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 artists in residence the Metropolis Ensemble.  Since 2010 we have  premiered over 400 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.

A place for teachers to include music composition in their classroom!

YCIW is a free resource for NYC Public Schools!


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 has developed a progressive curriculum that allows for every student regardless of experience to begin composing right away. The curriculum is in the form of Web Lessons and pre-made Noteflight Assignment Scores. As students complete the assignments they are awarded digital badges to 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.

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 lessons and the curriculum support forums.

    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 School teacher.

    Learn More
  • 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.

    Learn More

YCIW Classroom Overview

YCIW Classroom w/ Live Performance Overview

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