Film Scoring

Develop a foundation of creative musical skills, including composition, counterpoint, orchestration, conducting, and computer/synthesis skills, and learn the technical basis and mechanics of preparing synchronous music for use with visual media. Students will also develop an interpretive sensitivity to the dramatic effectiveness of music as suggested or demanded by emotional and dramatic considerations. To demonstrate mastery of these skills and concepts, students will complete a portfolio that will include a finished score of a short film, fully produced and synchronized, a similarly produced and synchronized main title theme for a television series, a professional resumé and letter of application suitable for the purpose of career placement and advancement, and a recording including a variety of musical examples composed and produced by the students and selected to function as a demo to accompany an application portfolio.

Watch students work on a cue with visiting artist Christopher Lennertz:

Students will study acknowledged masterpieces of film scoring and through this exposure will develop an aesthetic vision and the ability to recognize and discuss quality work in film scoring. Interpersonal and other situational skills will be developed through the cooperation necessary to realize finished projects: working with performers, studio personnel, and technical assistants, and participating in other students' projects.

Film scoring majors will develop sufficient skills and knowledge to function as a composer, orchestrator, music supervisor, and music editor or technical production worker in the film and television industry, and will have sufficient knowledge of basic concepts to adapt with success to the changing conditions that are typical of the entertainment industry.

Entrance Requirements

Admission to the film scoring major requires departmental approval. Students wishing to declare film scoring as their major must have earned a grade of B or higher in FS-221 Intensive Introduction to Film Scoring before final approval of the declaration of major can be given. If special circumstances require consideration for declaration of major before a grade is received for FS-221, the department will consider such requests on a case-by-case basis when a student is taking FS-221.

What the Program Gives You

Upon completion of a major in film scoring, students will:

  1. Sketch and compose stylistically appropriate music in a variety of dramatic styles;
  2. Orchestrate dramatic music using appropriate instrumental tone colors and voicings;
  3. Conduct to picture and to electronic metronome, conducting multiple meter and tempo changes;
  4. Create and edit temporary and final sound track recordings to picture for a complete media work;
  5. Create orchestral mockups and electronic scores using current sequencers and sample libraries;
  6. Record and mix scores and music stems using current software and hardware;
  7. Analyze the dramatic arc of a musical score for a film or other extended media work;
  8. Apply legal knowledge, business acumen, and marketing techniques to the operation of a small business; and
  9. Develop a concept for a score and create an appropriate musical form for it.
Required Courses

30 credits for the major:

  • ISKB-211: Basic Keyboard 1
  • ISKB-212: Basic Keyboard 2
  • FS-221: Introduction to Film Scoring
  • CM-221: Techniques of Tonal Writing
  • CM-231: Instrumentation & Score Preparation
  • FS-241Dramatic Scoring 1 (must be taken with FS-203)
  • FS-203Scoring Technology 1 (must be taken with FS-241)
  • FS-303: Scoring Technology 2 (must be taken with FS-340 and FS-341)
  • FS-340: Dramatic Orchestration for Film (must be taken with FS-303 and FS-341)
  • FS-341Dramatic Scoring 2 (must be taken with FS-303 and FS-340)
  • FS-351: Post-Romantic Scoring
  • FS-403 (replaces FS-375: Film Music Editing 1 starting summer 2016): Scoring Technology 3 (must be taken with FS-441)
  • FS-441Dramatic Scoring 3 (must be taken with FS-403)
  • FS-487: Directed Study in Film Scoring
  • Advanced Film Scoring Elective
  • Approved Specified Elective (2 credits)
  • Senior Portfolio including web site, audio demo CD, resume, scores from final projects (short film and main title sequence).