Music Performance: Composition

Bachelor of Music (BMUS)

Making great musicians who make great music.

Study Music Composition at LBC

Don’t Just Listen to Great Music. Write It.

We’re in the business of equipping highly skilled artists to influence culture with grace and truth. It is not uncommon to find our students performing their own, original music in coffee houses and at churches around Lancaster County – and we like it that way.

At LBC, we believe in training and launching artists who are fluent in the gospel and music. If you love writing music, deepening your faith and being academically challenged, consider studying music composition at LBC. In addition to the unique, blended Bible and music education that you’ll receive, you will have the chance to study under successful commercial and art music composers and enjoy masterclasses with world-renowned visiting performing artists and teachers. Plus, many of the visiting artists come in conjunction with concerts at the Trust Performing Arts Center, LBC’s very own performance venue located in the heart of downtown Lancaster. And yes, you might even get the chance to perform or record there, too! Our composition students have access to two recording arts studios: one at the Trust and the other located right on campus in our newly-built academic center.

Our students get the chance to learn how to compose music in a variety of formats and styles – our curriculum covers everything from songwriting to orchestral music and electronic composition. Aside from rubbing shoulders with music industry professionals, our composition students often collaborate with other music majors to bring their pieces to life through recordings and concerts.

So, if you’re looking for a music composition program that will give you more than tips and techniques on how to become a better musicians (of course, you’ll learn those things, too) and will help learn more about yourself, God’s plan for your life and how composing music can be a part of it, consider applying to LBC.

Why Study Music Composition at LBC?

  • Learn under the teaching of practitioners and experienced instructors.
  • Participate in on-campus opportunities to write and perform your own compositions.
  • Enjoy regular interaction with accomplished visiting artists, like Stephen Schwartz, composer of Broadway hits like “Godspell,” “Pippin” and “Wicked.”
Your Journey

Program Credits: 133

Locations: Lancaster


Bachelor of Music with majors in Music Performance: Composition and Biblical Studies

Accreditation: National Association of Schools of Music (NASM)


Here are some examples of internships completed by students in the past:

  • Composer in Residence at a Local Church
  • Worship Leader


  • Traditional
  • Online & Evening (Adult Education)
  • Available as Minor

“Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.” – Ephesians 5:19b

A Closer Look: Music Composition

LBC student worship leader signing.

Hands-On Experience

Students in the Music, Worship & Performing Arts department get the chance to showcase their musical skills through recitals, concerts and by leading worship during chapel. Enjoy “More Than an Experience” by MBSSY, an LBC student worship team.

Meet the Faculty

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Paul Thorlakson, DMA

Professor, Director of Piano Studies, Chair of Music, Worship & Performing Arts Department

“I think of faithful music making in much the same way as Eric Liddell felt about his athletic pursuits: ‘I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast, When I run I feel God’s pleasure.’ When I perform music to the Glory of God, I sense in His pleasure in the pursuit of artistic excellence.” — Dr. Thorlakson

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Robert Bigley, DMA

Professor, Director of Choral Studies and Chorale & Chamber Singers, Director of Arts and Culture Series

“God has entrusted each of us with talents (Mt. 25:14–30). Your job is to invest those talents in such a way that they develop into skill, which God will ultimately use for His glory (Ps. 33:3). My job as a professor is to help you do that (1 Chr. 15:22).” — Dr. Bigley

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Timothy Sidebothom, PhD

Professor, Director of Music: Elective Studies

“While Desmond Tutu is credited with saying: ‘If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.’ God’s Word clearly taught us first that our role as Christ-followers and musicians is not neutral in the present, the past or the future, but we first need to know where we’ve been (through studying history) so we best know where we’re going!” – Dr. Sidebothom

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Rachel Sidebothom, MEd

Assistant Professor, Director of Music Education Studies, Oboe Instructor, Associate Chair of MWPA

“I believe music is an eternal gift given to us by God to glorify Him and encourage and edify one another.  What greater profession can one have than training students of all ages to know, understand, develop, and use this gift!” — Mrs. Sidebothom

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Bruce Gerlach, DMA

Part-time Faculty

“In my joy, I’ve joined the dance of Union with the Three in One” – from the hymn “Union With the Three in One”– Dr. Gerlach

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Jeffrey Martin, MM

Assistant Professor & Director of Vocal Studies

“God made each of us uniquely. Training our voices is equally unique.” – Dr. Martin

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Kendra Bigley, MM

Adjunct Faculty- Piano

“One is not a pianist because they play the piano; rather, one plays the piano because they are a pianist.”

