Music Theory & Composition

Rhythm and meter, melody and harmony, texture, timbre, articulation and so much more.. TCU’s music theory and composition students explore these underlying principles of music. You’ll learn from five full-time faculty composers and theorists, as well as several other accomplished composers, in a highly selective program offering individual instruction and mentoring.

TCU’s Division of Music Theory/Composition offers degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. Bachelor’s and master’s students focus on either theory or composition.

Here’s a complete list of our degree programs in music theory and composition:

The School of Music also offers a Bachelor of Arts in music and a music minor.

Scholarship support is available for talented undergraduate students. Assistantships that include full-tuition remission plus a stipend are available for graduate music majors.

TCU’s Upchurch Studio for Electro-Acoustic Music enables students to acquaint themselves with new technology relevant to musical performance, analysis, composition, education, and research.

Music Composition

Blaise Ferrandino, BM, MM, DMA – Division Chair
Neil Anderson-Himmelspach, BM, MM, DMA
Martin Blessinger, BM, MM, DM
Till MacIvor Meyn, BM, MM, DMA

Music Theory

Blaise Ferrandino, BM, MM, DMA – Division Chair
Neil Anderson-Himmelspach, BM, MM, DMA
Sean Atkinson, BM, MM, PhD
Martin Blessinger, BM, MM, DM
Joey Carter, BM, MM
Trey Gunter, BME, MM
Guillermo Martinez, BM, MM
Till MacIvor Meyn, BM, MM, DMA
Amy Pummill Stewart, BM, MM, DMA

Throughout the year, you’ll have the opportunity to perform your own compositions and those of fellow students and present your work in a professional setting at student composer concerts. Participate in masterclasses, private lessons, and open rehearsals with such guest composers as John Corigliano, Jennifer Higdon, and John Mackey.

A degree in music theory/composition opens doors to a wide variety of graduate programs and careers, including composing, arranging, performing, and music instruction at all levels of education.

Your faculty advisor will work with you to choose the right combination of courses and mentor you so you can reach your goals.

Schedule one-on-one meetings with your career consultant to learn more about everything Career Services has to offer music majors.

Career Preparation

Advanced Linear Analysis

Advanced Orchestration

Analysis for Performance

Bartok and Stravinsky

Billy Joel

Clara Schumann

Maurice Ravel


Music and Meaning

20th Century Counterpoint

Graduate Seminars in Musicology

Undergraduate First-year students (and some transfer students) will take a Music Theory Placement Exam prior to orientation. The results of that exam will place you into the appropriate theory class:

Score of 0-84 – Placement into MUSI 10003 (Fundamentals of Music Theory)

Score of 85-184 – Placement into MUSI 10203 (Elementary Theory I)

Score of 185-200 – Placement into MUSI 10213 (Elementary Theory II)



Credit-by-exam for Elementary Theory I (MUSI 10203) and Elementary Ear-Training I (MUSI 10201) can be achieved in two ways:


Credit via AP Music Theory Exam*

  1. MUSI 10203: Overall score of 4 or higher with both subscores** of 4 or 5.
  2. MUSI 10201: Overall score of 4 or higher with both subscores** of 4 or 5.

* – Scores must be dated within 1 year of the date of matriculation. For example, we can only accept AP Music Theory scores from 2022 and 2023 for a student entering in the class of 2023.

** – Subscores are not automatically sent by the CollegeBoard. If you receive your scores and you qualify, please submit documentation of your AP subscores to


Credit via TCU Music Theory Placement Exams

  1. MUSI 10203: Overall score of 185 or higher on the Music Theory Diagnostic Exam
  2. MUSI 10201:
    1. Overall score of 185 or higher on the Music Theory Diagnostic Exam
    2. Score of at least 15 on the melodic dictation portion of the Music Theory Diagnostic Exam
    3. Score of 9 or better on the sight-reading exam***

*** – Only students who fulfill requirements a. and b. will be asked to take the sight-reading exam.

Admission & Audition Requirements

For undergraduates and graduates wanting to attend the TCU School of Music, there is an admissions process. Learn more about the audition requirements below.

Admission Information

Audition Requirements

For further information about TCU Music Theory/Composition, contact:
Dr. Blaise Ferrandino
Division Chair, Music Theory/Composition