MA in Scoring for Film and Visual Media
Pulse College, in association with the DIT Conservatory of Music & Drama, offers a Masters in Scoring for Film & Visual Media.
Designed to harness the creative potential of future composers, this unique, one year programme is aimed at musicians, composers and engineers who want to develop the technical and musical skills necessary to work within this area.
Programme modules include:
- Fundamentals of Film Scoring
- Score Analysis and Compositional Techniques
- Music Technology
- Orchestration and Arranging
- The Business of Scoring and Visual Media
- Studio Conducting and Score Supervision/Production
- Advanced Scoring Techniques
- Project Development
Fundamentals of Film Scoring
This course aims to provide learners with the fundamental techniques of composing/scoring for film and visual media. It examines the responsibilities, workflows and processes of the composer, from initial commission through to the final completion of the score. Participants will compose a film music cue unaided by computer programs, utilising techniques, which are common practice in film scoring prior to the advent of computers, giving the participants grounding in core film scoring fundamentals. Compositions will be recorded utilising a multi-instrumental ensemble, conductor, score supervisor and engineer in a professional recording studio environment, introducing the learner to industry workflows and practices.
Score Analysis and Compositional Techniques
This course aims to expand learner’s knowledge and understanding of compositional techniques including 20th Century harmony techniques and applications in contemporary film scoring. Learners will transcribe complex works in both conventional notation and as MIDI files. Through deconstruction and critical analysis, learners will develop analytic skills exploring melodic, harmonic, contrapuntal and orchestrational elements of both classical and film score repertoire. Learner compositions will be recorded utilising a multi instrumental ensemble, conductor, score supervisor and engineer in a professional recording studio environment. This module culminates in the recording of a substantial portfolio artifact.
The course Digital Audio Workstation is a powerful tool used in the creation of convincing orchestral mock – ups and electronically generated textures and tones. In the first semester, learners will be introduced to the key concepts and workflows of the modern Digital Audio Workstation, with the benefits and flexibility that virtual instruments offer. This will provide the underpinning knowledge for many assignments across the programme. In semester two, the learner will be introduced to the techniques employed in the recording of solo instruments. The learner will also examine advanced programming and sampling techniques, encouraging the exploration of the DAW and virtual instruments not only as a comprehensive suite of tools, but as a powerful form of expression.
This course aims to provide learners with the knowledge and skills required to transform a composer’s musical sketch into a large-scale orchestration, and to arrange and orchestrate from a basic chord chart, which outlines just the melody and harmony. In orchestration and arranging, achieving a dynamic balance of all musical elements is paramount. This concept will be explored through the use of voicing, range and density, informed by a thorough familiarisation of the four orchestral groups and a synthesis of orchestration techniques. The module further examines the role of sample libraries as part of the orchestral palette and the use of contemporary methodologies of combining samples and acoustic instruments.
The Business of Visual Media
The aim of this module is to provide learners with a comprehensive knowledge of the business of producing music for visual media including publishing, licensing and legal issues. This module will enable the learner to develop an online promotional website/presence using communication strategies appropriate to the marketing and promotion of services in the music and visual media sector. It will also give learners a broad view of the areas of potential business to whom they could market and promote their portfolio. The module also provides an introduction to the use of social media and various techniques to successfully promote a business online. A variety of online media distribution methods for video and music will also be explored.The learner will design a business plan for the advancement of his/her professional career development as a film and visual media composer and will be expected to display knowledge of the media industry including issues such as performing rights, finance, publishing, legal and ethical concerns. It is proposed that the learners’ completed websites and online presence will form the basis of their business networking with subsequent clients/employers, providing an evolving platform on which they can present and promote their subsequent college and industry related portfolio of work. The development of the website will be through a template-based software.
Studio Conducting and Score Supervision
The aim of this course is to introduce the learner to the physical mechanism of conducting and acquaint them with his/her responsibilities as both studio conductor and scoring supervisor. Through the experience of conducting live instrumentalists, including orchestral ensembles during recording sessions, the learner will explore the dynamics of conductor/player relationships and the efficiencies of their conducting techniques. A further aim of this module is to develop the skills required for the learner to fulfill the role of music supervisor in a recording environment.
Advanced Scoring Techniques for Visual Media
In this course the learner will be introduced to the workflows and methodologies required by the industry with specific reference to key practitioners. This module will examine the trends and techniques in creating a score for visual media and will specifically examine the “Hollywood Sound” associated with large budget film and games productions. This module culminates in the recording of a substantial portfolio artifact. Learner compositions will be recorded utilising a large (110 member) multi-instrumental ensemble, conductor, score supervisor and engineer in a professional recording studio environment.
