MMus Composition for Film and Television

Course summary

Overview

The Masters in Music Composition for Film and Television at London College of Music (LCM) is one of the longest-established qualifications of its kind. 

Students using electronic music equipment

The course provides an ideal opportunity for in-depth examination of specific techniques (both historical and current) employed in the creation of music for modern media, and for drawing upon these procedures in a practical context by composing music for a diverse range of genres including:

  • television thrillers
  • animation
  • video game trailers
  • science fiction
  • dramatic cinema
  • silent film
  • costume drama
  • documentary and… 
  • …horror! 

You will hone and refine your skills as orchestrators by writing for a variety of specified ensembles. 

You will also expand your musical and dramatic vocabulary via an imaginative series of compositional pastiche exercises (an integral feature of the portfolio submission during Semester 1).  

Contextual knowledge of mainstream repertoire and significant previous experience of composition and orchestration are required.

Why choose this course?

You will undertake further assessments in film score analysis (taking the form of an extended contextual essay, based on a score/composer of your own choice) and in-studio ensemble conducting, working ‘to click' with a group of live performing musicians.

The MMus in Composition for Film and Television develops technical skills in compositional techniques and studio-based work. And because it’s designed for advanced composers, it provides an in-depth specialist training. 

Tutor information

This course is run by the London College of Music to provide you with both the high-quality teaching and the personal attention you need to make the most of your University education.

The London College of Music teaching staff includes:

Professor of the Creative Arts Professor David Osbon

Senior Lecturer - Music Technology Paul Borg

Alumni 

Graduating from the London College of Music means joining an ever-growing and impressive list of alumni including: 

Matt Tong – formerly of Bloc Party

Matthew Hodson – the founder of the London Synthesis Orchestra

Ben Salter  who worked with Nile Rodgers in the United States 

Alexander Grant, aka Alex Da Kid, a Grammy Award nominee who wrote and produced Eminem’s Love the Way You Lie (featuring Rihanna).

Career and study progression

Course alumni have gone on to compose music for an excitingly diverse range of projects for an impressive list of clients, including the BBC, BBC Worldwide, BBC Three, The National Theatre, Youth Music Theatre UK, Projection Pictures, The National Theatre, Sky, Channel 4 and the British Film Institute.

While most students tend to progress directly into the industry after completing this course, graduates may alternatively choose to undertake a PhD or further their compositional studies with a DMus.

Course detail

Modules

  • Practical Composition 1
  • Practical Composition 2
  • Orchestration and Arranging
  • Score Production
  • Combining Sounds
  • Developing Your Career

Please be advised that there are no option modules. All six modules listed above must be taken and passed.

Entry requirements

Applicants must hold a first degree in Music (specialising in composition), or a first degree in another subject plus substantial and relevant prior experience within appropriate areas of composition.

Applicants must also be able to provide a portfolio of original works (including film and television work), scores and recordings as appropriate. In all cases scores are essential, recordings desirable but not indispensable.

Where appropriate, applicants will be invited to attend an interview. References are required.

International students need to meet our English language requirement at either IELTS at 6.5 or above, and a minimum of 5.5 for each of the 4 individual components (Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening).

In some countries where teaching is in English, we may accept local qualifications. Please visit http://www.uwl.ac.uk/international/your-country to check for local equivalencies.

We offer pre-sessional English language courses if you do not meet these requirements. Find out more about our English Language courses

Fees

Fees for home and EU students

Main fee
£3750

Fees for overseas students

Main fee
£6000
Find out if you are a home or overseas student.

Funding

A range of loans, bursaries and scholarships are available to help you fund your studies.

Students on some Masters courses may be eligible to apply for a Postgraduate Loan of up to £10,000 as a contribution towards their course and living costs. Find out how to apply for a Postgraduate Loan on GOV.UK

Other loans available to postgraduate students include Professional and Career Development Loans, which also allow you to borrow up to £10,000.  Find out more about Loans on GOV.UK

Additional funding is available to some types of students, such as disabled students. Find out more about funding opportunities

Within the university, we offer a range of scholarships and bursaries. In the 2017 - 18 academic year, they included:

  • The William Brake Bursary: a £1,000 award for candidates on undergraduate or postgraduate degree courses
  • The Mollie Clay Scholarship: a £2,500 scholarship awarded to an outstanding student
  • Exclusive alumni discounts: a £2,000 discount on taught postgraduate courses or a 10% discount on research courses, exclusive to students who graduated from the University of West London.

Other scholarships are also available, including awards for specific subjects. Find out more and check your eligibility.


Please note fees are paid for each year of study unless otherwise stated. You will be required to re-enrol and pay fees at the beginning of each academic year. Fees may be subject to government regulations on fee increases. Future inflationary increases will be applied to each subsequent year of the course, subject to government regulations on fee increases.

How to apply

Apply for this course

UK and EU students

You can apply for most of our Postgraduate Certificates, Postgraduate Diplomas and Masters’ Degree courses using our online application system.  Simply click the red ‘apply now’ button above.

