NFTS - Composing for Film & TV

Degrees Offered
2 Year M.A.
Tuition Detail
£13,800 a year (Home fees) | £27,000 a year (Overseas Fees)
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Film School details

Application Deadlines
Contact school. Next intake is January
May 3, 2018
The NFTS trains composers in both live and electro-acoustic music for the moving image in a production context closely modelled on Industry working practices.
  • Training in live and electro-acoustic music
  • Students compose for wide variety of audio visual material
  • Creative and technical skills developed
  • Study in a collaborative, filmmaking environment
  • Flexible curriculum adaptable to individual needs
  • Individual music suites
  • Recording sessions with live musicians Business, legal and professional skills taught
  • Unlike other schools, all production costs are met by the School.
The Composing MA course is part of the Post Production department, where we are looking to assemble a group of students with diverse and varied backgrounds. There is no 'typical' student or perfect candidate who conforms to a mandatory list of qualifications. You might have had some Industry experience in your chosen field, or a background in the arts or other media. You may now be looking for a further professional qualification, or wish to broaden your knowledge of composing for screen, taking you to a higher level of work.

Students normally have a degree in music but applicants with equivalent practical experience are also accepted; some composing experience is preferred. We look for composers with a strong personal style, a flexible approach and an intelligent feel for drama and narrative. Candidates should normally be able to notate the music they wish to be performed acoustically, have an understanding of the main historical styles and be able to communicate with others using non-musical terms. It is essential that applicants have a strong and demonstrable interest in film.

The Composing course is developmental and progressive. In year one, students are taught the techniques and contexts which inform writing music for the screen. The first term comprises an intensive process during which students compose to a variety of exercises, each one chosen to focus on a particular problem of film composition. Some of these exercises are completed by each student and discussed in seminars and individually assessed. In term two, further exercises concentrate on issues having to do with scoring for live instruments, the combination of live and electro-acoustic elements and the integration a limited range of sound design into film scores. In addition, students will begin engaging with projects generated by other students at the NFTS. This process will continue and dominate the third term. Each student contribution to those films will also be assessed. Students will also participate in visits from industry professionals.

In year two, students’ activities will be dominated primarily by work generated from other parts of the school. However, lectures, seminars and the occasional workshop will be provided to clarify and expand issues arising from those projects. As in year 1, students will also participate in visits from industry professionals.

A series of composing workshops combining practical exercises and seminars:

  • Basic narrative techniques
  • Midi (sampling) use of samples and audio
  • Combining music and sound
  • Narrative with dialogue
  • Non-fiction scoring
  • Instrumentation and orchestration
  • Composing to script
Ongoing analysis of feature film soundtracks and film structure Orchestration and recording with live musicians

Workshops with Sound Design and Editing students:

  • Abstract Film Workshop
  • Without Images - a sound-only project
  • Animation exercises
  • Dramaturgy Workshop – focusing on script and script analysis, blocking and cover, and performance

  • Zen and Beyond Time - fiction workshop focusing on visual storytelling
  • Documentary poetry exercise collaborating with Documentary Direction, Editing and Sound Design
  • First Year Film – the major 1st year fiction production collaborating with all other departments
  • Investigative Documentary - the major first year documentary production
  • Cross Spec - an introduction to film language and storytelling involving all departments
  • Orchestration and recording with live musicians
  • Continued analysis of films
  • 2nd year short fiction production, shot on a digital format
  • Graduation films in documentary, fiction and animation
Unlike other schools, all production costs are met by the School. In addition you will be given a cash Production Budget. NFTS students are engaged in more productions as part of the curriculum than any of our competitors.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this page is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time it was last updated. PLEASE verify with the school ALL due dates and requirements as they may have changed since our last update. If any info on this page is incorrect please let us know and we will update it. We are not responsible for missed deadlines or rejected applications due to out of date information on this page. Please do your due diligence.

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