This module aims to prepare and assist the learners in the research and development of their Major Project Proposal. This module aims to develop learners’ research skills, both in relation to their module related assignments and in the completion of their final dissertation. The module aims to familiarise learners with the research theories and concepts in the area of film and visual media composition with focus on appropriate research techniques and approaches. It aims to enable them to acquire skills in the research process, including selecting and planning an appropriate research project, feasibility, scheduling, execution, implementing and documenting the project, practical process, critical analysis skills and presentation of the work. The ultimate aim of the module is to enable learners to conduct research effectively and assist them in the process of developing proposals for their Major Project.
The two main objectives of the Major Project are (1) a capability to undertake creative composition and (2) to effectively communicate the context for the composition and compositional process through written presentation. For the remainder of Semester 3, learners engage in a practice-based research project, where they are expected to create an original composition and write a dissertation to accompany and document the composition.
The overall goal of the project and dissertation is for the student to display the knowledge and capability required for independent work as a composer for film and visual media. The composition is the summative assessment of the MA in Scoring for Film and Visual Media and may be approached as: (1) an original composition and accompanying dissertation or (2) an original composition for a film and/or visual media production and accompanying dissertation. Learners will be expected to develop and describe an original composition, contextualizing it with the film and visual media field and/or plan, schedule and describe a composition to accompany a film or visual media production.
The choice of compositional approach lies with the student, in consultation with the Programme Chair and supervisor(s). Learners will write a dissertation to accompany and explain the compositional process, the context for the work and document the composition. The dissertation offers the learner an opportunity to delve more deeply into and synthesise knowledge acquired in the course of earlier modules and the practical research conducted. The dissertation should be written during the Semester, alongside the composition, and be completed after the final production of the composition. It should place emphasis on the artistic / musicological / technical aspects of the composition and compositional process and should include the score and details of compositional structure. It should also highlight and clarify various issues relating to the practical elements of the project. The dissertation should follow academic guidelines and standards.
Key features of this course include:
- Training & recordings in the world-class facilities of Windmill Lane Recording Studios
- Compositions recorded by members of the Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra
- Including one remote recording session with a 36 member mixed ensemble
- Tutors drawn from the Hollywood film scoring community
- Guest Film Music Industry talks, lecturers and network events
- Create a 9 ensemble professional recording portfolio
- Final ensemble, orchestrated by Conrad Pope, performed by a 110 piece professional orchestra
- Collaborative work with directors, editors and producers, as well as instrumentalists and musicians
- 24 hour studio access
- Pulse College is an Apple Logic Pro Certified Centre and Avid Pro Tools Centre
Professional pool of world-renowned tutors on this unique MA programme at Pulse College include: (subject to availability)
Derek Gleeson – Course Director
Conductor, composer, producer, percussionist, pianist and educator. A 35-year industry veteran, Derek heads up the team as course director.
Emmy award-winning composer, author and educator, past president of the Society of Composers and Lyricists, served on the Board of Governors for the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and currently serves on the Board of the American Society of Composers and Publishers.
Composer and Educator, lecturer at Trinity College, Dublin. RTE Lyric FM composer in residence. Guest lecturer in composition, from Beijing to New York to Frankfurt. Linda will mentor and supervise the Major Project aspect of the MA.
Emmy award-winning music editor and educator. Daniel is a 30-year industry veteran who has worked as music editor, music director, music supervisor, booth consultant, soundtrack producer and conductor on over 100 film and TV projects.
Composer and Educator, leader and lecturer in Music and Media Technologies, at Trinity College, Dublin. Fionnuala heads up the Major Project aspect of the MA program.
Craig Stuart Garfinkle
Award-winning producer and Emmy nominated composer. Craig has worked in Film, TV, Documentaries, Commercials, Stage Musicals, Games, Multimedia and Albums. He is also a specialist in music in trailers for movies, including: J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek; the last three Harry Potter movies; Spider-Man 111 and James Bond, A Quantum of Solace.
Former Vice President of Music for Walt Disney Pictures. Overseeing music production on such movies as: The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Sister Act, etc. From 2006-2011, Andy directed the graduate program in “Music Composition for the Screen” at Columbia College, Chicago. In the fall of 2011, Andy was engaged to prepare and oversee the launch of graduate composition programs, including film scoring and electronic music production, at Berklee Valencia. In 2013, Andy relocated to Belgium as executive soundtrack producer and director of international business development for Galaxy Studios and the Scoring Flanders initiative.
Publisher, Composer Agent, Record Label Manager and Owner/Director of Silverstream Music, a bespoke music company. Juliet heads up the business, legal and management lecturer team.
