The MFA Professional Composition and Orchestration is a course run by the University of Chichester and ThinkSpace Education.
We train you for the industry of the future.
This is a course that combines advanced training in scoring and orchestration for film, games and other media with focus on both live and sampled orchestration. Course highlights include a recording session with a 50-piece professional film orchestra, recording sessions throughout the course with live musicians and a choice of inspiring real-world projects from film, television, games, animation and commercials.
You will acquire industry-ready professional skills, both creative and technical. The course will sharpen your powers of analysis and provide you with a much deeper and richer insight into both your own music and the work of others.
A master’s degree from the University of Chichester & ThinkSpace Education is a prestigious qualification and a major personal achievement.
It is validation of your ability as a composer and an internationally recognized qualification that establishes both your technical and creative ability.
All of the materials for PCO can be accessed through our online student campus.
Here you can download all of the course materials to your computer, module by module (yes, ThinkSpace lets you keep all of the tuition content, unlike many other online music courses/colleges).
You can also submit assignments to your tutors for marking and get access to unlimited support from our team of knowledgeable and experienced professional composers via the support ticket system.
PCO also boasts over 80 hours of audio and video interviews with top composers, producers and orchestrators, featuring composers such as:
Just as important are the interviews with producers and directors who tell you exactly what they are looking for and what they expect from the composers they work with.
Modules and themes you may study include:
Anyone hoping to enter the professional industry for the first time, or to uplift their career trajectory, needs careful guidance from people with knowledge of crucial developments, often completely invisible to those on the outside.
Every one of our tutors works in the industry, many at the cutting edge of innovation, working on major international productions in film, games and television.
In this creative and supportive environment, you have a unique opportunity to develop your own musical voice, a distinctive sound that can be key to unlocking your full potential.
When you become a PCO student, our team of composers are here to support you through all stages of your career.
We can offer help looking over contracts, advising on finding work and setting rates, assisting new purchases (ThinkSpace students are also eligible for student discounts on many pieces of music software and samples), assisting with technical problems & studio setup, and pretty much anything else you can think of!
In the UK an MFA involves 240 academic credits and each credit represents a notional 10 hours of work. That comes to pretty close to a full-time working week for a year.
For Professional Composition & Orchestration there are 30 projects plus the Major Project at the end of the course.
Practice based creative degrees are notoriously difficult to quantify in terms of how long they take to complete. To a large extent it depends on how fast you write music. Some students write 5 minutes of music a day while others write 5 minutes a week. If you work reasonably productively, i.e. 2-3 minutes a day, which is probably average in the professional working industry, you would complete the work in much less time.
The headline figure of 10 hours per credit includes absolutely everything – time spent watching videos, reading, and discussions with tutors and support staff. It also depends on how widely you choose to read around the subject, the depth of your research, the number of additional films you choose to watch and the amount of private composition you do to support your formal projects.
A well organized person, working productively, might be able to complete the course in two or three days a week, whereas another working slower might take 5 days a week. Assume therefore that a full time course lies somewhere between 2 and 5 days a week depending on your work rate.
This unique programme trains students to work at the cutting edge of contemporary cinematic music, developing a range of technological and musical skills to produce high quality and innovative scores. Teaching staff include top Hollywood orchestrators who have worked on Oscar nominated scores, blockbusters like Hunger Games, Fast and Furious and the Die Hard series of films. The course builds on the foundations of traditional classical orchestration and then extends this into the rapidly evolving world of contemporary film and games scoring.
The programme team works closely with film, games and music industry bodies and practitioners, to ensure the currency and professional relevance of the programme. The prime purpose of the programme is to enable students to become effective and multi-skilled professionals, capable of meeting complex musical and technical challenges in the arena of film, games and television orchestration.
In this fast developing area of professional practice, the programme will offer substantial and sustained opportunities to engage with the research of others, stimulating interdisciplinary enquiry, furthering your knowledge and developing original solutions and insights into technical and creative problems.
To gain a Postgraduate Certificate students need to complete four out of the first five modules.
To gain a Postgraduate Diploma students need to complete all modules with the exception of the Final Major Project.
To gain an MA students need to have successfully completed all modules, including the Final Major Project (Dissertation).
This is an online course. You must have access to a good internet connection. The course is primarily delivered through the use of downloadable material, however there will be regular online webinars and tutorial sessions.
The MMus in Composition fosters your ability to compose and notate music, and to develop your own personal musical language.
You explore a wide range of technical procedures for contemporary composition and engage intellectually and critically with related theories and concepts.
There are many practical opportunities to work with performers, including the Department of Music's ensemble-in-residence, and other artistic collaborators.
The composition pathway appeals to composers interested in a wide range of contemporary music including Boulez, Stockhausen, Birtwistle, Carter, Xenakis, spectral music and improvised music.
There's a focus on fundamental issues concerning pitch, time and pulse, and covers topics such as orchestration, advanced instrumental techniques, large-scale structure.
Composers taking this pathway may elect to take options in studio-based composition, providing they have the requisite prior experience.
There are also opportunities to work with visiting professional musicians and meet visiting composers, which have included Harrison Birtwistle, Michael Finnissy, Brian Ferneyhough and Jonathan Harvey.
You'll develop strategies and methodologies for creative practice, critical reflection and evaluation and skills in the contextualisation of creative work.
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.