Composition Syllabus

Baylor University Spring 2021 course syllabus for MUS: 1107, 1108, 2207, 2208, 3207, 3307, 3308, 4307, 4308, 5207, 5208, 5209


Dr. Ben Johansen

Dr. Scott McAllister


  • regular weekly lessons will be scheduled at the beginning of each semester

  • some lessons will be virtual and some will be in-person

Required Attendance Outside of Scheduled Weekly Lesson

Non-composition majors are not required to attend any events outside of scheduled weekly lessons. Composition majors are required to attend or view all of the following:

  • Live Comp [virtual] Forums:

    • 01/31 @ 8pm via Zoom (link emailed to you)

    • 02/28 @ 8pm via Zoom (link emailed to you)

    • 03/28 @ 8pm via Zoom (link emailed to you)

  • Recorded Composer Lab Pieces

  • Live or Recorded Composition studio and student [virtual] concerts/recitals (TBD)

School of Music's COVID Protocols

You must follow the School of Music's COVID Protocols =

You must wear a face mask and respect social distancing when meeting with your instructor in person.

Weekly Lesson Attendance

During this unprecedented time of a global pandemic, lesson attendance must be approached differently from the way it would in a standard semester. If you are sick or have any symptoms (even if they are slight) that might relate to COVID-19, please stay home to protect yourself, your classmates, and your professors. As your instructor, I will expect that you work with me to enable you to receive any necessary course content and complete any assignments that you may miss due to being sick or having COVID-19-related symptoms. I also expect you to notify me prior to your lesson if you will be missing for COVID-19 or any other health-related reason. If you are well, have no symptoms, and are not required to remain at home for any COVID-19 or other health-related reason, you should attend lessons and abide by all of the University’s health protocols. Attendance during this time may take many forms due to the various course formats being offered this fall. Be sure to pay careful attention to the additional details below that describe how attendance and class participation will be incorporated into my course.

Importantly, Baylor’s Health Services department on the Waco campus no longer provides notes to “excuse” students from missed classes. Please do not ask Health Services for such documentation.

The following is straight from the School of Music Undergraduate Handbook:

School of Music policy requires that to earn credit in a course a student must be officially enrolled by the end of the second full week of the semester and attend at least 75% of all class meetings. Faculty members may establish additional attendance requirements as outlined in course syllabi. Any student who is not present for at least 75% of the scheduled class sessions for any course will automatically receive a grade of “F” in the course. Any University-related activity necessitating an absence from class will count as an absence when determining whether a student has attended the required 75% of class meetings.

Course Objective

Create an original composition complete with edited score and parts (if applicable). I will assign projects as seen fit to meet this goal. Projects can range from reading and listening assignments, to creativity building exercises. You may also be required to get your piece performed (depending on your portfolio needs).


  • 50% Weekly *progress* + weekly lesson attendance (see above)

  • 50% Projects and Original Composition assignment(s)

Academic Success

I believe every student who has been admitted to Baylor can be successful and I want to partner with you to help you thrive academically. Be sure to take advantage of the many resources available for academic success, including coming to see me during my office hours. Students who regularly utilize the great resources in the Paul L. Foster Success Center ( are among my most successful students. If your academic performance in this class is substandard, I will submit an Academic Progress Report to the Success Center so that the team of coordinated care professionals can ensure that you get the help you need.

First Generation College Students

Baylor University defines a first-generation college student as a student whose parents did not complete a four-year college degree. The First in Line program at Baylor is a support office on campus for first-generation college students to utilize if they have any questions or concerns. Please contact First in Line at [email protected], call 254-710-6854, or visit to learn more about the services available.

Academic Integrity

Plagiarism or any form of cheating involves a breach of student-teacher trust. This means that any work submitted under your name is expected to be your own, neither composed by anyone else as a whole or in part, nor handed over to another person for complete or partial revision. Be sure to document all ideas that are not your own. Instances of plagiarism or any other act of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Honor Council and may result in failure of the course. Not understanding plagiarism is not an excuse. As a Baylor student, I expect you to be intimately familiar with the Honor Code at:

Students Needing Accommodations

Any student who needs academic accommodations related to a documented disability should inform me immediately at the beginning of the semester. You are required to obtain appropriate documentation and information regarding accommodations from the Office of Access and Learning Accommodation (OALA). See or email [email protected] today if you have not done so already.

Baylor University Title IX

Civil Rights Policy and Sexual and Interpersonal Misconduct Policy

Baylor University does not tolerate unlawful harassment or discrimination on the basis of sex, gender, race, color, disability, national origin, ancestry, age (over 40), citizenship, genetic information or the refusal to submit to a genetic test, past, current, or prospective service in the uniformed services, or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, Texas, or local law (collectively referred to as Protected Characteristics).

If you or someone you know would like help related to an experience involving:

  1. Sexual or gender-based harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, stalking, intimate partner violence, or retaliation for reporting one of these types of prohibited conduct, please visit, or contact us at (254) 710-8454, or [email protected].

  2. Harassment (excluding those issues listed in #1) or adverse action based on Protected Characteristics, please visit, or contact us at (254) 710-7100 or [email protected].

The Office of Equity and Title IX understands the sensitive nature of these situations and can provide information about available on- and off-campus resources, such as counseling and psychological services, medical treatment, academic support, university housing, advocacy services, and other forms of assistance that may be available. Staff members at the office can also explain your rights and procedural options. You will not be required to share your experience. If you or someone you know feels unsafe or may be in imminent danger, please call the Baylor Police Department (254-710-2222) or Waco Police Department (9-1-1) immediately.

Except for Confidential Resources, all University Employees are designated Responsible Employees and thereby mandatory reporters of potential sexual and interpersonal misconduct violations. Confidential Resources who do not have to report include those working in the Counseling Center, Health Center and the University Chaplain, Dr. Burt Burleson.

Military Student Advisory

Veterans and active duty military personnel are welcomed and encouraged to communicate, in advance if possible, any special circumstances (e.g., upcoming deployment, drill requirements, disability accommodations). You are also encouraged to visit the VETS Program Office with any questions at (254) 710-7264.