Music (BM) in Composition with an Emphasis in Songwriting


2020-2021 UNDERGRADUATE STUDIES CATALOG

Effective 1 June 2020 through 31 May 2021

Please see the Temporary Adjustments to Policy on Grading for Undergraduate Courses for Spring 2020

Please see the Undergraduate Catalog Archives for PDF versions of past catalogs.


This program is offered by the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts/Department of Music and is only available at the St. Louis home campus.

Program Description

The composition program at Webster focuses primarily on contemporary concert music. Students are also encouraged to explore many other musical styles and technologies such as jazz, electronic, computer and MIDI applications. Faculty composers work directly with composition majors. Numerous opportunities exist for the performance of students' work, including the Webster New Music Ensemble. 

Students in this major complete the required core, performance, composition and supportive courses, and complete one of the two emphasis areas. 

The songwriting emphasis is designed for the student who wishes to pursue a career as a composer, author and performer of original songs. In both private applied study and the classroom setting, students in the songwriter track refine their skills as songwriters/composers, vocalists, lyricists and accompanists (normally on piano and/or guitar). Extensive applied instruction on primary and secondary instruments is coupled with traditional, jazz and commercial music theory and history. Students in this program present a final concert of original songs and a fully-produced compact disc. This degree includes a minor in sound recording and engineering.

Learning Outcomes

Students with the bachelor of music in composition with an emphasis in songwriting will:

  • Conceptualize, develop and complete original compositions for voice and at least one instrument utilizing melodic, harmonic, rhythmic and textural techniques/resources and lyrics gained from study and experimentation.
  • Notate compositions clearly and accurately, utilizing music publishing software to produce professional quality scores and parts suitable for performance.
  • Demonstrate the acquisition of skills that enhance the compositional process, including conducting, instrumental or vocal performance and musicianship. 

Degree Requirements

For information on the general requirements for a degree, see Baccalaureate Degree Requirements under the Academic Policies and Information section of this catalog.

  • 101-102 required credit hours
  • Minor in sound recording and engineering (Department of Audio Aesthetics and Technology)
  • Applicable University Global Citizenship Program hours, with accommodations for the bachelor of music
  • Electives

Global Citizenship Program for Bachelor of Music

  • GLBC 1200 Global Cornerstone Seminar
  • 6 credit hours from courses designated ‘Roots of Cultures’ (One course with the MUSC prefix can fulfill GCP and major requirements simultaneously.)
  • 3 credit hours from courses designated ‘Social Systems & Human Behavior’
  • 3 credit hours from courses designated ‘Global Understanding’
  • 3 credit hours from courses designated ‘Physical & Natural World’ or ‘Quantitative Literacy’
  • KEYS 4XXX Global Keystone Seminar

NOTE: Except where specified otherwise, the above courses must not also satisfy major requirements. GCP skills requirements may be fulfilled with the courses above, courses in the major, or electives. 'Arts Appreciation' is satisfied in meeting the requirements for the major.

Required Courses

Music Theory and History Core

  • MUSC 1010, MUSC 1020, MUSC 2010, MUSC 2020 Music Theory I-IV (12 hours)
  • MUSC 1810, MUSC 1820, MUSC 2810 Musicianship I-III (6 hours)
  • MUSC 2030, MUSC 2040 Survey of Music History I, II (6 hours)
  • MUSC 4700 Advanced Topics in Music (taken in junior or senior year only) (2-3 hours)

Performance Courses

  • MUSC 0890 Recital Attendance (six semesters required) (0 hours)
  • MUSC 2601, MUSC 2602, MUSC 2604, MUSC 3001, MUSC 3002, MUSC 3004, MUSC 4001, MUSC 4002, MUSC 4004 Applied Music (piano or guitar or voice as a primary instrument) (eight semesters required) (16 credits)
  • MUSC 0400 Senior Recital (0 hours)

Major Ensemble
6 hours over eight semesters to be selected from:

  • MUSC 4900 Webster University Concert Choir (1 hour per semester)
  • MUSC 4910 Webster University Chamber Singers (1 hour per semester)
  • MUSC 4920 Webster University Aurelia (1 hour per semester)
  • MUSC 4940 Webster University Orchestra (1 hour per semester)
  • MUSC 4970 Wester University Jazz Collective (1 hour per semester
  • MUSC 4980 Webster University Wind Ensemble (1 hour per semester)

Composition Courses

  • MUSC 0990 Master Class (taken every semester) (0 hours)
  • MUSC 3010 Composition (3 hours)
  • MUSC 3070 Orchestration I (3 hours)
  • MUSC 4010 Composition (five 16-week terms, 2 credits per term) (10 hours)

Supportive Courses

  • MUSC 1080, MUSC 1085, MUSC 2001, MUSC 2501 Secondary Instrument: Class Piano or Applied Piano (eight consecutive semesters required; minimum six hours of applied instruction in individual lessons; students for whom voice or guitar is the primary instrument must choose piano as the secondary instrument) (8 hours)
  • MUSC 1370, MUSC 1380 Jazz Theory I, II (6 hours)
  • Choose two of the following courses, as approved by advisor:
    • MUSC 1500 Music Software Applications: Notation (1 hour)
    • MUSC 1501 Music Software Applications: Digital Audio Workstations (1 hour)
    • MUSC 1502 Music Software Applications: Presentation Tools (1 hour)
  • MUSC 3410 Conducting I (3 hours)
  • MUSC 3510 Arranging for Popular Styles (3 hours)
  • MUSC 3520 History of Popular Styles (3 hours)
  • MUSC 3530 Lyric Writing (3 hours)
  • MUSC 4360 The Working Musician (3 hours)
  • MUSC 4370 Marketing for Musicians (3 hours)
  • MUSC 4450 World Music and Ethnomusicology (2 hours)
  • MUSC 4930 World Music Performance Ensemble (1 hour)

And successful completion of the sound recording and engineering minor in the Audio Aesthetics and Technology department.

Senior Project in Composition

The student must submit a major composition project and present a recital of works completed at Webster University of at least 45 minutes in length. The student must also have a minimum of three public performances of original works during the freshman, sophomore and junior years.