BA (Hons) Film Music and Soundtrack Production

Welcome to Film Music and Soundtrack Production

To study on the BA (Hons) Film Music and Soundtrack Production programme will be a giant step to fulfilling your dreams of following your favourite composers into the industry. The programme explores the subject’s rich history whilst developing current trends, and with a combination of working with musicians and various technologies, will give you the necessary skills to achieve your goals.

The programme is designed to train the students in the musical, technical and analytical skills needed to succeed in a variety of media industry positions including self-employed musician, composer, conductor, arranger, sound designer, mixing engineer. Whilst studying a variety of traditional and modern techniques, students have the opportunity to extend their existing music and music technology skills at the same time as expanding their knowledge of other practices such as orchestration, vocal mixing and musical direction.

Course enquiries: 01206 712777
Ask a question
Course IntroductionModulesEntry RequirementsGraduate CareersAdditional

The growing demand for cable television channels, cinema quality video games on many platforms and film productions provides huge opportunities for the creators of music and sound effects within the media industry.

Members of staff are working practitioners in the industry, working in live music, composing for film, television, video games, the internet, radio, theatre and with sound companies. Central to the programme is an emphasis on employment, self-employment and work placement. Whilst studying a variety of traditional and modern techniques, students have the opportunity to extend their existing music or music technology skills whilst expanding their knowledge of other practices. The course aims to prepare students for employment becoming versatile composers experienced in live and computer based music and soundtrack production with a view to developing realistic and sustainable careers in the media industry.

Although designed as three year full-time degree programme, there are named exit routes at the end of year one (Certificate of Higher Education in Film Music and Soundtrack Production) and year two (Diploma of Higher Education in Film Music and Soundtrack Production).

Our facilities include a suite of 28 Macs running Logic, Reason, Sibelius and Soundtrack Pro and two main recording studios. We have a concert hall and many bookable practice rooms for bands and orchestral ensembles.

The course operates on a modular basis that provides flexibility and choice. Each module is worth a specified number of credits, with most modules counting for 30 or 15 academic credits, with each credit taken equating to a total amount of study time which includes scheduled teaching, independent study and assessment activity.

Most full-time students will take modules worth 60 credits per semester, with part-time students taking proportionately fewer credits per semester. A total of 120 credits per level and 360 credits are needed for an honours degree as a whole. Overall grades for the course and degree classification are based on the marks obtained for modules taken at levels 5 and 6.

Compulsory modules enable you to cover key subject knowledge whilst and optional allow you to develop your own interests. The number of optional modules you can take depends on the number of core modules at a given level. Our teaching is informed by research, professional practice and industry engagement and modules change periodically to reflect developments in the discipline.

Year One (Level 4) Year Two (Level 5) Year Three (Level 6)

Normal entry will require a minimum of 64 UCAS points* achieved through A Levels or an Extended Diploma in Music, Popular Music or Music Technology with some degree of keyboard facility.
*2017-18 UCAS Tariff
Entry is normally by interview. Applicants should bring a portfolio of previous work. This may include GCSE/BTEC/Rock School, or A Level coursework examples of their own arrangements, compositions, composition for film, sound effects, music tech recordings on CD, DVD, or on YouTube. They should be prepared to talk through their experience in the following areas:

  • Their musical background
  • What composition experience they have
  • Any music software they have used and the benefits thereof e.g. Logic, Cubase, Reason, Sibelius, etc.
  • Any experience of using mixing desks, microphones and studio equipment
  • Any experience of making or using sound effects
  • Film genres, films or composers that particularly influence them and why
  • What they would like to do as a career – for example in composing music for film, radio or TV and using music technology to create sound effects

There will be some short practical musicianship tests – e.g. singing back a melody, rhythm clapping, knowledge of chords and harmony. They will not be required to perform on an instrument but should be prepared to discuss any ability – especially regarding using a piano keyboard with a computer.

International applicants

If English is not your first language you will need an IELTS score of 6.0, with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English Language qualification.

Additional requirements:

  • You must provide evidence of having been in general education for at least 10 years and of having studied within the last five years
  • a face-to-face interview is required before an offer is made.

Graduates will be trained to start self-employed work in the media industry or apply for employment with multimedia companies, locally or nationally. There are a number of Masters courses in film music onto which these students could progress.

Graduates will develop self employment opportunities or may gain employment in relation to a wide range of professional activities including performance, song writing/composition, recording/music technology, music business and teaching.

This programme provides the opportunity to progress to postgraduate study at MA level and higher. A new pathway within the MA in Music at Colchester Institute is being developed.

Since 2010, Film Music graduate Scott Ampleford has been working alongside New York animators behind the animated fan series of Doctor Who known as “Doctor Puppet”.  Scott composes and narrates each episode and has used students and staff from University Centre Colchester and professional musicians to record the live instruments and singing.  The project is supported by the BBC and Scott has spoken at a number of American conventions with the animation team.

