The duration of the bachelor’s program is eight semesters and consists of a two-year basic program as well as the final two years, during which students concentrate on a specialization. In addition to enhancing instrumental and voice composition skills for larger ensembles, students also have the option of specializing in electronic media or music composition. Students specializing in electronic media have the opportunity to work in the electronic music studio in order to carry out projects combining instrumental and electronic Music.
The main focus of the advanced program is performance of student music pieces within the University, and if possible outside as well. The aim of closely collaborating with external institutions, ensembles, and festivals for new music is to simulate professional performances for students during their time at the University.
The entrance examination consists of the following three parts:
Detailed information can be found in the Entrance Examination Regulations, particularly in section 5: Content Requirements and Examination Format (§5 Inhaltliche Anforderungen und Durchführung der Prüfung).
The degree program is divided into a basic program (first and second year) comprising a large number of obligatory modules and an advanced program (third and fourth year) which consists of different courses for different specializations.
The first two years of the program focus on teaching comprehensive basic knowledge including instrumentation, music history, analysis, and composition. In addition, hands-on seminars during the basic program teach the technical skills required.
In addition to course work in concentrations and seminars on current composition techniques, events with specialized performers are also organized such that students can learn specific performance techniques and raise questions about notation and instrumentation.
Electronic and instrumental composition classes work closely together, which enables students to not only participate in projects in projects in either specialization, but also to take coursework in the specialization that they did not choose as their concentration.
A bachelor's capstone project and an oral examination must be completed to finish the bachelor’s program.
Today, composition is a highly multifaceted degree program with extensive practical relevance.
The range of work for contemporary composers has grown significantly. Aside from concert music, there are now opportunities for careers in theatre, film, video, installations, production, radio play, and other areas. The sheer number of career possibilities composers have today is astonishing. They often work on the edge of improvisation or with art forms originating in jazz, pop, or other music, particularly so if they work with new forms of media. Teaching has also gained increased attention, which has created yet another career field out of work with children, adolescents, and amateurs.
The practical training and the diversity of the program are meant to ensure that composers have a broad range of career opportunities open to them following graduation. The aim is also to introduce students to external projects as well as musicians, event organizers, and other artists as quickly as possible. Close collaboration with other University departments and access to courses on different instruments as well as music theory and musicology is also particularly important.
The large number of international students and instructors ensures that students have extensive contact with composers and cultures from other countries during their studies. Nowadays, it is necessary to fully understand the qualities of other (music) cultures and to be able to put one’s own beliefs into perspective.
As with any course of studies, this program cannot guarantee success because success depends primarily on the creativity of each student. However, the University’s broad and flexible curriculum enables students to personalize their education and career perspectives to a great extent. Artistic debate must always be the top priority of the program. The goal of the composition program is to prepare students as much as possible for a future career; however, students will only become composers after graduation, after their own work has spoken for itself.
Often, composers do not work exclusively as composers after graduation. As in many other careers, composers rarely specialize in just one area anymore. Rather, great emphasis is placed on the ability to adapt to opportunities. However, this flexibility should not merely be viewed as a way of conforming, but rather as the ability to personally shape and inform one’s own studies and subsequent career. This makes today’s composers the architects of not only their own music, but also of their own careers.