NDSU Composition

Hello!

You’ve been directed here because of your interest in the NDSU composition curriculum. This page addresses some of the FAQs and lists other pertinent information in one place.

Courses

Composition at NDSU consists of four courses:

MUSC 166 is a 1-credit introductory composition course which takes the format of individual half-hour lessons or group masterclasses, depending on semester and enrollment. Students normally take at least one semester of MUSC 166.
MUS 166 requires MUSC 132 (Ear Training & Sight Singing 1), except in certain circumstances.

MUSC 266 is available for 1 or 2 credits which takes the format of individual half-hour or hour lessons. The class builds on the skills introduced in 166 and focuses on creating performance-ready works. Students normally take at least two semesters of MUSC 266.
MUS 266 requires MUSC 166 (Applied Composition), except in certain circumstances.

MUSC 366 is available for 1 or 2 credits which takes the format of individual half-hour or hour lessons. Students in 366 focus on honing their individual style and producing publishable musical manuscripts.
MUS 366 requires MUSC 231 (Music Theory IV), except in certain circumstances.

MUSC 466 is available for 1 or 2 credits which takes the format of individual half-hour or hour lessons. Students in 466 are generally working towards a composition recital and/or composition capstone and are working with large ensembles or large forms.
MUSC 466 requires two semesters of MUSC 366 (Composition) without exception.

FAQs

  • What equipment/resources do I need for Composition?
    • The composition sequence requires a scorewriting or notation program such as Sibelius, MuseScore, Finale, Dorico, Notion, NoteFlight, or something similar. Students are expected to purchase a professional scorewriting program in consultation with the instructor by the time they enroll in MUSC 366.
    • The composition sequence also works from Alan Belkin’s book Musical Composition: Craft and Art.
  • What sort of music will I get to write?
    • This course sequence focuses on writing for standard orchestral or band instruments, voice, and piano, in styles chosen by the students. Courses are more focused on art music composition than singer/songwriter/rock styles.
  • What if I’ve never used a notation program before?
    • If you feel comfortable learning new software while learning how to compose, then go for it. MUSC 166 does go through some exercises to help your familiarity with notation software, but starting with zero experience is not advised.
  • What if I’ve never composed before? Is composition right for me?
    • As individual lessons, the NDSU composition sequence is designed for all skill levels: Students who have previous writing experience should find the information useful, and students who are new to composition will be walked through the creative process.
  • What if I’ve composed before? Can I skip directly to MUSC 266/366/466?
    • Great!
    • Probably not!/No!/Definitely not!

Course Permissions

Signing up for the composition courses requires an ePermit, available by filling out the form linked below.