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This Composing for Film and Television course is designed for composers aspiring to work in the media industry and wanting to learn more about techniques for composing and producing music for film and TV. You will learn from experienced composers working across a variety of different media and styles. You will also have the opportunity to collaborate with student filmmakers and animators from other courses.
You'll produce and record music in our fantastic, unique facilities. In partnership with world-famous record producer Tony Visconti, the British Library and Science Museum, the Visconti Studio comprises of a 300m² octagonal live room stocked with rare and vintage recording equipment.
If you are planning to join this course in the academic year 2020/21 (i.e. between August 2020 and July 2021), please view the information about changes to courses for 2020/21 due to Covid-19.
Students who are continuing their studies with Kingston University in 2020/21 should refer to their Course Handbook for information about specific changes that have been, or may be, made to their course or modules being delivered in 2020/21. Course Handbooks are located within the Canvas Course page.
You will analyse film and TV scores, exploring how music is used to create atmosphere, convey mood and depict setting, character and action. You'll also explore the relationships between composer and producer, directors and music editors.
As well as studying and practising the use of main themes, underscoring and the harmonic languages of soundtracks, you will also learn about the technology used to produce high-quality soundtracks for the music industry, as well as business and copyright issues.
The curriculum is enriched by a broad view of musical styles and genres, exploiting the diversity of a repertoire that encompasses Western classical music, popular and world music.
The major project enables you to compose an individualised portfolio of music to picture and work with student filmmakers, enhancing your research and project development skills.
You'll need to take all four compulsory modules, totalling 150 credits. You can then choose one further optional module, to total 180 credits altogether.
This module supports the development of a major piece of research, or creative work, or performance which is focused on the subject of the student's programme of study. Therefore the nature of the project is chosen from the following: a dissertation; a folio of produced popular music compositions/covers; a folio of sonic arts work; a folio of compositions to moving image; a folio of compositions; or a performance. In the case of the creative work, students will also undertake related research which culminates in a paper or critical commentary to complement and support their creative work. The module is taught through a mixture of seminars and individual tutorials.
The module allows the student to develop further understanding of a range of professional roles undertaken by media composers /composers for F&TV within a more industrialised context. The teaching and learning experience of the module introduces the opportunity to work with live musicians, composing and arranging for a small instrumental ensemble and conducting their performance to the moving images, in a state-of-the-art modern recording studio environment. The student will also be required to engage in post-production mastering and mixing, to achieve a fully professional result. A degree of recording theory and practice is included, which will present information from professional sound engineers, composers and producers. Module content also includes in-depth study of real-world aspects of composition, production and exploitation of music in the media. The assignments set reflect these areas of study - for example, dealing with project management, copyright and budget issues.
Researching Music is designed to prepare students for their research and writing on the Music Masters' programmes. The teaching covers academic referencing, creating a bibliography, library skills, use of research on-line indices such as RILM, writing skills, and approaches to research. Later in the module research seminars will be given by Kingston and visiting researchers/composers/performers which provide opportunities for student discussion on a variety of issues in current music research. The module is assessed through a folio of written work including an extended annotated bibliography, an extended research paper and an on-line forum.
This module deals in depth with the subject of composition for film and television. Students explore, through lectures and seminars, the essential technology and techniques that composers for Film and Television need to master. Subjects covered include the use of Main Themes, underscoring and the harmonic languages of soundtracks, in both big and small screen contexts. Coursework consists of several compositions to image, chosen to encourage musical diversity and exploration of compositional styles, together with a written commentary.
The module is designed to give students a deep and thorough understanding of the processes and techniques involved in the recording and production of popular music. It will look at a range of recording techniques and will provide students with the opportunity to gain fluency in the operation of a recording studio. The role of the Producer in creating, developing, managing and presenting a recording project will be studied and students will be equipped with the faculties to produce work which demonstrates creativity and is of a professional standard. Topics covered will include microphone techniques, digital recording and editing techniques, advanced sequencing, mixing and mastering techniques, creating arrangements and communicating with artists and session musicians, investigation of genre-specific production techniques and analysis of contemporary and historical recordings. The relationship between the Producer and the recording and media business will be examined. Students will be trained to critically evaluate their own work and position it in the context of the wider music and media business environment. Students will employ these techniques and skills to create a portfolio of short recordings accompanied by a commentary detailing the techniques employed, and to develop and present a recording project, with supporting documentation.
