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 go from computer DAW to live score.
- Electives in Pro Tools for Film composers, and Advanced Sibelius.
- 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 to 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’s 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 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.
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.
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 Session
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.
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 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.
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 95% 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.
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.
Module 1 – Writing for Strings
Scoring, sampled mock-ups and an introduction to writing to picture.
Module 2 - Writing for Woodwind
Scoring, sampled mock-ups and a more detailed look at composing for film drama.
Module 3 – Sampling Technology
Setting up and balancing a template, using controllers to enhance realism, choice of libraries, mixing sampled orchestral music, understanding sampling technology.
Module 4 – Elective
Choice of: Pro Tools for Orchestral Recording, Advanced Sibelius, Sound Design, Music Business: Work and Money.
Module 5 – Writing for Brass, Harp and Percussion
Scoring, sampled mockups and a section on hybrid synth and live orchestral scoring.
Module 6 – Scoring for Orchestra
Bringing it all together with techniques for both large and small ensembles, plus a section on orchestral scoring for games.
Module 7 – Session Preparation
Producing industry standard scores and parts and record-ready pro tools sessions.
Module 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.
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
“ I would recommend [the ThinkSpace MA] to any composer who simply wants to be better at their job, whatever their experience level.”
– Amory Leader
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.
The course fee includes the cost of a live orchestral session. Full-time and part-time students pay the same.
Interest-free monthly repayments
start from £57, $83 or €75 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
Applicants should have an undergraduate 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 undergraduate 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.
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.
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).
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
Intel Processor Quad Core 2.6GHz, 8/16GB RAM
However we would recommend:
Intel i7 Quad Core 3.2GHz (equivalent or higher), 32GB RAM
The latest computer based sequencer capable of importing QuickTime movies. These include:
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
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 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 locally than 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.
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.
A Student’s Story: Adam House
Hear first-hand from a ThinkSpace Education postgraduate student. Composer and sound designer Adam House talks what it’s like as a ThinkSpace student: distance learning, self-initiated studying, the ThinkSpace Education student community and the benefits of our intensive programme.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.