Private Lessons from Ben Hjertmann

Use the Contact Form on this site or email benhjertmann[<at>]gmail to reserve your space.

Topics of Study Available







Music Theory




Electronic Music


Experimental Sound

Just Intonation



My Teaching Experience

I have been teaching private lessons for 11 years in composition, music theory/ear-training, electronic music, guitar, and voice.  I have a Doctorate in Music Composition from Northwestern University.  I was Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the Composition Degree at Appalachian State University from 2014-2018, where I taught composition, theory, ear-training, and electronic music.  Prior to that, I taught composition, theory, ear-training, songwriting, and music technology at Northwestern University (2008-2014) and composition/theory at The Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras (2011-2014).  Currently, I also teach at Blue Ridge Community College.

Why Private Music Lessons?

Music is one of the most diverse & expansive topics one can study.

Students' goals vary widely and it is my aim to help them find the relevant musical tools to achieve them.

For example, I've had students focus on specific topics including: Jazz guitar arranging, Wind Ensemble orchestration & marketing, Just Intonation, Balkan rhythms, live electronic programming, Medieval music, etc. 

Let's focus on what you want to learn, and I will curate the topics accordingly.

Assignments & expectations are dependent on the student and can range from fun exploration to rigorous study.  Learn your favorite songs on guitar/piano, write and record your next album, or prepare for a college degree in composition/theory.

All Ages and Levels of Experience Are Welcome!

I teach students of all ages and experience levels.  Some of my students have never touched an instrument or had any training but are interested in starting from scratch.  Some are lovers of music looking to branch out of their usual modes of performance.  Some are songwriters who want to expand their repertoire of techniques.  Others are looking to play with recordings and samples in electronic software.

I also regularly teach professional musicians (many with music degrees) who are seeking further study of advanced harmony, live electronics and recording, complex rhythms, experimental instrumental techniques, advanced notation, orchestration, microtonality, and much more.  We all have frontiers of music to explore, and it's never too early or late to start!

Lesson Rates & Approaches
Private Lessons are $40 for one hour

In-person lessons taught in Asheville and Mars Hill NC.  Online video lessons available from any location. 

These include live video discussion, audio file sharing and instant feedback from your home.  

Weekly meetings are the standard, but some students opt for less-frequent meetings to save money.

I also offer the following discounts & packages to reduce costs for committed students. 

The following special packages must be paid in advance.


$150 [4 lessons] ‘Month’ package

$750 [20 lessons] ‘Full Semester’ package


$800 Special Songwriting & Professional Recording Package

- Analysis of favorite songs (ear-training, figuring out chords, etc.)

- 16 private lessons (3-6 months flexible to your schedule) (worth $750)

- Two days of professional studio recording, production, & mixing at Earhead Studio (Asheville)

Student Successes

I have taught many students who have gone on to successful careers in music.  Many of my undergraduate students have gone on to study at top graduate schools.  Others are teaching music, playing in successful bands, and working in recording and electronic music.

"I reached out to Ben at a point where I was feeling creatively stuck, bored with my usual ways of making music. Each week, Ben introduced me to new musical concepts and allowed me to pave my own way through incorporating them into my composing. He taught me challenging academic concepts, but it always felt fresh, never esoteric or dated. The goal was always to use these harmonic or rhythmic devices in ways that weren't indulgent, in ways that 'worked.' After a few months of private lessons with Ben, I feel equipped with new perspectives and tools about harmony, rhythm, compositional methods, notation, and more. These tools make me more aware of the possibilities ahead of me; and when I'm editing a piece, I'm more aware of the subtleties that I can tweak to bring my pieces to the next level."

     – John Coyne (Musical Theatre composer based in New York)

Dr. Ben Hjertmann's approach to composition is completely centered around the individual student and their interests. With Dr. Hjertmann, students could explore composing in a wide variety of styles, genres, and instrumentation, and cover a wide variety of topics that range from introductory compositional ideas such as counterpoint and melodic construction, to more complex ideas such as orchestration and large ensemble compositions. Dr. Ben Hjertmann also has an extensive knowledge with what happens after the composing process is done, including score editing and self-publication, all of which are extremely useful skills to have as a composer at any level.  

     – Zachary Lloyd (4-year student of mine at Appalachian State, now a Doctoral student at Florida State University)

To sign up or ask questions: Send me a note using the the Contact form on this site above, or send an email

to benhjertmann<at> gmail to start a conversation about music lessons in-person or online.