Bachelor of Music in Music Performance, Composition Concentration

Composition and Theory Concentration 

Majoring in music composition and theory will help students already interested in writing music hone their compositional craft and develop as professional musicians. 

Composition students regularly collaborate with student and faculty performers in Hayes School of Music. Composers present their work during student composer recitals and frequently receive readings and performances by the Wind Ensemble, Appalachian Symphony Orchestra, choral ensembles, and guest artists and ensembles. Composers also have access to the Robert F Gilley Recording Studio to produce and record electronic music.

Students participate in a weekly composition forum with all theory/composition majors. They also receive weekly private composition lessons and complete upper-division coursework designed for composers and music theorists.

Alumni Achievements

Our theory/composition majors have obtained advanced degrees at institutions including Florida State University, Michigan State University, Peabody Conservatory, University of Iowa, University of Maryland, University of New Mexico, University of North Texas, and Washington University. Alumni have gone on to work as professional composers and arrangers, university professors of composition, and video and game composers. 



  • Hayes School of Music Composition Contest
  • Tui St. George Tucker Competition


Prospective students should consult the current Appalachian State University Undergraduate Bulletin and Hayes School of Music Student Handbook for complete degree requirements. The following courses are part of the Theory/Composition concentration:

  • Introduction to Music Composition I and II
  • Applied Composition Lesson
  • Orchestration
  • Electronic Music
  • Counterpoint
  • Analytical Techniques
  • Music Theory Pedagogy

Information for Transfer Students

The Theory/Composition Concentration requires 8 semesters of study in composition. Students interested in transferring into the program should discuss timelines for degree completion with the program coordinator.


Concentration Faculty

Application Process

For more information on the application process, please visit the Hayes School of Music Prospective Students. If you have any questions regarding the Theory/Composition concentration, please contact Dr. Andrew Hannon.

All students wishing to enter the School of Music must successfully complete an audition on their principal instrument or voice. Additionally, prospective students will interview with Dr. Andrew Hannon. The interview and audition will be scheduled for the same day as the audition.

Prospective students are required to submit a portfolio at the same time as when they submit their online audition video recording. The portfolio should include scores and recordings of 2-4 compositions (in PDF and MP3 formats). Contact Dr. Andrew Hannon at with questions.

A few tips for composition portfolio submissions:

  • Submit your best work. The 2-4 pieces you submit should be the best representation of your work. An application with four pieces is not necessarily stronger than an application with two works. A well-rehearsed and performed duo can demonstrate your compositional abilities just as well as a midi-mockup of a large ensemble work.

  • If you have a list of works you have composed, please send that as well. The list should include the following for each work: title, date of composition, instrumentation, duration, and performances (if applicable).

Graduate Studies

Students interested in the Master of Music Performance in Theory/Composition should consult the Music Graduate Studies website for more information. Additionally, the graduate program offers the Music Theory Pedagogy Research & Practice Certificate, an online certificate program for advanced study in music theory pedagogy.