Synthase Composers Academy

You have music in your head.
The world is ready to hear it.

Teaching yourself to compose? You might not know what you’re missing.

Creating your own music and bringing it to life is an unparalleled thrill, but we don’t have to tell you that. You probably know, because you fall into one or more of these categories:

You’re self-motivated, which is the only way to truly grow. But what you don’t know is… what you don’t know. You pick things up here and there from YouTube, friends, and various communities. You try to figure out what’s going on in the music you like. You look at scores and try to figure out how the composer could have possibly gotten that out of their head. What might you be missing, and what questions would you even ask to get there?

Imagine a little happy place on the internet where


The Synthase Composers Academy

The Synthase Composers Academy is a source of trusted community, mentorship, and resources to help aspiring composers grow in their art and craft. It’s run by professional composers with a passion for teaching and for supporting your own musical voice. We are fluent in both DAWs and notation software, and can help you make the move from playback to real instruments, or support you in digital creations

Synthase Composers Academy

How You'll Grow as a Composer

Meet your people.

Find inspiration from others who get you, and let others be inspired by you. Collaborations begin here.

Sharpen your skills.

Dig deeper on the topics that are holding you back, from theory to orchestration to software.

Explore your artistic voice.

We’re not trying to make you a carbon copy of anybody—we’re here to support your unique path.

Stay up on developments.

What’s possible today—through technology or culture—that wasn’t yesterday? Find out from tuned-in peers and mentors.

Hi! We're Nate May and Susie Ling, and we're here to help.

Susie and Nate

We’re composers, keyboardists, and educators with international performances, awards, and doctorates in composition from Yale and Duke. Other than that, we’re pretty different:

Nate grew up in West Virginia and studied jazz before playing in bands, scoring a feature documentary (seen on PBS), and integrating electronic and acoustic music.

Susie (Huijuan) grew up in Hunan province in China, attended Shanghai Conservatory from the age of twelve, and went on to an award-winning career of solo, chamber, and orchestral music.

There are two of us for a reason: we’re building something bigger than one person can make. By working with us, you benefit from two different perspectives rather than one person trying to turn you into a clone of themselves.

All members get full access to these features:

Studio classes

Receive live feedback on your music from Susie, Nate, or a special guest artist. Studio classes happen every week except when there are special live events or

A growing library of courses

At the time of writing there are thirteen courses in the Academy, but refresh the page and there might be another one—every month we add new members-only content.

A friendly community of composers

The forums are filled with like-minded people you’ll get to know and grow alongside.

Discounts on lessons and workshops

The Academy is a central access point for our private studio, and for workshops that give you an opportunity to work with live professional musicians.

Here's what our students say about us!

Miss Susie's teaching style and enthusiasm for unconventional music and composers hooked me from the start, and I wanted to learn MORE. Over the past year with her, I've been able to accomplish things I NEVER would've thought were possible for a senior in high school like me. Miss Susie instructed me carefully through the correct approach to writing and notating large ensemble pieces, small chamber ensembles, and electronic/acoustic fusions which have improved my style and musical confidence in so many ways. I was able to record two out of three of my original pieces with live musicians (including the large ensemble piece with a wind ensemble at a local high school which then programmed my piece in their Christmas concert) for pre-screening, which was the BEST feeling in the world, and I know without Synthase, much of this would never have happened. I am incredibly thankful for Miss Susie, and I know my life has genuinely changed because of the instruction I received - Synthase has set me on a path for success!!
Mason V.
Synthase is an amazing music institution with such incredible professionals! It is an institution that has helped me grow not just as a musician, but also as a human being.
Vera C.
Synthase has helped me understand the music that I listen to and play way more than anything else has. Nate has been a great a teacher and has given me the tools and resources to do what I want to do.
Conner H.
I'm taking music composition lessons with Susie, and it's amazing how far I've come in just a few months. At first, I could only write some simple piano pieces, and I didn't know much about music theory and composition. After a few months of study, I learned various musical forms, tried midi composition, and even completed a piano variation. If you are interested in music creation, if you want to learn music theory, believe me, this is the best place! Highly recommend!
Wu Lang

Get instant access to the Academy.

Monthly Membership

$ 25 Per Month
  • Members-only forums
  • All course content
  • Studio classes
  • Discounts

Annual Membership

$ 250 Per Year
  • Members-only forums
  • All course content
  • Studio classes
  • Discounts
Best Value

Frequently asked questions

If you’re at least 13 years old and you’re an aspiring composer, then yes!

No—we’ve gone out of our way to make sure beginners have a path to learning within the Academy.

No problem—many of our resources are not notation dependent.

If you’re at a stage where you don’t feel like feedback on your work is very helpful, the Academy might not be for you. But even if you’re comfortable with many techniques of composition, you’ll likely encounter new approaches in the Academy.

Given that you need to be good at composing to make money as a composer, yes. We don’t currently have a focus on business-related topics, but those discussions are certainly welcome in the forums.

No—content is only available to current members.

You can do so at any time from the “billing” section of your account.

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