traditional undergraduate on campus

Music Theory & Composition

Trevecca’s Bachelor of Music in theory and composition is a professional degree accredited by the National Association of the Schools of Music which equips you with knowledge and skills in both traditional and technological compositional methods. You’ll be prepared to compose for traditional genres as well as for commercial, television, movies and video games.

Program Benefits

  • Learn from faculty who are working practitioners in the field and who make an effort to know you personally.
  • Enjoy our small class sizes and supportive campus community.
  • Take advantage of incredible internships and job opportunities available in the exciting Nashville music scene.


What to Expect

As a student in Trevecca’s theory and composition program, you’ll study traditional approaches to composing as well as ways to integrate technology into the compositional methods. This program offers a professional degree accredited by the National Association of the Schools of Music, and it prepares you for a successful career in traditional composition or in composing for commercial, television, movies and/or video games. Core courses include Aural Theory, Elementary and Advanced Conducting, Music Technology, Choral Arranging and more.

In your classes, you’ll learn from engaging and accessible faculty members who have professional experience in a variety of roles in the music industry. Comprised of talented instrumentalists, vocalists, industry experts and award-winning working composers, our music faculty knows how to create a successful career in today’s music industry, and they’ll share that wisdom and experience with you. They’ll also give you valuable feedback and advice on classroom assignments and your capstone project. 

The exceptional faculty are just one part of Trevecca’s exciting music community. You’ll have incredible opportunities to gain hands-on learning experience and showcase your talents outside of class. The annual TNU Student Composers’ Forum gives you a regular venue to have your works performed. The New Music Ensemble gives you a chance to write and arrange for various combinations of instruments and voices. Plus, Trevecca is located just about a mile from downtown Nashville, an exciting hub in the music industry. 

Some of our past students have:

  • Created two full-scale, multi-act operas with chamber orchestra and have premiered those works both on campus and in the blackbox performing space of the local professional orchestra company
  • Written works featuring the carillon with the greatest number of bells in the world alongside large ensembles
  • Scored and recorded the music for an award-winning documentary film
  • Collaborated in creating short works combining music, film, drama and dance
  • Created two works in the style of the golden age of radio, recording the dialog, music, foley effects and jingles
  • Created new work for musical theatre


Why Choose Trevecca?

Founded in 1901 and a leader in online education for more than two decades, Trevecca helps students discover and pursue an individual calling by providing innovative instruction; cultivating a supportive, Christ-centered community; and establishing relationships that open doors.

Recognized nationally and locally for academic quality, Trevecca has earned a reputation for providing the world with servant leaders, problem solvers and difference makers. Trevecca’s holistic approach to education encompasses intellectual, social, emotional, physical and spiritual growth.

As a Christian university, we offer programs that explore the ways faith intersects with your field of study. This means you can gain your theory and composition degree in a supportive, Christian community with small classroom sizes and engaged faculty members who care about you, your faith and your goals.


Course Descriptions

Get details on all the courses you’ll complete as you work toward this degree at Trevecca.

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Financial Aid & Costs

Financial Aid & Costs

Nearly every student at Trevecca receives some form of assistance in paying for college. Learn all about the affordability of a TNU education and options for receiving aid.

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Career Opportunities

With your degree from Trevecca, you’ll be well-prepared to continue on to graduate studies or to begin your career in roles such as: 

  • Composing for film and television
  • Composing for video games
  • Composing/arranging/orchestrating (live performance and/or recording studio)
  • Conducting
  • Freelancing as a composer/arranger/orchestrator
  • Publishing
  • Performing musician (live performance and/or recording studio)
  • Clinician for bands, orchestras, and/or choirs
  • Composing works for the concert hall and stage (chamber music, symphonic composer, opera and musical theatre)
  • Teaching at the collegiate level (after completing graduate school)


Course Descriptions

Get details on all the courses you’ll complete as you work toward this degree at Trevecca.*

Life, Calling, and Purpose
INT 1100
Students will begin a journey of self-awareness where they can identify their individual gifts and talents while considering how God can use their uniqueness within their field of interest. Goals of the course include building community, understanding leadership and service, and evaluating God's calling. Required of all first-time freshmen (those enrolling with less than 24 hours) who are younger than 24 years of age and have not taken a similar course at another accredited institution.
English Composition I
ENG 1020

Emphasizes the recursive writing process through appropriate determination of subject, audience, purpose, and style, with correct usage of grammar, punctuation, and logical organization. Students will use appropriate technologies for writing and learning.

