List of recommended composition resources.
The Gems Series of Compositional Wisdom, written by CSMC member Matthew Fields, is a wonderful collection of five essays on various topics related to music composition. This is a "must-read" for all students of composition. (Note: This is a PDF file, and requires Acrobat Reader.)
Take a look at two complete online books, A Practical Guide to Musical Composition and Principles of Counterpoint by Alan Belkin. These are comprehensive treatises, and should be helpful to all composers. On Alan Belkin's web site, there is also an essay, Some Thoughts on the Art of Composition, and on Teaching Composition that gives an overview of music aesthetics that is of interest to composers.
Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar is the mother-lode of information for and about contemporary composers. This site has an online archival of the weekly interview program broadcast by the Central Vermont radio station WGDR. A different contemporary composer is featured each week. In addition, there is an outstanding set of essays by composers, and a very comprehensive set of links for and by composers.
The Music Composition Resource page by James Fry & Christopher Bartlette contains, among other things, a very nice set of "FAQ's" about music composition. Lots of down-to-earth advice to help get composers over some rough spots.
Try Solomon's Music Theory & Composition Resources. At first, this web page just looks like a short list of links. But dig deeper, and you will find lots of links and a huge number of original, provocative essays on music, education, theory, and composition. You will even find Larry Solomon's revised Ph.D. dissertation "Symmetry as a Compositional Determinant" here!
For information and pointers about producing realistic midi compositions, your first stop should be Sequencing Tips by John Bloise. His tips go far beyond the usual set of trivial tricks--they are organized by classes of instruments, and they are truly excellent. The essay Add Realism to Your Synthesized Sequences by Ethan Winer is a good introduction to giving your midi files the gift of realism. David Rubenstein wrote an essay MIDI FAQ's--A Very Basic Primer that is for the beginner just trying to understand what using MIDI is all about. It is in PDF format, and requires Acrobat Reader to view. He also wrote an essay Philosophy of Midi Composition that gives some general guidelines about composing for synthesizers using midi.