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Music Composition

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Program Code: MC511 Credential: Ontario Graduate Certificate Program Length: 2 semesters
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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 visual 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.


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 ( As a Dolby ATMOS mix and mastering engineer, Justin is also a leader in the field of immersive audio production (

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 (

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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Kevin Lau

Described as a "self-assured voice" (Barczablog) with "masterful control over his idiom" (Classical Music Sentinel), Kevin Lau has established himself as one of Canada's leading young composers. Awarded the 2017 Victor Martyn Lynn-Staunton Award by the Canada Council for Outstanding Achievement, Kevin's music has been commissioned and performed by ensembles across North America, including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Niagara Symphony Orchestra, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Tampa Bay Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Made in Canada, Octagon, Piano Six, the Hannaford Street Silver Band, TorQ, and the Houston-based River Oaks Chamber Orchestra. Recent collaborators on new works include violinist Jonathan Crow, clarinetist Yao Guang Zhai, cellist Rachel Mercer, violinist Scott St. John, erhu soloist Andy Lin, oboist Charles Hamann, and oboist Caitlin Broms-Jacobs. In 2021 he will serve as composer in residence for the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra.

In 2016 Kevin composed the score for the National Ballet of Canada's original full-length ballet Le Petit Prince, featuring choreography by NBOC principal dancer and choreographic associate Guillaume Cote. His second ballet score, Dark Angels, was commissioned by the National Arts Centre Orchestra for its Encount3rs project in 2017, and was described as riveting (Ottawa Citizen) and extraordinarily accomplished (Artsfile). His most recent large-scale work, an opera-film hybrid (Bound) commissioned by Against the Grain Theatre and recorded by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, was hailed by the Globe and Mail as "a brilliant creation."

Kevin's discography includes two JUNO award-winning albums: Detach (Redshift) featuring harpist Angela Schwarzkopf, and Mosaique featuring Ensemble Made in Canada. Other albums include Solo Seven (ATMA Classique) featuring violinist Marc Djokic, which won Best Album at the 2020 East Coast Music Awards; the JUNO-nominated Spin Cycle (Centrediscs, featuring the Afiara Quartet and DJ Skratch Bastid); Encount3rs (Analekta) featuring NACO; The Sounds of Our Time (Naxos) featuring cellist Rachel Mercer, and Premieres (Cambria Records) featuring violinist Conrad Chow.

In addition to composing concert music, Kevin is also active as a film composer, arranger, and pianist. He has written the scores to over a dozen films, including Ben Shirinian's Lulu (which won Best International Short Film at the 2020 Milan International Film Festival) and Charles Officer's acclaimed feature documentary Invisible Essence: The Little Prince (2018), and has created arrangements for artists such as singer-songwriters Sarah Slean, Dan Mangan, and Suzie McNeil; composer Christos Hatzis; and groups such as the Art of Time Ensemble. He has performed many of his own works and collaborates frequently with artists such as Scott St. John (violin), Lynn Kuo (violin), and Victor Cheng (piano).

Born in Hong Kong, Kevin moved to Toronto at the age of 7. In 2012 he received his doctorate in music composition from the University of Toronto under the supervision of Christos Hatzis, and has guest-lectured at U of T for the past six years. He served as composer in residence for the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra (2010-12), the Banff Centre (2012), and was artistic director of the Sneak Peek Orchestra (with conductor and co-founder Victor Cheng) until 2014. He was the youngest composer to be appointed RBC Affiliate Composer for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (2012-15), and was composer in residence of the Niagara Symphony Orchestra from 2018-19.

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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.

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.

Related Programs


Music, Bachelor of

Credential: Honours Degree
Length: 8 semesters


Music, Introduction to Commercial Jazz Music

Credential: Ontario College Certificate
Length: 2 semesters

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Music Business

Credential: Ontario Graduate Certificate
Length: 2 semesters

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Music & Fine Arts Programs

Program Availability

Start dates between Sept 2022 - Aug 2023
September 2022 Online Open
Start dates between Sept 2022 - Aug 2023
September 2022 Online Open

News Feed

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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.

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 4 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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


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).

Not available


The 2022-2023 fee for two semesters is:

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

Fees are subject to change.

Fees by Semester

Domestic Fees International Fees


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.
View Transfer Out Opportunities from this program  

Contact Us

Admissions Questions

Domestic Students  

Phone: 416-675-5000

International Students  

Contact the International Centre

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Contact Information

Heather Lowry, associate dean
416.675.6622 ext. 4552

How to Apply

Applications to Humber are made through 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 or

Admissions Road Map

Apply through Ontario Colleges


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

Apply through the International Centre

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