Orchestration Master Class Series (5 Sessions with free MIDI mockup session)


Active Member
It's been said before that fantastic and realistic MIDI Mockups are actually only possible when you approach each cue with vital attention to many details. Those details include the actual composition, the arrangement, your use of orchestration and finally the MIDI Mockup itself to present a realistic and well put together cue for producers.

Your knowledge of orchestration can really mean a seismic shift in your writing and productions.

It's a given that the music industry is very competitive.

To be competitive in the field of composing, we must be willing to learn and improve our orchestration chops. Your ability to do so will deeply impact your cues be they performed by a live orchestra and/or carefully detailed via MIDI Mockup.

Orchestration is so important as it is the key to making your mock-ups sound more realistic and natural as well as enhancing the overall auditory experience with any live orchestra you're currently working with.

A good orchestration will sound exciting, dramatic, and full of interesting colors.
Bad orchestrations, on the other hand, can often sound too dark, indistinct, heavy, and boring.

There are many important orchestration techniques used by contemporary film composers, including dovetailing, highlighting, and melodic linking, which improve your orchestral writing.

Introducing Norman Ludwin

Norman works as an orchestrator and bassist for Michael Giacchino, including recent work on Rogue One, Star Trek Beyond, Jurassic World, Zootopia, Inside Out, Star Trek Into Darkness, John Carter, and Super 8; He has over 200 credits on IMDB.

He received his doctorate in composition in 2007 from the Claremont Graduate University.

Norman has presented film orchestration master classes at: New York; BMI Headquarters; The Society of Composers and Lyricists,; Boston; Seattle; Los Angeles; Toronto; Washington DC,; San Diego, Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam; Bangkok Thailand: Shanghai, Nanjing, and Beijing China.

He has taught hundreds of students over the past 20 years, privately and through the UCLA Film Scoring Program, the Cornell School of Contemporary Music, and the Professional Musicians Union Local 47.

His eight books on music are used in college courses worldwide, including at the Berklee School of Music, the Eastman School, Cal Arts, and UCLA.

Private lessons

The lessons are private and done via Skype or on the phone. The student picks the date and time that works best for them based on his availability. If you have to cancel the lesson it's very simple and can be easily rescheduled.

There is no set time, and students are free to take as many lessons as they wish.

If you have no orchestration experience it's not a problem, as many of his students are beginners in orchestration.

Specific topics covered:

  • How the instruments produce sound
  • What is the "power ranges" where the instruments sound the best
  • Essential string techniques
  • Dovetailing
  • Highlighting
  • Melodic linking
  • Bowings for the strings - how do they work?
  • Effective use of slurs for strings and winds
  • Transposition guidelines
  • Writing for the harp
  • Points when writing for the tympani and percussion
  • Insights on how to blend the instruments
  • Score studies analyzed to explain important orchestration techniques
  • Score reduction practice
Advanced topics:
  • Scoring to picture
  • Chord substitution
  • Writing melodies that grow organically
  • Developing your material
  • Re-harmonization
  • Effective usage of motives
  • How to use hexachords to add chromaticism to your writing
  • Employing limited intervals and modulating scales

The cost for each lesson is $75. The cost of his 15 Lesson Course eBook is $25.

Norman is offering a 5-lesson package which includes 1) his 15 lesson course e-book (or his Film Music Book) and 2) a complementary coupon for one free lesson with a MIDI Mockup Coach to augment your orchestration studies.

This book contains over 1000 pages of exercises, scores, and extensive information on the orchestral families.

Order One Lesson $75

Orchestration Master Class Tutoring


Order 5 lesson series $375

plus one free MIDI Mockup Coaching

5-lesson package


Active Member
How "new" can a student be and still get something from these lessons?

Can I be a complete rookie with no instrument skills and little to no knowledge of orchestration? Or is it best if I atleast play the piano?


Active Member
How "new" can a student be and still get something from these lessons?

Can I be a complete rookie with no instrument skills and little to no knowledge of orchestration? Or is it best if I atleast play the piano?


You can be a beginner, that is no problem, in someways it’s better as you don’t have any bad habits :).

You also don’t have to any instrument skills, just a basic knowledge of the clefs and notes and a willingness to learn.


Active Member
Orchestration Master Class Tutoring One on One

Some folks have asked me for reviews of my books, so here are a few:

  • “Norman has played in my orchestra since my earliest scores, and frequently orchestrates for me as well. In his book, he covers the basics of orchestration from the invaluable point of view of one of Los Angeles' top session players. Orchestration: A New Approach, with its clear analysis and numerous examples from the masters, is a fresh offering of orchestration technique that emphasizes craft and is enjoyable to read.” -Michael Giacchino (Oscar, Emmy and Grammy winning composer)

    “Norman, has combined his talents as musician, composer, and orchestrator with his gifted teaching skills to author this must-have book for every orchestrator. It is extremely comprehensive, very logical, and best of all, easy to use. I heartily recommend these books as essential building blocks for a career in orchestrating. Kudos Norman!” -Tim Simonec (Orchestrator of over 80 films for the past 35 years)

    “I think it's great!! Insightful and easy to comprehend! Love it and thank u!!” -John Debny (Composer of Iron-Man 2 and Star Trek-The Next Generation)

    To any one wishing to become a Composer and or Orchestrator I highly recommend Norman Ludwin's Vol. One A New Approach.”

    -Eddie Karem (Orchestrator for John Williams)
    “An incredibly well thought out, easy to use, wealth of information for the curious student or the professional who needs a sudden moment of clarity. Your “Course” and “Score Anthology” will be kept close at hand when I’m composing. I especially like, “The Double Bass Up Close”. Thank you Norman.” -Roger Kellaway (Composer, Pianist, and former Double Bass Player

  • This book is amazing, I had no idea of the depth and size of the study you made. Congrats on this most needed book!..” -Randy Miller (Orchestrator and composer of more than 30 film and TV shows)