English Composition II: Critical Reading, Writing, and Thinking
ENG 1080

Emphasizes intellectual and analytical reasoning through reading and writing assignments. Includes instruction in library and research technologies and the writing of a research project.

Speech Communication
COM 1010

A study of the principles and practices of effective human communication, with emphasis placed on public speaking. The course emphasizes the critical thinking and skill development necessary for effective speech. Listening skills are included in the study.

Financial Stewardship
BUS 2010

Provides the student with a basic understanding of his or her economic environment and the basic principles and tools of personal financial management. Emphasis will be placed on personal financial planning, including budgeting, managing personal debt, insurance, taxes, investments, and real estate. When possible, topics will be analyzed and discussed from a Christian perspective.

Introduction to Health and Wellness
HPE 1500

Designed to assist the student in their understanding and development of a healthy lifestyle. Emphasis is placed on the components and behaviors that promote lifelong, positive outcomes in the five dimensions of wellness: physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual. Includes a fitness laboratory component. Fee charged.

Issues in Science
SCI 2600

An introduction to themes in the natural sciences that have significantly impacted our world. Among the themes discussed are relativity, modern cosmology, evolutionary thought, biotechnology, advances in modern medicine, biodiversity, and the use of natural resources. Scientific discoveries will be approached with both a historical perspective and a consideration of current and future applications. Interactions of scientific thought and the Christian worldview are considered. Lecture.

The Physics of Sound
PHY 1040

A practical introduction to the basic principles of physics that govern the production, perception, recording and reproduction of music and sound. Topics discussed include simple harmonic motion, waves, resonance, spectral analysis, audio electronics, auditorium acoustics and hearing. The laboratory component of this course provides hands-on experiments that illustrate many of the topics covered in the class. Lecture and Lab. Fee charged.

World Literature
ENG 2000

Designed to engage students in dialogue with a variety of Western and Non-Western world literature, past and present. ENG 2000 is a recommended prerequisite for all upper-level literature courses.

Introduction to Biblical Faith
REL 2000

An introduction to Biblical faith and literature designed to help the student acquire a knowledge of the basic content of Scripture as well as be able to employ basic Bible study skills.

Christian Tradition
REL 3000

An introduction to theology as it has developed in the history of the church with a view to understanding the relation between faith and life. Special attention is given to understanding the doctrine of holiness.

Christian Life and Ministry
REL 4000

An integration of Christian spirituality, life, and ministry. Through a wide variety of readings and experiences, care is given to evaluate the spiritual structure of the student and to understand spiritual gifts, disciplines, and what it means for each individual to be a constructive influence in the Church and society.

World Music and Culture
MUS 2440

A study of the development of indigenous music of Eastern and Western cultures and how that music is both a product of and a contributor to those cultures. The class will be taught with an anthropological approach that views each particular culture through the lens of the music that each culture produces.

Principles of Macroeconomics
ECO 2000

An introduction to the study of macroeconomics with an emphasis on the issues of inflation, unemployment and growth. Prerequisite to all advanced courses in the department except as noted.

Introduction to Anthropology
ATH 3010

A study of the meaning of culture, the diversity of cultures in both the contemporary world and the past, and the manner by which cultures have adapted and developed. Attention will be given to the work of anthropological theorists and to the four subdivisions of anthropology: cultural anthropology, physical anthropology, linguistics and archaeology.

American Political Institutions
POL 2020

The origins and development of American government, with emphasis on the concept of participatory democracy as practiced in our republican form.

