Master of Music in Film Composition
On-Campus and Low-Residency Options
MM Program Curriculum - Total Credits 56
All students, both on-campus and low-residency, take all classes together as one hybrid cohort.
FS501: Foundations in Film Scoring – 2 Credits
This course is an introduction to the aesthetics and technical aspects of film music, including the roles and functions of the members of the "music team". The course focuses on understanding the process of composing music for film, the effect of music on images, and other aspects of the film music as an integral part of film production.
FS502: Applied Music Composition 1 – 3 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.
FS503: Applied Music Composition 2 – 3 Credits
This course continues where FS502 ended and introduces students to additional compositional techniques such as advanced harmonic concepts including Modulation, Chromatic Voice Leading progressions (CVL) and Constant Structure composition. Also covered are advanced melodic writing concepts including: phrase length manipulation and Out-of-Scale chromatics.
FS504: 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.
FS505: Film Composition Colloquium– 2 Credits
This course covers the business, legal and financial aspects of the film music industry. Topics covered include: intellectual property – how this is applied to film scores and who owns what; composer contracts - the kinds of contracts that are used in industry and the elements of these contracts; performing rights organizations - how they work and the path that performance royalties take; budgeting – elements to consider in creating a budget for a project. Students will also learn to create appropriate promotional material necessary to procure scoring assignments including creating demo presentations of the works recorded in the program. There will also be discussions on communicating with directors with little or no musical background and how to get your concepts across without musical vocabulary.
FS506: Directed Study in Film Composition/Portfolio – 6 Credits
In this course, primarily private-lesson based, students compose the scores to six film projects for various ensembles and one final thesis project for a 52-piece orchestra. This class is the practical application of everything studied in the program
FS511: MIDI Sequencing 1: 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.
FS512: MIDI Sequencing 2: Logic – 3 Credits
This course covers a thorough study of the software program Logic’s capabilities; extensive in-depth study and use of Logic’s film-scoring capabilities.
FS513: Synchronization & Timings – 1 Credit
This course covers how to use the timing tools built into DAWs to make the essential calculations of film- scoring effectively and how to generate click and streamer tracks for recording sessions.
FS514: Advanced MIDI 1: Plug-ins and Synthesis – 2 Credits
This course covers principles of synthesis, and sampling; and effective use of a variety of industry-standard virtual instruments.
FS515: Advanced MIDI 2: Virtual-Instruments – 2 Credits
Often composers are required to demonstrate what a score will sound like before going ahead with an orchestral recording session. This course covers effective methods and techniques for creating realistic orchestral emulations or “mockups”.
FS516: MIDI Sequencing 3: Cubase – 1 Credit
This course covers a thorough study of the software program Cubase’s capabilities; extensive in-depth study and use of Cubase’s film-scoring capabilities.
FS521: Notation 1: Finale – 3 Credits
This course covers fundamentals of proper music notation and industry standards; thorough and extensive in-depth study of Finale’s capabilities; importing and exporting into Finale from other software; good practices in program use and parts extraction.
FS522: Notation 2: Sibelius – 2 Credits
This course covers a thorough and extensive in-depth study of Sibelius’s capabilities; good practices in program use and parts extraction; importing and exporting into Sibelius from other software.
FS523: Notation 3: Dorico – 1 Credit
This course covers a thorough and extensive in-depth study of Dorico’s capabilities; good practices in program use and parts extraction; importing and exporting into Dorico from other software.
FS531: Audio Production: ProTools– 3 Credits
This course covers fundamentals of audio production techniques pertaining to film scoring including recording, editing, mixing, MIDI and live session preparation; extensive in-depth study and use of Protools’ capabilities.
FS532: Studio Technology – 2 Credits
This course covers fundamentals of technology used in modern studio recording and how to use that technology effectively.
FS551: Intro to Mixing – 1 Credit
This course covers the fundamentals tools of mixing music in the digital domain; critical listening and ear training; using a DAW for mixing multitrack music elements to achieve a well-balanced result.
FS552: Advanced Mixing – 2 Credits
This course explores in-depth tools and techniques for mixing audio in the digital domain; intermediate to advanced use of a DAW and plug-ins to create a versatile mixing environment; balancing multitrack music and other audio elements to achieve a professional-sounding mix.
PROFESSIONAL SKILLS CURRICULUM
FS541: Conducting – 2 Credits
This class covers the fundamentals of conducting, rehearsal and podium techniques necessary to run an efficient professional recording session. Students will have the opportunity to conduct several recording sessions of various size ensembles (up to 52 musicians).
FS542: 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.
FS543: 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.
FS544: 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.
FS546: Ear Training – 2 Credits
In this class students are trained to listen critically and with discernment to a variety of musical textures. Students do rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic dictation both in class and outside of class through online tutorials.