MFA Professional Composition
Media Composition & Orchestration

We train you for the industry of the future.

Professional Composition and Orchestration is our flagship course for composers looking for a comprehensive preparation for a career scoring film, tv and games. You will learn to work in almost every sector of the media using a range of compositional techniques from live orchestral scoring to sound design and hybrid compositional techniques. Your course includes a live orchestral session with a professional film orchestra.

This MFA is in effect a double master’s, lasting two years and covering the same ground as both Professional Media Composition MA and Orchestration for Film Games and Television MA.

    • 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 go from computer DAW to live score.
    • Electives in Pro Tools for Film composers, 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.

Buy a Postgraduate Degree Application pack: $100
Download Our FREE Career Guide:
Find out more about our programmes, hear about our open days and taster weeks first and learn more about the career opportunities open to you.

What Will I Learn?

    • You will learn to write in a wide variety of styles, using different compositional techniques.
    • You will produce professional quality sampled mock-ups and well produced demos.
    • We will help you develop a voice of your own so you can stand out from the crowd.
    • You will learn what the market expects, what producers and directors are buying right now, and how to deliver market-focused music.
    • You will learn to write faster and more productively so you can hit deadlines and make a living.
    • You will explore many different areas of the media, each of which has specific requirements and expectations.
    • For composers we will help you develop your compositional technique and encourage you to explore a wide range of creative approaches.
    • You will learn the technical and creative aspects of writing to picture, spotting a film, and working with hit point and markers.
    • You will orchestrate awe inspiring live and sampled orchestral film and games music and learn contemporary commercial standard practice.
    • We will take you through each section of the orchestra led by some of the world’s top film session players.
    • You will learn to produce professional-quality scores using Sibelius or Finale and record-ready Pro Tools sessions.
    • The research and critical thinking module will help you put media music in context and teach you valuable research skills.
    • You will learn about music business, copyright, how to find work, how to pitch, create a demo reel and develop a career.

A Student’s Story: Pete Wiggs

Hear first-hand from a ThinkSpace Education postgraduate student.

Pete Wiggs is an English musician and DJ and student on the composition and orchestration MFA pathway. Pete talks online study and professional (and creative) development.

If you are considering a ThinkSpace Education 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 will be well qualified to work in any area of the media music industry but most go on to work as film, tv and games composers.

If you are already a working composer, then this is an opportunity to expand your skill set, learn to exploit new markets and to refresh your sound mentored by top flight working professional composers and orchestrators.

Many students are teachers and professors and use this course to add professional experience and a deep knowledge of contemporary commercial practice to their skill set. The MFA is considered a terminal degree and may have significant financial and career advantages in higher education.

One Thousand Videos.
Access All ThinkSpace Course Materials.

There are thousands of 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 interactive audio for games, sound design and scoring for other media.

Who’s Teaching Me?

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

The tutors who will be giving you individual feedback, either in writing or at the student workshops, have composing and orchestration credits including;

Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Iron Man Armored Adventures, Lassie, Jungle Book, Angry Birds, The Scream, The Haunting in Connecticut, Spectre (Cinematic Trailer), Assassin’s Creed Syndicate (Game Trailer), Pokémon Movies, Robot Chicken, Casper The Friendly Ghost, Aladdin Prince of Thieves, Project Cars, Red Bull Air Racing, World of Speed, Ripper Street, Batman: Arkham Origins, Tony Awards 2016, Die Hard 4, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs and hundreds more. They’ve worked 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, which includes 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

Live Orchestral Session

Working with a live orchestra is an unforgettable experience. At the end of your 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.

Live Solo Sessions

Throughout your course you will have the chance to have your music performed by some of the world’s best session players in our live solo sessions. You write a cue, they play it, we film the session and the player gives you feedback and advice. You get a world-class performance for your demo reel.

Your Degree

On successful conclusion of your course, you will be awarded a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Chichester. All UK degrees, including those of the University of Chichester, are recognised worldwide. The qualification is fully 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 your fellow students and the rest of the university’s graduates.

Student Stories

According to our 2019 Graduate Employment Survey and an amazing 80% of our graduates have found work in their chosen field. This is a fantastic achievement so congratulations to them all!

Our recent students have gone on to work at Mojang, Creative Assembly, Frontier, Dam Busters and many more. Our graduates have worked on the score for Spiderman PS4 and scored the latest Battlefield 1 Apocalypse trailer.

Combined with our 98.3% graduation rate, that means apply to ThinkSpace Eduation gives a really solid basis for anyone hoping to start a career in film composing, orchestration, game music or audio.

Content

  • Module 1 – Writing in Styles

    Learning to work in a range of common media styles while developing new approaches to composition.

  • Module 2 – Research and Critical Reflection

    Putting all this in context, learning to analyse how and why music is used. Learn research skills and understand where media music fits into a wider cultural and academic landscape.

  • Module 3 – Writing to a Brief

    What does your client want and how should you give it to them? The most challenging question facing any composer which we resolve with help from the decades of experience of our world-class faculty. We look at a wide range of areas of the industry from tv themes to production music, trailers to games.

  • Module 4 – Writing to Picture

    The technical and creative tools to score film, tv, documentary, animation and much more. Crucial insights into the role of music and it’s relation to the moving image.

  • Module 5 – Scoring Drama

    A uniquely challenging and rewarding environment that we explore with some inspiring projects and advice from some of the best in the business.

  • Module 6 – Elective 1

    Choose from Advanced Sibelius, Pro Tools for Orchestral Recording, Music Business: Work and Money and Sampling Technology.

