment (and keep your current time in Amy’s schedule) for when you return.
  5. All fees are in Australian Dollars.

OPTION 2: Paying Up-Front

  • 30 minutes = $50.00
  • 45 minutes = $75.00
  • 60 minutes = $100.00
  1. Paying ‘up-front’ means you pay for 3 months’ worth of lessons up-front in bulk (12 lessons). Once you’ve had your 12 lessons, you will again need to pay for the following 12 lessons up-front, and so forth.
  2. Any lesson/s you miss or do not attend (for whatever reason), you will forfeit that lesson and not receive a refund on that missed lesson.
  3. Any lessons cancelled by Amy (due to sickness, holidays etc) will be credited towards the payment of your following 3 months.
  4. All fees are in Australian Dollars.

 

2: Weekly Online Lessons via Email and Skype (not in-person) but at the same time each week.

  • 30 minutes = $50.00
  • 45 minutes = $70.00
  • 60 minutes = $90.00
  1. For all online and skype lessons, payments must be made upfront for the first lesson (non-refundable fee of $90), which must be paid BEFORE the first lesson is conducted.
  2. If you decide to continue Online Lessons with Amy after the first lesson, 12 lessons (3 months) at a time are to be paid upfront via bank transfer.
  3. Any lesson/s you miss or fail to be online for (for whatever reason), you will forfeit that lesson and not receive a refund on that missed lesson.
  4. Any lessons cancelled by Amy (due to sickness, holidays etc) will be credited towards the payment of your following 3 months.
  5. All fees are in Australian Dollars.

What Do You Get For Your Weekly Composition Lesson Fee?

  • Tuition time.
  • All photocopying costs.
  • Administration costs.
  • Email/phone correspondence costs.
  • Access to Amy via email during the week, where you can send your “works-in-progress” for feedback.
  • Amy uses an online note-taking and homework portal called Teach ‘n Go which each student and parent will have free access to, and be able to use to keep track of homework, attendance, payment etc.
  • You will still need to purchase additional text books, software, composition resources, and pay for any examination fees.
  • If you arrive to your lesson late, the lesson time cannot be extended to make up the difference. Eg: If you arrive 10 minutes late, your lesson will now only be 20, 35 or 50 mins long (depending on your agreed lesson length) and no refunds for lost time are given.

Each year, Amy awards her hardest-working composition student with the “Composer of the Year Award”. The recipient of this award will have the opportunity to write a piece of music with Amy for a real-life Film or Television project. 

 

3. Casual Consultation Sessions and One-Off Lessons via Email and Phone.

This service is available for one-off queries you may have about composition, getting started in the industry, music business etc; or advice you may need to get you over the line on a composition; or help getting started on your next masterpiece. Amy is available for phone consultations during these hours: Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 3:30pm.

Phone Consultation Fee.

$90 per hour (minimum charge $90). Any additional time over the hour is charged at $10/10-minute blocks. All fees are in Australian Dollars.

Booking a Phone Consultation.

To book a phone consultation time, head to the contact page and outline the following:

  1. What you would like to consult Amy about? Eg: Film music questions, music theory questions, industry advice, setting up a composer’s studio, orchestration etc. Or perhaps you have a composition you would like to show Amy and get advice on? Amy is happy to receive audio files, Sibelius files, Logic files or Garage Band files from you to look through and provide advice. Please detail all areas you wish to receive advice on.
  2. List 2 potential times you would like to call Amy. Eg: Monday at 11:15am or Wednesday at 4:00pm etc.
  3. Once Amy has received your request, she will email you within 48 hours, confirming the day and time.
  4. Make the consultation payment of $90 via bank deposit (details will be emailed to you).
  5. Once this has been confirmed, you will receive an email confirmation and you are free to call Amy at the confirmed time and ask her your music-related questions.
  6. NON-LEGITIMATE CALLS WILL BE TERMINATED WITHOUT A REFUND.
  7. No auditions or applications are required for casual consults or one-off lessons.

What Do You Get For Your Casual Consultation Fee?

  1. 60 mins on the phone with Amy.
  2. Time before/after the lesson spent listening to your compositions (Amy is happy to receive your composition files, sketches or ideas to assess and offer her professional advice on).
  3. Amy will send a follow-up email with any necessary links to information and resources relevant to your queries, that will help assist you post-consult.
Amy Bastow
Amy Bastow

 

Auditions.

Amy only takes on a small number of hand-picked composition students who demonstrate ability and commitment to the pursuit of musical excellence. If you’re interested in learning composition from Amy, you will be required to submit an application (see the questions below), and email Amy an example/s of one of your current compositions (even if not completed).

How to Audition.

If you wish to audition for composition lessons with Amy, head to the contact page and outline the following:

  1. Your name.
  2. The country, city and suburb in which you live.
  3. Your current instrumental level (list any AMEB instrumental exam grades you have achieved, even if it was a long time ago). If you have never done an exam but can play an instrument, please specify which instruments you can play and provide a brief outline of your musical achievements on that instrument to date. If you can not play a musical instrument, please indicate this.
  4. What is your music theory level – Advanced? Intermediate? Or Beginner? Have you completed any AMEB Theory Grades?
  5. Your age.
  6. The school you attend (school students only).
  7. Your occupation (adult students only).
  8. How long have you been composing?
  9. What kind of composition are you interested in – Film Music? Classical Composition? Jazz? Orchestral? Everything?
  10. A short (or long) description of why you want to take composition lessons.
  11. Do you (or can you) have access to Sibelius? (music notation software).
  12. Do you have experience using Sibelius?
  13. Do you have experience using a music sequencing software such as Logic, Cubase, Protools etc?
  14. Do you have experience using virtual instrument plugins and MIDI (feel free to upload a photo of your current setup).
  15. Do you (or can you) have access to Logic Pro (Digital Audio Workstation software).
  16. Please indicate which lesson type you are looking for: in-person, or online/skype?
  17. Please indicate your preferred lesson day and time (from the list of available times below). Once a time is chosen, this will be your lesson time each week.
  18. Please indicate your preferred lesson length (30, 45 or 60 minutes). Please be aware that I cannot fit 60 minutes worth of material into 30 mins. Be realistic about the time you need.
  19. Provide acknowledge that you understand lessons are either 30, 45 or 60 minutes in length, will be conducted at the same time weekly, and you will be charged the rates listed on this website per lesson each week. For online/Skype lessons, payments must be made upfront for the first lesson. After the first lesson, you will be required to pay for 12 lessons (3 months) in advance.
  20. You will need to send Amy an original musical composition that demonstrates your current ability (and please supply a recording and/or a score for each composition if you have this available).
  21. Feel free to provide any additional information you think is necessary.
  22. Last but not least, it is a requirement that all students laugh and have fun in their lessons!
  • In your application and composition submission, Amy isn’t looking for perfection. She looks for students who show potential, who are passionate and dedicated, and who want to pursue music to the highest level they personally can.
  • If accepted, you must commit to weekly lessons (either in-person, or online).
  • If accepted, you must commit to a minimum of 10 lessons.
  • If accepted, you must commit to doing composition homework outside of lesson times (this will be discussed with you and designed for your level and goals).
Amy nominated for an Australian Academy Award for Best Original Score for her work on James Cameron's 3D documentary "Deepsea Challenge"
Amy nominated for an Australian Academy Award for Best Original Score for her work on James Cameron’s 3D documentary “Deepsea Challenge”

 

Teaching Times.

‘In-Person’ Lesson Times Available (in Australian Eastern Daylight Time):

  1. Mondays between 3:00 – 4:30pm; or 6:00 – 7:00pm.
  2. Wednesdays between 3:15 – 4:30pm; or 5:15 – 5:45pm.
  3. Thursdays between 4:30 – 6:00pm.

When booking an audition for ‘in-person’ lessons, please indicate which is your preferred afternoon and time for your audition (from the above days/times), and if you are successful at your audition, a weekly lesson time (from the available time slots above) will be arranged.

Online and Skype Lesson Times Available (in Australian Eastern Daylight Time):

  1. Monday 9:00am – 3:30pm
  2. Tuesday 9:00am – 3:30pm
  3. Wednesday 9:00am – 3:30pm
  4. Thursday 9:00am – 3:30pm
  5. Friday 9:00am – 3:30pm

For time zone conversions, use this helpful website.

Casual Consultation and One-Off Lesson Times Available (in Australian Eastern Daylight Time):

  1. Monday 9:00am – 3:30pm
  2. Tuesday 9:00am – 3:30pm
  3. Wednesday 9:00am – 3:30pm
  4. Thursday 9:00am – 3:30pm
  5. Friday 9:00am – 3:30pm

 

Term Dates.

  • Amy’s Music School follows the Victorian state school term timetable.
  • ‘In-Person’ Composition Lessons are conducted during these dates (but can also run through the holidays if students are available).
  • Lessons can be commenced mid-term.

Term 1, 2017 (9 weeks)
Monday, January 30 – Saturday, April 1

Term 2, 2017 (11 weeks)
Tuesday, April 18 – Saturday, July 1

Term 3, 2017 (10 weeks)
Monday, July 17 – Saturday, September 23

Term 4, 2017 (11 weeks)
Monday, October 9 – Saturday, December 23

Amy Bastow
Amy Bastow

 

 Testimonials

Thank you for being such an inspiration to all my children throughout the year. You are very gifted.

Mary

I approached Amy for piano lessons after finding her through her website, searching for piano and composition lessons. She helped me get back into playing piano after a 20 year hiatus. After only a year of guidance I have just sit my 5th grade AMEB exam and passed with flying colours! Amy even gave me great guidance helping me to compose one of my extra list pieces. Amy has helped me particularly with my expression and overall musicality. I used to be a very rigid player but Amy has helped me so much with my posture, muscle movement and tone. I would recommend Amy to any casual player who is looking to improve their technique and take their playing to the next level!

Tim

Amy continually demonstrated her deep commitment to our son’s musical education. She had a great rapport with him and successfully brought him through a number of AMEB exams. We were always touched by Amy’s passion for music and personal attention to our son’s progress. Sydney’s loss is Melbourne’s gain!.

Steve

Amy’s energy, enthusiasm and depth of understanding was invaluable for my daughter in her Senior High School studies. She made musicology less daunting and composition exciting and achievable.

Louise

We appreciate all your hard work, enthusiasm and positive attitude in teaching our son the piano. He enjoys his music lessons with you and we know he has great respect and affection for you as a teacher.

Rose

Just wanted to say I’m going to really miss you as my teacher when I leave! Thanks to you, I’m composing really well with all the new skills you taught me.

Lucy

My son told me yesterday that he loves his piano lessons with you, so I just wanted to thank you for this.

Patrick

Do you need music for your project?

Interested in hiring me to compose music for your next project? Please drop me an email and say "Hello". I'd love to hear from you!

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