Music Composition


Bachelor of Music | College of Creative Arts

What is Music Composition?

If you like the idea of creating and arranging musical works, music composition may be right for you. You'll be most successful as a music major if you have these qualities in addition to composition talent: 1) strong motivation to write music, study, and learn more about music on your own; 2) a good musical ear; 3) an interest in learning more about various types of music; 4) a high level of intellectual curiosity in subjects other than music.

The Music Composition concentration offers instruction in the craft and art of composing music. It is designed to prepare students for freelance work as composers, arrangers, and copyists, for graduate work, and for a wide variety of professions in related fields. As an academic degree within the department of music, there is a strong emphasis on musical analysis, critical thought, and the wider undergraduate liberal arts curriculum for which Miami University is so highly ranked.

What are the features of Miami’s program?

Focus on undergraduates

Miami University is nationally recognized as one of the top undergraduate universities in the country, with a commitment to you shared by the music department. Faculty are dedicated to developing your talent and ability. And as a music student, you'll benefit from a 7:1 student: faculty ratio. Courses for music majors are taught exclusively by faculty members, not graduate assistants.

National recognition

Our students have won national awards in competition with students from music conservatories. Among our faculty are award-winning composers, renowned performers and teachers, and scholars of international reputation.

Individual attention

We offer private lessons in composition and on all the major orchestral and band instruments, piano, harp, and voice. Auditions for these opportunities are held at the beginning of each school year. For more information about auditions, contact the music department office.

Top-notch facilities

The Department of Music's primary facility, Presser Hall, contains classrooms, rehearsal rooms, practice rooms, faculty studios and offices, libraries for band, choral, and orchestral music, and the departmental office. Presser Hall also houses the Electronic Music Studio, the Music Technology Classroom, and the Virtual Rehearsal Room (VROOM). Additional resources are housed in the Center for Performing Arts and include piano and voice studios, faculty offices, classrooms, a class piano lab, practice rooms, the Amos Music Library, and Souers Recital Hall. Read more about our facilities »

What are the special admission requirements, if any?

If you want to major or minor in music at Miami, you will need to audition on your instrument or voice. High school seniors can choose to audition at various times between November and March.

In order to prepare you for your audition, study and practice on your instrument or voice are very important. While it is not a requirement for admission as a music major, most of our students auditioning for acceptance as music majors have had private lessons. All music majors at Miami, regardless of performance area, are required to reach a basic proficiency in piano, so piano study before college is useful.

Admission to the Composition concentration also requires the submission of a portfolio of compositions. For more information, see the Audition Requirements for Composition page.

What courses would I take?

The Music Composition concentration provides comprehensive professional musical training. In addition to performing ensembles and private lessons on your major instrument or voice, the program includes courses in music theory, music history, ear training and sight singing, and keyboard skills. Courses in other subjects are taken as part of the Global Miami Plan for Liberal Education.

All Composition students undertake private study with Composition faculty. Early lessons serve to introduce the skills and concepts necessary to successfully realize coherent original compositions. Lessons include review of works in progress, discussion of relevant repertoire and current compositional trends, and preparation for a final concert. Composition students work directly with student and guest performers and with Composition faculty to realize new works effectively in a concert setting.

Read more about the Bachelor of Music in Music Composition »

What can I do with this major?

The study of composition as an undergraduate prepares students for a wide variety of career paths, many of which combine composition with some other aspect of music-making. Which path you eventually pursue depends to a large extent on your personal interests and on the opportunities available in your geographical location. While it is impossible to provide an exhaustive list of the possibilities, some of the more popular options include work in the following areas:

  • as a composer/performer or composer/conductor
  • as a music copyist
  • as a music director or piano accompanist
  • as a video game or film composer
  • at a publishing house
  • in a recording company
  • in radio
  • at a software company
  • with an orchestra, opera house, theater, or dance company
  • as a music journalist/critic
  • in commercial music
  • in television or film

Many also continue on to earn additional degrees at the graduate level.

Who can I contact for more information?

Dr. Per Bloland
111 Presser Hall
Oxford, OH 45056