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Music Composition

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Program Code: MC511
Credential: Ontario Graduate Certificate
Program Length: 2 semesters
Start Dates: September

Program Overview

Humber’s Music Composition graduate certificate program prepares you to write music for a number of professional environments including live performance, sound recording, film, television, video games and other contemporary media. In addition to the course work in this online program, you will be paired with a professional composer or songwriter who will mentor you as you compose original music and expand your portfolio. Composers of all genres of music are welcome. You’ll receive expert feedback in order to refine your skills, establish industry connections and understand the wide range of industry uses for composed music.

 

Courses Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the program, a graduate will:

  1. Discuss compositional techniques, approaches and idioms and their applications within contemporary composition and their impact on the music industry.
  2. Compose a repertoire of compositions that meet or exceed professional industry standards using a number of compositional techniques, appropriate to various idioms, genres and styles.
  3. Assess, evaluate and critically analyze a variety of compositional styles, genres and idioms, with consideration for musical characteristics, traits, importance, legacy and aesthetic value.
  4. Contextualize one’s compositional voice within the history of musical composition, specifically addressing the idioms of jazz and other African American musical genres, contemporary popular music, art music and music for film and television.
  5. Create a professional portfolio, which includes evidence of musical mastery of entrenched compositional techniques and practices.
  6. Apply computer applications and music technology skills in composition to achieve desired style.
  7. Conduct work and business interactions in adherence to legal principles, government legislation and regulations, copyright and contract requirements, and professional and industry codes of conduct.
  8. Employ composition, project management, critical thinking and problem solving skills in response to varied creative and practical constraints of individual and collaborative music projects.
  9. Apply negotiation, effective interpersonal communication, and human resource management skills to establish and maintain effective working relations with music industry teams.
  10. Appraise personal musical strengths and skills in order to promote one’s artistic vision and awareness, interests and abilities.
  11. Use business tools, including traditional and social media and analytics, to promote one’s own musical career.


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The Humber Advantage

This unique distance program allows you to work remotely to develop your composing skills from the comfort of your own home, studio, or anywhere else you have access to the Internet!

student working on laptop

This program is taught by industry experts, providing you with the most up-to-date and relevant curriculum.



Composed by student Julien Verschooris,
Graduate Certificate in Music Composition 2018/19

"Perhaps the greatest thing that Humber's music composition program has offered is pairing me with my mentor, who has helped me persist every step of the way, while I further my career in film and media composing."

Prelude from Suite For Concert Band



Composed by student Ted Selemidis,
Graduate Certificate in Music Composition 2018/19

"The course has been a good balance of online course materials and hands-on work with a personal mentor in your particular area of musical interest. Being able to work with someone who has real-life experience gives you insights and tips for your pieces that you wouldn't be able to get from a textbook or even a general classroom setting."

When You Forget My Name



Composed by student Cynthia Marhue,
Graduate Certificate in Music Composition 2018/19

"The composition program has given me a wonderful mentor who has inspired me to “mine” my songs - dig deeper, and find those hidden gems lyrically. David Leask has been an altogether patient, helpful, knowledgeable source of both creative and music business information - and for that connection I am so thankful. In addition the great part of the program is being connected with Nancy Walker and her comments and suggestions as a musician and composer throughout many projects, as well as being in touch with other like minded composers studying in the program."

Expert Faculty

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Justin Gray

Justin Gray is a producer, bassist, composer, and educator based in Toronto.

As a producer, recording, mixing and mastering engineer, Justin has worked with artists from across the globe in a diverse range of musical styles (synthesissound.com). As a Dolby ATMOS mix and mastering engineer, Justin is also a leader in the field of immersive audio production (immersivemastering.com).

As an electric bassist, double bassist, and Bass Veena player, Justin performs in a variety of traditional and contemporary musical ensembles from around the world. Additionally, Justin leads his own contemporary world music ensemble, Justin Gray & Synthesis (justingray.ca).

