MA Orchestration
for Film, Games & Television

We train you for the industry of the future.

If you want to write uplifting, epic orchestral music for film, games or television, this is the course that will give you the technical and creative skills to turn that dream into a reality. Orchestration for Film Games and Television takes you from first sketch through sampled mock-up, then onto the final recording with a live orchestral session, giving you all the knowledge you need to turn a musical idea into a professionally recorded live orchestral score.

    • Have your music performed by a professional 50-piece film orchestra.
    • Personal 1-to-1 tuition from top professional composers.
    • Learn how the biggest names in the business and go from computer DAW to live score.
    • Electives in Pro Tools for Film composers, Advanced Sibelius and Kontakt Programming.
    • A real-world approach that combines sampled instruction with live orchestration and score preparation.
    • Regular online workshops and tutorial groups, forum discussions and exclusive webinars.

There is no other course in the world that offers tutors and support staff as well connected as ThinkSpace, and no offline campus can compete with our wealth of talent from around the globe.

What Will I Learn?

    • You will learn to create and orchestrate awe inspiring live and sampled orchestral film and games music.
    • You will learn contemporary commercial standard practice where the emphasis is always on speed and efficiency.
    • By the end of the course, you should be able to tackle every stage of the process of preparing and executing a live commercial orchestral recording session with complete confidence.
    • We will take you through each section of the orchestra led by some of the world’s top film session players.
    • You will learn sampling technology, how to create and balance your template, choice of libraries, instrument placement, use of reverb, using controllers to enhance realism and orchestral mixing.
    • You will learn produce professional quality scores using Sibelius or Finale and record-ready Pro Tools sessions.
    • For composers we will help you develop your compositional technique and encourage you to explore a wide range of creative approaches.
    • You can learn to write to picture using live and sampled orchestral resources. Your optional film scoring assignments will be drawn from real-world film and game projects.
    • Arrangers: Not all students want to compose and for those who want to become professional arrangers and orchestrators, there is a wealth of real-world source material to work with. Every project offers a choice between original composition and arrangement.

A Student’s Story: Andrea Possee

Andrea is a composer and orchestrator from London. She joined the first intake of our Orchestration master’s course and graduated earlier this year.

Follow her through her adventure culminating in her live session at Warner Bros in Los Angeles. Andrea is now hard at work on a wide range of projects including a feature film, TV and library work.

If you are considering a ThinkSpace master’s degree and want to speak directly with one of our current or past students in a similar position as you, then drop us a line and we’ll put you in touch.

What Work Will it Prepare Me For?

Students on this course go on to work as a film and games composer, composer’ assistant, additional music composer, orchestrator or copyist. Many students are already working composers and this course opens up a wider range of work involving live orchestra and professional grade sampled mock-ups.

Other students teach in higher education and use this course to add professional experience and a deep knowledge of contemporary commercial practice to their skill set. For those teaching music in higher education who require a master’s degree, this course is a very good choice.

Who’s Teaching Me?

Our faculty are all current working professionals, many involved at the highest level in the business.

The people who will be giving you individual feedback have orchestration and composing credits including:

Die Hard 4, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, Spectre (Cinematic Trailer) Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Iron Man Armored Adventures, Lassie, Jungle Book, Angry Birds, The Scream, The Haunting in Connecticut, Pokemon Movies, Robot Chicken, Caspar The Ghost, Aladdin Prince of Thieves, Project Cars, Red Bull Air Racing, World of Speed, Ripper Street, Batman: Arkham Origins, Tony Awards 2016, and hundreds more. They’ve work for every major film and game studio and networks and production companies including Disney, Dreamworks, Marvel, Universal, Warner Bros, Sky, BBC, ITV, NBC, ABC and many others.

We are extremely grateful to our guest lecturers who have contributed either in person at seminars and live events, or on video and include Harry Gregson-Williams (Shrek, Chronicles of Narnia), Marco Beltrami (Terminator, The Scream, Die Hard 4), David Arnold ( The Bond Movies, Independence Day), Nick Hooper (Harry Potter 5 and 6) orchestrator Peter Bateman (Avengers: Age of Ultron, Maleficent, Hunger Games), and Jeff MacDonald (trailers including BFG, Jason Bourne, Ghostbusters and over 200 more).

It is a tribute to the generosity of all these composers and orchestrators that they are willing to share their expertise and insights with the next generation of professionals.

