Young Composers & Improvisors Workshop

A community of composers, teachers and musicians dedicated to helping all students compose original music.


YCIW uses a progressive curriculum and a  community of support to foster music composition in any kind of classroom setting. Through interactive web lessons, online composer mentoring and integration of the Noteflight web app any student can begin to compose her own musical ideas while learning how music works. The process is made a powerful one as each child’s music is performed by our professional musicians.  Since 2010 we have  premiered over 1,100 student compositions.

  • Noteflight

    Participants use the web application Noteflight to compose anywhere online where they receive feedback from teachers and composers.

  • Progressive Curriculum

    Through interactive web lessons and Noteflight assignments allow students to begin composing right away by using “sound before theory” concepts.

  • Live Performance

    Each student’s piece receives a live performance by a professional ensemble.

  • Composer Mentors

    Professional composer mentors leave helpful and supportive feedback directly on each student’s score.

YCIW Classroom

Teachers, sign up for YCIW Classroom and bring music composition to your students. Web courses, composer mentoring, more...

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Support YCIW

YCIW is a non profit 501(c)3 organization. Make a donation and help teachers bring music composition to their classroom.

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Music Composition as Experience

Explore our free resources and teacher community for a progressive approach on including composition in the classroom.

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YCIW Receives a New Music Grant from the BMI Foundation!

Teacher Testimonials

  • I am so grateful that my school is part of this community of musicians. I cannot thank YCIW enough for providing this outstanding life experience program to my students who were beside themselves in awe as their music was being perform live at the school town hall meeting!

    Christina Cobo,   RF Wagner Secondary School – Queens, NY

  • The YCIW approach to composition transforms each student from a passive listener into an informed participant in the process of musical creation. In addition to the musical benefits, YCIW has helped my students immensely because it has given them a chance to practice taking on the challenge of a long-term, multi-step process as they work though a series of exercises and composition steps to complete their piece. This is a life skill that translates to any field of endeavor.

    Ted Stafford,   St. Saviour Academy – Brooklyn, NY

  • A composition curriculum that actually works!

    Anthony Beatrice,   Pentucket Regional HS – Massachusetts

  • It’s a brilliant idea and great program.

    Jeannette Miller,   Village Community School – New York, NY

  • YCIW is a great program that taught my students theory in a unique and fun way! The use of technology was great for my students’ 21st century skills.

    Serena Robinett,   MS 217 – Brooklyn, NY

Concert of Student Composers from 5 States 

Watch a recent concert of student compositions from 5 schools from around the US.View

El Sistema Oklahoma 

YCIW is proud to offer our program to El Sistema OklahomaRead More

Music Composition as Experience

Visit our learning community for teachers. Connect with colleagues and share your insights. Learn More


With the help of technology like Noteflight every student gains knowledge of concepts and builds musical skills while composing original pieces. Noteflight is a revolutionary web application that allows students to compose anywhere they are online via a laptop, desktop or tablet device. YCIW participants complete web assignments that take advantage of Noteflight’s user friendly interface. Feedback from composer mentors and classroom teachers is given directly on the student’s Noteflight score. Noteflight becomes not only a creation tool but also a virtual community where students can interact, share ideas and connect about their music.

Progressive Curriculum: YCIW Classroom

YCIW has developed a progressive curriculum that allows for every student regardless of experience to begin composing right away. The curriculum is housed in a custom LMS which includes interactive web lessons, Noteflight assignment scores and other special web tools.  As students complete the assignments teachers can award grades and track their progress.

Metropolis Ensemble

Our Artists in Residence, Metropolis Ensemble visit with students during the the composing process and each Workshop concludes with a live concert performance of every composition. The students interact with the musicians just as a composer does in a workshop setting. This is an essential experience connected to the composing process. A composer mentor will moderate the interaction between the young composer and the musician while helping the student express how she wants her piece to sound. A public performance increases the power of the experience by building motivation and confidence.

West European Symphony Orchestra

Have your student’s compositions performed and recorded by a professional 30-piece orchestra! We have partnered with the prestigious West European Symphony Orchestra based in Lisbon, Spain for a special educational initiative. Watch a live simulcast performance and receive a professional audio recording for only $99. This is a great option for teachers outside of the NYC area.

Composer Mentors

During the Workshop professional composer mentors will provide helpful and supportive feedback to students directly on their Noteflight scores. They’ll provide insights on each student’s main composition as well as help on their Noteflight assignments. Students may ask questions and discuss any musical topics.

A Community of Support!

Our Music Composition as Experience learning community provides a forum for teachers to learn about the curriculum and share best practices. Teachers can go through the journey of participating in YCIW with a cohort and explore ways to incorporate tried and true music pedagogies with newer music ed tech. Visit Community anytime to see what’s going on at YCIW!

What Students Say

"Composing has taught me a lot of things. It has been a great experience. If I composes in the future I will be prepared. I am very happy and grateful for this experience."

- Clara, 6th grader

"Besides learning new things in music I learned a lot about creativity. One thing I learned about being creative is there is really no one correct way of what music is."

- Jane, 5th grader

"Composing has changed the way I listen to music because I've started to think about the chords and dynamics that I hear."

- Katie, 5th grader

"Being a composer is great because I get to compare my music to music that I like."

- Ally, 6th grader

"It feels great to have the privilege to experiment and learn about music and composing!"

- Miles, 6th grader

  • Membership in YCIW is Free

    Sign up for a free teacher account and access all teacher resources.

    Free Membership
  • YCIW Classroom

    Bring the YCIW experience to your students with YCIW Classroom. Teachers can enroll their students to receive a Noteflight account, access to all online course curriculum and online composer mentoring. Cost is $5/student. This is free for any NYC Public Schools.

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  • Live Performance!

    Our artists-in-residence will visit your classroom for a workshop run through of your student's pieces and return again for a live concert performance. Each piece is professionally recorded. Cost for this feature is based on the number of compositions and the instrumentation. This feature is included for any participating NYC Public School.

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Recent Compositions

Number of NYC Public School students who have taken part in YCIW.
Total number of compositions by YCIW students.


Young Composers & Improvisors Workshop is a 501(c)3 nonprofit certified organization.