Over the course of his career, Justin has received a number of awards and distinctions, including: nomination for World Music Album of the Year (CFMA 2020), nomination for Best Solo Artist (CFMA 2018), recipient of Emerging Jazz Artist Award (Toronto Arts Foundation 2015), recipient of Shanti Chakravarty Award for Excellence in Indian Classical Performance (York University 2015).

As a performing artist, Justin is proudly endorsed by Godfrey Guitars, Markbass, D’Addario Canada, Radial Engineering, Lava Cable and Source Audio.

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Andrew Kesler

Andrew Kesler is an award-winning Canadian musician, composer, arranger, orchestrator and producer based in Los Angeles.  

As a multi-instrumentalist music director and sideman his credits include industry heavyweights David Foster, Pentatonix, Michael Bublé, Seal, John Mayer, Babyface, Jacob Collier, Jennifer Holliday, Tom Scott, Jeff Hamilton, Michael Orland, Sara Niemietz, Dennis Chambers, and two seasons in the America’s Got Talent house band.   

In the studio, Kesler shifts his focus to writing, arranging and producing with established artists including Arturo Sandoval, Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, Take 6, Lalo Schifrin, The Manhattan Transfer, Siedah Garrett, Mervyn Warren, and Jorge Calandrelli in addition to composing for film & media (“I Wanna Dance with Somebody [2022]”, Netflix, TLC, Comedy Central, Google, Disney, Butter Music, Bigger Story Music, Sony/BMG).  

Often referred to as the "gadget man" for his ability to work seamlessly in many roles, Kesler has credited contributions on hundreds of recordings spanning all genres. Kesler has had the privilege to work with the WDR Funkhausorchester, City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, the Budapest Scoring Orchestra, Guy Barker’s Jazz Orchestra, and the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra.  

Kesler serves on the board of directors for the American Society of Music Arrangers & Composers (ASMAC) and is proud to endorse Nord Keyboards, Fury Guitars, Dingwall Basses, John Pearse Strings and 64 Audio. Kesler received his Bachelor’s Degree with Honors from Humber College in Toronto studying jazz piano and music production and went on to earn his Master’s Degree with Distinction from the University of Chichester, England studying orchestration for film, television and video games.  
 
Kesler has held residencies as a music educator at post-secondary institutions throughout North American and Europe including The Royal Northern College of Music (UK), USC Thornton School of Music (CA), University of Oregon (OR), Humber College (Toronto), McGill University (Montreal), Guildhall School of Music & Drama (UK), Chapman University (CA), and Tiffin University (OH).  

Watch the session video for "Tango de Mango" by Andrew Kesler.

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Kevin Lau

Described as a “self-assured voice” (Barczablog) with a “masterful control over his idiom” (Classical Music Sentinel), Kevin Lau is one of Canada’s most sought-after composers. Awarded the 2017 Canada Council’s prestigious Victor Martyn Lynn-Staunton Award, Kevin’s work has been commissioned and performed by ensembles across North America, including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Niagara Symphony Orchestra, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Tampa Bay Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Made in Canada, Hannaford Street Silver Band, the Afiara String Quartet, the Dior String Quartet, and the Houston-based River Oaks Chamber Orchestra. His work has been performed abroad in countries such as Denmark, Austria, Germany, and the Czech Republic. In 2021, he assumed the role of Composer in Residence of the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra.  

In 2016 he composed the score for the National Ballet of Canada’s full-length ballet Le Petit Prince, featuring choreography by NBOC Principal Dancer Guillaume Côté. His second ballet (Dark Angels), commissioned by the National Arts Centre Orchestra and also choreographed by Côté, was described as “riveting” (Ottawa Citizen) and “extraordinarily accomplished and expressive” (Artsfile). One of his most recent large-scale works, an oratorio-film hybrid (Bound) commissioned by Against the Grain Theatre, was hailed by the Globe and Mail as “a brilliant creation.” 

