How to Be a Music Composer

In addition to teaching at the Frederic Chopin Music School, Ray Guirguess is an active composer.  Ray believes that all music school students should be involved in composition for the skill building and spiritual opportunities that the craft offers.  We had a chat to better understand the craft of composition and revenue development possibilities.

Interviewer: Why do you enjoy composing so much?

Ray: I enjoy the idea that I can leave behind a creation, a legacy.  It’s a pure way of communication. Words are a passing language.  If you treat it with the respect that the craft deserves, it provides a true reflection that is very personal.  I actually think it’s better than journaling because it’s tactile and scientific as well. You have to work out timings and

Interviewer: Why do you think people should compose?

Ray:  There are no restrictions to writing and enjoying music – it’s a spiritual gift.  It’s an opportunity to experiment with different sound combinations and techniques and essentially taking what you have learned in music class, and splicing it in to your own unique creation.

Interviewer: You are a commissioned composer at this point.  What are challenges that commissioned composers face?

Ray: I am currently working on a student filmmaker’s score. The film is about the general complacency of consumer minds and an ignorance of what is going outside of the selfish experience.  It’s an experimental documentary. It is challenging to meet the needs of the director – Needs that are sometimes continually changing.  Meaning, your work needs to be constantly evolving, which can get frustrating.  I like to keep in mind that much like myself, a filmmaker is another creator who’s vision evolves as the project takes on a its own life.  You have to remain fluid and dynamic if you intend on earning a living as a composer.

Interviewer: Is it difficult to get commissioned projects?

Ray:  It is difficult because it’s a very competitive industry.  Anyone can create a film score electronically with minimal knowledge of digital software. Composing is very accessible to the average Joe.  You no longer have to be a highly skilled music professional in order to develop a score.  In a way, the market place is oversaturated with “composers” but not all are skilled.

Interviewer:  How do you ensure that you stand out?

Ray:  In order to remain competitive in the industry, it is critical to constantly evolve as a musician and perform at a very high level.  However, a musical backing and education differentiates you incredibly because you are able to add finesse to the music – For example, quickly develop harmonies using the science of music. The quality of what an educated and experienced professional produces speaks for itself.  Having a background in music adds colour to the music you produce. It also helps with general business management. For example, schooling has helped me to produce music on deadlines.  I had to learn how to expedite the creative process.  People are not willing to wait until inspiration hits you.  Constantly having to deliver compositions, essays and performances on deadline at York really helped me in that area.

Interviewer:  What’s the best way to get work in composition?

Ray:  I find that it’s important to consistently develop new music in order to constantly build the skillset.  You have to consistently work on the craft and gain more exposure. I also find that networking is very important.  Actually, composition has helped me socially because I tend to be shy.  It forces me to approach people. I appreciate all forms of craftsmanship – poetry, sculpture, and writing. I enjoy collaborating with other creative types and I need to approach them in order to make that happen.  Creating and networking happen organically in a way.  I have noticed that if I am performing well in my musical career, then I am doing well in all areas of life – social included.

Interviewer: What advice would you give to aspiring composers?  Or students of the Frederic Chopin Music School who may want to try composing?

Ray:  I would urge everyone to try composition – even if no audience experiences your creation.  It is very therapeutic to translate feelings in to your own musiMusic Theory Class Taught by Ray Guirguessc.

Follow Ray on Twitter and visit his website.


If you would like to learn more about Ray Guirguess and the Frederic Chopin Music School, please contact us.

Call 905 279 7761 or send us a note!



  • Pre-School Music Classes

    Prepare your pre-schooler for instrumental lessons with our one-hour group sessions for children under the age of 7. Children will have fun learning the basics of music through movement, dance, and language in preparation for annual pre-school recitals.

  • Striving for Excellence

    The Frederic Chopin Music School has a strong track record of high performance. Each year, our students gain experience and collect awards at Festivals. On average, the grade attained by our students on Royal Conservatory of Music exams is in the 90th percentile.
    Why Choose Us

  • Lessons in English and Polish

    At the Frederic Chopin Music School we understand the factors that can threaten the effectiveness of a lesson. This is why we employ a diverse line of teachers that help us minimize language and cultural barriers. We now offer instrumental lessons in both Polish and English.
    More About Us

  • "I applaud The Frederic Chopin Music School for the work they do to inspire in our youth an appreciation for arts and culture through music."
    MP Wladyslaw Lizon
    Political Support
  • "I was so proud to win first place at Peel and Kiwanis Music Festivals"
    Beata Raczynska
    Personal Testimonial
  • "Music taught me discipline and patience, which helped in University."
    Marta Michna
    Personal Testimonial
  • "These were some of my best memories from childhood and high school"
    Diana Fuszara
    Personal Testimonial
  • "Most of the instructors are parents, and it really shows how much they care about my kid's success."
    Satisfied FCMS Client
    Personal Testimonial
  • "I'm so grateful for Grazyna's patient instruction - My son scored over 90% on his grade 6 RCM exam! Thank you."
    Recurring FCMS Client
    Personal Testimonial



If you would like to learn about more the Frederic Chopin Music School, please contact us.



Privacy Policy

Mission Statement:

The Frederic Chopin Music School (FCMS) is an exclusive music school in Mississauga for both children and adults, located near the corner of The Queensway and Cawthra road. Since 1992, our mission has been to nurture students’ intellectual and social development through the study of music, while providing the environment and instruction to reach the highest scholastic merits in music. The FCMS respects the unique needs of students and fosters a creative, interdisciplinary, and empowering space to reach individual goals. Our methods are based on the European method of music lessons and instruction, which relies on laying a strong foundation in musical theory, proper hand placement to refine motor skills, as well as developing creativity.



