Kyle Mountain

Hi There!

I write acoustic and electronic music with plenty of time signatures and a healthy dose of nostalgia.

I teach Composition and Entrepreneurship at the Challey School of Music at North Dakota State University, and I run the composition program at Valley City State University.

I also run the musical workshop NoteForge, which publishes music, produces apps like Liszt, and generally makes sound happen.

My research interests involve composition pedagogy, the creative process, and the intersection between electronic music and cloud computing.

Learn more Find Music Works In-Progress

Recent Works


On Music Entrepreneurship – 4

01/18/2020 04:27 AM

(Continued) I don’t want to give the impression that we should blow up the music curriculum. There’s a lot we have to go through in not a lot of time.   Some of the things we have to address in the music curriculum: Grammar and/or Math (Music Theory), Fluency (Aural Skills), History (Musicology), Individual Technical and […]

On Music Entrepreneurship – 3

01/17/2020 05:32 AM

(Continued) Everything we do in Music is a project. We very much do not teach music this way. Thinking back to the list of things from the College of Business, they’re all project- or product-driven. You don’t need Idea Generation for existing, you need Idea Generation for improvement or for something new. In Music, every […]

On Music Entrepreneurship – 2

01/16/2020 04:18 AM

Continued from yesterday. Some of the suggestions that the College of Business suggested we change or include in Music Entrepreneurship involve the following topics: Idea Generation, Creation, and Evolution. Customer Interviews Project Management Value Proposition Business Model Canvas Channels Minimum Viable Product Exit Strategies As I mentioned, my knee-jerk reaction was “But we don’t DO […]

On Music Entrepreneurship – I

01/15/2020 04:53 AM

About 10 months ago, NDSU ramped up their Entrepreneurship efforts, all branded as NICE: NDSU Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship. As part of that push, the NICE Center started a faculty fellowship (called NICE Fellows. Seriously.) of which I’m pleased to be a part. One of the things I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about […]

Beginning some thoughts on the creative process

01/14/2020 05:52 AM

In the mid 1920s, nearly a century ago, Graham Wallis proposed his model of the creative process in a book called The Art of Thought. The four-stage model borrows from earlier work and thoughts by Herman von Helmholtz and Henri Poincare, and consists of Preparation, Incubation, Illumination, and Verification. Preparation is the realization of a […]

Better Composing through…paperwork?

01/11/2020 04:32 AM

As I’ve been teaching composition and refining my own creative process, I’ve found that I think of composition gigs as projects: Write a tape piece, compose a tuba sonata, record an album, plan a recital, and so on. This works pretty well for my own process, but some of my other students don’t have such […]

Late Work and Creativity

01/10/2020 12:47 AM

I spend a lot of time in my teaching trying to find the happy medium between mercy and justice. This especially manifested itself this past semester in terms of late work. With an expanded number of classes and students, I instituted a new late work policy, which is basically that everything turned in by the […]

Earmarks listed as semi-finalist of The American Prize 2020

01/09/2020 05:13 AM

I found out earlier today (as I was driving from Fallon to Fargo) that Earmarks has just earned me a place as a semi-finalist in the Instrumental Chamber Music division of The American Prize national non-profit competitions in the performing arts. You can learn more about The American Prize at or follow the news on Facebook: or Twitter:

Teaching Composition – The Technical and the Inspired

01/07/2020 05:50 PM

I have almost exactly the sort of teaching position I want to have. Of course there are always things that could improve, the role I get to play right now is my favorite. Julius Bahle in a 1930s paper divided composers into work-type composers and inspiration-type composers. Though I’m not sure if I follow that […]

Fall 2019 Teaching Recap

01/07/2020 05:50 AM

Fall 2019 was a challenging semester. I think I taught alright—none of my classes were new preps. There was just a bunch of it. To recap: NDSU: MUSC 189: Skills for Academic success, or “how to be a music major”. 1 credit. NDSU: MUSC 331: Instrumental Arranging. 2 credits. NDSU: MUSC 385: Music Entrepreneurship. 3 […]