Kevin’s discography includes two JUNO award-winning albums: Detach (Redshift, harpist Angela Schwarzkopf) and Mosaïque (Ensemble Made in Canada.) Other albums include Solo Seven (ATMA Classique, violinist Marc Djokic), which won Best Album at the 2020 East Coast Music Awards; the JUNO-nominated Spin Cycle (Centrediscs, Afiara Quartet and DJ Skratch Bastid); and Encount3rs (Analekta, National Arts Centre Orchestra.) His recent composition Little Feng Huang is featured on the album Lumena (Redshift, Topaz Duo) which was voted among the “best 22 classical albums of 2022” according to CBC. 

Born in Hong Kong, Kevin received his doctorate in 2012 from the University of Toronto under the supervision of Christos Hatzis; shortly after, he was appointed Affiliate Composer of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra till 2015. He is also an active film composer, and has written the scores to over a dozen films, including Charles Officer's acclaimed documentary Invisible Essence: The Little Prince (2018). 

Watch the Toronto Symphony Orchestra perform Kevin Lau's "For Home."

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Anthony Panacci

Anthony Panacci attended the Humber Music jazz program from 1976 to 1980 and has also received his grade 10 Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. He is currently on faculty at Humber teaching jazz piano and in the recording studio department.

Since 1976, he has been playing extensively in the Canadian music scene both live and in the studio. Anthony is a very versatile musician who plays jazz in festivals and clubs across Canada, notably in Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City. In 1986, he toured Canada with classical guitarist Liona Boyd. He has played and recorded pop and country with David Clayton Thomas, Petula Clark, Shirley Eikhard, the Mersey Brothers and Pete Wade, and Latin jazz with the Montuno Police, Robby Ameen and his own project, Eclectica Latino, featuring Raul Pineda and Roberto Viscaino.

Anthony also owns a full digital recording studio in his house where he engineers and produces for bands, singers and music for TV, radio and many different jazz projects, including his own, Eclectica Latino and Blues for Jazz, and his wife Mary’s Her Perfume.

In 2016 and 2017, Anthony played in the house band for the CBC Canadian Screen Awards with Norm MacDonald and Howie Mandel. He was Mississauga's musician of the year award in 1999 and received the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award for Mississauga.

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Rebecca Pellett

Rebecca Pellett is an arranger, orchestrator and composer living and working in Toronto, Canada. She arranges extensively for symphony orchestra; her work has been featured by premiere orchestras across the continent, including the Cincinnati Pops, Houston Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic, National Arts Centre Orchestra, and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. She is an enthusiastic collaborator, arranging and orchestrating for a vast variety of artists and ensembles including Rosanne Cash, Joe Henry, Common, Ron Sexsmith, Adam West, George Takei, the USO, Aoife O’Donovan, Measha Brueggergosman, Natalie MacMaster, the Leahy family, The Barra MacNeils, Sarah Slean, The Rankin Family, Sultans of String, Hawksley Workman, Rose Cousins, Chris Hadfield, David Myles, Dan Mangan, Jenn Grant, Stars, Whitehorse, Kuné, Matt Andersen, & Ria Mae. Rebecca has also been commissioned to write original works for many prominent Canadian ensembles and artists, including Quartetto Gelato, Colin Maier, the Sultans of String, and the Viceroy Brass Ensemble. 

Rebecca has significant experience orchestrating for the screen, and has worked with many iconic filmmakers and composers, including Norman Jewison, Dan Petrie, Don McKellar, Guy Maddin, Jonathan Goldsmith, and Michael Small. Also at home in the recording studio, Rebecca has worked as an engineer and producer on many notable recording projects; she was an engineer on eight Toronto Symphony Orchestra recordings, one of which was nominated for a Juno award. 

