Theory & Composition Studies
The composition major is Emphasis 3 of the Bachelor of Music degree program. In addition to the instrumental or vocal audition required by the School of Music, admission to this small and selective program requires submission of a composition portfolio. For this purpose, we request scores and (CD, mp3, or YouTube) recordings of three recent works exhibiting variety in terms of both instrumentation and style.
The Master of Music degree program permits qualified graduate students to major in music theory and/or composition under the individualized specialization option. An audition is not required, but a portfolio of compositions and/or scholarly writings must be submitted as part of the application. In composition, we request scores and (CD, mp3, or YouTube) recordings of three recent works exhibiting variety in terms of both instrumentation and style. In music theory, we request two recent analytic papers.
Portfolios may be mailed directly to the School of Music to the attention of the theory/composition area coordinator. Send copies only, and if you wish your materials returned, please also include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for this purpose. Alternatively, pdf papers, scores and mp3 files may be emailed directly to the theory/composition area coordinator.
On a space-available basis, undergraduate and graduate students who are not currently composition majors may also study composition for one or more semesters. While there are no specific prerequisites to this individualized study, preference will be given to undergraduate students who have successfully completed most of the core music theory and aural skills curriculum, and to graduate students who have completed the graduate music theory review or demonstrated proficiency in music theory preparation. For some students, secondary composition study has led to their subsequent admission to the composition degree program.
Music theory and composition area faculty members are musicians whose scholarly and creative work has been published, performed, recorded, and presented throughout the United States and internationally. These professional activities enable us to provide our students with the benefits of our broad experience in both classroom and individualized instruction. We are all “lifelong learners” who value education and love to teach.
Admissions CoordinatorLynn Slater
School of Music
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115