This is a level 6 optional module and will see students collaborating on the creation of music as part of a production team. The writing, performing, recording, mixing and mastering of music to a professional standard will be studied, as well as its distribution, marketing and retail. Part of the module will feature how to pitch music to replicate the real-world scenario of securing funding / seeking collaborative partners in the creative industries.
The module is designed to give you a deep and thorough understanding of the processes and techniques involved in popular music composition, and to equip you with the faculties to produce work of a professional standard. You will learn compositional techniques applicable to a range of popular music genres and will employ these to enhance your own personal style and create a portfolio of compositions. The nature of the creative process, how collaborators (co-writers, band members) communicate with each other and with other artists, and how popular music terminology and notation is utilised will be discussed. The position of the songwriter and popular music composer within contemporary society and the wider music and media business will also be examined.
This module will also explore strategies behind the manufacture, marketing, distribution and sale of popular music from a global perspective. You will examine music industry models in an historical context, exploring how practices are evolving through the advent of digital technology. You will explore the factors driving this change with critical appraisal of methods used. Topics covered will include the structure of major and independent record labels, management strategies, identifying a target audience, publicity and marketing within different territories, financing, choice of formats, music video, new media, the live industry, going it alone and the value of popular music as a commodity. You will be assessed on a portfolio of work including a project that demonstrates the marketing and promotion of one of their popular music compositions.
This module examines the diversity of practice associated with school-based music provision in the UK maintained sector and associated research. Current positions concerning universal entitlement to the subject will be explored and traced back to influential antecedents. You will formulate a critical response to course themes by designing a short investigation exploring the complex transactional character of pedagogy which typifies music lessons across the UK. It will be located in a school if possible, supported by DBS checking (and if necessary, ethics clearance), or alternatively, will be based on student peer teaching.
This module is core for MMus Performance and is offered as an option for other MA and MMus programmes. The module will address the development of critical and aesthetic insights into both the substance of music and the varied practices of performance required to deliver high quality musical experiences across a range of genres. It considers performance roles, values and practices including issues of meaning in music and emotional responses to music. It will trace the development of aesthetic attitude theories and post-structuralist approaches to understanding and performing a wide range of musical repertoires. Themes explored will include: issues of authenticity, value judgements, virtuosity and the role of the performer. Themed lectures will introduce topics, followed by seminars which will provide opportunities for students to reflect and discuss issues raised in lectures, which are then consolidated in debates that relate ideas to specific texts, repertoires and personal performances. Assessment will be through prepared debates, on topics suggested by the tutor, a critical reflection of a filmed performance and an essay on a related topic selected from a choice provided by the tutor.
This module is core for MMus Performance and is offered as an option for other level 7 Music programmes. The module will address the practical issues of preparing and delivering a musical performance. Individual lessons will provide expert tuition on the students' instrument. Practical workshops will provide feedback on a range of technical, interpretational and presentational issues and lectures will prepare students for the written elements. Assessment will be through a recital of 20 minutes duration, a portfolio of promotional and presentational materials for the recital and a critical self evaluation of the performance itself.
This module will explore the analysis of instrumental music, from a range of genres. Students will develop their creative work, by applying their analytical understanding of a chosen style to creating new arrangements and orchestrations. They will develop skills in arranging a melody, formulating a harmonic support, structural layout, in a manner which is appropriate for the chosen style. They will also develop skills in orchestration with reference to a chosen genre.
You will apply your technical knowledge and skills to produce a portfolio of broadcast ready radio content: interviews, links, news clips, advertisements and jingles, performances in-session, editing and producing streaming podcasts. Students will take over operations of the Kingston University Radio Station and gain hands-on experience in studio operations, production preparation, and broadcast engineering.
The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.
A good honours degree in music from either the UK or abroad (this may be in a specialist field such as popular music, performance or music technology).
