1. Music theory, and music's building blocks, including pitch, equal temperament, intervals, time signatures, scales, chords, motives, cadences, melody, harmony, rhythm, counterpoint, and much more.
2. How to tell a musical story through mood, texture, tension and release.
3. How to read standard notation, figured bass, Roman numerals, chord symbols, and guitar tablature.
4. The variety of musical forms as used in classical and popular genres.
5. The origins and evolution of a variety of musical styles from medieval music to the present day.
6. Rock, jazz, Latin, and other popular styles of music from a compositional perspective.
7. Tips on how to write for many instruments in western music including: strings, voice, brass, woodwinds, percussion, drums, piano, the guitar, and the electric bass. Make sure you have a pencil and staff paper on hand (or score writing software) as you work your way through this book.
8. Dozens of essential composers and their legacies.
9. Tips for orchestrating and arranging music for a variety of ensembles: from string quartets to jazz quartets to the symphony orchestra itself.
10. Where to find additional resources to further your education.