Professor Metcalf working with a student

Frequently Asked Questions

What are you looking for in an applicant’s composition portfolio?

We look for evidence of good compositional craft, effective use of voices and instruments, good notation and presentation, an interest in contemporary idioms, and imagination. Because the performance of new compositions is so important to us at Lawrence, we want to see evidence that a composer has been active not only in writing music but in getting it read or performed as well.

Do students have to compose in a particular style at Lawrence?

No. We believe that undergraduate composers should develop familiarity with a broad range of contemporary compositional techniques, and from that their own individual style will naturally develop.

Will I be able to get my music performed at Lawrence?

Yes – it’s one of the great strengths of our program that students composers hear their works performed frequently at Lawrence. We have tremendous support from the performance studios and ensembles. Many composition majors present performances of their music as often as once per term, or more.

How many composition majors are there at Lawrence?

At any given time, there are twelve to fourteen majors and several other students who are studying as non-majors. The size of the program assures that every student receives intensive individual mentorship from composition faculty from the beginning of freshman year through the senior recital.

Can composition majors enroll in the five-year double degree program?

Yes—we’ve had many B.Mus. in Composition students enroll in the double degree program. Some of our majors’ other degrees have been in anthropology, physics, religious studies, theater, English and French.

How do I know if Lawrence's composition program is right for me?

Please write to us and tell us about yourself and your music, or schedule a composition lesson with one of us on a Lawrence Campus Visit Day. We’ll be happy to advise you.