Typical entry qualifications are an honours degree in music at 2.2 or above (2.1 preferred).
All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirement, which is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall, with no element below 5.5. Make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we consider.
Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements could be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.
Applicants from a recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.
As a music student, you'll be taught a range of musical styles and encouraged to explore a wide range of musical genres, taking a hands-on, practical and creative approach to learning and develop your critical skills through engagement with new ideas and methods.
Assessment is primarily through practical work composing music and sound to media, complemented by written and other assignments that will help you hone your presentation and analytical skills.
When not attending timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically involves reading and analysing articles, regulations, policy documents and key texts, documenting individual projects, preparing coursework assignments and completing your PEDRs, etc.
Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the University's online virtual learning platform.
At Kingston University, we know that postgraduate students have particular needs and therefore we have a range of support available to help you during your time here.
Year 1: 12% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.
Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.
Type of teaching and learning
Assessment typically comprises coursework (eg composition, essay), and some practical elements (eg presentations, performance).
The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows, though depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose:
Type of assessment
We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.
To give you an indication of class sizes, this course normally enrols 8-12 students and lecture sizes are normally 8-20 (except for Researching Music which is a module shared with all MA students in the department which number about 60 each year). However this can vary by module and academic year.
Kingston University offers a range of postgraduate scholarships, including:
If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.
We also offer the following discounts for Kingston University alumni:
Applicants to MMus in Composing for Film and Television can apply for the BAFTA UK Scholarship Programme, which is open to British citizens in need of financial assistance.
Each successful BAFTA Scholar receives up to £12,000 towards their annual course fees, as well as mentoring support from a BAFTA member, and free access to BAFTA events around the UK.
In addition, three successful applicants will be awarded a Prince William Scholarship in Film, Games and Television, supported by BAFTA and Warner Bros., including a funded work placement within the Warner Bros. group of companies and other benefits.
Music courses at Kingston University are designed to provide a mixture of practical, theoretical and academic learning, with the main focus being on creativity through composition or performance.
We are not genre specific - you will study a broad range of music.
Our proximity to London means that, alongside Kingston's excellent facilities, you can also benefit from easy access to the capital's musical resources.
As a music student, your studies will be based in the Coombehurst complex, located in the leafy parkland of our Kingston Hill campus.
Coombehurst House, Court Lodge and the Visconti Studio offer a range of teaching and professional studio facilities and practice rooms.
There are five recording studios, a computer suite with iMac workstations, audio and video editing facilities, and band rehearsal rooms.
Our flagship facility, the Visconti Studio is an analogue/digital hybrid studio with a 300-square metre octagonal live room, stocked with vintage and rare recording equipment (Studer, Neve, Neumann, Universal Audio, Roland Space Echo).
The tape-based studio also features a unique collection of instruments including a Mellotron, a Hammond organ with Leslie cabinet, and a Steinway concert grand piano.
The department owns an extensive collection of instruments, including around 30 pianos, a harpsichord, stage pianos, drum kits and orchestral and classroom instruments.
We also have a double-size Javanese gamelan and a set of djembe drums.
We operate an online loans system that allows students to book out a wide range of recording and performing equipment and instruments. Room bookings can also be made through this system, and the studios can be used 24 hours a day.
The Nightingale Centre (library and learning resources centre) on the Kingston Hill campus is home to the music library, which holds an extensive collection of books, anthologies, scores, sheet music, periodicals, and audio and video recordings.
The University also subscribes to an excellent range of e-resources for music, including Grove Music Online, RILM and the Naxos online recordings catalogue, which are accessible from any university workstation.
Kingston University's Performing Arts and Community Engagement (PACE) programme offers an inclusive platform on which students, staff, alumni and members of the local community come together through the performing arts. It encompasses all possible combinations of music, dance and drama.
Many of the graduates from this Composing for Film and Television course have progressed on to roles either in the music industry itself or related areas – or enrol for further study (eg MPhil/PhD). For those students who are already in employment and undertake the course part-time, the award may accelerate promotion and open up new opportunities.
