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.
Thanks to the program's strong reputation, supportive partners and devoted alumni, many scholarships are available to current and future Blugold music majors. For example, the Ross Hastings Memorial Music Scholarship provides $2,000 to an outstanding music - composition major who demonstrates talent in the field of music arranging.
Learn more about additional scholarships and resources available to you by checking out our scholarships page.
Financial aid at UW-Eau Claire
Working to make your college education affordable is very important to us. We are here to walk you through the financial aid process and make applying for aid and paying your bill as easy as possible.
To get this process started, please contact our staff in Blugold Central — our one-stop shop for tuition and financial aid. They will help you learn how to pay for your education and minimize debt, freeing you up to focus on academics and your music degree.
Learn more about the financial aid process at UW-Eau Claire.
Music - composition program details
- Program length: four years
- Offered: in person
- Campus: Eau Claire
- This major does not require a minor.
- Blugold Ringers
- Clarinet Studio Organization
- Fifth Element
- Gospel Choir
- The Innocent Men
- National Band Association Collegiate Chapter
- Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia (PMA)
- Sigma Alpha Iota (SAI)
- The Backwards Thinkers Society
All music degrees from UW-Eau Claire have been accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music.
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.
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?
- American film composer, California
- Film, television and ensemble composer, California
- Jazz composer, Ohio
- Saxophonist and composer, Wisconsin
- Instructor of jazz, UW-Eau Claire
- Freelance composer, New York
Music composition careers
- Assistant to the composer
- Composer (concert and stage)
- Music editor
- Music professor
- Musical theater adapter
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.
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.
Classes for music - composition majors may include:
- Music History and Society
- Beginning Composition
- Vocal Jazz Ensemble
- Symphony Band
- Contemporary Music Ensemble
- Electronic Music
- Jazz Combo
Learn more about the comprehensive music - composition major in the UWEC course catalog.
Thinking about a bachelor’s degree in music? Here are other programs you may be interested in exploring.