Composer Quest

Composer Quest: A Music Composition and Songwriting Podcast

A Songwriting and Music Composition Podcast by Charlie McCarron


Episode List / Blog / Hall of Fame


Upcoming Event: Join us for a screening of new short films along with a live orchestral performance of the scores on Thursday, August 14th, 7pm at the Landmark Center’s F.K. Weyerhaeuser Auditorium in St. Paul. $5 suggested donation for the musicians. Read more about it here.

Latest episode: Film Scoring 101 with Adam Conrad

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New compilation album of 13 wonderful in-studio performances: Composer Quest Unplugged


“★ ★ ★ ★ ★. I feel like I’ve found a new online composer family with this podcast. Can’t recommend it enough!”
-Esnpiano, iTunes reviewer

“So good. Best interviewer ever.”
-Grammy-winning songwriter Joe Mailander

“As a HUGE podcast geek (and composer), it fills a niche that I feel we’ve been missing!”
-William Dodson

“I find Composer Quest to have the most relevant information for people searching for music composition podcast.”
-Anonymous Google Bot



Composer Quest was born out of my desire to fill the surprising void of music composition podcasts on iTunes. I started by interviewing my songwriter friends about their composing and songwriting tips. It’s now a full-fledged music composition podcast of interviews with all kinds of talented music makers.

Composer Quest • A Music Composition Podcast by Charlie McCarronWhether you’re a music composition grad or an occasional noodler on guitar, each guest has a new perspective on composing and songwriting. Hopefully you’ll get some ideas for your own music.

I post a new Composer Quest episode every Wednesday evening. The entire back catalog is free to stream and download below, or through iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS.

-Charlie McCarron, Composer Quest host


If you enjoy the show, consider becoming an official Composer Quest patron! There are different rewards if you help out at the $1, $2, and $3/episode levels. Thanks for considering it, and thanks so much to my current patrons who help keep the show running!


Composer Quest Episodes

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  1. Film Scoring 101 with Adam Conrad • mp3about

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  2. A Concept Album for Every Season with Chris Koza • mp3about

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  3. Composing Tips from Triple Major Alex Cooke • mp3about

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  4. Rock and Docs with Composer Silas Hite • mp3about

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  5. Dame Evelyn Glennie on Percussion and Dynamics • mp3about

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  6. Behind the Curtain of Composing Wizard Tyler Tholl • mp3about

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  7. Animation Composing with Paul Fraser • mp3about

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  8. Adrienne Albert, Composer and Stravinsky’s Favorite Alto • mp3about

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  9. Film Scoring for Live Orchestra • mp3about

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  10. Music Theory for the Bored with Justin Merritt • mp3about

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  11. FEZ’s Composer Disasterpeace on Creative Music Theory for Games • mp3about

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  12. Quest 8: May the Four-Hand Piano Be with You • mp3about

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  13. Polka Expert Joey Johnson • mp3about

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  14. Minimalist Mandola Songwriting with Nathan Eliot • mp3about

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  15. Eggs, Bacon, and Composer Wisdom from Rick Sowash • mp3about

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  16. Starting a Composer/Producer Career with Tom Snively • mp3about

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  17. The Art of Banjo Songwriting with Ellen Stanley • mp3about

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  18. Tax Tips for Musicians • mp3about

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  19. Sound Scientist Seth Horowitz on Dolphins, Aliens, and Aural Therapy • mp3about

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  20. Composer Infotainment with Mr. Wilson • mp3about

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  21. Honest Songwriting with Laura Marie • mp3about

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  22. Songwriting Theory with Pat Pattison • mp3about

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  23. Quest 7: Compose Music for Your Valentine • mp3about

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  24. Composer Career Counseling with ACF’s Craig Carnahan • mp3about

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  25. Freelance Video Game Composing with Chris Kukla • mp3about

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  26. Lazerwülf on Charity Songwriting • mp3about

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  27. Merry Questmas! • mp3about

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  28. Schizophrenic Synthpop Storytelling with Felix Frost • mp3about

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  29. How to Compose Earworms and Fetal Music with Dr. Vicky Williamson • mp3 about

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  30. Songwriting Tricks with Dylan McFarling • mp3about

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  31. Philosophies of Music Composition with Richard Russell • mp3about

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  32. Video Game Composition with Michael Chadwick • mp3about

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  33. Indie Film Composing with Brooke deRosa • mp3about

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  34. Quest 6: Fortune Cookie Songwriting • mp3about

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  35. Halloween Composing with Sideshow Sound Theatre • mp3about

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  36. Writing Lyrics Like a Criminal With Brian Laidlaw • mp3about

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  37. Dutch Dance Music with Ducked Ape • mp3about

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  38. The Psychology of Creativity with Wilma Koutstaal • mp3about

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  39. Social Sound Experiments with Marc Weidenbaum • mp3about

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  40. Quest 5: Arrange a Carol for the Amadeus Chamber Symphony • mp3about

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  41. Composing for Youth Jazz Ensembles with Dean Sorenson • mp3about

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  42. “I’ve Written a Song. Now What Do I Do?” • mp3about

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  43. Audacity Producer Desmond Simmons is Big in Japan • mp3about

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  44. Music Composition for the Masses with Anthony Joseph Lanman • mp3about

