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Music Composition

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Fast Facts

Faculty: 7

Available for: Major

Emphasis Within the Major: composition, theory

Popular Second Majors: Music Performance

» Program Requirements

Study for this degree culminated with a 25-minute recital of the student's original compositions performed in concert.

All music composition majors receive 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.

A Distinctive Program

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. Study for the music composition degree culminates with a 25-minute recital of original compositions performed in concert.

Students who choose music composition have the opportunity to study individually with Sydney Hodkinson, Ph.D. (Almand Chair of Composition) and Manuel de Murga, Ph.D. (Director of Composition). The School of Music is a supportive environment that provides opportunities 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, music composition majors have one work performed every semester during the weekly student recital hour. Study for the music composition degree culminates with a 25-minute recital of original compositions performed in concert. Additionally, music composition majors give presentations each semester during the 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 at the historic DeLand 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 at the Stetson University DeLand 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 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, please refer to the School of Music's Admissions website.

Preparation for Graduate study

Our students have studied at the Eastman School of Music, Indiana University, Yale University, Peabody Conservatory, Georgia Institute of Technology and many others.

Awards and Recognition

Distinguished Faculty

Grant-Funded Research

Students are encouraged to participate in the Stetson Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE), 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.

Courses and Curriculum

» View the Stetson University Course Catalog for more information on the curriculum and courses for this academic program.

Beyond the Classroom


Opportunities for teaching composition are typically available via the Stetson University Community School of Music.

After Stetson

Diverse Careers

The music composition program 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 School of Music, Indiana University and Yale University.