What do think of when you hear the word “composer”? A tormented heroic genius with quill and ink by candlelight, crafting feverish dreams into earth-shattering orchestral extravaganzas?

While this picture fits the branding of the Romantic Era composers of the 1800s, today the composers are among us! Percussionist Lior Shragg and flamenco artist Juanito Pascual are happy, approachable composers and performers sharing their journeys of self-discovery. And Sabrina Peña Young – creator of the virtual sci-fi opera Libertaria – teaches us simple steps that anyone can take to be a composer.

Romantic Rock Stars

In the 1800s, the sugar-daddy aristocratic patrons of music fell on hard times and composers were left to fend for themselves. In Exploring Classical Music: The Romantic Era, Part 1 we learned about composer/entrepreneur/celebrities like Berlioz – who wrote a twisted symphonic fantasy of love gone terribly wrong – and Schubert’s song of a devilish elf-king.

Composers like Mendelssohn banked on a yearning to reconnect with nature on the part of their rising middle-class audiences living in the increasingly industrialized cities. And Franz Liszt marketed his sensational virtuosity, which appeared to transcend human limits. Listen to their astounding music in Exploring Classical Music: The Romantic Era, Part 2.

Franz Liszt is legendary for his études. They are still some of the most important pieces of work in the piano literature. But, what is an étude? The Classical Novice teaches us more about this type of composition.

Romantic piano stars cultivated both virtuosity and simplicity in their technique. Whether you are just starting on piano or incredibly skilled, Practising the Piano shows how you can benefit from putting your attention “on wrist control”.

Mendelssohn’s sensitive writing for the violin brought out a new combination of passion and virtuosity to the instrument that inspired generations of musicians. Are you one of the many that wish they could pick up that instrument you have always dreamed of playing? Violin Tutor Pro answers the question, “Is It Ever Too Late To Learn?”

The Zookeeper

Lior Shragg percussionistLior Shragg began his passion for percussion at an “instrument petting zoo” in school. Since there was such a long line for the trumpet, he chose the short line to percussion. Now the master of dozens of world percussion instruments, Lior is himself the zookeeper!

An ethnomusicologist, composer, and veteran gig-rustler, Lior’s career will inspire your creative hustle as he tells us more about Creating Your Own Beat: An Interview with Percussionist Lior Shragg.

During his musical journey, Lior was able to find other musicians through Craigslist. There are so many ways to find other musicians to start a band or simply have someone to jam with.

Lior talked about his journey to Chicago and the process he went through to start performing. Getting gigs can be difficult for both new and seasoned musicians. Showslinger has 5 tips to help you land that perfect gig!

After you’ve watched Lior play, you’ll have to admit that percussionists simply have more fun.  Free Percussion Lessons has free guides to get you started on your own percussion journey!

Check out this video on “How to play a Paradiddle”:

Flamenco Love

Through his healing journey, Juanito Pascual discovered his own musical identity and has become a new voice in an old tradition – composing original flamenco music as well as organic flamenco covers of the Beatles and Grateful Dead. Learn more about the power of Falling in Love with Flamenco.

Juanito talked about the importance that bodywork techniques, like Yoga, had during his musical journey. Many musicians can also benefit from this practice. Making Music Mag tells why musicians need yoga.

Ear training was an important part of Juanito’s education and something that he encourages musicians to strive for. However, it is a multi-year journey that takes time to develop! Teach Piano Today starts us off today with 13 Ways To Improve Your Ear Training Skills.

Flamenco flows with several unique rhythmic patterns, such as compás. Flamenco Bites’ introduction to compás will have you dancing in no time!

Boots on the Ground

Romantic-era author Jules Verne was the first to make sci-fi a popular genre, and composer Sabrina Peña Young continues the tradition with her sci-fi music and animated opera. But far from the romantic composer cultivating a supernatural persona, Sabrina shares her gifts with others and firmly believes that anyone who wants to can be a composer. Learn how you can Make the Jump from Musician to Composer with Composer Boot Camp 101.

Many composers in the film genre look to John Williams for inspiration and lessons. He is truly the most prolific film composer of all time (and second in most-nominated for the Academy Awards). Share the love of John Williams’ music with children in this neat lesson on the Theme from Superman, from Homegrown Learners.

As long as you love music, you too can be a composer? Take the first step with this introductory lesson from Lessons on the Web!


If you’re having doubts about that first step, you’re not alone. Many musicians struggle with building their confidence as a performer or a composer. Get Acceptd shows the ways that you can build your confidence and become the musician that you want to be!

We often become overwhelmed by the creativity of the musicians we admire. Well, whether you know it or not, you’re creating your in your life all the time with your choices. Why not put that creative force to good use and compose some music? There are steps to take, but they are not impossible and may even be easier than you think!