Recently Rebecca has written several pieces which will bring to the stage books published by Scholastic and Penguin Random House. In 2022 a recording of her new composition inspired by Bobby Orr's children's book, Bobby Orr and the Hand-Me-Down Skates, and featuring narration by Peter Mansbridge, was released.

Your Career

Ontario is home to Canada’s largest and one of the world’s most diversified music sectors, with Toronto being the third biggest music market in North America. Job trends show consistent and substantial employment opportunities in the fields of music business, administration, production and distribution.

Program Availability

Start dates between Sept 2023 - Aug 2024
START DATE LOCATION STATUS
September 2023 Online Open
Start dates between Sept 2023 - Aug 2024
START DATE LOCATION STATUS
September 2023 Online Open

Humber Students Benefit from Five Centres of Innovation (COIs)

The Humber Centres of Innovation Network demonstrates our strong commitment to providing an experiential learning environment for students. Students and faculty work with industry partners on real-world challenges to prepare them to become the innovative and strategic problem-solvers of tomorrow. Come to Humber and experience interdisciplinary learning across five COIs.

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News Feed

Senior Dean Update: Media & Creative Arts Anti-Racism Action Plan

Senior Dean Update: Media & Creative Arts Anti-Racism Action Plan

Fri, October 15, 2021

In June 2020, I committed the FMCA to seven action items to address the attitudes, behaviours and structures that act as barriers for students from Indigenous and equity-deserving communities.

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Update: Humber Music Solidarity One Year On

Update: Humber Music Solidarity One Year On

Fri, October 15, 2021

In June 2020, Humber Music faculty pledged to address systemic racism and gender discrimination in the music programs by working with students, alumni, administrators, and industry experts

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A Message from the Senior Dean: Music Degree Update

A Message from the Senior Dean: Music Degree Update

Tue, April 27, 2021

Over the past few months, the Faculty of Media & Creative Arts began a review of our Bachelor of Music program delivery.

Read More

No news at this time.

Every attempt is made to ensure that information contained on this website is current and accurate. Humber reserves the right to correct any error or omission, modify or cancel any course, program, fee, timetable or campus location at any time without prior notice or liability to users or any other Person.

On October 21, 2019, the Provincial Government of Ontario announced the renaming of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) to the Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU). Both names may appear on this website.

Contact Us

Admissions Questions

General Enquiries

Call 416-675-3111 or email enquiry@humber.ca. If you have already applied, be sure to check your application status on myhumber.ca.

Domestic Applicants Enquiries

Domestic applicants can book a one-on-one advising appointment with an admissions representative.

International Applicants Enquiries

Contact the International Centre for information about full-time programs (including the International Graduate School), how to apply and to follow up on your submitted application.

Program-Specific Questions

Speak to the Program Co-ordinator about the course curriculum, projects and career options.

Justin Gray, program co-ordinator
416.675.6622 ext. 3493
justin.gray@humber.ca

Campus Information

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How To Become An Apprentice

Becoming an Apprentice

Find an employer willing to sponsor you as an apprentice.

Contact the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development to register as an apprentice.

Work with your employer approximately one year before attending Humber.

View Instructions 

Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP)

If you’re in high school – grade 11 or 12 – you can earn co-op education credits through work placements in some skilled trades.

Visit OYAP 

How to Apply

Domestic Students

Applications to Humber are made through ontariocolleges.ca. Be sure to submit your application by the equal consideration deadline of February 1. You may apply after February 1, however, post-February 1 applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis depending on the availability of the space in the program.

To check program availability refer to the Campus/Availability listing on Humber’s program pages, search by availability, or ontariocolleges.ca.

To see where you are in the admissions process, visit the Admissions Road Map.

International Students

If you’re an international student, you can apply directly to Humber via our International Centre.

Need Advice?

Program Advising Appointments

Get help narrowing down your program options or book a one-on-one pre-enrolment advising appointment with one of our Recruitment Officers.

