Music Composition

  • Bachelor of Music
  • Major

Training as a composer at Stetson University includes a unique mix of classes not available at any other university in the country, with private lessons in composition during all four years of study and upper-division courses in counterpoint, orchestration and technology. With a major in music composition, you will focus on creating music in a wide array of musical forms.

Related programs:
Music Music Education


View the program requirements.



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Program Overview

Stetson's Music Composition classes introduce a vast range of contemporary music almost every semester, encouraging you to analyze, create and perform new music. Your coursework for the Music Composition degree culminates with a 25-minute recital of your original compositions performed in concert.

Stetson composers have the opportunity to study individually with Manuel de Murga, PhD, Director of Composition. The School of Music is a collegial setting that provides opportunities for you to hear your works performed by excellent musicians, featuring reading sessions with Stetson ensembles.

Learn more about the School of Music.

Program Benefits

As a Composition student, you are enrolled in private composition lessons beginning with your first semester at Stetson University. After one semester of study, Music Composition majors have a work performed every semester as part of the weekly student recital hour. In addition, the First Glimpse concerts feature the music of student composers.

During the Composition Forum, you will hear visiting composers talk about their music as well as experience presentations by fellow students on significant compositions of the last 100 years.

Many internationally renowned visiting composers have shared their music at Stetson including David Amram, Natasha Barrett, Derek Bermel, William Bolcom, Martin Bresnick, John Harbison, Hannah Lash, David Lang, Augusta Read Thomas, Joan Tower and Yehudi Wyner.

Stetson's Sounds New series features outstanding performances of new music by visiting artists such as the Amernet Quartet, Tony Arnold, the Jupiter Quartet, Blair McMillen and Michael Norsworthy.

Studies in technology are also part of the Music Composition degree. The Digital Arts recording studio 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.


Career Significance

The Music Composition degree prepares you for a professional career as a composer. Some Options include going on for graduate work in composition, film and game scoring, orchestration and arranging. Our graduates have pursued advanced degrees at prestigious institutions such as the Eastman School of Music, Indiana University, Yale University, Peabody Conservatory, New York University and many others.

Success Stories

Justin Weber '14

Music Composition major Justin Weber (2014) served as Musical Assistant for NBC's 2018 broadcast of "Jesus Christ Superstar Live."

Wesley Whatley

Wesley was a J. Ollie Edmunds Scholar and won an Emmy for his work on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Wesley writes: "That night at the Emmys was the culmination of years of learning. I'm so grateful to the Stetson University community."

Career Outlook

The demand for talent is always high, and students graduating with a Bachelor of Music degree, whether in composition, performance or theory, will discover career paths aligned to their specific talents and capabilities. Some students go on to more in-depth study in graduate programs, and some find their calling by bringing music to their communities and schools. The Career Insight tool is built on a national database of job openings, postings and requirements, but for many students in Stetson's School of Music, career connections are made during their course of study and through their practice and performance, and with the guidance of their faculty and colleagues. Approximately one-third of positions related to performing arts and teaching ask for a Bachelor's degree, and nearly half of all openings are for candidates with one to two years of experience — a good indication there is demand for music graduates.

Source: Burning Glass Technologies 2019.

Use the Career Insight tool to see what opportunities look like for you.

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