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Most of you don't want to go to college and learn theory, harmony, and composition techniques.
Not only is it tedious and for the most part -boring, but it's also unnecessary.
That is, if you want to compose atonal music or whatever the latest fad in academia is, go to college.
If you want to capture your ideas and quickly put them down on paper, you only need to learn how to think in phrases! This is what most improvisers/composers do anyway.
For example, many of you have heard me speak of using 8-bar phrases as a cornerstone to both improv and composition.
Why? Because it's a very easy space to work in! You can very quickly complete 8-bars and have both your theme and the first section of music.
By working this way, you don't have to worry about what the final form of the piece will be.
Many composition books suggest you block out the entire structure of the piece first including harmony, climax, etc.
This is one way of working with music.
It's not the only way.
Especially for beginners, it can be daunting to say the least to have no idea where you're going and what to do next.
But, and here's the really good part, by working with 8-bar phrases, you learn how smaller sections are built into larger sections and so on.
In other words, you learn how composers think.
Here's how I do it.
I start by improvising and see what comes up.
If I feel like I'm on to something, I just write out 8-bars on a sheet of paper (any paper will do) notate what key I'm playing in and the time and write out the first 2-bars of the melodic idea.
Next, I'll play through and write out the chord changes.
For example, if the piece is in the key of F Major, the first 2-bars may be an F Major chord, the next 2-bars, B flat Major and so on.
By working this way, you can quickly complete an 8-bar section of music and you're ready to add more sections working the same way!

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