  • Module 7 – Writing for Strings and Woodwind

    We look at a selection of string and woodwind sample libraries and effective techniques for making your demos sound more realistic. You will have your music recorded by a professional instrumentalist who will give feedback on the suitability of the writing.

  • Module 8 – Session Preparation

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

  • Module 9 – Writing for Brass, Harp and Percussion

    Scoring, sampled mock-ups and a special look at big band writing.

  • Module 10 – Scoring for Orchestra

    Bringing it all together with techniques for both large and small ensembles.

  • Module 11 – 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.

  • Module 12 – Elective 2

    Choose from Advanced Sibelius, Pro Tools for Orchestral Recording, Music Business: Work and Money and Sampling Technology.

  • Final Major Project

    This three month project involves composing and orchestrating 15 minutes of music to picture 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, 24 months – 30 hours a week

Part-time 36 months – 15 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 includes the cost of a live orchestral session. Full-time and part-time students pay the same.

$20950

Interest-free monthly repayments
start from £69, $96 or €87 a week.

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 and finance procedure, please visit the dedicated Student Finance page.

Buy a Postgraduate Degree Application pack: $100

A Student’s Story: Luke Johnson

Luke is a composer studying the MA in Professional Media Composition. He’s based on the Isle of Wight, with a history in Rock & Pop.

During his studies Luke has advanced his skill set beyond his original comfort zone; moving from writing by ear to understanding music theory, through to writing music for commercial television advertisements!

Luke talks about life as a ThinkSpace student, the benefits of the online campus and collaborating with other students from around the world.

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.

Requirements

For FAQs, and more information please visit the Applications & FAQs, Student Finance and Study With ThinkSpace pages. Click here to view ThinkSpace Education’s postgraduate academic and institutional policies.


  • Language

    For applicants whose first language is not English, we will need you to provide an English language test certificate.

    There are several English language tests, including IELTS, TOEFL and CAE. We require you to have an overall score of IELTS 6.5 or higher to participate in the programme, with no element less than a score of 6. This equates to a TOEFL score of 79 and a CAE score of 176.
    The test must be taken before your course start date. Applications may be accepted provisionally pending test results.

    If you have completed your undergraduate degree, or any other postgraduate degree that was taught in English you will not need to take an English Language test.


  • Musical

    We expect you to have a good, solid knowledge of DAW, such as Logic or Cubase. 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 will need a computer, software and ancillary equipment (monitors, hard drives), Mac or PC, capable of producing professional quality music and audio, and recording equipment. This is the overriding principle and the following minimum technical specifications are given for guidance.

    PC:
Windows 7 or above PC laptop / desktop
Quad core 2.3 GHz processor +
16 GB RAM +
Graphics card, Nvidia GTX 550 Ti or equivalent, 2GB VRAM.

    Mac:
OSX 10.8 or above
MacBook Pro, iMac or Mac Pro
Quad core 2.3 GHz processor +
16 GB of RAM +
Graphics card, 1GB GPU, we recommend 2GB+


  • Music Software

    In order to mirror a real-world professional working environment, this is an intensive course with strict deadlines. As such, students must have acquired and be competent in the use of the minimum technical requirements prior to starting the course to get the most out of it. Students may be eligible for significant educational discounts.

    DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). We expect you to have a working knowledge of one DAW.

    To produce live orchestral scores and parts you will need score writing software. We officially support Sibelius, however if you wish to use Finale we can also accommodate this.


  • Internet

    You will be uploading and downloading a large quantity of material so you should have access to a reliable broadband connection with a recommended speed of at least 5Mbs. We have found that the Google Chrome browser is the most compatible with the webinar software we use which will also be an important part of your course. All your assignments are uploaded through the student portal on our website. Some very large uploads might require standard FTP client software, for example CuteFTP on a PC or Transmit on a Mac.

  • Academic

    Applicants should have an undergraduate degree in any subject. There is no entry by RPL for our MFA courses. If you do not have an undergraduate degree, you might be eligible to join one of our MA programmes instead.


Materials, Structure & Assessment

The course operates on a modular basis. The majority of modules count for 15 academic credits. Each credit taken equates to a total study time of around 10 hours. Total study time includes scheduled teaching, independent study and assessment activity.

Students on our MA and MFA courses learn through a mix of self-directed study (particularly of our extensive course materials) as well as through 1-2-1 sessions with our tutors and group Webinar sessions. All student work, practical or written, is assessed by our tutors (there are no exams on the course). On each module, students have an opportunity to submit formative assignments (which don’t contribute to the final grade) to receive tutor feedback and guidance before submitting the summative assignment.

Full time students are entitled to one session per week with a tutor, and students on part time schedules are entitled to one session every two weeks. The dates and times of upcoming Webinars are available to see in the student calendar in the VLE (Virtual Learning Environment). All Webinar sessions are recorded and kept in our Webinar Library, which our students have access to, meaning they have hundreds of hours of workshops and lectures to get stuck into whenever they want. These are usually hosted through the website BigMarker.

In the final three months of the programme, students will engage with self-directed independent study as they create and produce a major specialist practical project or can opt to undertake a written dissertation. Students are expected to demonstrate the ability to work independently, and to show self-motivation and critical self-awareness. Students are also expected to show significant organisational and time-management skills which assist in the timely and successful delivery of project work and research.

Contact Us

My name is Tim and I am the postgraduate Course Manager here at ThinkSpace Education. 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 postgraduate@thinkspaceeducation.com.

Your Name*

Your Email*

Course / Subject*

Your Message*