Composer Resources

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Last updated 2020-11-23

Resources for Current Students

New Music ND Composition Studio Handbook

BlackBoard Log In


North Dakota State University
MUSC x66: Applied Composition
MUSC 731: Applied Composition (Graduate)

Valley City State University
MUS 120: Composition I: (Lesson-based until 19S, Lecture-based since 19S)
MUS 220: Composition II: (Lesson-based until 20S, Masterclass-based since 20S)
MUS 320: Applied Composition (Lesson-based)


General Musicianship Books (below)

Books on Composition

Books on Instruments and Orchestration

Books on Notation (below)

Books on General Musicianship and Entrepreneurship

Angela Myles Beeching. Beyond Talent

Gerald Klickstein. The Musician’s Way

David Baskerville and Tim Baskerville. Music Business Handbook and Career Guide 12th Edition.

David Cutler. The Savvy Musician

Mark Rabideau, Creating the Revolutionary Artist.

Books on Notation

Elaine Gould. Behind Bars: The Definitive Guide to Music Notation. London: Faber Music, 2011.

Howard Risatti. New Music Vocabulary. [Out of print and difficult to find, it lists a number of ways to notate various extended techniques]

Composer Autobiographies/Memoirs

John Adams. Hallelujah Junction.

John Luther Adams. Silences so Deep

Philip Glass. Words Without Music.

Alex Ross. The Rest is Noise. New York, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007

Books on Electronic Music

Mark Ballora. Digital Audio and Acoustics for the Creative Arts.

Leigh Landy. Understanding the Art of Sound Organization.

Curtis Roads. Composing Electronic Music. A New Aesthetic.

Books on Creativity (and other misc.)

Howard Gardner. Creating Minds. New York: Basic Books, 2011.

Read Montague. Why Choose this Book? How we make decisions. New York: Dutton, 2006

Daniel Coyle. The Talent Code. New York: Bantam, 2009.

Bruce Adolphe. Of Mozart, Parrots, and Cherry Blossoms in the Wind: A composer explores mysteries of the musical mind. New York: Limelight Editions, 1999.

Stephen King. On Writing: A memoir of the craft. New York: Scribner, 2000.

Eric Abrahamson and David H. Freedman. A Perfect Mess. New York: Back Bay Books, 2007.

Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire. Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind. New York: TarcherPerigee, 2015.

Paul Tough. How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character. Boston: Mariner Books, 2013.

Robert Jourdain. Music, The Brain, and Ecstasy: How Music Captures our Imagination. New York: Harper Perennial, 2002.

Anne Lamott. Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. New York: Anchor Books, 1994.

John McPhee. Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017.

Angela Duckworth. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. New York: Scribner, 2016.

Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander. The Art of Possibility. New York: Penguin, 2000.

Twyla Tharp. The Creative Habit. New York, Simon & Schuster, 2003.