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College of Arts and Humanities

TVW Theme Music Composition Contest

The CWU TVW Theme Music Composition Contest will provide CWU music majors an opportunity to apply their creative skills to a real-world application, consistent with the educative mission of the department and University.  The successful student will produce a musical motif and an extended variant that meet TVW’s needs for a distinctive aural ‘logo’ in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the broadcast network.  The project will highlight the partnership between TVW and Washington’s institutes of higher education in their shared commitment to public service and learning.


The model for the submission materials is the musical ‘brand’ for programming like NPR’s All Things Considered by Wycliffe Gordon and Don Voegel, or the NBC Nightly News theme (The Mission) by John Williams.  These consist of a 3-5 second melodic/harmonic/rhythmic motif. This motif has been extended to longer treatments, as well as arranged for multiple ensembles, instruments, and musical styles.  See this YouTube example of the NPR theme: and The Mission:


TVW is a pioneer in public-affairs broadcasting.  Headquartered in Olympia, TVW is known for its gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Washington State Legislature and Supreme Court, as well as for its award-winning original programming, such as Inside Olympia and The Impact. For more information, please visit


Application (.pdf)
Application (.docx)


Submissions due December 2, 2019



  • Currently enrolled CWU music majors (Fall 2019)



  • Name, student ID, major status, contact information--download form from CWU Music website
  • Submission materials (4 electronic files and application form) emailed to



  • Application form (Word or .pdf file)
  • Motif (piano version) in standard musical score notation, .pdf format
  • Motif (piano version), .mp3 audio file
  • Motif (piano version) extended to 30 seconds in standard musical score notation, or lead-sheet if appropriate, .pdf format
  • Motif (piano version) extended to 30 seconds, .mp3 audio file


Additional documentation

  • Students should document their creative process using photo/video (mobile phone, for example). This is not to be submitted with the contest entry, but will assist with production of the documentary featuring the winning entry and composer


Evaluation and Selection Criteria

  • The successful entry will be distinctive (not prone to remind of another theme or piece), memorable (unique, ‘catchy’), and generative (capable of being modified, varied, and adapted to various musical settings)


Selection Committee

  • One member CWU music faculty (Bret Smith)
  • One member TVW staff (to be determined)
  • Representative from CWU Public Affairs (Kremiere Jackson)
  • Representative from CWU Government Relations (Antonio Sánchez)



  • October 21, 2019: Announce at Convocation
  • December 2, 2019: Submissions due
  • December 13: Selection made
  • January 27, 2020: Announce winner at Convocation
  • February, 2020: Winner attends TVW Gala in Olympia, results announced



  • $500 Music Department scholarship
  • Short documentary on composer, composition, and the creative process to air on TVW
  • On-air credit in episodes where theme is used
  • Honored attendee of TVW’s 25thAnniversary Gala, seated at the Governor’s table as work is premiered
  • Public acknowledgement and exposure of work, future opportunities to develop idea in production
  • Package of branded items courtesy of CWU Public Affairs


TVW will retain copyright to the winning entry materials and derivatives.

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