This is an archive of the 2023-2024 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, please visit

This is an archive of the 2023-2024 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, please visit

This is an archive of the 2023-2024 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, please visit


Program: B.M., Music

Composition/Commercial and Media Writing Option

Program Description

This Bachelor of Music option is divided into two concentrations: Composition and Commercial and Media Writing (both require an entrance audition). Capstone experience: 45-minute recital.


The concentration in Composition is designed for students interested in studying contemporary art music styles and techniques, while writing chamber, symphonic or experimental electronic music. The program is particularly useful for students interested in pursuing advanced studies at the graduate level, ultimately leading to a career in the fields of concert music composition, teaching or academic research. Each semester, composition students have multiple opportunities to perform and record their music on campus, collaborate with professional ensembles and guest artists, and engage in research on contemporary music styles and techniques.

Commercial and Media Writing

The concentration in Commercial and Media Writing is primarily a scoring degree. Students learn songwriting and vocal arranging, but the majority of the work is in instrumental composition and orchestration. As a result, incoming students must have prior training in classical or jazz styles on an instrument or voice.

Program Requirements

A. Admission to the Major

Admission to the major in Music for all undergraduate degrees is determined by audition. Those auditioning for the Performance options must exhibit a high-performance competence in the audition. Audition procedures and standards are listed on the Department of Music—Audition and Placement website.

Transfer students seeking admission to Performance options must audition at the appropriate entrance level determined by the number of transferable units accepted by the University. (Example: At the time of the audition, students with more than 60 transferable units must demonstrate musical proficiency at the junior level for admission to a Performance option.) Exceptions to this policy are rare and are at the discretion of the Music department.

Students will be accepted into the Commercial and Media Writing Emphasis after completion of MUS 221 with a minimum grade of “B.”

B. Lesson and Ensemble Requirements

To qualify for individual lessons in any semester, undergraduate students must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 units, including lesson units and the correct number of ensemble units required by their option.

Enrollment in the designated ensemble(s) for the student’s instrument is a corequisite of enrollment in private lessons each semester of enrollment. Students who do not meet this requirement by the third week of the semester will not be eligible for lessons that semester. Students enrolled in music ensembles in the Fall semester normally are expected to re-enroll in the same ensemble for the Spring semester. The nature of these classes makes it essential that consistent personnel be maintained throughout the year.

All students enrolled in individual lessons must demonstrate their progress in the major before a faculty jury at the end of each semester of study. Students receiving lower than a grade of “C-” in that semester of lessons will need to take additional study at their own expense to achieve their required level of performance before resuming department-paid lessons.

C. Course Requirements

1. Lower Division Required Courses (37 units)

MUS 110A Keyboard Musicianship I (1)
MUS 110B Keyboard Musicianship II (1)
MUS 112/L Musicianship II and Lab (1/1)
MUS 191/L Fundamentals of Music Technology and Lab (2/1)
MUS 201 Style/Literature of Western Music I (3)
MUS 202 Style/Literature of Western Music II (3)
MUS 210A Keyboard Musicianship III (1)
MUS 210B Keyboard Musicianship IV (1)
MUS 211/L Musicianship III and Lab (1/1)
MUS 212/L Musicianship IV and Lab (1/1)
MUS 213 Harmony I (3)
MUS 214 Harmony II (3)
MUS 311/L Musicianship V and Lab (1/1)
MUS 312/L Musicianship VI and Lab (1/1)
Individual Lessons (2-2)
Ensembles (4)

2. Upper Division Required Courses (9 units)

MUS 307 Music from a Global Perspective (3)
MUS 316 Musical Analysis (3)
MUS 483ME/L Music Entrepreneurship and Lab (1/1)
MUS 495 Recital/Senior Project (1)

3. Composition/Commercial and Media Writing Option Requirements (33-34 units)

MUS 315 Orchestration I (2)
MUS 321 Beginning Composition (2)
MUS 364/L Instrumental Conducting and Arranging and Lab (2/1)

a. Composition (26 units)

MUS 314 Tonal Counterpoint (3)
MUS 415 Orchestration II (3)
MUS 416 Advanced Musical Analysis (2)
MUS 418 Electronic and Computer Music Composition (2)
MUS 421 Advanced Composition (2,2,2)
MUS 422A Individual Lessons in Composition (1,1)
Upper Division Literature Elective (2)
Electives (6)
Recital of Compositions (MUS 495—in core)

b. Commercial and Media Writing (27 units)
The following four courses are substitutions to the core requirements:

MUS 210AJ Keyboard Musicianship III—Jazz (1)
MUS 210BJ Keyboard Musicianship IV—Jazz (1)
MUS 311J/L Musicianship V: Jazz and Lab (1/1)
MUS 312J/L Musicianship VI: Jazz and Lab (1/1)

Courses Required in Commercial and Media Writing

MUS 221 Song Writing (2)
MUS 317A Jazz Arranging I (2)
MUS 322 Beginning Composition for Media (2)
MUS 391/L Music Technology II and Lab (2/1)
MUS 397R/L Sound Recording and Lab (2/1)
MUS 419 Music Industry Foundations (3)
MUS 420A Composition for Film and TV (3)
MUS 420B Advanced Media Orchestration (3)
MUS 422A Individual Lessons in Composition (1,1)
MUS 494A Internship—Internal (1)
MUS 494AB Internship—External (3)

4. General Education (48 units)

Undergraduate students must complete 48 units of General Education as described in this Catalog, including 3 units of coursework meeting the Ethnic Studies (ES) graduation requirement.

9 units are satisfied by the following courses in the major: MUS 202 satisfies C1 Arts; MUS 191/L satisfies E Lifelong Learning; and MUS 307 satisfies 3 units of upper division F Comparative Cultural Studies.

If taken, MUS 397R/L satisfies B5 Scientific Inquiry and Quantitative Reasoning.

Total Units in the Major/Option: 79-80

General Education Units: 36-39

Additional Units: 2-4

Total Units Required for the B.M. Degree: 120

More information

For more information about this program, please contact


Department of Music
Chair: John Roscigno
Cypress Hall (CY) 116
(818) 677-3181

Program Learning Outcomes

Students receiving a Bachelor of Music in Music will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate the ability to hear, identify and work conceptually with the elements of music, through sight-reading, basic keyboard proficiency and musical analysis.
  2. Perform standard repertoire appropriate to their performance area, as individuals, members of ensembles and/or conductors.
  3. Demonstrate a working knowledge of music history within their area of specialization and an acquaintance with the history, cultural background and repertoires beyond that area, including a wide selection of Western and world music literature.
  4. Demonstrate a working knowledge of music technology and its application to their area of specialization.
  5. Develop pedagogical and/or clinical skills fundamental to their area of specialization for application across a variety of music and music-related professions.
  6. Demonstrate professional competence in the execution of business processes and practices commonly employed within their area of specialization.
  7. Create derivative or original music in both extemporaneous and written form.