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School of Music
Course Materials: Composition Sample Syllabus

_326/_336, sample syllabus

Classes and private study in Composition are offered by
Profs. Taggart (sec. 1), Richardson (sec. 3), and Jacobs (sec. 2)

Instrumental Music Composition (_326=Fall; _336=Spring)

Weekly writing assignments leading towards development of each student's musical 'voice.'  Developing a familiarity with idiomatic writing for select instruments; strengthening an understanding of counterpoint in a contemporary syntax; techniques of motivic and thematic development; maintaining compositional integrity through formal, harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic unification of ideas. Writing assignments are augmented by listening assignments.


While specific 'output' expectations will be determined as appropriate for the level and development of each individual student, there are certain clear requirements for every student in the composition studio, regardless of instructor:

  • Completion of a minimum of one piece each semester (minimum to pass this class)
  • Preparation of one work for performance on Premiere Performances concert
  • Attendance at every lesson
  • Attendance at every master class (Fridays, 2-3 pm, Rm. 305)
  • Attendance at every Premiere Performance concert
  • Attendance at ECU Symphony reading (Spring semester)

Performance Opportunities

Student composers prepare their works for performance on the ECU School of Music Premiere Performances, a series of three concerts of new student compositions presented during the school year (one in the fall, and two in the spring).

Master Classes

In addition to individual sessions, all students registered for x326 attend regular Master Classes (Fridays, 2-3 pm, Room 305).  These sessions will vary widely in content, sometimes led by a Professor, sometimes by students with specific topics prepared for discussion.

Assignments from Listening List [PDF]