The Family in Society
SOC 2500

A study of the functions of the institution of family and the inter-relationship of family and other major institutions in society including the ways in which current social conditions and cultural, ethnic, and economic diversity influence this relationship. Current sociological research on family behavior will be examined and a Christian perspective on family emphasized.

Social Problems
SOC 3200

A sociological description and analysis of some of the contemporary social problems in American Society with an emphasis on programs designed to help remedy these problems.

Urban Sociology
SOC 3300

An examination of urban lifestyles, problems, development, and change from a historical perspective, providing both theoretical and practical background for analysis of various urban conditions, and seeking to identify and apply practical solutions to these problems. A major experiential learning component is field work and ethnographic research in core urban Nashville neighborhoods. A section on urban planning and urban ministry is included.

Introduction to Social Work
SWK 1200

This course offers an introduction to the field of social work and its mission of social justice and equity at the micro (individual), mezzo (group), and macro (community and organization) levels of society. Students will explore the history, key theories, and diverse work of the profession with consistent focus on often oppressed and marginalized communities. Throughout this course, students will discover the core values, ethics, personal skills, and characteristics required of social work practitioners.

Theory I
MUS 2010

The study of music from Medieval Period to 1700. Students will be expected to compose and analyze music appropriate to the styles studied within the context of the era under investigation. Music notation software will be used to complete the requirements of this class; training on this software will be embedded in the class.

Theory II
MUS 2020

Continuation of Theory I. The study of music from 1700 to 1800.

Theory III
MUS 3010

Continuation of Theory II. The study of music from 1800 to 1900.

Aural Theory I
MUS 2060

The development of music notation literacy and musicianship skills through sight-singing, ear training, and tonal/rhythm dictation in varying meters and modalities.

Aural Theory II
MUS 2070
Continuation of Aural Theory I. Further development of music notation literacy and musicianship skills through sight-singing, ear training, and tonal/rhythm dictation in varying meters and modalities.
Aural Theory III
MUS 3060
Continuation of Aural Theory II. Further development of music notation literacy and musicianship skills through sight-singing, ear training, and tonal/rhythm dictation in varying meters and modalities.
Elementary Conducting
MUS 3100

A study of the fundamentals of conducting. Emphasis on beat patterns and methods of indicating meter, tempo, volume and style. Material drawn from sacred and secular choral music. Open to all students. Required of all majors and minors.

Commercial Theory
MCM 2010

Chord progressions, the Nashville number system, song forms, harmonic techniques, listening skills, and charting are all addressed in this class.

Art for the Music Major
MUS 1515

Designed to give students a historical perspective of art, sculpture, and architecture from ancient times to modern times.

Aural Theory IV
MUS 3070

Continuation of Aural Theory III. Further development of music notation literacy and musicianship skills through sight-singing, ear training, and tonal/rhythm dictation in varying meters and modalities.

MUS 4010

A practical study of the techniques of arranging for various types of instrumental groups.

Theory IV
MUS 3020

Continuation of Theory III. The study of music from 1900 to the present with emphasis on non-traditional forms of composition.

Advanced Conducting
MUS 3110

Continuation of MUS 3100 with emphasis on baton skills. Materials will be drawn from appropriate instrumental and instrumental/ choral combination literature.

Music Technology
MCM 3050

Designed to familiarize students with current technology in the field of music by creating projects for aspects of audio, music notation software, and MIDI. Electronic composition shall be a primary component to facilitate technological learning.

MUS 3300

Covers the rudiments of species counterpoint in two-, three-, and four-part textures. Emphasis is on score study, four-part chorale writing, canon, and fugue.

Choral Arranging
MUS 4020

Intended to give the student competency in arranging music for all types of vocal combinations.

Band Arranging
MUS 2040

Arranging for concert band and wind ensemble. The course will include writing assignments for various combinations of instruments and provide the student with a broad overview of arranging music for ensembles of various skill levels. Coursework will include studying conventions and techniques applied by various arrangers and composers, as well as a brief introduction to band literature through score study and recordings.