A composer and flutist, Gregg is one of Ireland’s busiest composers working consistently on many international TV animation series.
Composer, Scientist, Author, Educator and Master of Synthesis. Part of the Music Technology team. When not composing, Kevin is busy with the European Space Station INTEGRAL space-probe mission!
Tony Perrey was one of the founders of Pulse Recording College. Tony was responsible for establishing The Engine Room Recording Studio, where he has worked with many of the country’s top acts in an engineer / producer capacity.
Award-winning composer and orchestrator whose credits include the most recent Star Wars trilogy; the Harry Potter series; Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Trek X; the Matrix films; and Memoirs of a Geisha, and My Week with Marilyn.
Composer, Orchestrator, Arranger. Recent projects include, scoring a 52 episode animation series for Nickelodeon, arranging songs for The Chieftains and Orchestrating for the BBC.
Film composer and videogame scorer. Garry has written acclaimed scores for BioShock; Dante’s Inferno and Destroy All Humans! and contributed to TV shows and films including Magnum, PI; The A-Team; Lost in Africa; and Tornado!
Music producer, recording engineer, music editor and educator. Debbie works in the recording studios of Dublin, Sofia and Los Angeles with, among others, industry giants Denis Sands, Steve Dorff and Conrad Pope.
Golden Globe-nominated composer whose credits include horror films such as Drag Me To Hell; A Nightmare On Elm Street 2 and Hellraiser; and more recently Spider-Man 3 for which he received the Film & TV Music Award for Best Score for a Dramatic Feature Film.
Arranger/Orchestrator Tommy Laurence has been working in London since graduating from the Royal Academy Of Music Jazz course as a saxophonist in 2008. Since then he has completed several projects for the BBC Big Band, featuring a wide variety of artists as well as projects for the SWR Big Band in Stuttgart. He has written arrangements and orchestrations for the BBC concert orchestra and has contributed string/horn arrangements and takedowns for various album projects and TV shows.
Richard Kraft is the co-owner of Kraft-Engel Management, one of the world’s leading agencies specializing in representing film, theatre, television and video game composers, songwriters and music supervisors. Their clients include Danny Elfman, Alexandre Desplat, Alan Menken, John Powell, Jon Brion, Marco Beltrami, Marc Shaiman and Mark Isham. KEM’s clients have received 65 Oscar nominations and have won 14. Prior to starting KEM, Richard was an agent at ICM and worked with clients such as Jerry Goldsmith, Elmer Bernstein and Henry Mancini. Richard also ran Varese-Sarabande Records where he executive produced over 150 soundtrack albums.
David has twenty-five years of working as a composer of flm and TV scores, songs, episodic television, concert music, documentaries, and commercials. He currently heads an MFA Program in Film Composition at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
Alf Clausen is an American film and television composer. He is best known for his work scoring many episodes of The Simpsons, of which he has been the sole composer since 1990. Clausen has scored or orchestrated music for more than 30 films and television shows, including Moonlighting, The Naked Gun, ALF and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. He has also composed for the bands of Buddy Rich, Thad Jones & Mel Lewis, Ray Charles, Woody Herman, Stan Kenton & Denny Christianson and has been a recipient of several ASCAP Film and Television Music awards.
Meet the Tutors. Five of our renowned award-winning tutors talk about Pulse College and teaching on the Masters Program.
At the end of the one-year Masters in Film Scoring, you will be capable of effectively functioning in the role of composer, orchestrator, music editor, music supervisor or music producer in the industries of motion pictures, television, gaming and other audio/visual media production. You will also be equipped to progress to further study.
To receive links to where to watch Film Music Cues our students composed to picture whilst on the MA program, please email us
Discover more student work on the Pulse College Soundcloud account.
The below Soundcloud Playlist is a collection of compositions created by MA students (2014/15). As part of the Advanced Scoring Module, our students were tasked with composing an original film cue, to be performed by a 110 Piece Orchestra at BNR National Recording Studios.
The Conrad Pope Scholarship, the Christopher Young Scholarship and the Garry Schyman Scholarship are three new €3000 scholarship awards offered by Pulse College, in conjunction with these major international artists, exclusively for the Scoring for Film and Visual Media master’s program.
All accepted applicants to the Masters program will be automatically considered for either of these scholarship awards. The decisions will be made by the Board of Admissions and notified directly to the recipient.
Each scholarship will be awarded to an outstanding student who has demonstrated a passion for music, shown exceptional creative talent, is professionally motivated and able to make unique contributions and achievements demonstrated through the application, the interview and their experiences to date.