  • Guy Michelmore

  • Orchestrator and Composer Bill Boston

    Bill Boston

  • Tim Johnson

  • Composer and Orchestrator Chuck Fernandez

    Chuck Fernandez

  • Milton Nelson

  • ThinkSpace Education Online Music School - Brad

    Bradley Jordan

One Thousand Videos
Access All ThinkSpace Course Materials.

There are 1000 videos available to our students and every single one is available to master’s students. you have full access to all the course materials on all our other courses, including all the degree and non-degree premium courses. Course text, videos, project materials, online workshop library, everything you could need. Choose the degree course you feel most comfortable with, and then explore new challenging areas like interactive composition for games, sound design, tv scoring and orchestration.

Live Orchestral Session Included

Working with a live orchestra is an unforgettable experience. At the end of you course, some of your music will be performed by a live, professional, 50-piece film orchestra. You are welcome to attend in person or follow the session over the internet. This is included in the price of your course. Sessions take place in Europe (most likely Prague or Budapest) subject to availability.

We also offer live orchestral sessions at the world famous Warner Bros Scoring Stage in Los Angeles. These are organised subject to demand and we charge a supplement for this session (the difference between the cost of the European session and LA) which is passed on to the student at cost price.

Your Degree

On successful conclusion of your course, you will be awarded a Master of Arts degree from the University of Chichester. All UK degrees, including those of the University of Chichester, are recognised worldwide. The qualification is full accredited in the UK and subject to regular quality control, review and external invigilation to ensure the highest academic standards are maintained.

The graduation ceremony takes place in Chichester each year where you will receive your degree alongside you fellow students and the rest of the university’s graduates.

Content

Your course falls into eight modules plus a final major project which lasts three months. Each module focuses on a different section of the orchestra or lineup, while at the same time developing specific compositional, technical and business skills.

  • Connector.

    Unit 1 – Writing for Strings

    Scoring, sampled mock-ups and an introduction to writing to picture.

  • Connector.

    Unit 2 - Writing for Woodwind

    Scoring, sampled mock-ups and a more detailed look at composing for film drama.

  • Connector.

    Unit 3 – Sampling Technology

    Setting up and balancing a template, using controllers to enhance realism, choice of libraries, mixing sampled orchestral music, understanding sampling technology.

  • Connector.

    Unit 4 – Elective

    Choice of: Pro Tools for Orchestral Recording, Advanced Sibelius, Kontakt Programming, Sound Design, Music Business: Work and Money.

  • Connector.

    Unit 5 – Writing for Brass, Harp and Percussion

    Scoring, sampled mockups and a section on hybrid synth and live orchestral scoring.

  • Connector.

    Unit 6 – Scoring for Orchestra

    Bringing it all together with techniques for both large and small ensembles, plus a section on orchestral scoring for games.

  • Connector.

    Unit 7 – Session Preparation

    Producing industry standard scores and parts and record-ready pro tools sessions.

  • Connector.

    Unit 8 - Orchestration in Practice

    Producing one cue from start to finish including mock-up, score, parts and pro tools session. This is the complete workflow in preparation for your Final Major Project.

  • Connector.

    Final Major Project

    This longer three month project involves composing (or arranging) and orchestrating 15 minutes of music under real-world conditions. You will be required to produce record-ready scores, parts and pro tools sessions as well as a professional grade sampled mock-up of your work. There are a very wide selection of projects to choose from and students can put together several in the form of a portfolio or tackle one longer assignment.

“Having researched all other postgraduate degree programs available to me, not a single option addressed the actual nuts and bolts of music composing as this program did.”

– Jeton Murtishi
IMDB

“ I would recommend [the ThinkSpace MA] to any composer who simply wants to be better at their job, whatever their experience level.”

– Amory Leader
IMDB

Time

Full time, 12 months – 30 hours a week

Part-time 24 months – 15 hours a week

Part-time 36 months – 8 hours a week

These are estimates and the exact amount of time will depend on each individual student. It includes, live workshops, one-to-one tutorials, reading and watching video tutorials and project work.

Prices

The course fee is the same for UK, EU and international students and includes the cost of a live orchestral session. Full-time and part-time students pay the same.

£8,850 / $12,950 / €11,600

You can choose to pay in pounds sterling, US dollars or euros.

We offer an interest-free instalment plan where you can spread the cost of your course and graduate debt-free.

Students will be required to pay a deposit on enrolling. For more information on this, please contact the course manager.

For a more detailed summary of fees, loans and finance procedure, please visit the dedicated Student Finance page.