The nature of the Composing for Film and TV MMus course at Kingston – combining compositional and practical skills, alongside theoretical knowledge – equips graduates for a broad range of careers, including:
Recent graduate destinations for this and similar courses include:
The high level of research and transferable skills you acquire during your studies also makes careers in the wider commercial and business environments available to you.
At the age of 32, I applied for the Composing for Film and Television course. Despite being out of academic circles for so long, I was accepted on the basis of my industry experience.
Since starting the MA course, I have gained hugely in confidence and feel ready to approach production companies with my music.
During the course I have worked on advertisements, television dramas and film scores.
The most enjoyable assignment was writing a score for an animation created by another Kingston student. We composed it and heard it performed by the internationally-famous Delta Sax Quartet. We also had the experience of recording it in a professional studio.
I thoroughly enjoyed the masters in Composing Music for Film and Television at Kingston University. Doing the course over two years gave me the time to develop both the technological and compositional elements of composing for moving image.
I benefited immensely from the course's 'hands-on' approach, which necessitated learning everything from software packages to rendering music to image to microphone placement for live recording.
I loved working alongside the other students in a collegiate and friendly atmosphere; many of the students were international and from varied backgrounds. I also found the teachers each had their own unique knowledge and skill to impart.
I would highly recommend this course.
Research in music encompasses creative work with a broad range of styles and methods as well as theoretical-analytical research into musical practices.
We do not anticipate making any changes to the composition of the course, i.e. the number of modules or credits in a year for part-time postgraduate courses, as a result of the pandemic.
In order to safeguard our students' health and safety and to minimise the risk of disruption to their studies, the University has postponed all Study Abroad programmes for outgoing students in the first teaching block of 2020/21 (from September 2020 to December 2020). The University will review this decision before the second teaching block and will take into account relevant government advice at that time.
Changes can be made to courses as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to the composition of the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
We do not anticipate making any changes to module titles and summaries or to the availability of modules as a result of the pandemic.
Changes can be made to modules as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to module titles and/or availability of modules will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
We expect to deliver the course within the planned timescales to enable successful students to progress through and graduate from the course without delay.
In exceptional circumstances the sequence of learning and teaching activities may be changed, e.g. re-sequencing those modules that can be delivered more effectively under the current restrictions with those which would be more difficult to deliver, such as practical modules and placements.
We have not changed entry requirements as a result of the pandemic. However, the range of accepted alternatives have increased as has the way in which we select students, which now includes virtual interviews and online portfolios.
We have not changed entry requirements for international students as a result of the pandemic. However, in response to the pandemic, we now accept a much broader list of English language exams for entry to the course; the level of these exams remain the same.
Due to the current pandemic the course's teaching and learning activities will be delivered through both online and on-campus methods (blended learning) in 2020/21. In order to provide all students with a comparable on-campus experience, the University has committed to ensuring that all courses provide at least 30% of their teaching and learning activities on-campus.
While physical distancing measures remain in place, you will receive your learning and teaching via a blend of on-campus and on-line activities. Should your circumstances prevent your attendance at on-campus sessions, you will still be able to engage with your course in a way that allows you to progress. Where this is not possible, support will be available to consider what options are open to you.
The University will continue to closely monitor government announcements and advice in relation to the current pandemic and, where required, will take any necessary action in order to comply with such advice.
In the event that a further lockdown is enforced the University will aim to deliver the course fully online. This may require some additional changes being made to planned teaching and learning activities, including assessments. The majority of our courses are prepared to be delivered fully online if the situation requires it. Where the quality of the student experience may be compromised significantly, or the course is unable to be delivered fully online, the University may need to suspend the delivery of that course until a time that it can be delivered appropriately. Students will be supported in these situations to ensure they are able to make the right choices for their particular circumstances.
In the event that the current social distancing restrictions are fully lifted and the University is able to resume normal delivery of teaching and learning activities, courses will assess whether it is in the students' interest to resume normal delivery. In some cases it may be better to continue and complete modules under the planned blended delivery mode.
Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours will not be made as a result of the pandemic. However, it is possible that some adjustments might be made at module level, e.g. a few more scheduled activities, in order to help ensure student engagement with blended learning.
