By Will Rosson
Staff reporter

Before a song is purchased on iTunes, played on the radio or even performed on stage, it has to be composed. While most people could name their favorite artist or band, many could not name the team of people who work behind the scenes to produce a record. The Performing Arts division has started a program for those interested in the composition side of the music industry.

Chris Schmitz, assistant professor of music, has been in charge of starting the Center for Music Composition. After returning from the University of Texas, where he worked on his doctorate degree, Schmitz wanted to provide a new opportunity for students.

“I felt that there was a need to foster music composition at SC. There are students here with creative abilities in composition, and the Center will help to showcase their new works and to help them develop their skills,” said Schmitz.

While at the University of Texas, Schmitz studied acoustic and electronic composition. His background in the field of music technology includes writing electro- acoustic works. He has scored two feature films, and has worked with top digital audio software.

With a new lab featuring top-of-the-line software, Schmitz was able to create a new learning environment for a growing field in music. The Center for Music Composition offers applied study in both electronic and acoustic composition, weekly forums and access to a recording art studio for sound projects and film scoring. “The CMC is open to all students interested in composition,” said Schmitz.

Because the equipment is expensive, only students enrolled in composition or recording arts have access to the digital audio workstations. Tim Miller, music performance senior, has been part of the CMC since its debut last fall. He enjoys having his hands on the new technology.

As both a musician and composer, it’s hard to find time to make nice clean recordings, but the CMC provides him with the proper tools.

“One of the goals of the Performing Arts division is to prepare music students with the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful as professional music educators and performers. The composition center will help composition students reach this standard because it has all the tools and programs that a big university would have. The programs used in the composition center are even used by major film score composers,” said Miller.

Joanna Woon, music senior, loved the new opportunity that was presented to her with the CMC. “The composition center was one of the most fun things I have ever done college. Chris was really good at pushing me to my limits, and the lab was such a great idea. It gave me all the resources I needed to push my composition levels up a notch and really pushed us all beyond our capacities,” said Woon.

Schmitz said, “Our new lab is outfitted with updated software and will serve as a useful facility for SC students who want to build these skills.”

Will Rosson is a senior majoring in communication. You may email him at