Transfer & Pathway Advising

Book a virtual appointment with a Student Mobility Advisor learn more about getting Transfer Credit(s) for previous post-secondary experience, Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR), and Pathways options.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must meet all the requirements below in order to meet minimum program eligibility. Meeting minimum eligibility requirements does not guarantee an offer of admission. Admission decisions will be available via MyHumber, or by email and mail. Admission decisions will not be released by phone.

Admission selection is based on the following four requirements:

  • Academic

    To be eligible for admission, you must possess the following:

    • A bachelor’s degree, advanced diploma or diploma

    Mature Applicants

    Diplomas and Certificates

    An applicant is considered a mature applicant if they have not completed secondary school or other postsecondary school, and will be 19 or older as of the first day of classes. Humber will invite you for testing to demonstrate that you meet all listed course requirements.

    Degrees

    An applicant is considered a mature applicant if they have not completed secondary school or attended postsecondary studies, and will be 21 or older as of the first day of classes. Mature applicants for degree programs will be required to meet course requirements at the U/M level or equivalent.

    College Transfer Applicants

    Diplomas and Certificates

    An applicant is considered a college transfer applicant if they have completed some or all of a college-level credential. Humber may use a combination of secondary school and/or college courses and grades to determine program eligibility.

    Degrees

    An applicant is considered a college transfer applicant if they have completed some or all of a college-level credential. Humber may use a combination of secondary school and/or college courses and grades to determine program eligibility. Applicants must have an overall minimum grade point average (GPA) of 65 per cent in the program. Applicants are required to disclose and provide academic transcripts for all course work completed at the postsecondary level.

    University Transfer Applicants

    Diplomas and Certificates

    An applicant is considered a university transfer applicant if they have completed some or all of a university-level credential. Humber may use a combination of secondary school and/or university courses and grades to determine program eligibility.

    Degrees

    An applicant is considered a university transfer applicant if they have completed some or all of a university-level credential. Humber may use a combination of secondary school and/or university courses and grades to determine program eligibility. Applicants are required to disclose and provide academic transcripts for all course work completed at the postsecondary level.

  • Sample Composition

  • Applicants will submit a sample of their original composed work (any style) in recorded and written form (score or lead sheet) that evidences musical competence.

    Submission Instructions

  • English Language Proficiency

    All applicants whose first language is not English must meet Humber’s English Language Proficiency Policy.

  • International Credit Evaluation

    Canadian citizens or permanent residents with international education are required to provide a WES or ICAS evaluation.

International Academic Equivalency

Admission equivalencies for Humber depend on your country of study. Please enter your location or choose detect my location to see the requirements for your country below.

Post-Admission Requirements

Once you have been accepted, and have confirmed your offer, you may need to complete a further set of requirements related to your program (Post-Admission Requirements).

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Equipment & Device Requirements

Fees & Financial Aid

The 2022-2023 fee for two semesters was:

  • domestic: $6,433.30
  • international: $17,618.00

Fees are subject to change.

Fees by Semester

Domestic Fees International Fees

Financial Aid, Scholarships and Bursaries

Understand the costs associated with coming to Humber and explore resources available from first year to your final year on Student Fees and Financial Resources.

Scholarships

Humber Scholarships

Find out more about scholarships and bursaries that you may be eligible for, visit Student Scholarships. International students can visit International Student Scholarships.

Humber Bursaries

Bursaries are available for Certificate, Diploma and Degree programs primarily based on financial need, visit Humber Bursaries.

External Awards, Bursaries & Scholarships

Find out more information about external scholarships and bursaries, visit External Awards.

Indigenous Student Awards, Bursaries & Scholarships

Humber offers a variety of bursaries and scholarships for Indigenous students, visit Indigenous Student Awards.

Explore Opportunities through Humber Pathways

Humber Pathways include:

  • Opportunities to build on your college education and complete your diploma or degree at Humber.
  • Degree and graduate study opportunities at other institutions in Ontario, Canada and abroad.
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