Any changes made to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
'Scheduled teaching' includes teaching that is online either live or recorded / on demand.
Your individualised timetable for teaching block 1 (i.e. from September 2020 to December 2020) should be available by the end of August 2020. Timetables for teaching block 2 (i.e. from January 2021) will not be available until the autumn. Whilst we make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week between 9am and 9pm. To accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing, we will need to maximise the time available for teaching. This means, we may have to use Wednesday afternoons and enrichment week for additional teaching slots. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.
On campus classes, class sizes will be smaller, in line with social distancing measures. Online (synchronous) activities will be delivered via videoconferencing apps that will enable a full range of class sizes to be used as appropriate.
Changes can be made to modules, including how they are assessed, as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our modules up to date with current developments in that subject area. Due to the current restrictions in place, i.e. social distancing, it is anticipated that many formal on-campus examinations, including practical examinations, will be replaced with alternative assessments which can be completed online. These changes will be considered and approved through the University's processes to ensure that student assessments will be able to demonstrate they have achieved the expected learning outcomes. The approval process will also assess whether the change impacts the status of any professional body accreditation the course benefits from.
Any changes to the overall methods of assessment for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
No changes are expected to the general level of experience or status of staff involved in delivering the course.
As a result of the social distancing restrictions in place, on-campus teaching activities may need to be split into smaller groups which may require the support of teaching assistants and student mentors, who will be managed by experienced staff.
There will be no changes to published tuition fees for 2020/21.
As a result of the blended delivery of courses in 2020/21, where a significant proportion of the teaching will be done online, students will need a personal laptop or computer and access to the internet to participate in online teaching and learning activities. Students who are able to travel will have access to computers on campus, however, it should be noted that access to on-campus facilities will be restricted due to social distancing requirements.
The University is considering how best to provide support to students who do not have access to suitable hardware and software requirements and access to the internet. Identifying students who require this type of support is an important milestone for the University in our journey to ensure equity of access while we continue to deliver our blended approach. Information about the support that will be available will be provided to students during the induction period.
There will be no changes to any existing University funding arrangements for 2020/21. Currently there are no indications from the UK government that there will be any changes to government funding arrangements.
There will be no changes to published tuition fees or funding arrangements specifically relating to international students for 2020/21.
Placements (including work and clinical placements) and field trips included as part of the course will go ahead as planned. However, to ensure students are able to gain maximum value from these activities, it may be necessary to reschedule them to later in the year when current restrictions have been lifted. We acknowledge that this year it may be more difficult for students to secure appropriate placements. In those situations, students will be guided and supported through the various options that will be available to them, including switching courses or interrupting their studies until a time when they can complete their placement.
Any proposed changes to placements or field trips would go through University's agreed processes where the impact of the change will be carefully considered. Students will be advised of any changes that may become necessary and appropriate support will be available to students to guide them through the various options that may be available to them.
In the interest of the health and wellbeing of our students, the University will ensure that appropriate risk assessments are made before students are sent on a placement.
Courses which require placements or field trips to be completed in order to pass relevant modules will have contingency plans in place in the event that a placement or field trip cannot be completed due to another lockdown or more stringent social distancing measures.
Voluntary placements or field trips may be rescheduled, or, as a last resort, cancelled if it becomes difficult to deliver them and doing so is in the interest of the health and safety of our staff and students.
No changes will be made to the qualification awarded, e.g. MSc, as a result of the pandemic.
Changes can be made to courses, including the qualification awarded (although very rare), as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area. Any changes made to the qualification awarded for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
International students should maintain awareness of the UK government's and their home country's government advice on possible travel restrictions. The University will closely monitor advice and guidance published by the UK government and assess its impact on our international students. Appropriate advice and guidance will be provided as and when required.
The University will ensure students who are unable to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities are able to effectively engage with their studies remotely. For certain courses an inability to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities may not be in the students best interest, as it may impede their chances of succeeding in the course or lead to them receiving a poor learning experience. In such cases students will be advised and guided through the various options available to them, such as deferring their studies until they can engage fully with the course.