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  45. Rhythms of Tanzania with Br. Onesmo Sanga • mp3about

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  46. Season Two Premiere: Charlie’s Musical Obituary • mp3about

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  47. Quest 4: Elfluenza, the Christmas Musical • mp3about

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  48. Marketing Your Music with Patrick Hertz • mp3about

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  49. Young Composer’s Contest Winners Taylor Isberner and James Farrell • mp3about

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  50. Music Composition and the Law: How to Protect Your Creative Work • mp3about

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  51. Quest 3: Arias on Tap • mp3about

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  52. Highlights from the First Composer Quest Concert • mp3about

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  53. Season One Finale: Dmitri Tymoczko on Music Composition • mp3about

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  54. Quest 2: Conversation • mp3about

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  55. Torley on Creativity, Asperger’s, and Music Production • mp3about

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  56. Follow Your Dreams! With Candy Bilyk • mp3about

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  57. North Korean Cannibal Songwriting with Joe Graves • mp3about

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  58. Movie Score Trivia with Director Elliot Diviney • mp3about

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  59. Physical Songwriting with Jenny Katz • mp3about

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  60. Reddit Sensation Cameron Scott Boster on Folk Songwriting • mp3about

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  61. Robot Drummers and Patrick Flanagan of Jazari • mp3about

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  62. Songwriting Genesis with Emot’s Matt Leavitt • mp3about

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  63. Throat Singing and Chopping Beats with Prism House • mp3about

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  64. Musical Illusions with Dr. Diana Deutsch • mp3about

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  65. Orchestrating a Time Travel Musical with George Maurer • mp3about

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  66. Metal 101 with Guitarist Devin Earlywine • mp3about

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  67. Arranging New Standards with Chan Poling • mp3about

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  68. Cassette Tapes and Synesthesia with Warren Hildebrand • mp3about

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  69. Synesthetic Composing with Mary Beth Huttlin • mp3about

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  70. Mary Ellen Childs on Music Composition • mp3about

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  71. Quest 1: Arrange Pop Songs for Bassoon, Clarinet, and Oboe • mp3about

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  72. Dessa on Writing Hip Hop Lyrics • mp3about

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  73. Social Media for Songwriters with John Anealio • mp3about

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  74. Crowdfunding a Creative Bender with Tim Cheesebrow • mp3 • about

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  75. Composing Your Way Out of Plato’s Cave with Ted Moore • mp3about

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  76. Subconscious Songwriting with Mike Nilles • mp3 • about

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  77. Minnesota Waterfall Disaster Music with Nick Syman • mp3about

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  78. Drum Kit Melodies with Pete James Johnson • mp3about

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  79. Composing YouTube Soundtracks with Corridor Digital’s Sam Gorski • mp3about

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  80. Film Scoring with Hollywood-Bound Will VDC • mp3about

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  81. A Composition Seed with Dr. Brian Campbell • mp3 • about

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  82. Songwriting Inspiration with Paul Spring • mp3 • about

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  83. Teaching Kids to Compose with Maia Hamann • mp3about

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  84. The Okee Dokee Brothers’ Joe Mailander on Kindie Songwriting • mp3about

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  85. Composing for iPhone Games with Whitaker Trebella • mp3about

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  86. How to Write a Pooping Duck Robot Song with Matt Schubbe • mp3about

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  87. Taking the Stage with Drummer Luke Friedrich • mp3about

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  88. Composing Textures with Theater Sound Designer Kevin Springer • mp3about

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  89. Catchy Dissonance with Nathan Graves • mp3about

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  90. Going Solo with Guitarist Peter Frey • mp3about

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  91. The Art of Lyrics with Fiction Writer Ryan Ruff Smith • mp3about

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  92. Pop Music Theory with Beatles Expert Mitchell Johnson • mp3about

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§ 10 Responses to Composer Quest"

  • Hey Charlie, great work, thank you. Many people will benefit from this. I like your site a lot, very useful info. I am looking forward to listening to more and enjoyed podcasts 1, 2, and 8 in particular, but have not listened to all of them.

  • Bryan Davis says:

    Hey Charlie
    I’ve just recently discovered your podcast and absolutely love it! I’m an aspiring composer whose always looking for ways to branch out with my music. I have appreciated all of the helpful tips and advice I’ve received from your podcast. Thanks for all the work you do to bring this to everyone!

  • Keevin says:

    Podcast 5 with Kevin Springer – the MP3 link is for Podcast 6 (and the Podcast 6 MP3 link is also for Podcast 6 – will we be getting access to Podcast 5 MP3, eventually? Love the podcasts!!!

  • Yike says:

    Hey Charlie! I just discovered this, Googling for “When You Wish Upon a Star”.

    The funny thing is, I was also trying to figure out the chords for “Part Of Your World”, and the key exotic chord in that is actually the one Mitchell mentions in the first Podcast, it’s the minor iv chord. It’s another one of those things that theoretically makes no sense (it’s a HARD switch from IV to iv, should sound terrible) but is pure magic. I will be catching up with your archives and hoping to improve my own songwriting/composing.

  • John Allaback says:

    I’m a big Rogue Valley / Chris Koza fan. I write and record (in my basement) folk songs that I have sometimes lived and sometimes dreamed. Now finally, a blog I can truly relate to! Thank You Charlie!

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