Composition, B.Mus.

Program Overview

Do you often hear music in your head before you see the notes on paper? Are you fascinated by the creative process of making music? If so, you should consider a degree in composition.

PLNU composition majors work with department faculty to learn how to compose, orchestrate, critique, and edit music in many different genres. As a student of composition, your coursework will culminate during your senior year, where you will give a recital in which fellow students perform compositions from your body of work.

With a major in composition, you’ll develop applied music skills in one primary performance area while learning to demonstrate expertise of advanced tonal, timbral, and formal concepts. Additionally, you’ll produce many original compositions using a variety of tonal languages, performance forces, and expressive content.

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Student Profile

James Bishop

I don’t know why or how the notes came when they did, but it happened at 2 a.m. I’d been frustrated and perplexed for hours, clunking out good but unsatisfying notes, melodies, chords, and themes that felt more forgettable to me than worthwhile.

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Refine your skills and share your talent with the campus and surrounding community by performing with one of our many ensembles and musical clubs. Whether you’re a singer, instrumentalist, or pianist, there is a place for you to perform constantly throughout your academic career.

Music Honors Weekend

Find out how you can spend a night on campus, meet one-on-one with a music professor, enjoy our annual Cider Celebration, and audition for a renewable music scholarship!

Course List

For information about the courses required for the Composition, B.Mus. program, view the PLNU Catalog. 

Course Information

Major Map

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Are you ready to take the next step to begin your PLNU journey? Whether you’re a high school senior, college transfer student, or international student, find out what we’re looking for in our applicants and how you can apply.

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Student Support

For most students, the transition into college life is one full of adjustments. There is the excitement of newfound freedoms, but also some uncertainty as you begin to make choices and take responsibility for your own future. 

At PLNU, we’re committed to supporting you — academically, professionally, spiritually, personally — so that you may be successful both in your time as a student and beyond. That’s why we offer a holistic support system that focuses on your unique experiences, particular needs, and personal and professional goals — resulting from our deep concern for you, our student.

With a focus on authentic relationships and personalized attention, our goal is to help transform you so you can follow your calling in your own career and life.

Student Support

Career Opportunities

With a degree from PLNU’s music program, you will be well prepared to pursue both graduate studies and an array of career options that will allow you to live out your passion for music while making a lasting impact in the lives of those who hear it.

A Bachelor of Music in Composition can lead to careers such as:

  • Video game composer
  • Film or TV composer
  • Worship music composer
  • Music teacher
  • Symphonic instrumentalist
  • Singer/Songwriter
  • Music publisher
  • Music editor

Job outlook for music composition careers

Jobs in the music industry will remain steady, but competitive. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of musicians and singers is projected to grow 1% from 2019 to 2029. However, with the knowledge you’ll gain from your music studies, you’ll be prepared for many jobs within the music industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment of broadcast, sound, and video technicians is projected to grow 9% from 2019 to 2029. 

What can you do with a music composition degree?

If you are passionate about music and ready to dedicate your life to it, once you graduate PLNU with a composition degree, you will be prepared to seek out a musically centered career that suits you, your interests, and specializations. 

The following are examples of positions that PLNU composition alumni currently hold:

Music Directors and Composers

2020 Median annual salary $52,250

Music directors lead groups of musicians during performances and recording sessions. They conduct, plan, and lead instrumental or vocal performances by groups such as orchestras, choirs, and musical theater groups. Many music directors are employed by religious organizations or schools while others do freelance work. Composers arrange and write music. 

Musicians and Singers

2020 Median annual salary $52,752

Musicians and singers are talented and dedicated individuals who play one or more musical instruments or sing. They read, write, perform, and record their music in a variety of environments, such as live performances, on-air broadcasting, or for sound or video recording.  

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following are the industries with the highest levels of employment of musicians and singers:

  • Performing arts companies
  • Religious organizations
  • Elementary and secondary schools
  • Colleges, universities, and professional schools
  • Independent artists, writers, and performers

Music Teacher 

2020 Median annual salary $47,997

Music teachers have a wide array of workplace opportunities such as: schools, community centers, music shops, and public institutions, like hospitals and prisons. Also, music teachers often do freelance work for a more flexible schedule. Music teachers' primary responsibilities are to teach people how to read music, understand music theory, and to recognize scales and musical techniques. Music teachers may also help prepare clients for music examinations, auditions, and live performances. 

Alumni listed the following skills as the top strengths they acquired as composition students at PLNU:

  • Music theory
  • Musical composition
  • Finale (software)
  • Music education

What are PLNU Department of Music alumni doing now?

Many PLNU students have successfully completed graduate school. any are now successful teachers, and some are university professors. Some music department alumni have gone on to be performing artists, including professional opera singers and studio session musicians, while others are commercial music composers.

As a composition major at PLNU you will work to develop your compositional voice into a distinct and personalized sound that will touch the lives of anyone who has the opportunity to play or hear it. Composition majors gain composing experience and receive foundational musical training that builds them into versatile and passionate musicians that can confidently step into any industry they choose to apply their learning to. 

Start off on a strong note, and apply to PLNU today. To learn more, get connected with one of our counselors for additional support and to answer any questions you may have.