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Performance Studies Certificate in Composition

Applied Lesson

Composition is taught in weekly hour-long private lessons and in the weekly Composition Seminar. PSC students may elect to study wirth one instructor, study with a different instructor each semester, or split either or both semesters into two 7 week blocks of study each with different instructors. Thus a student may study with one, two, three, or four instructors over for the course of the program..

Composition Seminar

This weekly meeting is a 1-credit required course for all Composition majors. There are three seminars which run simultaneously: Freshman Seminar; Sophomore & Junior Seminar; and Senior & Graduate Seminar. These seminars combine for masterclasses, clinics, and presentations. 

Seminars each house different performance and composing opportunities which change from year to year. 

Listening Assignments

As part of the Composition Seminar students are given weekly listening assignments.  It is expected that these works will be listened to a number of times, with the score, and that students will spend time familiarizing themselves with the circumstances surrounding each work's composition and the life of its composer. A final examination tests familiarity with the assigned works.

Concert Reports 

Attendance at each concert in the Composer Recital Series is a requirement of the Composition Seminar. From time to time students will be asked to provide written or verbal Concert Reports.


The Jury provides an opportunity for a student to receive feedback from faculty other than his or her private teacher. It also provides the opportunity for faculty to assess a student's portfolio and to offer observations and suggestions for future direction. 

In advance of each jury students submit a portfolio which should include a Jury Information Sheet listing all works submitted.
Jury Information Sheet

Fall and Spring Semesters

15 minutes:
• discussion of portfolio
• private teacher assessment of semester
• general comments and questions

Portfolio and Performance Requirement

Composition students are expected to produce a growing and sizeable body of work for various forces. To encourage this practice the department sets minimum requirements for composition and for performances of new works. Every work submitted in a student's portfolio must be accompanied by a program note of between 100 and 400 words. Scores should be double-sided, spiral- or coil- bound with a title page and an instrumentation page. CD's should include a printed insert with track listings. 

Portfolio Requirement 

Completion of the semester's minimum requirement is worth 5% of the total final Applied Lesson grade.

Students are required to compose a minimum of 30 minutes of music over the course of the program.

Performance Requirement

Completion of each semester's minimum requirement is worth 5% of the total final Applied Lesson grade.

Students are required to have a minimum of one new work performed on the Composer Recital Series each semester. Workshops, readings, and clinic performances do not contribute to these performance requirements.

Jury Portfolio Contents

Jury Information Sheet
• a bound, double-sided score of each work composed during the semester, with title page and cover
• a CD of recordings of each work performed during the semester, with track listing on an insert
• a program note (between 100 and 400 words) to accompany each score and recording

These checklists are provided for your assistance and do not need to be submitted with your portfolio


The final grade for the Applied Lesson rests largely upon an assessment of the student’s growth as a practicing composer, taking into consideration completion of the portfolio and performance requirements. The Applied Lesson grade consists of two components: the private teacher's grade, worth 70%, and the jury grade, worth 30%. Both the private teacher grade and the jury grade are calculated from assessment in five areas:
• creativity and originality 20%
• notation: clarity of conveyed intentions 20%
• ability to write effectively for instruments and voices 20%
• progress and growth 20%
• effort and application 20%
• insufficient or incomplete portfolio and/or performance requirements will affect the final combined grade.

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