Freshman Major Status is attained upon being accepted in the Conservatory as a Composition major.
Sophomore Major Status is attained upon completion of COMP 201, 202, 212, 222, and the successful completion of the Freshman Year Composition Jury.
Junior Major Status is attained upon completion of COMP 301, 302, 311, 332, the Sophomore Year Composition Jury, and the Performance Requirements.
Senior Major Status is attained following completion of 12 units of Private Study, COMP 432, two Junior Composition Juries and 8 units of electives chosen from Composition, TIMARA, Music Theory, and Jazz.
Composition Juries are end-of-semester meetings in which individual composition majors present their work to a jury made up of the faculty of the department. These juries allow the department to monitor students’ progress not only in their compositional work, but in the area of their general degree progress as a whole.
There are five required juries: one each at the close of the Freshman and Sophomore years, one each at the end of the Fall and Spring semesters of the Junior year, and one in the Senior year.
The faculty determines whether the student is performing at a better than satisfactory level, a satisfactory level, or a less than satisfactory level. If the department determines that a student is not making appropriate progress within the major, the student may be refused continuance in the program. It may also be recommended that the student redefine their relationship to the program and seek an Individual Major, or a more liberal arts-based Musical Studies Major in the College of Arts & Sciences.
First year Composition majors are required to assist departmental concerts and recitals. These activities may include: moving and setting instruments for rehearsals and performances, preparing and distributing posters for performances, striking instruments after rehearsals and performances, and so on. Assignments will be administered by the department.
One performance on departmental concerts is required by the end of the first year, two performances by the end of the second year, and additional two are required by the end of the third year. It is the student’s responsibility to seek out and follow concert submission guidelines. Performances by the Oberlin Orchestra, the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble, the Oberlin Sinfonietta, and other major on-campus ensembles may be counted towards this requirement, as may off-campus professional performances.
The Senior Recital represents the culmination of the student’s work for the major. This normally takes the form of a 60-minute recital of original works, although the department is open to other possible formats for which official approval must be granted.
Music Theory and Aural Skills Requirement
Students are expected to register for Music Theory and Aural Skills courses each semester until they have completed the requirements. Part or all of these requirements may be waived by placement examination when the student enters Oberlin.
Music Theory I-IV and Aural Skills I-IV must be taken concurrently, e.g., a student will register for Music Theory I (MUTH 130 or 131) and Aural Skills I in the same semester. Under certain circumstances, with the permission of the appropriate division director and the Music Theory division director, students will be allowed to take Aural Skills IV and Music Theory IV separately. A student’s aural skills requirement must be completed before the senior recital can be scheduled. Double-degree students will resolve any conflicts with these expectations in consultation with their advisors.
Expository Writing Proficiency
Students with an SAT verbal score below 580 or an ACT score below 24, or a TOEFL score below 600 must complete one course chosen from RHET 101 or 102.