If you would like to learn more about the Frederic Chopin Music School, please contact us or call 905 279 7761

Why Choose The Frederic Chopin Music School?

1. We offer a one-time $15 nonobligatory lesson to all new students. 

The trial lesson includes an ear test, evaluation, and a mini-lesson. . This lesson will be conducted by an instructor of the music school to assess the skill level of the student. We can then recommend an effective learning plan with an instructor that fits the student’s personality and music style.

2. Classical European method of teaching to prepare for Royal Conservatory Exams.

This means that we oversee the sculpting of a musician from the ground up. Your voice or hands are the tools in your craft, not the instrument. Meaning, that proper tuning of your musical tools will ensure their longevity. Celine Dion’s voice never failed her due to rigorous vocal instruction – she even sounds great when she has a sore throat!

3. We don’t rely on short cuts – Guaranteed.

FCMS is a music school where instructors are educated masters in their craft, who do not use tablature, “Coles notes”, or other simplification methods. There is a reason why Bach, Mozart, Gershwin, Hammerstein, and of course, our personal favourite, Mr. Chopin, will never be forgotten as musical geniuses.

Want something more modern?

  • Chris Martin of Coldplay was the son of a music teacher and honed many instruments – Youtube any Coldplay song to identify the complexity of his compositions.
  • Kirk Hammett of Metallica look private music and guitar lessons from guitar magnate Joe Satriani in order to perfect his shredding style.
  • John Mayer attended Berklee College of Music in Boston.
  • Lady Gaga began piano lessons at the age of four, wrote her first piano ballad at thirteen, and started to perform at open mic nights by the age of fourteen.

4. Rome was not built in a day – excuse the cliché.

A thorough understanding of classical music and its foundations will ensure your longitudinal retention of this information, improve your creativity, as well as provide new inspiration.

5. Proven Success Record – and we have the bells and whistles to prove it!

We don’t like to brag (but we will anyways) the average grade attained by our students on Royal Conservatory of Music exams is in the 80th-90th percentile – we’re not happy with simply passing.

Each year, our students gain experience and collect awards at Festivals. We participate in the following:

  • Royal Conservatory of Music Examinations
  • Kiwanis Music Festival
  • Peel Music Festival
  • Davenport Music Festival
  • The Canadian Music Competition
  • Canadian Chopin Festival
  • Yearly School Recital


If you would like to learn more about the Frederic Chopin Music School, call 905 279 7761 or send us a note!


What We Offer

All music lessons last between 30-60 minutes, based on student needs.

We offer a $15 non obligatory trial lesson which includes an ear test, evaluation, and a mini-lesson. Each student is assessed and recommended the best teaching plan to suit their personality and learning style.

Due to our diverse faculty, we offer music lessons in both English, Polish, Russian and Ukrainian.

We Offer Music Lessons in:

  • Theory of Music 
  • Drama
  • Musical Theatre
  • Piano
  • Vocal
  • Guitar
  • Accordion
  • Piccolo

  • Violin
  • Recorder
  • Clarinet
  • Saxophone
  • Flute
  • Ukulele

We also provide:

  • Royal Conservatory Exam preparations (expected 80% or higher score)
  • Yearly recitals to showcase our talent
  • Discounts for students taking multiple music lessons (ex. Piano lessons and Vocal lessons)
  • Discounts for families with multiple children
  • Participation and preparation in Music Festivals

Preschool Music Classes (Ages 3 – 6 years old)

Empowering your child through music lessons

The FCMS offers one hour group music lessons for children under the age of 7. Our music teachers are trained in the method developed by Carl Orff, which focuses on engaging young children in music – when they are still too young to participate in instrumental work. The Orff approach uses the elements of speech, rhythm, movement, dance and song to explore children’s creativity. Essentially, children learn music through the integration of movement, dance, and language. We use hand-held instruments (like shakers, tambourines, and bells), singing, as well as many components to musical theatre to establish confidence in performance and the love of music. Our aim is to make music lessons a positive experience to ease children’s transition in to routine practice and music theory. The beauty of this method is that it’s a lot of fun and a great way to boost your child’s self-esteem.  We can promise that our yearly preschool recitals are a “must see”!

Please call ahead to register to ensure that our teachers have enough materials for all students. Call now to register! 905.279.7761

Is My Child Old Enough?
We believe everyone should have the privilege to learn the art of music.  We accept ALL AGES and ALL LEVELS of experience – novice to intermediate.

A lot of our clients ask when their child should start taking instrumental lessons. Although some schools may accept children as young as 4 years old, we believe this is irresponsible. Instead, we recommend group music lessons for children ages 4 to 6 years old that focus on fun and play with music. Under the age of 7, children are not ready for music lessons because:

  • Bone Ossification: This is the process by which osteoblasts (bone cells) build and fuse to form strong bones. Often, pre-schooler bones are not strong enough for the rigorous demands of instrumental work because the secondary ossification centres are not fully formed in the hands.
  • Knowledge: A child will need to know the alphabet from A to G and backwards, as well as have a working knowledge of reading and writing.
  • Hand dexterity: Playing any instrument requires fine motor skills, which are not well developed in children younger than 7 years old.
  • Hand size: The size of the hand must be able to reach and cover at least 5 piano keys – not to mention the neck of a guitar!
  • Attention Span: Private lessons require 30 minutes of focused attention – a difficult task for most pre-schoolers


If you would like to learn more about the Frederic Chopin Music School, please contact us.


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The Frederic Chopin Music School
2465 Cawthra Road Suite  #201Mississauga, ON  L5A 3P2

905 279 7761

Just North of the Cawthra and Queensway Intersection