We train you for the industry of the future.
Professional Media Composition is for composers who want to earn a living writing music for media. It delivers the creative, technical and business skills to help you succeed. Taught exclusively by working professionals, the course is embedded in the industry so students can be sure they are learning exactly what it takes to make a living right now.
The course introduces you to a wide range of opportunities, everything from commercials to production music, industrial video to animation and of course, but not exclusively, film and games scoring.
On this course we are pleased to welcome musicians from a contemporary electronic background as well as those who are classically trained. There is no music theory requirement for this course, just talent. Ability to use a DAW and familiarity with music technology is important however.
- Telephone and direct email support.
- Personal 1-to-1 tuition from top professional composers.
- Work on over 20 projects. The workload is challenging but it’s only through hard work that you will truly reach the next level.
- Same training system we use in-house to train our assistants.
- Detailed feedback from a range of tutors, online workshops and tutorial groups, forum discussions and exclusive webinars.
- You will learn about music business, copyright, how to find work, how to pitch, create a demo reel and develop a career.
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 write in a wide variety of styles, using different compositional techniques.
- You will produce professional quality mock-ups and 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.
- We take students through many different areas of the media, each of which has specific requirements and expectations.
- You will learn the technical aspects of writing to picture, spotting a film, and working with hit point and markers.
- You will appreciate how music can respond creatively and intelligently on many different levels to the project you’re engaged with.
- You will become proficient at music editing which is an important skill for composers both in terms of boosting productivity and also in opening new avenues of work.
- The research and critical thinking module will help you put media music in context and teach you valuable research skills.
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.
What Work Will it Prepare Me For?
Students mainly go on to work as film, tv and games composers in a wide variety of areas of the industry.
Many of our students are already working composers looking to update their sound, and take their music to the next level.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 in Styles
Learning to work in a range of common media styles while developing collaborative skills. This takes students out of their comfort zones and into approaches to composition.
Module 2 - Writing to a Brief 1
Strategies for working out what the client wants and how to give it to them. We look at several important areas of potential work including corporate or industrial video production and TV themes and idents.
Module 3 – Writing to a Brief 2
Games, factual television and library music. Technically and creatively more demanding with more complex briefs. We look at productivity and techniques for writing faster as well as better.
Module 4 – 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 wider cultural and academic landscape.
Module 5 – Music Editing
A vital skill for improving productivity and a great first step into the world of scoring to picture. Also of course a possible career path in itself.
Module 6 – Writing to Picture
We introduce you to the technical and creative challenges of scoring to picture. We examine several areas of TV where many composers earn a living – documentaries, animation and commercials.
Module 7 – Scoring Drama
Film and TV drama places special demands on composers. In this module you will be scoring a variety of short films and sequences from full length features while we look at how music works with the narrative and addresses the themes within the film.
Module 8 - Elective
A choice of topics including Music Business: Work and Money, Advanced Pro Tools, Sibelius, and Sound Design.
Final Major Project
This longer 12 week project involves composing 30 minutes of music to picture under real-world conditions. 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.
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.
We expect you to have a good, solid knowledge of one digital audio workstation. 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. A high level of music theory is a big advantage but we appreciate there are many different ways to great a great score and you will be judged principally on the potential shown in your portfolio.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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: Lois Mugleston
Lois is a Professional Media Composition student, professional composer, ThinkSpace Education student representative and general practitioner to boot!
Only half-way through her 3 year program, Lois has gone from writing music in Sibelius to producing high quality, professional sampled mockups. With the skills she’s learnt, she’s now got her sights set on making a career move from medicine to music!
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.
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 email@example.com.