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Sample Course Outline

MUS 101 – Music Theory I

Elements of music including melody, counterpoint, harmony, and tonality are studied. Roman numerals, figured bass, and chord symbols are used in beginning analytical and practical applications.

WPA 102 – Introduction to Worship Arts

A foundational understanding of a biblical theology of worship is introduced. Additionally, an overview of the art of worship from early Christian times through the current post-modern trends is included. Practical implications for worship situations in today’s church are drawn from both the biblical and historical context.

MUS 102 – Music Theory II

Further development of topics covered in Music Theory I (MUS 101) including harmony, cadences, and embellishing tones are studied. Roman numerals, figured bass, and chord symbols are used in intermediate analytical and practical applications.

MUS 221 – Conducting I

Conducting I includes the instruction of basic patterns and techniques, interpretive gestures, and rehearsal techniques. The academic environment is that of a workshop in which students conduct actual ensembles. Repertoire is varied and selected according to the student’s academic, musical, and career priorities.

HIS 224 – History of Christian Song

An investigation of the origin and development of sacred song from its beginnings to the present, with special reference to the relation of sacred Christian song to historical, sociological and theological trends, and the biblical principles and historical trends inherent in the use of sacred song in personal and corporate worship. Sacred song in Western civilization will be the central focus, though not to the exclusion of other world music movements and influences.

MUS 212 – Contemporary Theory & Arranging

Advanced harmony and rhythms are studied. Counterpoint and voice-leading of these musical elements are applied in arrangements written for various ensembles.

MUS 201 – Music Theory III

Further development of topics covered in Music Theory II including chromatic chords and modulation. Roman numerals, figured bass, and chord symbols are used in advanced analytical and practical applications.

MUS 211 – Introduction to Composition

Musical form and advanced harmony are studied. These musical elements are explored through the composition of original pieces.

MUS 332 – Orchestration

This course is the study and practice of instrumental transcription and orchestration arranging and composing. The ranges, individual characteristics, strengths and weaknesses of each orchestral instrument will be studied in preparation for transcribing, arranging, and orchestral composition assignments. Students will also be given the opportunity to study the guidelines for transcribing from keyboard, chamber ensemble, and band to an orchestral score as well as demonstrate an understanding of these transcribing guidelines for each specific setting. A comprehensive knowledge and application of music notation software is a vital aspect of this course.

MUS 335 – Composition with Electronic Media

Composition with Electronic Media is intended to introduce the student to the compositional processes and possibilities of current software and hardware computer resources including synthesis and recording resources, a short historical perspective plus the basics of the production of sound with this technology. The course will also include the integration of the traditional, accepted principles of composition into modern technological tools and the architecture of primary musical forms.

MAP 302 – Applied Music – Composition

Advanced composition instruction for juniors and seniors in the Music Performance major. The student continues to work toward developing a small portfolio of written compositions in varying styles and genres.

MUS 331 – Counterpoint

This course is designed to expose the student to the contrapuntal element that is present, to some degree, in all music, and to make them aware of the “forces of opposition and agreement, tension and relaxation, direction, climax and the like that operate whenever two or more voices are sounded simultaneously” (Kent Kennan).

MUS 330 – Form & Analysis

In this course instruction is given in the concept of musical form, beginning with the phrase, and ending with the study of sonata form and the complete symphony, with all the ‘musical architectural forms’ in between.

WPA 450 – Worship & Performing Arts Practicum

The practicum is an in-service program for the purpose of providing direct ministry involvement and experience under the supervision of a qualified professional and the Program Coordinator, with the approval of the department Chair. A minimum involvement of 10 hours/week is required. Open only to Seniors.







Every student who applies to any major in the Music, Worship & Performing Arts department must audition for acceptance into the major of their interest and must also be accepted as a student to Lancaster Bible College.

Audition Requirements

Careers and Jobs in Music Performance

  • Accompanist
  • Arts Management
  • Church Worship Leader
  • Composer
  • Music Teacher/Instructor
  • Music Producer
  • Orchestral Musician
  • Performer
  • Soloist
  • Songwriter

What’s your next step?