Music B.M. – Composition Emphasis

College of Performing and Visual Arts

Contact: Paul Elwood, Ph.D., Coordinator, Composition and Music Theory

Location: Frasier Hall 108

Telephone: 970.351.2993

Fax: 970.351.1923


Advising Information:

Students must consult with their assigned major advisor each semester prior to registering.

Assigned advisor is available through the Ursa login;; under Student tab Academic Profile channel and is term specific. If no advisor is listed, contact the major program for advisor information.

The program consists of two parts:

  1. Liberal Arts Core (LAC) Credits
  2. Required Major Credits

Program Description:

The Bachelor of Music degree is the initial professional degree in music. Its primary emphasis is on development of the skills, concepts and sensitivity essential to the professional life of a musician. It also prepares students for advanced study in graduate school.

Program Admission Requirements:

  • Students seeking admission to this program must audition and be accepted by an applied area. In addition, they must submit copies of their written compositions for evaluation by their theory/ composition faculty.
  • Students are admitted as undergraduate majors to the composition program only after an audition, interview and thorough assessment of a portfolio of their compositions by the faculty of the theory/composition program.
  • Students seeking this major must demonstrate adequate keyboard skills as well as advanced skills in musical analysis and composition. Composition majors at the undergraduate level must have either keyboard, vocal or instrumental performance competence equivalent to that expected of a Bachelor of Arts student.

Program Requirements:

  • MUS 100 Recitals, Concerts and Productions must be taken each semester in residence.
  • Students must take Individual Performance and Major Musical Organizations during each semester in residence. See “Major Musical Organizations”.
  • A half Junior Recital and full Senior Recital are required for all emphasis.
  • Six semesters of piano are required. Levels are to be determined by advisement.
  • Composition majors must be enrolled in composition lessons each semester in residence.

Degree Requirements — 120 Credits

Degree Requirements

1. Required Specified LAC — 6 credits

LAC area 3.a. — Arts

MUS 243History of Music I


LAC — Electives

MUS 244History of Music II


Remaining LAC — 34 credits

See “Liberal Arts Core”.

2. Required Major — 70 credits

Take all of the following courses:

MUS 100Recitals, Concerts and Productions


MUS 113Music Theory I


MUS 114Aural Skills and Sight Singing I


MUS 115Music Theory II


MUS 116Aural Skills and Sight Singing II


MUS 143Musical Styles and Context


MUS 209Introduction to Music Technology


MUS 213Music Theory III


MUS 214Aural Skills and Sight Singing III


MUS 215Music Theory IV


MUS 216Aural Skills and Sight Singing IV


MUS 277Individual Instruction in Composition

2 - 4

MUS 30118th Century Counterpoint


MUS 302Form and Analysis


MUS 303Instrumentation


MUS 313Digital Composition


MUS 319Instrumental Techniques and Conducting


MUS 323Choral Techniques and Conducting


MUS 403Acoustics of Music


MUS 477Individual Instruction in Composition

2 - 4

Major Musical Organization


Individual Performance (a minimum of six semesters)


MUS 277: Take 8 credits

MUS 477: Take 8 credits

Choose one of the following music technology or music business courses:

MUS 309Music for Video


MUS 343Recording Techniques


MUS 460Survey of the Music Business


Choose eight hours of electives:

For students whose primary instrument is not piano, select at least four hours from the following:

MUS 160Beginning Class Piano I


MUS 161Beginning Class Piano II


MUS 260Intermediate Class Piano I


MUS 261Intermediate Class Piano II


MUS 271Individual Performance in Piano

2 - 4

MUS 471Individual Performance in Piano

2 - 4

And choose four hours of Music major electives selected in consultation with your advisor.

For students whose primary instrument is piano, choose eight hours of Music major electives selected in consultation with your advisor.

NOTE: Each student must demonstrate proficiency in functional piano. Each entering student must schedule a conference/audition with the piano faculty to determine proficiency level and recommendations for further study, if any. Composition students must pass a formal piano proficiency exam.