  • Interest-free monthy repayments
    start from £57, $83 or €75 a week.
  • Apply Now

Frequently Asked Questions

For more FAQs, and more information please visit the Applications & FAQs, Student Finance and Study With ThinkSpace pages.


  • How much music will I write?

    Depending on the choices you make, you will be working on 15-20 scoring projects, each of roughly 5 minutes of music each. Full time students therefore will be writing 75 minutes of minutes of music in 9 months or 2 or 3 minutes a week. Then there is the final major project where you will write an additional 30 minutes of music over the course of 3 months.

  • How much academic writing is involved?

    Each of the 15 – 20 scoring projects you submit will be accompanied by a 200 word commentary explaining how you approached the task. This writing is not marked directly but is used to inform your tutor’s feedback. Likewise the final major project is accompanied by a 2000 word commentary.

  • What’s the different between this course and Professional Media Composition?

    PMC is for composers who want to earn a living in a wide range of areas of the media from tv to commercials, animation to film and games. They are not required to have a high level of music theory and can work in any idiom from electronica to orchestral, rock to jazz. They are expected to have a very good knowledge of music technology.

    Orchestration for Film Games and Television is for students who want to learn to create orchestral music in a contemporary commercial cinematic style. It brings together the wide range of skills required to go from first sketch to final live recording including score and part preparation, pro tools sessions and sampled mock-ups. That’s a lot to learn. You will learn to write to picture, and you will have plenty of opportunity to score films and film sequences during your project work, but that is not the primary focus of the course.

    For students who want to embrace both these courses, why not look at our MFA Professional Composition and Orchestration which combines both courses into one double master’s.

Requirements


  • Academic

    Applicants should have a first degree.

    If you don’t have a music degree, then other experience can be taken into account, including work-based experience of making music, professional development courses like Music for the Media and Cinematic Orchestration and first degrees in other subjects. This RPL, as it’s known, is always assessed on a case-by-case basis. It also depends in part on how many other students in the cohort are using this route, as there is a maximum percentage of students we can take through this process.


  • Musical

    We expect you to have a good, solid knowledge of one computer based DAW like Logic, Cubase, or Digital Performer. You should have a well-established knowledge of music theory, written notation and harmony. You may be asked to complete a short music theory test upon application.

    You need to write music fluently and productively. You should be able to produce roughly two minutes of music in a day. Your demos should be of good quality and we are happy to listen to your music and give you an opinion on this before you apply.


  • Hardware

    You must also have a reasonable to top performance computer (Mac or PC) as well as at least a basic orchestral virtual instrument library (we can advise you if you’re not sure about your setup).

    PC:
    Minimum Spec:
    Intel/AMD Quad Core Processor 2.6GHz, 8/16GB RAM,

    However we would recommend:
    Intel i7 Quad Core 3.2GHz (equivalent or higher), 32GB RAM

    Mac:
    Minimum Spec:
    Intel Processor Quad Core 2.6GHz, 8/16GB RAM

    However we would recommend:
    Intel i7 Quad Core 3.2GHz (equivalent or higher), 32GB RAM


  • Software

    The latest computer based sequencer capable of importing QuickTime movies. These include:

    Cubase 7.5/8
    Logic Pro X
    Digital Performer 7/8
    Pro Tools 11

    You’ll also need a score-writing program, we recommend Sibelius, however Finale is an acceptable alternative.

    Sample libraries are a must-have for the course. There are literally thousands of libraries, many of them capable of creating outstanding quality demos and we could have chosen any number. Most of the libraries listed below are available at a significant educational discount.

    As our base core libraries, we suggest:

    East West Quantum Leap – Symphonic Orchestra Gold
    VSL Special Edition – Woodwinds
    8Dio – Adagietto
    Heavyocity – Damage
    Soudiron – Emotional Piano


  • Internet

    As all of our materials are available through download only, a stable and reasonably fast Internet connection is also required. We cannot send out hard copies of the course materials.

  • Books, Films, Scores and Recordings

    Throughout the course, you will be required to listen to read books and listen to recordings. These are not included in the course price. We have found over the years with a few exceptions, it is far more cost effective for students to purchase books and scores these locally then for us to send them out to you. So you should expect to have to source and purchase, rent or borrow a fair amount of recordings and printed material, a full list of which will be available in the course handbooks.

Contact Us

My name is Tim and I’m the MA course manager here at ThinkSpace. If you have any questions that you’d like answering, please don’t hesitate to fill in the contact form below, or email me at tim@thinkspaceeducation.com.

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