Music

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Music students have performance opportunities from the first semester onward.

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Stellar faculty includes 19 members of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Grammy winners and performing and recording artists, augmented by guests such as acclaimed DSO conductor Jaap van Zweden.

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Numerous ensembles and programs, including the Meadows Opera Theatre, provide multiple opportunities for performing on and off campus.

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Multiple degrees are offered in performance, composition, music therapy, education and more at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Theory and Composition

Composition at Meadows

Composition Faculty

Robert J. Frank
Associate Professor of Composition and Chair of the Composition Department; DMA, University of North Texas
robfrank@smu.edu; 214.768.2142; www.robertfrankmusic.com

Kevin Hanlon
Associate Professor of Composition; DMA, University of Texas – Austin
khanlon@smu.edu; 214.768.4248; www.inkflix.com/gouge/kevin/

Martin Sweidel
Associate Professor of Composition and Associate Dean; DMA, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music
msweidel@smu.edu; 214.768.4811; faculty.smu.edu/msweidel/

Xi Wang
Assistant Professor of Composition; Ph.D., Cornell University
wangxi@smu.edu; 214.768.3567; www.xiwangcomposer.com

Here are few examples of Dr. Hanlon's work.

For more examples please visit here

Here are few examples of Dr. Xi's work.

For more examples please visit here

Here are few examples of Dr. Harder's work.

For more examples please visit here

The Meadows Advantage

The Division of Music offers challenging and practical degree programs in a positive, cosmopolitan, and inspiring environment. Programs in Composition and Theory Pedagogy benefit from the broad experience of the Division’s internationally-recognized faculty, accomplished students, outstanding facilities, visiting artists, and the cultural prominence of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Maintaining active professional participation in music performance, creation, and research, the faculty of the Meadows School of the Arts is committed to the highest standards of teaching. A limited enrollment allows for personal interaction with the faculty. The programs offered by the Department of Music Theory and Composition provide the necessary resources to prepare students with the skills and experience required for professional careers as composers and teachers.

The Theory Pedagogy Program

Master of Music in Theory Pedagogy

The Theory Pedagogy Program, one of only a very few in the nation, continues the strong tradition and long history of teacher training established by the SMU programs in Music Education and Piano Performance and Pedagogy. Within the Theory Pedagogy Program, students have the opportunity to take courses not only in Music Theory and Composition, but in other areas such as Music Education, Music Psychology, Music Pedagogy, and Piano Pedagogy. In addition, students can also take courses offered by the Simmons School of Education and Human Development.  

Throughout their course of study, theory pedagogy students gain theoretical knowledge and practical experience under the guidance and supervision of a dedicated faculty with many years of experience teaching music theory at the secondary and college levels. Students have the opportunity to work with small undergraduate classes in music theory and musicianship as individual and small-group tutors, classroom assistants, and instructors. All student teaching is carefully supervised, observed, and evaluated by experienced faculty. 

Admission is very selective for the theory pedagogy degree program, and students are offered considerable individual attention, direct access to facilities, and the camaraderie that only an exceptional program of small size can offer. Students wishing to look into the distinctive opportunities for study at Southern Methodist University are encouraged to apply early.

Applicants for the Master of Music in Theory Pedagogy must apply to the Meadows School of the Arts and submit samples of their writing (essays or term papers). A personal interview with department faculty is strongly recommended. 

Complete the graduate application online.

Scholarships and Financial Assistance

Graduate financial assistance is available through merit scholarships, graduate assistantships, and work-study positions. The FAFSA is required for work-study and graduate assistantships.

The Composition Program

Bachelor of Music in Composition
Master of Music in Composition

The Composition program offers many unique opportunities. With approximately 300 music majors within the Division of Music, composers can hear the music they write for solo instruments, voice and ensembles. Being at the Meadows School of the Arts, student composers frequently collaborate with students in dance, theater, video, and film, creating and performing their music in a wide variety of venues both on and off campus. Composers will benefit from the Division of Music's active commitment to new music performance and state-of-the-art electronic and computer music. The program of study is flexible and designed to encourage independent stylistic development, technical skill, and artistic excellence.

The Electronic Music Studio at SMU is well equipped for creation, production, and instruction of electronic music in a comfortable, elegant environment. The studio is equipped with up-to-date Macintosh-based hardware and software with 5.1 surround sound playback and two large-screen monitors; in addition to a full array of software, there are also effects processors, MIDI equipment, and digital sampling hardware to help realize students' visions. Recording and mixing equipment includes analog and digital methods and an isolated recording booth. Limited class size allows greater studio access than in many larger schools.

Our faculty consists of active, internationally known composers, including Robert J. Frank, Kevin Hanlon, Martin Sweidel, and Xi Wang. All of our composition majors study with faculty from the first lesson—not with graduate students. Frequent guest composers are a regular part of studies in the Meadows School of the Arts, and students have the opportunities to make personal connections with composers when they are in Dallas to premiere works with the Dallas Symphony, Voices of Change, and our other professional ensembles.

Admission is very selective for the composition degree program and students are offered considerable individual attention, direct access to facilities, guests and collaborators, and the camaraderie that only an exceptional program of small size can offer. Students wishing to look into the distinctive opportunities for study at Southern Methodist University are encouraged to apply early.

Composition Portfolio Submission

The Composition Portfolio should include at least 2 or 3 works that best demonstrate the diversity and strength of your compositional skills. Variety will strengthen your portfolio. Length is not important – a short (2-3 minute) work that is highly professional would be far better than a 20-minute, 3-movement average work. All scores should be copies (no originals) and look as professional as you can make them. You do not need to submit parts. Recordings of live musicians for all works submitted are not required, but very strongly advised if available (we all understand "rough" performances/demos – it's the music that we are listening to, not the performance). Also provide a complete list of works written to date, with performance dates if available, and a short written statement of your compositional goals – both for study at the university level and for your long-term career.

Applicants for the Bachelor of Music in Composition must also apply for admission to SMU, complete a music theory diagnostic exam, and audition on their principal instrument. Graduate students, in addition to submitting a composition portfolio, must apply to the Meadows School of the Arts, and submit transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and a one-page goals statement describing your professional goals and compositional approach.

Complete the graduate application online.

Scholarships and Financial Assistance

If undergraduate need-based financial aid is desired, the FAFSA and CSS Profile must be completed. All applicants are considered for academic and music scholarships. We will do our best to provide a financial aid package that makes an education in the Meadows School of the Arts affordable.

Graduate financial assistance is available through merit scholarships, graduate assistantships, and work-study positions. The FAFSA is required for work-study and graduate assistantships.

Areas of Study

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Welcome to the Division of Music

About the Division of Music

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