Skip to main content

Explore the music - composition bachelor's degree program at UW-Eau Claire

Explore compositional styles and techniques — and develop your own — with a composition bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Led by accomplished, globally recognized faculty, this program will help you find and cultivate your compositional voice. And as one of the largest music departments in the region, you’ll find yourself surrounded by passionate, enthusiastic people just like you — ready to take the music world by storm.

Throughout the composition program, you'll enrich your academic experience with regular opportunities to write for a variety of ensembles. You'll also contribute to masterclasses with internationally renowned guest composers and professional ensembles who will respond to your music with valuable critiques and perspectives on the current music composition industry. Recent departmental residencies with groups such as yMusic, Zeitgeist, Yarn and Wire, Blue Streak Ensemble and Eighth Blackbird have provided one-on-one personal interaction and specific insights into writing for a particular instrument, genre or setting.

Program curriculum is designed so that students can learn how to approach music composition from different perspectives, think broadly and critically about incorporating different musical parameters into their own voice, apply different compositional techniques, develop their own musical languages and write idiomatically for various instruments. Composition students benefit from the university's partnership with the state-of-the-art Pablo Center at the Confluence in downtown Eau Claire. There, you will have the chance to hear your music performed and recorded in the newly installed recording studio housed within its facilities.

Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music, our noteworthy composition major will give you the experience — and confidence — needed to tackle your future endeavors and launch into a career you love.

Reimagining music and mathematics

After years of playing his music in small coffee shops and taverns around Eau Claire, Samuel Stein is earning degrees in music - composition and mathematics. Samuel came to UW-Eau Claire because of its strong music composition program and the Chippewa Valley’s vibrant music scene. Studying such unrelated fields led him to see the familiarity between the two and make sense of different parts of his life.

Samuel has since written and underscored music for two UW-Eau Claire theatre productions: “James and the Giant Peach” and “Disruption: Illusion vs. Reality.” The versatility of such different experiences is an entry into what he will be doing in the future, which Samuel hopes will involve writing music for movies or theatre.

Why music - composition at UW-Eau Claire?

A city that embraces music. The Eau Claire community welcomes UW-Eau Claire music students and invites them to become a part of the rich and vibrant music scene of Eau Claire. Here, you’ll have access to countless productions and on-stage experiences made possible thanks to our partnership with Pablo Center at the Confluence. Discover the Eau Claire Jazz Festival — the largest student-run festival in the nation — and the Viennese Ball, where music students like you provide the soundtrack to a night of Austrian specialties and Viennese waltzes.

Resume-building experiences. Frequent guest artists, competitions and one-on-one time with professional musicians will help you to build your skill set and identify your preferred compositional style. You'll also have opportunities to perform in more than 200 events each year, which will provide you with a strong musical foundation and real-world, pre-professional experience. And unlike at other universities, you will have opportunities to write for our prestigious ensembles early on in your undergraduate career.

Unique ensembles. A rarity for the undergraduate music scene, students at UWEC have the unique opportunity to participate in the Contemporary Music Ensemble, which introduces students to a wide range of contemporary music from the 1920s to the present. Beyond compositions written in conventional notation, students are regularly introduced to other modern approaches, including graphic scores, electroacoustic genres and improvisation. This ensemble is also another excellent way to perform alongside your professors and gain pre-professional experience prior to graduation.

Opportunities to travel. Music majors regularly have the chance to travel domestically and internationally to interact and perform with other musicians. Experiences like these are excellent ways to learn new skills, make connections and explore job possibilities.

One-of-a-kind spaces. UWEC is home to multiple concert venues, six music classrooms, over 40 practice rooms (including chamber music practice rooms), percussion rooms, a reed room, organ practice rooms, harpsichord practice rooms, an audio recording studio, a music technology lab, a digital piano lab and several rehearsal rooms. We are also proud to partner with the Eau Claire community's newest performance venue, Pablo Center at the Confluence. This state-of-the-art facility is home to many UWEC classes, rehearsals and performances. It also houses a recording studio, where students can create and receive professional-quality recordings of their compositions.

