pianovert-225x300Studying music is a lifelong pursuit and the best way to learn is under the guidance of an interested teacher. I have helped students from all backgrounds develop their composition skills, knowledge of music theory and overall musicianship.

Lessons are $75/hour and conducted over Skype.

If you are interested in lessons, e-mail me at ryan@ryanleach.com or call (310) 405-1582.

You can also read my tutorials and articles at Audiotuts and SCOREcast.


What topics do you cover?

  • Composition (Developing longer pieces, avoiding the “loop and build” trap, creating and developing motives, building phrases, periods/double periods, expansions of double periods, simple ternary forms, advanced concepts in form, etc.)
  • Orchestration (McKay’s Eight Orchestral Textures, Orchestration as separate from Composition, contrast, timbre, instrumentation, etc.)
  • Film Scoring (Techniques for Scoring to Picture, Film Score Analysis, Theme Writing, Technical aspects, etc.)
  • Music Production (Creating realism and fullness with MIDI, tips for using Logic Pro X, Sibelius, Pro Tools, Synthesis and Sampling, creating custom sample libraries, etc.)
  • Music Theory/Harmony (traditional diatonic theory, romantic harmony and chromaticism, jazz harmony, contemporary techniques such as root movement by thirds, 12-tone rows, chords in 4ths, etc.)

How can someone “teach” composition?

The best way to learn how to compose is simply by composing. The more you write, the better you get. The next step is to work under the guidance of an experienced teacher who can help bring your attention to your strengths and weaknesses, and guide you on how to develop and improve your craft.

When I first started teaching I would try to create worksheets and specific lesson plans, but it never ended up working. Everyone has a completely different background and level of experience, so there is no one-size-fits-all program.

My teaching method now is very practical. We begin by assessing the student’s current levels and develop a lesson plan according to their individual interests and needs. In general I give a specific writing assignment, and then we spend the lesson critiquing it, ripping it apart, and studying other music in response. People have a lot of ideas about what they think they need to work on, but the music never lies!

How often are the lessons?

As often as you want. If you want to do once a week or once a year, that’s entirely up to you. In my experience the best schedule is every other week, which seems to be the right amount of time for people to do the assigned writing or analysis, and is regular enough to see steady growth. When lessons are every week people inevitably fall behind when school/work/life gets in the way.

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