Your application will be dealt with by our Admissions team who will be in touch with you.

If you are applying for a research degree (MPhil or PhD), you will need to submit: a CV, research proposal, transcript of academic qualifications and online application form.  Full details of how to apply for research degrees

International students

To apply for a Masters’ Degree course, please complete our online application form for international students or you can download the print version (Word, 186kb).

You can also review the relevant information about the qualifications we accept from your country and our English language requirements, as well as details about your visa application.

If you are applying for a research degree (MPhil or PhD), you will need to submit: a CV, research proposal, transcript of academic qualifications and online application form.  Full details of how to apply for research degrees

More about the application process for international students.

More about how to apply for postgraduate courses.

 

During the course

Notable aspects

One of our graduates have achieved success with original work in one or more of the UK's commercial sound libraries, while one recent graduate achieved breakthrough success with a major soundtrack score commissioned by the Imperial War Museum to accompany authentic film footage of the trenches in World War 1.

Another has received widespread critical acclaim for forensically-detailed reconstructions of the complete scores from the films Quo Vadis (Miklos Rozsa) and Lawrence of Arabia (Maurice Jarre), both scores being recorded by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus for worldwide release on the Silva Screen and Prometheus labels. Graduates from the MMus have had their music performed or recorded (sometimes both) by some of the country's most renowned ensembles, including the BBC Concert Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Philharmonia Orchestra.

Teaching methods

The course is taught mainly through individual tutorials, but may include group work, workshops, seminars and lectures.

Assessment

Coursework

We assess composition work, during the first semester (or end of first year for part-time students), through a portfolio of 'pastiche' exercises responding to a variety of contrasting film clips, and in the second semester (or second year for part-time students), composing to longer extracts, but with an emphasis on exploring the 'personal' compositional voice. There is also a practical assessment in the Film and Television Score Production module and an extended essay project for the Business of Music module. There is a viva voce exam as part of the portfolio submissions in both semesters (or both years for part-time students).

What our students say

Johan Hugosson

'I have found the atmosphere inspirational and open-minded at the London College of Music, and although I'm on the MMus in Composition (Film & Television) course, I also sit in on lectures for the MMus Composition (Concert Music) course. This combination is proving very beneficial to me.

The commission for 'The Rune Carol' had a very tight time schedule, so I wrote part of it (the main melody) on a flight to Copenhagen. One aspect which made writing the piece difficult was that it is made up of many short verses. This was initially tricky to accommodate. Eventually (by inverting and rhythmically playing around with the theme) I came up with ways of developing the music to keep it interesting until the end. Being Swedish, I much enjoyed writing a Christmas carol which stems back to my ancestors, the Vikings.'

Visit the Financial Times website to find out more and listen to The Rune Carol.

Laurence Llewellyn

'I am very grateful to LCM/UWL  for affording me the opportunity to learn so much, combining the benefits of conservatoire and university. The challenges were at times quite daunting but the support was there, and from many quarters including the audio guys (Ambient Recording and Combining Sounds were brilliant modules), music business, jazz and composition teams and of course other students - composers, performers, engineers and film makers.

This year with Leigh (tutor) has been excellent. His skill set, experience and extensive knowledge proved critical in pointing the way whilst raising the bar of my own aspirations through dialogue and challenge, which I found highly motivating. Reaching this level has much to do with the quality of the educational experience and support provided both before and during the MMus.  It’s been a great experience and a connection I should like to retain.'

Arhynn Descy

'In the early years of writing music for media, pretty much everything is done with computer samples and if one is lucky, the odd live musician here and there. In great frustration (as my heart is very firmly in orchestral music)  I decided earlier this year to hire an orchestra to record a new showreel. My thinking? If I want to get the projects that involve orchestral forces, I need to demonstrate I can actually do the work.

I recorded 9 tracks at Fames in Macedonia. It was a 63 piece orchestra and I had one 3 hour session to record everything, so I recorded the whole orchestra together rather than in individual choirs as is done with much film music now. I then had it mixed and mastered at Air-Edel studio in London with an engineer that I've started working with.

Over a 2-month period, I wrote the music, orchestrated it, prepped the score for the orchestra, organised and ran the recording session and supervised the mixing session. All of this was possible (very directly) because of the MMus. So a big thank you to LCM.'

Jobs and placements

Career and study progression

Course alumni have gone on to compose music for an excitingly diverse range of projects and for an impressive list of clients, including the BBC, BBC Worldwide, BBC Three, The National Theatre, Youth Music Theatre UK, Projection Pictures, The National Theatre, Sky, Channel 4 and the British Film Institute.

Also, in addition to orchestrating their own music, many specialise in orchestrating and conducting the music of other (notable) film composers.

Study progression

While most students progress directly into the industry after completing this course, graduates may alternatively choose to undertake a PhD or further their compositional studies with a DMus.