Skill-building student organizations. Join one of 20 student clubs and organizations dedicated to celebrating music, theatre and dance. Express yourself, learn new techniques and network with other students. Many student organizations lead to volunteer opportunities, competitions and performances.

20

music, dance and theatre student orgs

200+

performance events per year

100% employed

or continuing education after graduation

2020-2021 Graduate Report

composition students

A chance to bring your music to life

A unique residency gave five Blugold music students the rare opportunity to compose works for yMusic, a virtuosic group of six instrumentalists who met while studying at Juilliard and operate in a space where “pop and classical worlds” overlap.  

yMusic performed the student compositions in a concert and then recorded the works at the state-of-the-art recording studio at Pablo Center at the Confluence.

Describing his experience, Joe Krause said, “Working with yMusic on my own piece, as well as listening to my friends working with them on theirs, taught me something important about the nature of composing — we’re not writing music, we’re writing instructions. yMusic helped us understand how to clarify our intentions through our notation and provided lots of insights about the pieces.”  

Quick facts

Music - composition program details
  • Program length: four years
  • Offered: in person
  • Campus: Eau Claire
  • This major does not require a minor.
  • Students majoring in this program will earn a Bachelor of Music (BM) degree.
Student organizations
  • Audacious
  • Blugold Ringers
  • Clarinet Studio Organization
  • Fifth Element
  • Gospel Choir
  • Impromptu
  • The Innocent Men
  • National Band Association Collegiate Chapter
  • Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia (PMA)
  • Sigma Alpha Iota (SAI)
  • The Backwards Thinkers Society

Accreditation information

All music degrees from UW-Eau Claire have been accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music.

What can I do with a music - composition degree from UWEC?

UW-Eau Claire composition alumni go on to compose award-winning music for films, television and professional ensembles. Earning a music - composition degree from UW-Eau Claire will provide you with endless opportunities and the ability to pick your own career path.

Where are music - composition alumni now?

Music composition careers

The composition major at UW-Eau Claire has exposed me to a side of music I hadn’t known before attending the school. The composition faculty and Contemporary Music Ensemble have been a cornerstone of my education here.

Austin Williams Music Composition

Discover the power of music in Eau Claire

From the professors who teach you to the students who work alongside you, a love for music is not hard to find when you’re at UW-Eau Claire. And that love isn't just isolated to our campus. In fact, Eau Claire is nationally recognized for its abundance of music festivals, events and venues. 

“The entire town is being driven by the arts and we are thoroughly integrated into the community," said jazz studies director Robert Baca. "Community members are here all the time teaching us what's happening in the community — and we're out there helping them as well.”

See what opportunities await you here in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. 

Music - composition bachelor’s degree program curriculum

Led by highly trained and specialized faculty, rigorous curriculum throughout the music - composition major will help you to cultivate your musical skills, learn how to express emotion through musical composition and better understand what makes music sound pleasing to the ear. Coursework will encourage you to explore a variety of compositional techniques, learn how to transcribe music and master best practices. 

A wide range of electives and ensembles available to composition majors allows students to explore passions and further personalize their studies.

What classes do music - composition majors take?

Your classes may cover topics like: 

Learn more about the comprehensive music - composition major in the UWEC course catalog.

Related programs at UW-Eau Claire

Thinking about a bachelor’s degree in music? Here are other programs you may be interested in exploring.

Department information

Photo of a camera in front of theatre seats

Music and Theatre Arts

Haas Fine Arts Center 156
121 Water Street
Eau Claire, WI 54703
Visit the Music and Theatre Arts department website

Request info

Looking to learn more about being a Blugold? Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you're most interested in.

Tour campus

See our beautiful campus for yourself! Schedule a campus tour and get an inside look at life at UWEC.

Contact admissions

Connect directly with an Admissions counselor and get all your questions answered.

Apply now

Ready to be a Blugold? Complete your application here.