Bachelor of Music in Composition
The BM degree in Composition is a course of study that prepares a student for a professional career in music composition and arranging, with a focus on pre-professional training. Many students in this program go directly to graduate school.
You'll take courses in music theory and history, performance pedagogy and literature,
and conducting. You'll hone your talent through several semesters of lessons on your
primary instrument. You'll perform in recitals, play in large and small ensembles,
learn to compose and orchestrate pieces, take counterpoint and arranging classes,
and find yourself a changed musician at the end of four years of study. You may elect
to travel to Vienna for a term abroad in one of the musical capitals of the world, studying composition in Europe's musical
capital. You'll benefit from numerous guest master classes and performances on campus,
as well as from musical events and activities within our larger community of Saint
Composition students present a senior recital of original works and participate in numerous ensembles, including the New Music Ensemble. The composition program includes at least six semesters of study in music composition. While the primary focus is on contemporary concert music, you will explore many other styles and technologies such as jazz, electronic, computer, and MIDI applications. Film scoring is also part of the program.
If you plan to major or minor in music you must complete an audition as part of your application to Webster. Check out our audition requirements and submit your application today.
Spotlight on Composition Students
"My name is Chris Poetz and I’m a composer for film, television and video games. Originally I wasn’t going to be a composer; I was also accepted into the film department here at Webster and planned on doing that. However, the Department of Music offered me a wonderful scholarship, and it was too good to pass up. To this day, I am so glad that I decided to go with music and be a composer. The Department of Music became my home away from home. The composition program, though small, is very thorough and filled with extremely knowledgeable professors. The one-on-one mentorship that I received at Webster is the one thing that really benefited me the most. I developed so much as a composer and learned techniques that I will use for the rest of my life. Because of the education and the mentorship that I received, I was accepted into the Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television program at the University of Southern California for the 2016-17 academic year."
- Listen to The Sunlight Hymn, an original a cappella composition by Chris.
Chris' notes: "With minimal text this piece utilizes neutral syllables to create an atmospheric texture featuring harmonic dissonance and a three-note rhythmic ostinato. Singing in both concert choir and chamber singers I have often found that singing music on a neutral syllable has a unique way of drawing the listener’s attention to the harmonies more than the text. There’s a sense of freedom and beauty associated with singing on a neutral syllable that I find so compelling."
"I got into music at 12 when I picked up a guitar. After about two years I started writing, and put together a band to realize my dream of becoming a rock star. As fate would have it, I’m not yet a rock star. But, as my bands came and went I learned the value of writing music that I enjoy listening to. I started a video game scoring company (Fat Bard) with my engineer and mentor during my senior year of high school and began to really dig into electronic music and MIDI composition when I entered Webster as a freshman. Webster was the obvious choice for me because of the small student/professor ratio, and I made the switch from performance to music composition to expose myself to new ways of thinking about writing and music itself. For me, music is a never-ending search for something new and exciting, and even if I’m the only one geeking out about it, that’s okay with me."
- Listen to Sheriff, described by the composer as "a spaghetti western influenced hard rock song that experiments with polymeter and timbral shifts."
- Listen to Optical Tweezers, the first theme from level 4 of the swipe platformer, Blitz Breaker. It features a fast-tempo uplifting melody with a modern spin on classic chiptune music.
Check out Zach's website to learn more about him and his music.
"My name is Rachel Seiler and I am a senior Songwriting major at Webster University. I am a local singer/songwriter in St. Louis and plan to move to Nashville, Tennessee after I graduate. The professors at Webster University have played such a major role in my life. Being a Songwriting major means that I am able to take private lessons and courses in theory, audio and music business. Webster gives a strong foundation that prepares each person to go out into the world. Some of my fondest memories have happened at Webster and some of my best relationships have been made at Webster. And I am forever grateful for that."
- Listen to On You, a country song written and performed by Rachel.
Department of Music News
"My experience at Webster was one I can truly say shaped the person I have become. The Department of Music, with the rest of the school, is overflowing with a talent pool of staff and students that constantly kept me pushing and challenging myself. Webster's diverse environment forced me to become a more open-minded, well-rounded individual."
- Krystal Schieffer, BME '11
"From the second I stepped onto Webster's campus, I have felt at home, like part of a family. The Department of Music shares a solid bond because of its size and the cozy feel of Thompson House; but even as the Department expands, there is still the fundamental sincerity of people who care about each other. Creative people could not be more different, and my time at Webster has showed me that these differences are sometimes what unites us the most. Across the spectrum of disciplines, whether you're a composer, jazz pianist, vocalist, violinist, teacher, ad infinitum, Webster provides a support system that you don't find at other schools. There is no cut-throat environment here; everyone is encouraged to grow as an artist and musician in a manner that promotes confidence, inspiration, and success."
- Samantha Schmid, BA '11
"Webster University made me excited to go back to school for my master's degree. The professors, my advisor, and the staff were very helpful and flexible; they worked with my schedule as a working graduate student. They allowed me to basically get a "Beth degree," within my requirements. This knowledge was immediately applicable to my current job. When I look back now I am so pleased that I got to study with professors that are such talented, intelligent, professional and accomplished musicians. Webster was exactly what I needed and wanted."
- Beth Enloe Fritz, MA '05
"I thought Webster was perfect for my undergrad as it gave me the attention I needed. I never worried about getting lost in a sea of faces, and I wound up with excellent tools for graduate school. The low-stress environment also made it easier for me to learn my way around the stage as I was able to openly experiment with new ideas. Furthermore, Webster, unlike other smaller universities, gave me the opportunity to work with some important figures in opera, like Christine Brewer. Webster is definitely the way to go."
- Maddy Pessin, BM '11
"The staff, students, ensembles, and facilities are all dedicated to making music better and understanding it more fully. I appreciate knowing every time I walk into a classroom in Thompson Music Building this is the goal. Webster was a wonderful fit for me."
- Gabriel Maichel, BME '13
"Webster was truly an amazing experience. I loved every bit of it."
- Kayla Wong, BA '13
"So many faculty members are personable, kind and warm. And that's awesome!"
- Caroline Camp Corrales, BM '14
"I came to Webster because I wanted to be a better songwriter, and I've accomplished that."
- Tim Walther, BM '14
Seniors 2015May 2015
The Department of Music captured a few moments with our 2015 graduating seniors to find out what they will miss, what they will share, and what makes Webster their home.
Connor ScottMarch 2016
Music education major Connor Scott wins a conducting competition, and talks about his time at Webster University.
Ready for successSpring 2016
Chris Poetz (BM '16) talks about how the faculty have helped him be ready for film school.
Chamber SingersMarch 2014
Chamber Singers perform at the 2014 divisional convention of the American Choral Directors Association.
Music EducationSpring 2015
Christy Timberlake is featured in an introduction to Music Education at Webster University.
Bob ChamberlinMay 2015
Bob Chamberlin sat down with the department of music to give us a glimpse inside his 42 year history with the university and share some memories and advice with students and his colleagues as he moves into the next phase of his life.
Webster University OrchestraFall 2016
Dr. Paul Davis leads the Webster Symphony Orchestra in the year-opening concert, September 2016.
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