Music Composition

Saddleback College offers a unique opportunity to study music composition, both in the area of concert music and popular songwriting. The composition program at Saddleback College is one of the largest and most successful programs of its kind in the state, and has produced many students who have gone on to four-year programs in composition as well as successful careers in music.

For more information, please contact Norman Weston



YouTube     Facebook

Music 15: Music Composition
The emphasis in this class is on original composition for traditional orchestral instruments.  Students have the opportunity to write for performing musicians, and hear all of their compositions performed live.   Students registering for Music 15 must be able to read music.

Music 119: Advanced Music Composition
Composition of large scale chamber works using intermediate/advanced level 20th and 21st century compositional techniques. Covers writing for combinations of standard orchestral instruments and the development of individual compositional style.
Music 14: Jazz Composition
A study of the traditional and popular use of intervals, modes, rhythms, meters, notation of scales, structure notation, and use of traditional and popular chords and progressions. Emphasis will be placed on the traditional and popular concepts of melodic writing for popular and jazz music.
Music 117: Popular Songwriting
The emphasis in this class is on all aspects of popular songwriting, from the lyrics to the music to the creation of a demo.

Music 10/11/12: Harmony I, II, III
This three semester sequence covers diatonic and chromatic harmony, voice leading, and analysis of appropriate literature.  It is highly recommended that music majors register for Music 10 their first semester of studies.

Music 92/93/94: Musicianship II, II, III
This three semester sequence covers sight singing and dictation of rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic materials.  Music 92 focuses on basic diatonic materials; Music 93 covers more advanced diatonic music.  Music 92 is designed to be taken simultaneously with, or after, Music 10.  Music 93 should be taken simultaneously with, or after, Music 11. Music 94 should be taken simultaneously with, or after, Music 12.


Norman Weston- Director of Theory and Composition

Norman Weston has been on the faculty of Saddleback College since 1989.  An active composer whose music is widely performed, he received his B.M. and M.M. from Indiana University and his D.M.A. from Northwestern University.  In 2006 Mr. Weston was named both Saddleback College Professor of the Year and Orange County Community College Professor of the Year.



One of the most vibrant applied programs offered by any undergraduate music school in the United States, the Applied Program is the Saddleback Music Department's crown jewel. Competitive and comprehensive, the Applied Program enrolls students in a weekly applied lesson, an ensemble class (piano ensemble for pianists), and a weekly concert hour, a performance class required of all music majors, during which students demonstrate their performing abilities before their classmates and the Music Faculty, in a professional concert setting. Most Applied Program students also enroll in classes such as music theory, music history, and choir.

Auditions for the Applied Program are held on the first Thursday of each semester between Noon and 2 pm in room FA 101. To schedule your audition, contact the Applied Program Coordinator, Professor Norm Weston: Prepare a program of between five and ten minutes duration, preferably memorized and featuring contrasting styles, to showcase your abilities.