Watch the episodes, Christmas specials and behind the scenes documentaries on www.youtube.com/hellodoctorpuppet

Timetables: Timetables are normally available one month before registration. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week. Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week.

Teaching and Learning: You are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and practical’s. Seminars enable smaller group discussions to develop understanding of topics covered in lectures. You will use and have access to industry-standard software and facilities throughout your course.

When not attending lectures, seminars and laboratory or other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library, learning zone or technical learning resources, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for examinations

Assessment: The course provides you with opportunities to test your understanding of the subject informally before you complete the formal assessments that count towards your final mark. Each module normally contains at least one piece of practice or ‘formative’ assessment for which you receive feedback from your tutor. Practice assessments are developmental and any grades you receive for them do not count towards your module mark.

There is a formal or ‘summative’ assessment at the end of each module. Assessment methods include written examinations and a range of coursework assessments such as essays, reports, portfolios, performance, presentations and your final year major project. The grades from formal assessments count towards your module mark.

 Feedback: You will receive feedback on all practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module tutor.

Apply Full-time
Apply Part-time
BA (Hons) Film Music and Soundtrack Production - Full-time
LevelLevel 6
LocationColchester
Duration3 Years
UCAS CodeW301
Academic Year2018-2019
Study ModeFull-Time
CampusUniversity Centre Colchester
Start DateSeptember 2018
Fee(s)2018-19: £9,250 per year
BA (Hons) Film Music and Soundtrack Production - Part-time
LevelLevel 6
LocationColchester
Duration6 Years
Course CodeZH3BAFMP01
Academic Year2018-2019
Study ModePart-Time
CampusUniversity Centre Colchester
Start DateSeptember 2018
Fee(s)2018-19: £4,625 per year
Year One (Level 4)

COMPOSING FOR VISUAL MEDIA (30 CREDITS)

What’s it about?

This is where you can put into practice your musicianship skills. This module covers spotting, sketches, responding to brief and general principles of music for media.

What do I learn?

You will learn about spotting, underscore, structure, colour, phrasing and characterisation including single and multiple characters. In addition you will develop your understanding of balance and blend through mixing and mastering and provide edits that reflect industry requirements.

What’s the assignment?

There are three elements: To provide a short portfolio of library music for T.V. drawn from horror, atmospheric and contemporary popular music genres and one to provide the music for a full animation short (7 mins duration) with a reflective report.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here

INTRODUCTION TO ARRANGING (15 CREDITS) 

What’s it about?

This module provides the skills and expertise to arrange for various groups including brass, woodwind and strings.

What do I learn?

You will learn about how instruments work, how they blend, their frequencies and ranges in order to support characters, scenes and themes. You will learn score preparation and programming skills including initial mixing and mastering techniques.

What’s the assignment?

There are three elements to submit: One is a string/woodwind arrangement (score) of a well-known excerpt and one brass arrangement (sequenced) with a given multitrack supported by a reflective report.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here

MUSICIANSHIP SKILLS 1 (15 CREDITS)

What’s it about?

This module covers principles of music theory with an emphasis on modes, harmonies and melodic development both written and through aural transcription.

What do I learn?

You will learn about how music theory is used in film scores from compositional approaches to modes and develop your musical ear to transcribe, interpret and be critically aware of developments in music for film using up to date industry standard software.

What’s the assignment?

There are two exams, one at the end of each semester: One to assess your compositional and aural skills of melody and one for analysis of film scores.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here

FILM MUSIC IN CONTEXT 1 (15 Credits)

What’s it about?

You will be discovering the changes in film and television scoring since 1900.

What do I learn?

You will be learning about developments in film and television music through listening, analysis and research.  This will also cover techniques of musicological analysis and provide an opportunity  to develop your study, academic and presentational skills.

What’s the assignment?

There are two assignments. One is a 12-15 minute presentation on a film score chosen by the learner.  The other is a proposal outlining the film and the aims of the presentation (1,200 words).

To see the module description, please click here.

EARNING A LIVING IN THE MEDIA INDUSTRY (15 Credits)

What’s it about?

You will be learning about the nature of the media industry and, specifically, careers in film music and sound design. This could be aimed at students interested in film and television scoring as well as sound design and music for the game industry

What do I learn?

You will be learning about different opportunities for working in the media industry and a realistic and structured approach to earning potential through the production of a personal business proposal.

What’s the assignment?

There are two assignments to submit. One is a written report on the media industry (800 words), the other is a 3,200 word Business Portfolio outlining in detail a personal business or earning opportunity of the learner’s choosing.

To see the module description, please click here.

INTRODUCTION TO AUDIO TECHNOLOGY (15 Credits)

What’s it about?

