The study of composition allows students to creatively express their musical ideas, learn more about the art of composition, and the applications of current technology to the creating of music. Music composition majors learn a variety of skills enabling them to express their musical ideas in an effective manner that allows for performance of their creations. Each student receives private composition instruction along with instruction in basic music theory, music history, conducting, lessons on their major instrument/voice and ensemble performance. While composition instruction will cover all modes, genres and periods, students may elect to concentrate their creativity on one or more specific areas. Instruction will include introduction and advanced courses in the use of computer hardware and software.

Western’s Music Department is part of the College of Fine and Performing Arts.

Majors are also eligible for the Arts Enterprise and Cultural Innovation minor (“AECI”), a unique program of WWU focused on launching successful creative careers in the arts. Scholarships are available to students pursuing the AECI minor.

Beyond the Classroom

Students (major and non-major alike) have the opportunity to audition for a variety of ensembles, including orchestra, choirs, concert bands, pep band, jazz ensembles, and chamber ensembles.

Western hosts regular performances, workshops, and masterclasses presented by distinguished guest artist. Music students regularly present research and perform at regional, national, and international conferences and competitions. Western also houses a music library with nearly 100,000 items including books, periodicals, musical scores, LPs, CDs, DVDs, and electronic resources.

Careers and Graduate Studies

Western Music graduates hold positions teaching in public school settings and universities, perform in symphony orchestras and opera houses, compose works for films, media, and ensembles, further their education at top graduate schools, work in arts administration, and hold a variety of positions in the music industry. 


Sample Jobs

  • Professional Composer from Orchestras, Choirs or Wind Bands
  • Music Critic
  • Composer of Popular Music
  • Engineer/Mixer

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.