Compose Yourself

The ACO Compose Yourself! program is designed to help young composers develop positive approaches to creativity, learn professional standards of notation, and develop strong orchestration technique in a supportive, hands-on environment.

This class is great for high schoolers who are interested in music creation, whether they’ll be attempting their first score, or have already been composing for years, whether they’re writing pop songs, jazz or the next great symphony.

Scroll down this page to find the registration form and more info.

Registration Deadline is September 28

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We’d love for you to post it in your classrooms and rehearsal rooms

Do You Want to Learn to Compose?

REGISTER NOW For the FALL Semester

  • Students complete one work each semester, which is then read by an ensemble of professional musicians.
  • Reading sessions are recorded for inclusion in college portfolios, competitions and the like.
  • Class size is limited to assure personalized attention
  • Visits by renowned guest composers & free entrance to ACO special events, including direct contact with leading composers.


Our THEME for the FALL Semester will be BRASS! with a special look at Fanfares. This has been another of our very popular themes in the past. While we’ll continue to expand our exploration of the diversity of approaches that music creators have for communicating their ideas to performers and audiences, we’ll focus our work on learning about the special place of brass, especially as it pertains to the idea of celebration. This semester will feature an informational session with members of the ACO brass section, who will also be the performers in our end-of-semester reading session.

Compose Yourself! classes are taught by ACO Education Director, Kevin James.

Special Note: it is not necessary to be local to New York to participate in Compose Yourself!. During COVID we’ve been able to accommodate students from across the world, and will continue to do so via Hybrid and Zoom classes

Important Info

This Class is for:
HIGH SCHOOL aged students

Classes will meet:
In-person lasses will meet at Carnegie Hall’s Resnick Education Wing in Manhattan. Students who are not able to attend in person will continue to able to participate Via ZOOM. You’ll have the opportunity on the registration to note your preference for either in-person or remote classes.

on the following days or during the weeks that follow:
October 2,  9, 16, 23 —  November  7, 14 — December  5, 12, 19  —  January 9
Our reading session will be scheduled around the third week of January.

Days and times
Our classes are scheduled to accommodate our students – they may fall during the week after school or in the early evenings, or on the weekends. So please be thorough when checking your availability on the registration form.

Special Events
Our “Introduction to Composing for Brass” will be scheduled for mid October (details TBA once registration is complete) ACO also provides access to dress rehearsals and other special events for all of our Compose Yourself! students, including Q&A sessions with our featured composers. This semester that will include a Carnegie Hall concert on Thursday November 9.  

Other Requirements
Students are required to attend ALL sessions.
Although we’re open to, and often explore alternative approaches, students need to be able to read music.


*ACO is committed to assuring that all interested students are able to participate, regardless of need. Look for the appropriate check box on the registration form below to inquire about scholarships and financial aid. Through generous funding from the Fromm Foundation, in addition to our standard scholarship program, we’re able to offer a limited number of FULL SCHOLARSHIPS to students who might not otherwise be able to participate in this program.


Fill out and submit the form below – you’ll need to scroll through this section to see all the questions. When you hit “Submit”, you’ll receive a confirmation that your registration has been received.


Compose Yourself! PRO Summer 2023 - $400
Pay your tuition via Paypal by clicking on the button below. If you prefer to pay in installments, click the downward arrow to access different payment levels.
Choose your payment amount
Compose Yourself! Classes Fall 2023 - $750
Pay your tuition via Paypal by clicking on the button below. If you prefer to pay in installments, click the downward arrow to access different payment levels.

Choose your payment amount

Questions & Information

If you have any questions or would like further information on how you child could benefit from ACO Education programming:
contact Kevin James, Education Director at