Student Handbook

Ear Training

The entrance exams aim to determine the students’ ear training levels. 

According to the results of this test, students need to take appropriate ear training courses:

  1. Students who rank at level 1 of the Ear Training curriculum must take MSC 121 and MSC 122. ( 
  2. Students who pass Level 1 need to take the following appropriate courses from the Applied Music Elective pool.

Level 2: MSC 181-182

Level 3: MSC 281-282

Level 4: Advanced Ear Training

English preparation

During English preparation, students can take a 1-hour individual composition lesson on the recommendation of the department. However, this course is not compulsory for English preparation. Students are not expected to work on a specific project. The main purpose of the composition lessons during this period is to prepare the student for undergraduate education by studying some basic compositional techniques and concepts.

The maximum duration of English preparation is 2 years. During this period, students are expected to complete the preparatory program and start the undergraduate curriculum. At the end of the second year, students who fail to prepare for English are dismissed from the school in accordance with the university regulations. 

Undergraduate Studies

Composition classes are held one-on-one with a composition instructor for 2 course hours a week during the undergraduate phase. The syllabus of the courses is generally adhered to. ( However, the composition curriculum is shaped individually by the teacher according to the needs of the student and their area of interest.

The requirements that the student must fulfill during his composition education are as follows:

  1. Each semester, composing music that is at least 7 minutes or 100 measures long in total. Written music as part of their homework assignments during their first semester is also accepted within this scope.
  2. At the end of the first year, students must have composed at least one piece for a standard instrument or ensemble of instruments, examples of which are given below.
  • Solo instrument options: orchestral instruments or piano. Works can be solo or accompanied by piano.
  • Examples of ensembles: Strings trio, string quartet, piano string groups, Pierrot or its derivative mixed ensembles.
  1. Composition students must have produced work for at least one of the following types of work during their education.
  • Electronic Music
  • Work for a solo, ensemble, or orchestra containing a human voice (or similarly, speaker, actor / actress, dancer, performance artist)
  • Stage work
  • Work for theater or film
  • Other multimedia jobs
  • Sound installation
  • Minimum 7 minutes of orchestral work of length or at least 12 minutes of large ensemble work. (A work written for a group of at least 15 people in length). Normally, the student is expected to write in his/her last year. However, it can be written in an earlier period with the approval of the teacher and the composition committee.

Unless there’s an event of force majeure, Bilkent Faculty of Music and Performing Arts will provide the performance of student works at regular public concerts and audio and / or video recording. Works written for non-standard instrument / sound combinations and / or performance conditions may not be included in this scope. All composition students will contribute to the organization of the concerts.

Students will work with at least two different composition teachers throughout their undergraduate program. After working with the same teacher in the first and second years of undergraduate education, they continue their education with another teacher in the third and fourth years. Apart from that, if necessary, teacher changes can be made with the decision of the composition committee.

Composition Committee

The composition committee includes three composition faculty members selected by the chair of the department. The student progresses, instructor changes, and curriculum are some of the issues that are discussed and resolved at this committee.

Composition Midterms

There are two midterms per semester in the composition curriculum. The first midterm is carried out in the 7th and the second one in the 14th week. The teacher evaluates the following criteria on each midterm:

Punctual arrival of the student to the lesson

Is the student prepared for the lesson?

Does the student listen to the lesson and do the homework given by the teacher on time?

Does the student work in a disciplined and careful way?

The student’s term grade is calculated as follows:

I-II-III-IV-V-VI. Semesters

First midterm: 15%

Second midterm 15%

Seminar Attendance: 10%

Jury Final Exam: 60%

VII. semester

First midterm: 40%

Seminar Attendance: 10%

Second midterm: 50%

VIII. semester

Final Jury Exam: 50%

Seminar Attendance: %10

Graduation Presentation: %10

Graduation Portfolio: %30

Composition Jury Exams

Each student is expected to complete at least one piece per semester. These works are expected to be at least 7 minutes or 100 measures long, as stated above.

One week before the final exam date, students must submit the work(s) to the exam jury. A copy must be prepared for each jury member.

The scores submitted must be of professional standard. Students are expected to submit completed works. The scores can be handwritten or printed out. In the submission, the following should be included: the score of the work, the recording (if any), performance notes, and the program note.

The jury evaluates the following:

  • Evaluation of the works presented by the student in terms of duration and scope
  • Progress compared to the previous semester
  • Idea and concept of the work
  • Notation and score quality
  • Idiomatic writing

Students get a chance to defend their work before a jury a week after the submission date.

Graduation Year (7th and 8th semesters)

Students do not take the jury exam at the end of their 7th semester.The student must submit his / her graduation portfolio to the department head before the graduation jury. And they are expected to present it during composition seminars.

This portfolio includes:

  • Academic C.V.
  • Portfolio of works: The portfolio consists of at least 7 works and at least one of them must be written for the orchestra or a large ensemble.
  • Links to the recordings
  • One academic paper (term paper) written during undergraduate studies: This paper should be revised with the feedback given by the teacher.

The graduation jury evaluates the student’s entire portfolio along with the work(s) written in the 7th and 8th semesters.

Composition Seminar

Composition seminars take place weekly. Seminar participation constitutes %10 of the composition lesson grade. The following grading is applied:

1-3 absence: 10/10

4- absence: 9/10

5- absence: 7/10

6 absence: 4/10

7 absence 1/10

8 or less absences: 0/10

MSC 100-200-300 Concert Lessons

Composition students must have at least one piece performed as a requirement of concert courses. These non-credit courses are normally loaded in the first semester, if the student has a piece performed, they complete the lesson with an S grade. If the concert is in the second term, the grade of the course is determined as P and the student reloads the course in the second term. If the piece is not performed in the second semester, an unsuccessful (U) grade is given.