Major in Music Composition

Music, Composition, B.M.

Wooster’s Composition program offers rigorous professional training in the context of a distinguished liberal arts institution that has been characterized as “America’s Premier College for Mentored Undergraduate Research.” Composition students and alumni have won numerous composition prizes, awards, and recognition as well as fellowships and assistantships at some of the pre-eminent graduate composition programs in the nation.

Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music, the Bachelor of Music degree program in Music Composition requires the successful completion of an entrance audition (portfolio review), usually near the end of the third semester of college. Only after passing the entrance audition may the student declare as a major the B.Mus. in Composition.  A prospective candidate for the B.Mus. Composition may declare a major in Music prior to the third semester but will be listed as a candidate for the B.A. in Music until he or she passes the portfolio review. A student who does not pass the portfolio review in the third semester may have a second opportunity in the fourth semester.

Wooster’s Music Composition program, challenging and comprehensive, provides exceptionally thorough fundamental preparation in the essential skills of part-writing, ear-training, dictation, and grammar, vocabulary and syntax of Western concert-music, Orchestration, Counterpoint, Conducting and Form and Analysis. Most composition majors begin by taking one 30-minute private lesson per week and soon progress to one 60-minute private lesson per week. During these studies, compositional rudiments are studied and applied and regular listening assignments undertaken as the student’s basic portfolio begins to grow in size, ambition, maturity, and assurance.

In the second semester of the Junior year, students enroll in Junior Independent Study, normally resulting in two or three compositions, undertaken in consultation with the advisor, for different performing media. These works are submitted formally as the Junior Independent Study document in composition. Both semesters of the Senior year are devoted to the Senior Independent Study project, normally consisting of one work on a large scale or several on a smaller scale, chosen in consultation with the advisor. 

Public performances of all works, where possible and in consultation with the advisor, are encouraged. Selected student works regularly have been performed in concert by the Wooster Symphony Orchestra, the Wooster Chorus, the Scot Symphonic Band, the Wooster Jazz Ensemble or Combo, and by a variety of faculty or student performers and ensembles.


Composition majors in Wooster’s Bachelor of Music degree program in Music Composition are required to pass a minimum of 32 course credits for graduation, of which 24 are in the Music Department.

A. Audition

B. Music requirements

C. Non-music requirements