BMus Composition

  • Application deadline
    1 December
  • Course duration
    4 years
  • Course accreditation
    Trinity Accredited Course
  • Course fee
    €3,000
  • Course fee (non-EU/EEA)
    €19,000
  • Course director

Course Introduction

The BMus Composition Degree is the only four-year programme of its kind at undergraduate level in Ireland. Through this degree RIAM can offer you an immersive experience in the world of composition.

We have designed the programme to bring students to the highest level in music composition. It is supported by academic studies and complemented by performance studies. This ensures that the developing composer is equipped with the necessary skills and attributes to make a successful career.

This degree is unique in the Irish musical landscape fostering integration and collaboration with your performance peers. We admit a maximum of four students per year. This guarantees the necessary individual attention required for each student to be nurtured, find their individual voice and blossom. Furthermore the small student cohort ensures meaningful performance opportunities for works composed.

Course Outline

What does the course offer?

  • You will receive specialised teaching and guidance in two areas: acoustic composition and electro-acoustic composition.
  • This specialised learning is complemented by supporting studies. In these modules there is a blend of content for both composition and performance students: both sets of students share combined music related core components. This facilitates a positive synergy between you the composer and your classmate the performer.
  • The composition and academic areas are further complemented with one-to-one tuition on your practical instrument/voice. This strand enhances your musical skills, musicianship and creativity
  • The RIAM environment is transformative, offering an enviable setting in which you can develop your unique compositional voice. More importantly, this voice can be heard through performances and recordings by RIAM students and staff.

This unique access to performers offers a symbiotic relationship which has a powerful impact on all. It enriches our composers, enabling them to have their work heard but also the performer who learns through the performance itself.

What will I study?

  • In years one to three you will study a number of core modules: acoustic composition, electro -acoustic composition, harmony, counterpoint, history, analysis and aural training
  •  There are also shorter modules such as Irish Traditional music, conducting, academic writing and research skills.
  • When you progress to year four, you can refine your academic choices by electing the subject in which you are most interested. This offers you the opportunity to work to your strengths and delve into the area which is most appealing; dissertation or music technology.

Core activities at a glance

Year 1  

  • Composition (Acoustic)
  • Composition (Electro-acoustic)
  • Harmony & Counterpoint
  • History of Music
  • Analysis
  • Aural
  • Practical Instrument/Voice

Year 2

  • Composition (Acoustic)
  • Composition (Electro-acoustic)
  • Harmony & Counterpoint
  • History of Music
  • Analysis
  • Aural
  • Practical Instrument/Voice

Year 3

  • Composition (Acoustic)
  • Composition (Electro-acoustic)
  • Harmony & Counterpoint
  • History of Music
  • Analysis
  • Aural
  • Practical Instrument/Voice

Year 4 - You choose one*

  • Dissertation elective*
  • Music Technology elective*
  • Composition (Acoustic)

How busy will I be?

The academic year is well structured consisting of 24 teaching weeks which are interspersed with reading weeks, performance spotlight weeks and official holidays.

There are no academic classes in the reading weeks or performance spotlight weeks. These weeks provide you with the time and space to totally focus on your craft. You may be involved in compositional workshops, performances, masterclasses, orchestral activities, chorale or other related projects. The activities in these weeks will be inspirational! They can also offer significant breathing space for you to practise, catch up on reading or tackle upcoming assignments.

Performing Opportunities

Performance and workshop opportunities are focused mainly in the spotlight (non-teaching) weeks of which there are six in an academic year.  

These weeks are set aside for rehearsing and performance of student works. Projects completed in spotlight weeks have ranged from work with a single instrument (sometimes with electronic involvement) to the putting together of an original chamber opera in collaboration with student writers.

They sometimes take unorthodox forms. One project involved all composition students in a performance of Terry Riley’s ‘In C’. Another involved collaborating with Irish traditional musicians. The composition department has close ties with the Irish Youth Ballet and the National College of Art and Design and has participated in several fascinating collaborations with students from these institutions. 

Entry Requirements

Please apply directly to the RIAM via the online applications page.

The closing date for application is December 1st

Prospective students will sit an entrance examination and attend an interview in late January. Students should also be able to produce a portfolio of original works at interview. 

More details about entry requirements can be found at the following link: How to Apply (Degrees & Programmes)

Full details of the BMus Composition course content can be found in the  BMus Composition Handbook.

 

Course handbook