Study Composition

Study Composition Abroad

Bach, Beethoven, Handel, Wagner – the list of famous German composers is long. Philharmonic orchestras around the world still play and interpret their works today. Today’s composers do not limit themselves to operas and chamber music. They always move with their time and expand their repertoire accordingly. For example, they create purely synthetic pieces of music and arrange the background music for films, plays, radio plays or advertising. In composition courses they learn the necessary craft and background knowledge.


Your own musical abilities form the basis for composing your own pieces. The students therefore choose an instrument or singing as their main subject and also practice playing the piano and choir singing. Right from the start, they compose their own pieces. In doing so, they gradually familiarize themselves with the different stylistic devices of the composition .


They refine their musical ear in the subject of ear training . They also learn to use music software on a PC. Theoretical lessons take place in the subjects of music theory, music history and musicology . In the higher semesters, the students ideally develop their individual compositional style . Depending on what the university offers, they set different priorities: For example, they tend to focus more on instrumental music or on synthetically produced pieces.

The subjects of choral conducting and conducting are also on the curriculum. In addition, the students develop their computer skills. Joint study projects with instrumentalists, in which the students perform compositions, provide initial practical experience . Subjects such as project management and ethnomusicology complete the curriculum.


According to, some graduates start their careers directly after completing their bachelor’s degree. However, many join a master’s degree in order to refine their personal compositional style and expand their manual skills. In the master programs, students specialize in the rule to a particular style of music or workspace . Depending on the university, you have the opportunity to focus on specialty areas such as film music, pop music or multimedia composition.

Personal skills for studying composition

Both music colleges and film schools offer the subject of composition. The film academies naturally focus on the composition of film music: This is why the students here receive comprehensive training in the field of film aesthetics . To do this, they attend seminars on topics such as scripts, film history or film theory.

The admission process is extensive at both film and music colleges. The study places are rare and therefore highly competitive. If you want to get one of the coveted places, you must first submit your own compositions. In the next step, applicants complete oral and written exams and demonstrate their musical talent on one or more musical instruments. As a rule, universities require a good command of at least two instruments. In addition to the pronounced musical talent , a high degree of creativity is of course mandatory for a successful study and later professional life.

After graduation: career opportunities

Most college graduates are self- employed. They develop their own works and offer them to theaters, music publishers or broadcasters. Singers, bands, manufacturers of computer games or production companies award commissioned work to composers. Graduates with a focus on film music primarily compose music for films and commercials. In doing so, they work closely with the directors and producers. Activities as a music teacher, conductor, music critic or specialist journalist are also common. A master’s degree also opens up the possibility of completing a doctorate and embarking on an academic career.

Advantages of international experience for composers

Above all, a stay abroad during your studies offers you the opportunity to broaden your musical horizons. You will get to know other musical cultures and gather valuable musical inspiration in the process. Through other teaching content at a foreign university, you sharpen and refine your professional profile. In addition, you have the opportunity to make contacts in the international music and film industry . The foreign language skills and soft skills such as assertiveness and flexibility acquired while studying abroad are valuable skills for later professional life.

Study Composition