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Music Degree (B.A.), Composition Concentration

Why Choose a Concentration in Music Composition?

The Music Composition concentration at Westfield State University provides a comprehensive foundation for students interested in working as a composer.  Each semester, through private applied study, students engage in structured projects based upon specific compositional techniques.  All stylistic backgrounds are welcome; however, we focus upon the production of contemporary concert music through the study of aesthetics, instrumentation and orchestration, music history, and contemporary performance practice.  

Requirements for the Music Composition Degree Concentration

Requirements for Music Major - 54 Credits

    General Requirements - 29 Credits

    • MUSC 0111 - Music Theory I
    • MUSC 0112 - Music Theory II
    • MUSC 0211 - Music Theory III
    • MUSC 0212 - Music Theory IV
    • MUSC 0113 - Sight Singing and Ear Training I
    • MUSC 0114 - Sight Singing and Ear Training II
    • MUSC 0213 - Sight Singing and Ear Training III
    • MUSC 0223 - Sight Singing and Ear Training IV
    • MUSC 0152 - Piano Class I (for Music Majors)
    • MUSC 0153 - Piano Class II (for Music Majors)
    • MUSC 0252 - Piano Class III (for Music Majors)
    • MUSC 0253 - Piano Class IV (for Music Majors)
    • MUSC 0200 - Music History I
    • MUSC 0201 - Music History II
    • MUSC 0230 - Basic Conducting


    (Jazz Studies concentrators can substitute MUSC 0267 and MUSC 0268 for MUSC 0252 and MUSC 0253)

      One of the Following - 3 Credits

      • MUSC 0300 - Music in the Middle Ages and Renaissance
      • MUSC 0301 - Music in the Baroque and Classical Eras
      • MUSC 0302 - Music in the Romantic Era
      • MUSC 0303 - Music in the Twentieth Century
      • MUSC 0304 - American Music
      • MUSC 0306 - Jazz Musicology Seminar

      Ensemble Requirements - 7 Credits

      Eight semesters of participation in one of the following ensembles, as assigned by the department, to run concurrently with eight semesters of applied lessons:

      • MUSC 0141 - University Chorus
      • MUSC 0143 - Wind Symphony
      • CCGS Orchestra


      All music majors must enroll in Festival Chorus for a minimum of two semesters.

        Six semesters of Participation in Second Ensemble

        Six semesters of participation in a second ensemble from the following list, to run concurrently with six semesters of applied lessons:

        • MUSC 0140 - Chorale
        • MUSC 0141 - University Chorus
        • MUSC 0143 - Wind Symphony
        • MUSC 0145 - Jazz Big Band
        • MUSC 0146 - Jazz Vocal Ensemble
        • MUSC 0240 - Chamber Ensembles
        • MUSC 0269 - Small Jazz Ensemble


        The music department also offers elective ensembles on a regular basis. These ensembles include, but are not limited to:Clarinet Ensemble, Flute Ensemble, Jazz Quartet, Low Brass Ensemble, Saxophone Quartet, Trumpet Ensemble, Woodwind Quintet, and various mixed chamber ensembles.

        All instrumental must students are required to have a minimum of three chamber ensemble experiences (standard repertoire) in varied formats throughout the course of completing their program requirements (each approved by the academic advisor and the applied music instructor). Music Education students are encouraged, but not required, to participate in ensembles during the semester of their practicum. All pianists with a major emphasis in piano are required to enroll in MUSC 0240 - Chamber Ensembles, each semester they are enrolled in applied piano lessons.

          Applied Music Requirements - 12 Credits

          Music majors are required to complete eight semesters of applied lessons. Applied music study requires a jury examination every semester for music majors and for music minors, as well as for those students enrolled in a required secondary applied lesson. Students taking applied music must also register each semester for MUSC 0280 - Music Studio

          Students who present a curricular recital are not required to present a jury during the semester of the recital. All students who wish to present a recital (degree or elective) must pass a pre-recital hearing during studio class a minimum of three weeks prior to the recital (three applied faculty members must be present at the hearing).


            Music Education students are exempt from their eighth semester of applied lessons and ensemble if enrolled in MUSC 0328 - Practicum: Music K-12.

              Performing Requirements - 3 Credits

              All Music majors are required to complete six semesters of MUSC 0279 - Recital Attendance and Performance, (required attendance and performance at weekly studio classes and departmental recitals). Students are required to perform regularly in studio classes, and are required to perform at least once each year in a public departmental recital. Music minors may perform in a departmental recital at the discretion of the applied instructor.

                Additional Requirements - 3 Credits

                  Instrumental Students

                  • Non-ensemble Music Electives

                    Vocal Students

                    • MUSC 0130 - Lyric Diction I
                    • MUSC 0131 - Lyric Diction II
                    • MUSC 0174 - Applied Music (Major) I *


                    * Upon completion of MUSC 0253

                      Optional Music Concentrations

                      Music majors may choose to declare one of the 6 concentrations. Students may not declare more than two concentrations. Note: each of the required 300-level music history seminars listed in the concentrations are in addition to the seminar required of all music majors in the General Requirements.

                        Composition - 18 Credits

                        Admission into the composition concentration is dependent upon the completion of the piano proficiency requirement, completion of MUSC 0214 with a minimum grade of B, and submission of an acceptable portfolio of compositions. Composition students must maintain a 3.0 GPA in Theory and Composition coursework.



                          • MUSC 0214 - Composition I
                          • MUSC 0215 - Composition II
                          • MUSC 0216 - Composition III
                          • MUSC 0314 - Advanced Composition I
                          • MUSC 0315 - Advanced Composition II
                          • Music Theory or Music History Electives Credits: 3
                          • MUSC 0217 - Orchestration
                          • MUSC 0312 - Form and Analysis
                          • MUSC 0303 - Music in the Twentieth Century
                          • MUSC 0235 - Music Technology
                          • MUSC 0378 - Senior Recital/Composition

                          One of the following Courses Credits: 2


                          • MUSC 0330 - Choral Conducting
                          • MUSC 0331 - Instrumental Conducting

                          Additional Graduation Requirements

                          All students must meet the University Graduation Requirements and complete a common core of studies, distributed among the different academic areas as detailed in the Common Core .