Master of Music in Film Composition
Admission to the MM in Film Composition program requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with at least a 2.50 (on a 4.00 scale) grade point average in last 60 hours of undergraduate course work. Degrees in music are preferred, but not required.
Two letters of recommendation and a portfolio of composition work must be mailed in with the downloadable application form or must be submitted after completing the on-line application. Official transcripts should be mailed directly to the school.
Submitted compositions should demonstrate competence in writing in a variety of music genres (complete scores and live or midi recordings required). We are looking for applicants who have an advanced level of composition skill and interest in a range of musical styles.
Graduation Requirements: Students must successfully complete all 52 quarter credits of the required curriculum and maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0. Additionally any courses with a grade of C- or lower may not count toward degree completion.
FS401: Foundations in Film Scoring – 3 Credits
This course is an introduction to the aesthetics, technical and legal aspects of film music. The course focuses on the process of composing music for film, the effect of music on images, and all aspects of the film industry.
FS402: Applied Music Composition – 4 Credits
This course covers advanced composition techniques applicable to the creation of scores that support particular dramatic effects – sadness, triumph, suspense, comedy, etc. Students will learn how to handle the unique compositional challenges presented by film, such as scoring under dialog and manipulating their compositions to fit a film’s nonmusical timing requirements while maintaining musical integrity.
FS403: Orchestration for the Studio Environment – 4 Credits
This course covers orchestration specifically focusing on works to be recorded in a professional studio environment. There are a variety of techniques that work only in the studio and not in a concert hall, and vice versa. It is crucial that film composers understand how to take advantage of these differences and avoid the potential pitfalls of applying live-performance orchestration techniques in a recording-session context.
FS404: Film Composition Colloquium/Portfolio – 3 Credits
This course is a project-based class where students complete composition exercises that meet specific dramatic, technical, compositional and orchestrational requirements. Students will present their compositions to the class and get feedback from the instructor and other students.
FS405: Directed Study in Film Composition – 8 Credits
In this course, primarily private-lesson based, students compose the scores to six film projects. This class is the practical application of everything studied in the program.
FS411: MIDI Sequencing: Digital Performer – 3 Credits
This course covers fundamentals of MIDI sequencing; thorough study of the software program Digital Performer’s capabilities; extensive in-depth study and use of Digital Performer’s film-scoring capabilities.
FS412: MIDI Sequencing: Logic – 3 Credits
This course covers thorough study of the software program Logic’s capabilities; extensive in-depth study and use of Logic’s film-scoring capabilities.
FS413: Synchronization: Auricle – 1 Credit
This course covers how to use the software program Auricle to make the essential calculations of film-scoring effectively and how to use Auricle to generate synchronization information in the studio.
FS414: Advanced MIDI: Virtual-Instrument Plugins and synthesis principles – 3 Credits
This course covers effective methods for creating “mockups;” principles of synthesis, and sampling; and effective use of a variety of industry-standard virtual instrument.
FS421: Notation: Finale – 3 Credits
This course covers fundamentals of proper music notation; thorough study of Finale’s capabilities; importing and exporting into Finale from other software; good practices in program use and parts extraction; extensive in-depth study and use of Finale’s film-scoring capabilities.
FS422: Notation: Sibelius – 3 Credits
This course covers thorough study of Sibelius’s capabilities; good practices in program use and parts extraction; importing and exporting into Sibelius from other software; extensive in-depth study and use of Sibelius’s film-scoring capabilities.
FS431: Audio Recording and Mixing: Protools – 3 Credits
This course covers fundamentals of audio recording and mixing; extensive in-depth study and use of Protools’ capabilities.
FS432: Studio Technology – 3 Credits This course covers fundamentals of technology used in modern studio recording and how to use that technology effectively.
PROFESSIONAL SKILLS CURRICULUM
FS441: Conducting – 2 Credits
This class covers the fundamentals of conducting; the conducting, rehearsal and podium techniques necessary to run an efficient professional recording session.
FS442: Music and Audio for Games – 2 Credits
This class is a thorough investigation into how music and sound operate in the video-game environment, with an emphasis on adaptive, interactive, non-linear composition methods. Students will have the opportunity to write music that is designed to be adapted to game play by special, video-game oriented audio engines and will learn to use current software that controls music and audio in game play through hands-on experience.
FS443: Songwriting for Film – 2 Credits
This course is an investigation of how structure, melody, and lyrics function together to create a well-written song. Students will also examine the ins and outs of writing songs for films, including how to tailor a song for a scene and what constitutes a successful End Credit song. Students will write a film-oriented song and receive instructor and peer feedback.
FS444: Film Music History – 2 Credits
This class focuses on analysis of the style and function of music for film throughout film history, starting with silent-era films and covering scores up to the present day. Students will present an analysis of a seminal film score in class.