Austin Wintory

Hey Austin,
I just started playing piano three months ago, and I'm really interested in learning more about composition. What you would recommend as a good starting point?

Austin Wintory responded on 06/25/2012

Above all, use your ears. And I don't mean in a heavily analytical way (though that's very helpful and not to be disregarded), but letting your ears be open to the world. There is so much music out there, awaiting discovery and being receptive is the fundamental job of a composer.

Now, with that in mind, I highly recommend studying the repertoire. As intimately as you can, learn the music which has stood the test of time. Some of it will you love, some of it you won't. Ask yourself WHY in both cases (for example, I love Brahms, though I didn't much as a kid. I don't particularly love Philip Glass. This does not mean Brahms is good and Glass isn't. It only tells me about myself, and specifically me today).

And when I say "repertoire," I include in it not just classical music, but beyond it as well such as Irving Berlin, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Metallica etc etc ... enormous contributors to our culture.

Your ear will guide you. I hope that's a helpful starting point!!

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