They call it film scoring, but today, it goes well beyond film. There are “movies” everywhere, from full-blown theatrical features to immersive interactive games and experimental web videos. And whether they appear on an IMAX screen or an iPod, whether you hear them in 7.1 surround sound or on a pair of ear buds, they are all accompanied by music that enhances the experience. The craft of creating this music has become one of the world’s most desirable careers.
As a composer for visual media, you’re committed to telling the story that images alone cannot, and we are committed to helping you do that. The Berklee in Valencia master’s degree in scoring for film, television, and video games gives you an advanced education that will sharpen your scoring skills and develop your personal voice. The program focuses on the art and craft of composing, orchestrating, editing, and producing music for the screen. You’ll design an individualized course of study in collaboration with graduate advisors in a manner that best meets your career and artistic goals.
Additionally, Berklee in Valencia, unlike some competing programs, issues master of music degrees—which qualify graduates to teach at many institutions of higher education.
* Course content is subject to change.
The master’s program runs from September to August. For a list of important dates for the upcoming intake, click here.
Outcomes of the Program
Working with a graduate adviser, all master’s students will design a program of study that best supplements and complements their existing knowledge, expertise, and long-term goals. Each student will graduate competent in multi-genre dramatic composition, narrative analysis, studio production, electronic and acoustic arrangement and orchestration, music editing, and interactive scoring.
In three semesters, students complete a minimum of four major scoring projects, including a collaborative video game score (working with video game design students at other institutions) and a master’s thesis project that is portfolio-ready and designed to showcase your style. Core competencies include:
- Compose for a variety of forms and ensembles
- Produce convincing score mock-ups through knowledge of the instruments
- Orchestrate for dramatic effect, even with limited resources
- Identify and utilize an appropriate musical vocabulary for a dramatic media work (film or game)
- Master musical devices pioneered by seminal film composers
- Become adept in the use of industry-standard music sequencing and audio editing software
- Notate and prepare scores to international studio standards
- Write quickly, write under deadline, and revise without tears
- Conduct and rehearse an ensemble under studio pressure
- Research and write in a specified period or geo-cultural style
- Adapt existing thematic material
- Develop a personal sonic signature
Business and Career
- Market your skills and your personal style
- Collaborate and communicate effectively with clients
- Understand the legal and business aspects of scoring
- Make and maintain a budget
- Know your career options
- Know workflow and scheduling techniques
- Find your own musical voice and cultivate creativity
- Manage your time
- Act as a music supervisor
- Deliver to specifications
- Understand and analyze the role of music in a dramatic medium
- Develop a concept for a score
- Learn to communicate with filmmakers in their language
- Analyze and discuss dramatic structure in a media work
- Analyze the dramatic use of music within a narrative
- Produce a scoring session
- Compose using various synchronization techniques
- Know and manage modern sample libraries
- Produce an industry-standard orchestral mockup
- Act as a music editor
- Mix your music
- Create and maintain a home studio
- Build instruments through synthesis and/or sampling
Graduates of this unique program will be prepared to begin work immediately in the film, television, or video game music industry in one or more of the following specialties: composing, orchestrating, conducting, music editing, music supervising, copying, programming, and producing mock-ups. The program has been conceived as a portal to the professions and is thoroughly networked with the professional community. The International Career Center will assist your transition to the professional sphere.
Learn more about careers in Scoring for Film, Television, and Video Games.
Who Are We Looking for?
We seek focused, motivated, innovative, and above all, passionately creative candidates with excellent academic and/or professional backgrounds who can contribute skills that will nourish the program.
Because sound compositional practice is the basis for all scoring, ideal candidates will hold degrees in composition or have equivalent professional experience. The ability to notate one’s ideas competently, follow an orchestral score, and conceive material in an orchestral context are required competencies, but extensive experience in working with live orchestras is not.
The use of technology is fundamental to the master’s program; therefore, the strongest candidates will have demonstrable skills in at least one digital audio workstation (DAW) and a working familiarity with ProTools or one of the other most commonly used music sequencing programs, such as Logic, Cubase or Digital Performer. Selected candidates who lack these skills will be required to take summer coursework at Berklee’s Boston campus or other approved facility to prepare them for full and comfortable participation in the master’s program.
Finally, all selected participants will enter the program with a passion for musical storytelling and a demonstrated aptitude for visual music. Because of the high degree of competitiveness in the field, the choice to study visual scoring should not be viewed as a “career option” or a “backup,” but as something you must do. For this reason, first-tier consideration will be given to those applicants whose portfolios evidence experience and skill in creating music to picture and possess an understanding of the basics of the art, craft, and business of film scoring, gained through either study or industry experience. Additional study and/or work experience in the following areas will be helpful but is not required: interactive scoring techniques, conducting to picture, basic music editing skills, and project collaboration.
Applicants are required to hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in music composition, electronic music production, or performance along with a working familiarity with ProTools or one of the other most commonly used music sequencing programs, such as Logic, Cubase or Digital Performer.
The master’s program as conceived builds upon the strong framework of Berklee’s bachelor of music degree in film scoring; therefore, applicants not possessing this degree should further consult the Berklee College of Music Bulletin to become aware of the competencies desired of individuals seeking entrance into the master’s program.
There are three steps in the admissions process:
1. Application and fee
3. Final admissions decision
Application deadline: December 1, 2013
Interview* Deadline: February 1, 2014
Admissions decisions issued: March 1, 2014
Application deadline: March 31, 2014
Interview* Deadline: May 1, 2014
Admissions decisions issued: June 1, 2014
*You will be contacted if you are selected for an interview.
There are three steps in the admissions process:
1. Complete online application, turn in all required supplemental material and pay application fee.
2. If selected to continue in the admissions process, you will be invited for an interview.
3. Final admissions decision made.
Program Specific Supporting Materials
In addition to completing all the steps listed on the admissions page, applicants to this program must submit the following materials:
Please submit three audio and/or video files (MP3 or Quick Time) of original compositions and corresponding scores (cues) that you have written expressly for picture or created with a visual idea in mind. The average length should not exceed one and a half to two minutes. If you have not had the opportunity to score a film or video project, the following option is acceptable:
- Extract clips from existing film and television projects via a number of available applications and import them to your music sequencing program for the purpose of your application portfolio only. Please remember copyright-protected works may not be publicly exhibited, but for the purpose of evaluating your application it is acceptable.
For complete information about the admissions process, click here.
Tuition and Related Costs
2013-2014 academic year
Waived for Berklee alumni
|Nonrefundable tuition deposit
To be credited towards tuition
Scoring for Film, Television, and Video Games
Late payment fee: $250
Late check-in fee: $250
The comprehensive fee covers services and facilities that augment the students’ academic experience and includes, but is not limited to, students’ required registration into the Spanish educational system, students’ compulsory health insurance, and a variety of other services and facilities to which students have access.
A $250 late payment fee will be applied to your account if full payment is not received by the due date indicated. Please keep in mind certain payment methods take longer to process than others and arrange accordingly.
Late Check-In Fee
Late check-in fee is applied if you do not check-in by 12 noon the first day of class each term.
Laptop and Software Requirements
Berklee College of Music requires all entering master’s students to own a laptop computer that meets certain standards established by the college’s academic and technology leadership. For over half a century, Berklee College of Music has been committed to preparing our students for the musical, technological, and business necessities of the world they will be entering. We firmly believe the laptop and software requirements stated in the below PDF provide students with a unique resource that will maximize the potent music education available only at Berklee and will help prepare students for successful entry into the music industry. Entering students should follow the information specific to their program.
You can find the laptop and software requirements in this PDF.