The Beautiful Mess

Masterclass in Composition & Creativity

Course Curriculum

The masterclass consists of two main sections. The first is a 12 part video series in which Eric distills the entire creative process, from the moment of inspiration to the final note. These chapters are intended to run sequentially. The second section is called “Things I’ve Learned”, a compilation of wisdom Eric has received throughout his career from teachers, mentors, and his own life experience.


Within the course curriculum, you’ll have access to 15 perusal scores (including choral, band and orchestral), reference sheets and useful links. In addition, there are extensive Teacher and Student Guides, written by Emily Crocker and Dr Christopher Peterson, which can be previewed ahead of enrollment.

  The Beautiful Mess: Masterclass in Composition & Creativity
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  Chapter 1
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  Chapter 2
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  Chapter 3
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  Chapter 4
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  Chapter 5
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  Chapter 6
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  Chapter 7
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  Chapter 8
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  Chapter 9
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  Chapter 10
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  Chapter 11
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  Chapter 12
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  Outro
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  Things I've Learned
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  Resources
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  Credits
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Look I made a hat
Where there never was a hat.

— Stephen Sondheim, Sunday in the Park with George

Creating something from nothing is a messy business, and in this masterclass we’ll dive deep into the mess. I’ll break down every part of my creative process, including all the important work done before the first note is written. I’ll go into great detail as to how I construct my music, building deep structure through emotional architecture and golden bricks. I’ll talk at length about how I deal with inspiration, writer’s block, deadlines, poetry, word painting, dissonance, and silence.

Above all, I hope the course will be a useful tool for anyone who longs to bring new ideas to life, to make a hat where there never was a hat.

Eric Whitacre

  • Twelve video chapters + "Things I've Learned" + Perusal scores + Reference sheet + Lesson plans with comprehensive Teacher Guides & Student guides
  • Look inside the mind of this highly experienced and successful composer, bringing new understanding and experience to performances and the appreciation of his works.
  • How to capture creative ideas and build them. Practical solutions to writer’s block. How to start a new work and create an overarching concept.
  • Study at a time of your choosing and go at your own pace. Watch and listen on any device.
  • Complete the course and receive a personalized certificate.
  • Designed for music-lovers, composers, students, directors, educators, singers, instrumentalists, life-long learners and curious minds.

Educational Resources: Lesson Plans & Student Guides

A comprehensive series of Teacher and Student Guides has been prepared to support the use of The Beautiful Mess in education. Written by Emily Crocker and Dr Christopher Peterson, there are three editions available dependent on the experience and ability of the students.

Level 1: Curiosity Edition

  • Suitable for middle school; early years of high school (ages 11–16)

Level 2: Creator Edition

  • Suitable for high school or college entry level (ages 14–18)

Level 3: Composer Edition

  • Suitable for advanced high school, college, university (age 16+)

More Information

Pricing & Enrollment

The Beautiful Mess is available to individuals as well as for use in education.
The group access option is available to use in the classroom, as part of a blended learning programme and for choruses and ensembles.

Individual Access

  • For any individual who wishes to enroll in The Beautiful Mess
  • Access to the course for 3 years from date of enrollment
  • Suitable for all individuals including amateur and professional musicians, composers, music-lovers of all ages and life-long learners

Group Access:
Education (K12/Under 18)

  • License to use The Beautiful Mess in the classroom (virtual or in-person)
  • Access to the course for 2 years from date of enrollment
  • Suitable for general music ed., composers, choir, band, orchestra
  • Includes comprehensive Teacher and Student Guides written by Emily Crocker and Dr Christopher Peterson
  • Login details provided for the teacher - the course is designed to be taught in the classroom or virtually via screenshare

Group Access:
Higher Education

  • License to use The Beautiful Mess in the classroom (virtual or in-person)
  • Access to the course for 2 years from date of enrollment
  • Suitable for general music ed., composers, choir, band, orchestra
  • Includes comprehensive Teacher and Student Guides written by Emily Crocker and Dr Christopher Peterson
  • Teacher access to the course granted immediately following purchase - individual access codes for student logins will be emailed within 72 hours of enrollment
  • Complimentary access provided to the teacher for each package purchased
  • $150 per student

* If you would like to discuss a price point for a school district or different number of users, please email [email protected]

The Beautiful Mess is also available from the following retailers:

Live Events

December 11, 2021

11am PT | 2pm ET | 7pm GMT

Q&A with Eric Whitacre

This session is open to anyone enrolled in The Beautiful Mess.

Register

...so many different perspectives on music, art, creativity, and even existential aspects of life as a creative — it was a truly special experience for everyone...

Dr. Steven M. Sano, Professor, Stanford University (US)

Eric is blessed with the gift of communication that enables him to bring us behind the curtain into his creative process and inspire us.

Paul Thomson, Spitfire Audio

Our young composers were completely engaged and inspired by Eric’s teaching and his accessible grace. Many have tapped into their new-found creativity and gone on to write exciting new pieces of music as a direct result of their time with him.

Dorothy Gates, Salvation Army