This intense two-year Master of Fine Arts program is an advanced, practice-oriented, project-based program in the art and craft of creating music for visual media, featuring an uncompromising focus on duplicating professional practice within a college setting. The curriculum is centered around the Scoring classes, where students work on real, full-length visual media projects, ranging from film, television, and advertising to video games and other interactive and/or immersive media, re-creating under the guidance of the original composers the scoring process as it originally transpired. Supporting technical and skill-focused classes incorporate related aspects of media music production–including electronic music production, traditional orchestration, conducting, live recording and mixing, and overviews of visual media production processes. Acting as a third pillar of the program, the Screen Music Forum serves as an exploration and discussion lab, providing an opportunity for practical exploration of important aspects of the scoring process that go beyond actual composition to picture, such as historic, aesthetic, business/financial, cultural, social, and similar considerations. The program’s capstone is a five-week semester in Los Angeles, featuring internships with established media music composers and culminating in the thesis recording and mixing sessions, using professional musicians, studios, and engineers.
As a result of successfully completing program requirements, students should be able to:
- compose and produce effective, professional-quality music scores for currently common visual media projects according to industry standards; and do so in a variety of commonly used musical styles, while also beginning to develop a compelling creative voice of their own;
- effectively translate dramatic observations into appropriate musical decisions; communicate creative decisions to their collaborators; and understand and implement explicit and implied creative instructions from collaborators;
- competently use current industry-standard software and be able to professionally record and mix their own work in industry-standard formats;
- prepare professional live recording sessions, including score and parts production, according to industry standards; and competently conduct their own compositions in sessions with professional musicians;
- understand business issues, publicity, and networking as they pertain to the work of a media composer, and use this knowledge to begin creating and implementing a personal business and publicity plan based on their own goals;
- have basic working knowledge of the entire film, TV, and video game production process, as well as of current forms and practices in media music, and use this knowledge to inform creative, technical, and business decisions in their work as media composers; and
- show a competitive entry-level reel of work samples that demonstrates both competence and a unique creative voice and meets professional standards in terms of both composition and technical quality.