Composition, M.M.

Finding Your Voice

The Greatbatch School of Music is committed to fostering the active participation of gifted and well-trained Christian composers in the life of contemporary society, inside and outside of the Christian community. To that end, we offer a program of study for composers of demonstrated talent and accomplishment who aspire to excellence in the writing of music of various types, including symphonic and chamber music, opera, and other instrumental and choral/vocal works for the concert hall and/or the church, as well as music for film, television, and other media.

Admission to the Master of Music program in composition is highly selective. Candidates are expected to have completed a bachelor of music degree in composition, or have an equivalent level of compositional ability as demonstrated by a significant portfolio of original works. Substantial proficiency on a major instrument is required.

Program Objectives

Each student will be encouraged:

  • to explore a wide variety of compositional techniques and methods, with an eye toward further developing strong compositional craft.
  • to develop a personally unique compositional style or language.
  • to consider stylistic eclecticism as the dominant compositional ethos of the postmodern world.  At least some compositional assignments will deliberately demand the learning of new musical languages.
  • to become involved in the activities of professional compositional societies.
  • to articulate a personal plan of action concerning establishment as a composer within Christian worship and fellowship communities, as well as to consider and articulate any unique contributions of music composed from a Christian worldview to wider musical and cultural communities.

Degree Requirements

Major Area
MHS 520: Research and Bibliography 2
Electives in Major Area 5-8
The student, in consultation with the academic advisor, will choose electives in an area of interest that combine to create a coherent principal focus designed to materially deepen the student’s expertise and understanding of the area selected.  Possible options might include music education, music in Christian worship, or some other specific combination of courses with a coherent structure and goal.  The student shall either prepare a capstone project, paper, thesis, or other approved research/performance combination, that summarizes and synthesizes the principal focus of the student's work.  The final project should be considered at the time the principal focus is developed.
MUS 598: Thesis (see Final Project) 3-6
Other Studies in Music
MUS 501: Graduate Assistants' Forum  0
Required of all graduate assistants; open, but not required of, all other graduate students  
MUS 54X: Graduate Ensemble  0
The student must enroll in an appropriate major ensemble [or accompanying] each semester of residence, with or without credit, in consultation with the directors of choral and instrumental activities.  
Choose from among the following: 6
Choose one or two from MHS and one or two from MTH; no more than one may be 4XX.  
MHS 590: Seminar in Music History (topics vary by semester) (3)
MHS 595: Special Topics in Music History (3)
MTH 567: Systems of Analysis and Contemporary Art Music (3)
MTH 566: Advanced Orchestration (3)
MTH 558: Sixteenth Century Counterpoint (3)
MTH 563: Form and Analysis (3)
MTH 475: Synthesizer/Computer Applications (3)
MTH 595: Special Topics in Music Theory (3)
MHUM 501: Seminar: Music, Worship, and Culture in Christian Perspective 3
Music courses* numbered 500** or above 7
*No more than 2 credit hours of ensemble may count as music elective hours toward degree.
**A limited number of music courses numbered 400 or above may also be taken as electives, with the approval of the graduate advisor.

Final Project

The student must prepare a project or thesis (or other approved research/performance combination), in conjunction with the major professor, that summarizes and synthesizes the principal focus of the student's work. The finished project or thesis will be evaluated by the Graduate Studies Committee.