Form and Analysis
MUS 4350

Explores the analysis of musical forms across the scope of music history to the present.

Problem Solving: A Quantitative Reasoning Approach
MAT 1080

This course is designed to promote students' understanding and appreciation of mathematics and to develop quantitative and problem solving skills. The course will further introduce students to a wide range of applications of mathematics to modern life. Topics will be selected from linear and non-linear models, logic, sets, probability, counting techniques, statistics, matrices, and game theory.

Concepts of Mathematics
MAT 1040

Considers the realm of mathematics as some of the greatest ideas of humankind-ideas comparable to the works of Shakespeare, Plato, and Michelangelo. This course will introduce students to several of these ideas, selected from topics in numerical patterns, infinity, geometry, topology, chaos, probability, and statistics. Study of these topics will not only demonstrate the beauty of mathematics but will also develop critical thinking skills. This course is designed for liberal arts majors to satisfy the general education requirement.

Calculus I
MAT 1510

A study of Cartesian and polar coordinates, parametric equations, vectors and vector-valued functions in 2 and 3 dimensions, limits, differentiation of functions with applications, integration of functions with applications, Taylor polynomials, and series. It is strongly recommended that students take PHY 2110 and PHY 2120 concurrently with MAT 1510 and MAT 1520, respectively.

MAT 1310

A brief review of polynomial and rational functions and systems, and of exponential and logarithmic functions. Study of trigonometric functions, graphs, formulas and identities; inverse functions, including inverse trigonometric functions; solutions to systems of equations; and polar coordinate systems.

Interpersonal Communication
COM 2010

A study of two-person (dyadic) communication. Topics include: human communication theory, verbal and nonverbal codes, development of self-concept, perception, impression formation, and relationship development. Preferred prerequisite for all courses leading to an Interpersonal Communication major.

General Psychology
PSY 2010

General introduction to major areas of psychology with emphasis on the psychological bases for understanding human behavior. A recommended prerequisite to other psychology courses except PSY 2175.

General Sociology
SOC 2010

The nature and functions of sociology, the development of social ideas and institutions and the processes of social interactions and social structure. A recommended prerequisite to courses in Sociology numbered above 2000.

World Civilizations: Ancient and Medieval World
HIS 1400

A course of study from ancient times to the 1500s dealing with persistent and recurring political, social, and economic issues in history that thinking people have examined and that have shaped our contemporary world. This course covers Western and non-Western cultures. Offered every semester.

World Civilizations: Early Modern and Modern World
HIS 1450

A course of study from the 1500s to the present dealing with persistent and recurring political, social, and economic issues in history that thinking people have examined and that have shaped our contemporary world. This course covers Western and non-Western cultures. Offered every semester.

Introduction to Philosophy
PHL 2010

A general introduction to the study of philosophy, both Western and non-Western. The course is organized around three domains of philosophical reflection: metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. Representative philosophers from Socrates to Confucius will be used to illuminate the philosophical task. The course also includes discussion of world religions as representatives of non-Western philosophy.

PHL 3070

A philosophical analysis of the narratives and principles that have contributed to moral and ethical norms for human action.

History I
MUS 2410

Study of the development of Western music from ancient civilization through the Renaissance.

History II
MUS 2420

Study of the development of Western music during the Baroque and Classical periods.

History III
MUS 3410

Study of the development of Western music during the Romantic period.

History IV
MUS 3420

Study of the development of Western music during the 20th century and beyond.

History of Audio Recording
MCM 2100

Designed to familiarize students with a historical account of recording audio spanning from the 19th century to present. Topics include: recording devices, styles, methods, and historical figures who shaped the art of recording.

Jazz History
MCM 2420

Study of the historical development of Jazz as a commercial and artistic genre.

Applied Study — 25-29 hours

*This program also requires a three (3) credit hour Institutional Choice.

*For a complete list of courses, tracks and other relevant information, view the program's course catalog.