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 January 26

Do You Want to Learn to Compose?


  • 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 SPRING Semester is Connecting to Folk Traditions. Folk music is the foundation of every musical movement and genre. It has inspired countless composers, and been endlessly used as source material. This semester we'll learn how to approach this essential resource with proper respect and to respond to it appropriately in our own music.

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 classes 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:
Feb 5, 12, 26  March 4, 11 April 1, 8 15 May 6, 13, 20 June 3
Reading session TBD during ACO's NYC EarShot readings between June 12-15

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.

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 Winter 2024 - $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