Christopher Young, Conrad Pope and Garry Schyman teach on the Scoring for Film and Visual Media master’s program, and there will be opportunities for professional mentoring with some of the tutors.
WHAT TYPE OF SCHOLARSHIPS ARE AVAILABLE?
Pulse College offers two types of scholarships.
1/ ‘Early Application’ Scholarship Award
If you apply, are accepted and deposit between September 1st 2016 and January 31st 2017, you will be eligible for the ‘Christopher Young Scholarship’ €3,000. Furthermore, all applicants who apply to the MA, are accepted onto the program, and deposit by January 31st 2016, will receive one month free in Los Angeles at the Christopher Young Composers Residence. Discover more about the 1-month residency here
2/ Regular Application Scholarship Awards
If you apply, and are accepted between January 31st 2017 and May 1st 2017, you will be eligible for the either the Conrad Pope Scholarship €3,000 or the Garry Schyman Scholarship €3,000.
To improve your opportunities of being awarded one of the three available scholarships, we highly recommend that you apply early. Early applicants who are not awarded the first scholarship will be automatically considered for the final two regular applicants scholarships.
To receive more information on the scholarships please contact us
This programme is designed for:
- Composers and musicians who hold a music degree or have equivalent advanced training and/or work experience
- Composers seeking additional formalised training to advance both their compositional and music techniques
Normally, candidates will have a performer’s diploma/certificate from an accredited institution, or an upper second class degree in music/visual media.
However, candidates without a primary degree but who can demonstrate their creative potential, professional knowledge and/or experience within the field are also encouraged to contact us.
Candidates will typically be expected to provide evidence of, or demonstrate:
- Letter of Application, to include C.V and a Personal Statement
- An interest in music composition for visual media
- A minimum undergraduate 2.1 at level 8 or international equivalent
- Portfolio of work, comprising 3 contrasting pieces presented as audio files, 2 of which must be accompanied by a notated score.
- Grade 8 or equivalent in music theory
- References (2 minimum)
Extended Applications Now Open.
- Extended Applications Deadline date July 1st 2016
- Extended Applications Deposit deadline date July 1st 2016
- Admissions decisions issued within 5 days from the interview
Additional Entry Considerations
If English is your second language, you must submit the results of one of the following standardised tests. However, if you completed your undergraduate studies at an English speaking university, this requirement may be waived.
TOEFL: iBT (internet-based): 90; computer-based: 233; paper-based: 570
IELTS: Academic Version 6.5 with no individual band below 6
Pearson Test of English Academic: 73
Cambridge English Language Exams: Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) Grade A
Cambridge English Language Exams: Business English Certificate (BEC) or higher
Applicants who took a TOEFL test can use the following code to send Pulse College their score results; code number B001.
If selected by the Board of Admissions, you will be invited to attend a 30 minute interview with two members of faculty. The graduate interview is your opportunity to meet the masters faculty, talk about your supporting material and share your future career goals with us. It is a chance to hear all about it from you, so be ready to talk about your work, your musical and creative skills and strengths and achievements to date.
We would like to hear how you can contribute towards the master’s program, how you work with others, collaborations or current projects you may be involved in, and if you are an international applicant, will you be comfortable living and studying abroad. Be ready to discuss the music you submitted and the accompanying score, and how you feel this program will help you achieve the needs of your professional career development.
This will be followed by an opportunity for you to ask us your questions. Overall, it is a way for you to demonstrate your passion for Scoring for Film and Visual Media. Enjoy meeting the interview panel, be relaxed and transmit your enthusiasm for creating original music.
Via Skype or On Campus
Whilst we encourage you to attend your interview in person, we realise that for international students a Skype Interview may be preferential. Campus tours are provided to all applicants who attend the on campus interview, with the additional option of meeting faculty, current graduate and undergraduate students and to sit in on a masters program class if available. For full details about the Skype interview requirements please download our Master’s Skype interview Guide.
Total Cost: €28,000
Deposit: €6,000 (flexible payment options available)
Enrolment Fee: €8,000 (payable in September)
Installments: 4 payments of €3,500 (October – January)
For information regarding graduate admissions, portfolio submission, scholarships, or general information, please contact
Nigel Ashley Lees Director of Graduate Admissions
Phone +353 1 478 4045
For available payment options please contact us
Admissions Office opening hours:
Monday-Friday 09:00-17:00 GMT
Laptop and Software Requirements
Pulse college requires all students on this programme to own an industry standard laptop and professional software. Specifications for the hardware and software can be provided upon request. This comprehensive system will be essential in preparing the student for entry into the music industry. Pulse can arrange purchase and configuration of the entire system at student discount prices.