Are graduate studies available for this program? No
Can you major in this program? Yes
Can you minor in this program? No
Emphasis within the major: composition, theory
Popular second majors: music performance
Study for this degree culminated with a 25-minute recital of the student's original compositions performed in concert.
This fact sheet is also available as a PDF.
All music majors in composition receive thorough training in composition, theories of tonal and contemporary music, counterpoint, orchestration and technology. In addition, students are given personal attention towards advanced studies in composition during all semesters of their degree program at Stetson University.
What makes the program distinctive?
Stetson University has a unique combination of classes in music composition and theory that are not available at any other university in the country. These classes expose students to a wide array of contemporary music almost every semester, encouraging students to analyze, create and perform new music. The composition degree culminates with a 25-minute recital of original compositions performed in concert.
Students who choose composition have the opportunity to study individually with Dr. Sydney Hodkinson (Almand Chair of Composition at Stetson; Aspen School faculty) and Dr. Manuel de Murga (Director of Composition at Stetson University). The School of Music is a supportive environment that provides many possibilities for composers to hear their works performed by high-quality musicians.
Academics and Research
Composition and performance
Students are enrolled in private composition lessons beginning with their first semester at Stetson University. After their first semester, composition majors have one work performed every semester during the weekly student recital hour. The composition degree culminates with a 25-minute recital of original compositions performed in concert. Additionally, composition majors give presentations each semester during Composers' Forum. The presentation topics feature significant works from the concert repertoire of the last 100 years.
Facilities and opportunities
The School of Music at Stetson University takes advantage of three primary buildings on campus: Presser Hall, McMahan Hall and Elizabeth Hall. Presser Hall houses practice rooms, classrooms and select rehearsal rooms. McMahan Hall offers an expansive space for large-ensemble rehearsals, and houses percussion practice facilities. H. Douglas Lee Chapel in Elizabeth Hall is our primary performance space. It can seat 750 and houses the Paul R. Jenkins Jr. Beckerath organ, one of six Beckerath organs on the Stetson campus.
The Digital Arts Recording Studio in Davis Hall contains a digital audio workstation capable of recording 10 audio channels simultaneously and mixing projects for 5.1 surround sound. The workstation is complemented by a 10-foot by 12-foot isolation booth that provides a quiet space for audio recording. A variety of synthesizers, samplers, outboard effects, MIDI controllers and recording hardware is also available. Our professional software includes Logic, Max/MSP/Jitter, ProTools and Reaktor. The digital arts lab is equipped with 20 Apple Mac Pro workstations running professional software for students to complete multimedia projects.
There are many opportunities for composers to hear their works performed at Stetson University. In addition to the performance of solo and chamber works, the large ensembles of the school provide readings and recordings of original student compositions. Every semester, Stetson University composers present their music during the Student Composers' Concert.
New Music Machine is a student group that organizes events on campus as a means of promoting contemporary music at Stetson University and involving the campus at large.
Students also have the opportunity to meet and take master classes with guest artists. A number of internationally renowned guest composers have presented their music on campus, including David Lang, Augusta Read Thomas and Yehudi Wyner.
Music Theory Placement
Music theory, aural training and functional keyboard placement tests are given at the beginning of the fall semester to students with prior experience in those areas. For information on the requirements and materials included on these tests, see the audition guidelines page and/or the placement exam preparation guide.
Preparation for graduate study
Our students have studied at the Eastman School of Music, Indiana University, Yale University, Peabody Conservatory, the Georgia Institute of Technology and many others.
Awards and Recognition
Dr. Sydney Hodkinson has written over 280 works covering a vast range of genres: educational pieces, an incredible variety of chamber music, including six string quartets, a prolific output of choral, operatic and vocal music, and large orchestral canvases, with concerti for English Horn, voice, violin, and clarinet. His Seventh and Ninth Symphonies are scored for large wind ensemble. His awards include the National Institute of Arts and Letters, Guggenheim Foundation, the Canada Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, International Congress of Jeunesses Musicales, Farnsley Prize of the Louisville Orchestra, Danforth Foundation and the Ford Foundation. Compositions by BMI affiliate Hodkinson appear in the catalogs of Theodore Presser, American Composers Alliance, Associated Music Publishers (G. Schirmer), Ludwig Music Pub. Co., Music for Percussion, Editions Jobert, Ricordi, Columbia University Music Press, Dorn Publications, Transcontinental and Smith Music Publications. His activities as composer/conductor are recorded on CRI, Grenadilla, Louisville, Advance, Albany, Nonesuch, Centaur, CBC, Novisse, Mark, Innova and Pantheon labels.
Students are encouraged to take part in the Stetson Undergraduate Research Experience (S.U.R.E.), which provides funding for equipment, room and board, and travel.
Undergraduate awards and honors
The Stetson University composition program awards annual prizes to works by student composers. Students have the opportunity to join Pi Kappa Lambda, the music honorary society.
Beyond the Classroom
Opportunities for teaching composition are frequently available via the Stetson Community School of Music.
The bachelor of music in composition prepares students for professional careers as composers. Options include graduate work in composition, film and game scoring, popular music composition, orchestration and arranging. The degree also prepares students for teaching careers, beginning with graduate assistantships at prestigious institutions such as Eastman, Indiana and Yale.