The School of Music, housed in Duerksen Fine Arts Center, has developed programs in music education, music performance, pedagogy, history/ literature, conducting, and theory/composition which are significant in size and quality and are highly acclaimed throughout the nation. In part, this is due to Wichita State's urban setting, affording cultural diversity with excellent opportunities for faculty and students.
Students earning the Bachelor of Music degree in the music theory and/or composition program typically choose one of two career paths. One is graduate study leading to advanced degrees required for teaching on the college or university level. The other is as a composer employed in one of the following areas:
- self-employed in free-lance composition
- music copying/computer graphics in music
- music publishing/editing
- specialist in music composition for children
- music theory/aural skills tutoring
- commercial music in advertising, film, television, live theatre
Music students become familiar with the literature of music through specialized courses and listening facilities in the music library, which is located in Jardine Hall and staffed by a music librarian. Students are also exposed to a wide range of courses in theory and in music history and literature, experiencing an in-depth cross-section of all periods and styles of music. Both private and group instruction in music composition are offered, and special tutorial services are available.
Students in music theory and composition are commonly involved with the New Voices Festival. All students have the opportunity to develop musically through both applied music and ensemble participation, these include four choirs, two concert bands, a symphony orchestra, a jazz ensemble, and athletic bands.
Because of the close relationship between the University and the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, music students are not only able to hear world-class artists perform throughout the year, but are often given the opportunity to meet and play for them in masterclass situations.
Faculty members in the School of Music are artists/teachers/scholars who have significant professional training and experience. Their successful careers span all facets of the professional world. Moreover, they are committed to the personal musical development of each individual student. The thrust of the composition faculty is to help each student enhance their own creativity.
To be admitted to the Undergradaute Music Theory/Composition Program at Wichita State, students must have at least two years of training in the Bachelors of Arts in Music, sucessfully completed MUSC 259 (Introduction to Music Composition) and MUSC 260 (Beginning Music Composition), and a portfolio of at least two original compositions. Admission is based upon special application to the program. Transfer students should have some completed compositions to be reviewed prior to acceptance.
Applicants must submit a portfolio of compositions including scores (when applicable) and recordings. The portfolio should contain at least 20 minutes of music and show a diverse understanding of 21st century art music styles and techniques. MIDI recordings will be accepted but live performances are preferred.
Scores and recordings may be sent digitally via a dropbox link or other large file sharing program to Dr. Dean Roush, Head of Composition, Theory, and Musicology.
There are many work-related opportunities in the City of Wichita for students to earn extra income and valuable experience as musicians and teachers. Music theory/ composition students are encouraged to participate in the New Voices Festival, as well as Sigma Alpha Iota, Mu Phi Epsilon, Kappa Kappa Psi, or Tau Beta Sigma.