Applying for the Composition Concentration

Students interested in the composition concentration must submit an application to the composition faculty before the beginning of the semester they wish to enter the composition concentration. Entering first-year students will be expected to submit an application portfolio at their audition and will be scheduled for an interview with the composition faculty on their audition day.

Your portfolio should consist of scores and recordings of two or three pieces representing your best work in composition to date. Students are encouraged to submit pieces that show the range of their work (ensembles, length, technique, etc). Portfolios may be submitted electronically or in person to Dr. Haney ( or Dr. Guinivan ( Electronic submissions should be in PDF format for scores and MP3 format for recordings. Physical submissions should be scores only, with MP3 recordings emailed to Dr. Haney and Dr. Guinivan.

Please note that the JMU composition concentration is centered on contemporary concert music. Students interested primarily in studying popular music, jazz, or musical theatre are encouraged to pursue majors in music industry, jazz studies, or musical theatre.

The composition faculty will review submitted portfolios and notify applicants about their admittance to the concentration track. At this time, JMU composition courses are open only to students that pass the portfolio review.

Declaring the Composition Concentration

The composition concentration is formally declared after one year of study in composition seminar. Composition students are required to maintain grades of B- or better in all music theory and aural skills courses. At the end of the student’s second semester, the student will do a composition jury with the faculty at which they will show and discuss their work from the year. This jury will serve as the entrance requirement for formal declaration of the composition concertation. Following successful completion of the jury, students will be directed to officially declare the concentration.

If the student does not successfully complete the jury, the student may continue study in composition seminar and may schedule a second jury at the end of the following semester. Students who do not pass the second jury will not be eligible to declare the composition concentration or continue in the composition seminar and upper-level coursework.

Please direct any questions about the composition concentration and the declaration process to Dr. Haney and Dr. Guinivan.

Revised January 19, 2020

JMU Composition Showcase

View the JMU Student Composer Showcase, featuring solo, chamber, and large ensemble performances by current JMU composition students and alumni.

See the Showcase

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