It is an introduction to Studio Recording, mixing and mastering. This is aimed at musicians with the focus on practical skills which can be used for basic mobile/home recording and in professional recording studios.

 What do I learn?

How to compose a given brief to a visual stimulus. The will involve some compositional development but mainly production techniques to help your compositions become close to industry standards

What’s the assignment?

1 original composition to a visual stimulus with an historical report on a brief history of audio technology in relation to film.

To see the module description, please click here.

INTRODUCTION TO MUSICAL DIRECTION (15 CREDITS)

What’s it about?

This module introduced the concepts of a musical director and conducting from live orchestras with samples to choirs.

What do I learn?

You will learn the basic and more advanced conducting shapes of regular and irregular time signatures, how to annotate your scores, working with live players, and giving directions for them to perform as required as well as conducting to click and without click.

What’s the assignment?

There are two practical exams. The first exam is a piece, c.2 minutes in duration, conducting to click with a variety of time signature changes.  The second exam is a piece c.4 minutes in duration, which is rehearsed with live players, with a play through at the end of the exam.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

Year Two (Level 5)

COMPOSITION FOR TV: ANIMATION AND DRAMA (30 CREDITS)

What’s it about?

This module will build on experiences and skills developed from Composition for Visual Media, with an emphasis on development of musical ideas within the larger scale compositional format.  The module will focus on how to score for TV series, from children’s animation to period drams.

What do I learn?

You will learn advanced software skills, orchestrating for full orchestra and how to work in the industry for scoring for TV shows.

What’s the assignment?

You will be given two extracts from TV series to score for full orchestra, one from a children’s animation and the other from a drama.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here

ORCHESTRATION (15 credits)

What’s it about?

This is where you delve into characterisation and how to support a solo lines and explore moods and scenes through use of orchestral, popular and world instruments.

What do I learn?

You will learn about colour, register and tonal planes (timbre combinations) to orchestrate a number of scenes including the jump-scare and meet-cute elements of movies and how instruments can affect the mood of both character and scene through audio manipulation and creative notated scores.

What’s the assignment?

One portfolio of two orchestrations: One of which is for a given score (piano reduction, notated) and one for instruments available from within the year group and other music students within UCC all supported by a reflective report.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here

MUSICIANSHIP SKILLS 2 (15 CREDITS) 

What’s it about?

This module expands on the fundamentals of composition and your musical ear by exploring techniques as a whole (structure, conventional and unconventional harmonies and continuity versus contrast) whilst developing creative mixing and mastering techniques.

What do I learn?

You will learn advanced software skills, the art of repetition and advance harmony and a deeper level of analysis of landmark scores.

What’s the assignment?

There are two exams, one at the end of each semester: One to assess your compositional and analytical skills and one developing your musical ear transcribing harmonies and rhythms.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here

VOCAL ARRANGING (15 credits)

What’s it about?

This is where you arrange film songs for SATB voices by exploring historical conventions and modern approaches.

What do I learn?

The idea of what works in software doesn’t always work live will be explored through recordings in performance and you will develop a greater understanding of voice ranges and types. In addition you will have a greater understanding of how effective simple arrangements can be that are used in film but also the pitfalls of using complex scores.  

What’s the assignment?

You will provide a score and a recording of the performance along with a listening diary analysing landmark vocal arrangements in film.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here

FILM MUSIC IN CONTEXT 2 (15 Credits)

What’s it about?

You will be discovering the influence of popular music in film and television scoring.

What do I learn?

You will be learning about the continuing importance of popular music in modern film and television music through listening, analysis and clips from noteworthy examples.

What’s the assignment?

There are two assignments. One is a 12-15 minute viva voce exam covering topics and developments from throughout the term.  The other is an essay about the use of popular music in a modern film or television series (2,000 words).

To see the module description, please click here.

THE SELF EMPLOYED MUSICIAN (15 Credits) 

What’s it about?

Today’s media composers and producers need to be in charge of their own careers. You will be learning about the nature of the media industry and, specifically, careers in film music and sound design. This could be aimed at students interested in film and television scoring as well as sound design and music for the game industry 

What do I learn?

You will be learning about the various laws that affect the modern media musician, from contract and tax law to health and safety, as well as developing a personal approach to self-marketing and promotion.

What’s the assignment?

There are two things to submit. One is a written report on contemporary music business laws and personal finance organisation (1,200 words). The other is a Portfolio and student-designed Promotion Pack.

To see the module description, please click here.

INVESTIGATING PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE (15 Credits)

What’s it about?

You will be receiving firsthand experience of someone working in the contemporary media industry.

What do I learn?

You will be learning about the practical organisation of the work of a practitioner in the modern media industry and reflecting on the relationship between theory and practice from research and personal observation.

