Film Scoring

Develop a foundation of creative musical skills, including composition, counterpoint, orchestration, and conducting, as you prepare music for synchronous use with visual media such as film, TV, video games, and more. As you develop an interpretive sensitivity to the dramatic effectiveness of music when paired with visual media, you’ll also learn the technical skills involved, such as how to create a professional-level score mock-up, for example.

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

To demonstrate your mastery in the area, you 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 resume;
  • a letter of application suitable for the purpose of career placement and advancement; and
  • a recording of an original composition that you will produce to function as a demo to accompany an application portfolio.

You will study acknowledged masterpieces of film scoring and, through this exposure, you will develop an aesthetic vision and the ability to recognize and discuss quality work in film scoring. You’ll develop your interpersonal and other situational skills as you cooperate with performers, studio personnel, technical assistants, and others to finish projects and you will work on other students’ projects as well.

As a film scoring major, you will develop sufficient skills and knowledge to function as a composer, orchestrator, music supervisor, music editor, or any number of technical production workers in the film, television, and/or video game industry, in addition to other visual media. You 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:

  • Sketch and compose stylistically appropriate music in a variety of dramatic styles;
  • Orchestrate dramatic music using appropriate instrumental tone colors and voicings;
  • Conduct to picture and to electronic metronome, conducting multiple meter and tempo changes;
  • Create and edit temporary and final sound track recordings to picture for a complete media work;
  • Create orchestral mockups and electronic scores using current sequencers and sample libraries;
  • Record and mix scores and music stems using current software and hardware;
  • Analyze the dramatic arc of a musical score for a film or other extended media work;
  • Apply legal knowledge, business acumen, and marketing techniques to the operation of a small business; and
  • Develop a concept for a score and create an appropriate musical form for it.
Department: 
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-403Scoring 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).