What’s the assignment?

There are two assignments. One is an opportunity to plan, negotiate and undertake a 20-hour work placement within the media industry. The other is a critical evaluation of your learning experience.

To see the module description, please click here.

Foley and Sound Design (15 Credits)

What’s it about?

It is an introduction to creating Foley and Sound Design for a given stimulus. The work of Foley Artists and Sound Designers is often overlooked but the importance of these 2 areas is paramount in film and television.

 What do I learn?

How to create a Foley soundtrack to a given stimulus and an introduction to Sound Design using synthesis and audio manipulation techniques.

What’s the assignment?

1 original composition to a visual stimulus which incorporates bespoke sound design and Foley elements.

To see the module description, please click here.

 

Year Three (Level 6)

COMPOSING FOR FILM & GAMES (30 credits)

What’s it about?

This is where it all comes together by incorporating the skills developed through the use of FX, sound design, scores, recordings and orchestrations to provide a portfolio of music for film.

What do I learn? 

You will collaborate with fellow students on the BA (Hons) Digital Film programme or BA (Hons) in Games Programming and therefore develop your skills in negotiation and responding to brief whilst working to deadlines and developing advanced mixing and mastering skills in addition to audio manipulation with reference to sound design. 

What’s the assignment?

A portfolio of two complete scores for shorts: One in collaboration with fellow students and one provided for you from a professional film production company. This will be supported by a reflective journal covering drafts, proposals, an evaluation of the process and the level at which you are at within the industry.

To see the module description, please click here

FILM MUSIC IN CONTEXT 3 (15 Credits)

What’s it about?

You will be developing an awareness of the changes in film and television scoring since 2000.

What do I learn?

You will be learning about cultural and artistic issues in contemporary music for visual art forms, from 2000 to date, through critical listening, in-depth research and analysis of audio/visual theory and the film composition process, including music written for or used in film, television and video games.

What’s the assignment?

There are two assignments. One is a 30-minute presentation on a contemporary media score chosen by the learner.  The other is a proposal and literature review outlining the film and the aims of the presentation (2,000 words).

To see the module description, please click here.

ENTERING EMPLOYMENT IN THE MEDIA INDUSTRY (15 Credits)

What’s it about?

You will be receiving firsthand experience of working in the media industry in more depth through the undertaking of an active work placement, and developing business and practical skills in the media industry.

What do I learn?

You will be learning about the real-world challenges of working in the media industry by personally negotiating a project with an employer in either film music or sound design, and then spending a minimum of 36 hours working on it.

What’s the assignment?

At the successful completion of the work project, the student will produce a critical evaluation of their learning experience through a reflective report (3,000 words), reflecting upon the contrasts between theory and practice and determining their personal readiness to enter the media industry after completion.

To see the module description, please click here.

Surround Sound (15 Credits)

What’s it about?

It is an introduction to composing and mixing in 5.1 (Surround Sound.) This will require you to think about composing, sound effects, mixing and mastering in a completely new and exciting way.

 What do I learn?

How to compose, mix and master in Surround Sound. This will include sound placement, mid/side techniques, surround automation and balancing sound for Surround.

What’s the assignment?

1 original composition in 5.1 to a given stimulus. There will also be an historical report into the evolution of multiple sound source playback in cinema.

To see the module description, please click here.

RESEARCH PROJECT (15 CREDITS)

What’s it about?

This module deals with the preparation and submission of a self-directed music-related project that demonstrates independent study and research.

What do I learn?

You will learn the concepts of project negotiation and how to analyse research data through exploring different methodologies to raise questions, identify limitations, and provide suggestions for further study.

What’s the assignment?

There is only one element: A research report of 4,000 words or a presentation/multimedia submission, or a combination of either.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

Library Music (15 Credits)

What’s it about?

An introduction to a career in library and production music, this involves composing, recording, production and mastering.

What do I learn?

How to compose to a given brief and create a composition which meets the needs both musically and technically for music production houses.

What’s the assignment?

2 original compositions with edits and 2 “soundtrack” compositions with edits.

To see the module description, please click here.

 



Open events
Places to live
About finances
Academic calendar
Prospectus request
View School of Music

Disclaimer

All Fees and prices shown on the website are for courses starting in the 2017-18 academic year and correct at the time of entering/printing information, however these may be subject to change. The College cannot accept legal or financial liability as a result of any such changes. Fees for courses starting in the 2018-19 academic year will be added to the website from June 2018.

The course information describes programmes offered by Colchester Institute. The College takes all reasonable steps to provide courses as described, but cannot guarantee provision. The information is for guidance and does not form any part of a contract.

The College reserves the right to update and amend information as and when necessary. Colchester Institute will do its best to provide the courses shown, but may have to modify or withdraw a course depending on customer demand and other factors.