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Recording Studio, Film & Media Centre, UCA Farnham

Composition for Screen BMus (Hons)

Composition for Screen BMus (Hons)

Farnham 3 years full-time, 4 years full-time

Course overview

UCA's BMus (Hons) Composition for Screen degree will help you turn your love of music into a career as you become a skilled, collaborative and thoughtful composer.

This degree, based at UCA Farnham, has a focus on musical composition for moving image, and will allow you to develop your unique creative voice as you develop a range of applicable skills in:

  • Creating compositions
  • Technical expertise and understanding
  • Notation for music (documenting and communicating your composition)
  • Philosophy of music

By the time you graduate, you'll have developed your own approach to composition, having made the most of collaborative opportunities with filmmakers, animators, actors and games designers. You'll be a resilient and adaptable problem solver, able to work alone or in teams, who is knowledgeable about the creative industries and has the foundations of a professional network to take into the industry.

Please note - this course has previously been named BA/BSc (Hons) Music Composition & Technology. If you already have credits from another university, or if you have work experience to an equivalent level, you can apply to enter directly into year 2 of the course BA/BSc (Hons) Music Composition & Technology.

 

Our standard three year undergraduate degree for those who meet the entry requirements for higher education.

UCAS Code for 3 year/standard: W300

A four year degree programme, including a foundation year to help develop your creativity before you embark on year one of a degree.

UCAS Code for course with Integrated Foundation Year: W30A

A four year course, specifically designed to provide international students with the English language and creative skills before they embark on year one of a degree.

UCAS Code for course with Integrated International Foundation Year: W30C

A four year programme, which sees you spend an entire year gaining valuable industry experience prior to your final year of study.

UCAS Code for course with Professional Practice: W301

A five year course, including a foundation year to help develop your creativity before you embark on year one of a degree, and a year on a professional placement gaining valuable industry experience prior to your final year of study.

UCAS Code for course with Integrated Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year: W30B

A five year course, including an international foundation year concentrating on English language and core creative skills before you embark on year one of a degree, and a year on a professional placement gaining valuable industry experience prior to your final year of study.

UCAS Code for course with International Integrated Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year: W30D

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Course details

Course Details

The content of the course may be subject to change. Curriculum content is provided as a guide.

UCA’s Integrated Foundation Year is designed to give you the skills you’ll need to start your degree in the best possible way – with confidence, solid knowledge of creative practice, study skills and more.

You’ll explore a range of creative techniques and develop your portfolio, with your chosen subject in mind. We’ll work with you throughout the year to ensure you’re on the right track and give you the tools to achieve your highest potential on your degree.

Find out more about the Integrated Foundation Year

For our students coming from a non-UK educational background, UCA has launched an Integrated International Foundation Year, based at UCA Farnham to bring students from around the world to one hub of creativity.

This year of preparatory study is designed to give you the skills you’ll need to start your degree in the best possible way – with confidence, solid knowledge of creative practice, study skills and the English speaking and writing skills you’ll need to succeed.

You’ll explore a range of creative techniques and develop your portfolio, with your chosen subject in mind. We’ll work with you throughout the year to ensure you’re on the right track and give you the tools to achieve your highest potential on your degree.

Find out more about the Integrated International Foundation Year

Launch Week
Your Launch week is a chance to get to know students from other year groups through a series of activities, including an “audio treasure hunt” and a mentoring programme. At the end of the week, you'll write to your future, graduate, self. You'll also contribute anonymously to "a box of hopes and fears" which will be shared with next year's freshers after they themselves have written theirs.

Analogue A: Early Explorations in Physical Sound
Analogue A introduces you to the fundamental concepts, technologies and music theories that are derived from the analogue domain. Focusing mainly on music from the first half of the 20th Century, you’ll learn to use analogue studio equipment, gain a foundational understanding of music theory including physics, acoustics and standard western notation, and music philosophy.

Equality Diversity and Inclusion
This is a chance for you to explore what is meant by equality, diversity, and inclusion and the implications of these concepts for creative practice. It will equip students to understand how our social identities (such as gender, race/ethnicity, class, disability, sexual orientation, and religion) contribute to the inclusion and/or exclusion of individuals in creative spaces. Students will develop an understanding of the theoretical and practical issues around equality, diversity and inclusion through research into the contexts of contemporary issues in creative disciplines.

Analogue B: Application of Early Sound Techniques
Following Analogue A, this unit is about deconstructing analogue music. You’ll analyse existing compositions, including your own, and mix and remix them using analogue workflows.

Opportunity
Opportunity Week features a series of talks, masterclasses and workshops from industry professionals for all year groups.

Digital 0: Fundamental Production Techniques
You’ll examine the role of computer technology in the fields of music, film and research, and become familiar with computer software to gain insight into how digital technology can be incorporated into the processes of music composition, recording and sound design.

Professional Development
You’ll be introduced to current working structures and operations of the UK and global music and media industries, giving insights into how music producers, film/media producers and businesses interact with each other on a creative and commercial basis. You will also look critically at how the music and media industries shape, and are shaped by, changing culture, technology, political and economic processes. You’ll also be introduced to professional practices and opportunities associated with working and contributing to the creative industries.

Digital 1: Fundamental Production Techniques
Digital 1 is a deconstruction of digital music. You will analyse existing compositions, including your own, and mix and remix them using digital workflows. You’ll also look at the interface of composition for screen with music theory and explore unusual film scores and game music.

ATOM Activities
ATOM activities are tiny pieces of individual learning that facilitate interdisciplinary exposure across the university. Collectively they form a small fraction of your curriculum that is determined through your own personal choice and interest.

PLE Digital Outcome
In this unit you will collate a digital record, reflecting on your learning journey through the first year of your degree. You will be identifying key points and developments within all units undertaken. We are interested in seeing a detailed account of your academic, technical and creative progress and development.

Launch Week
Your Launch Week for Year 2 is an intensive course on narrative composition. Creating music quickly and to a brief is an essential part of being a modern media composer or sound designer. Writing cues, working from a script, and working in time-constrained settings will simulate ‘real world’ scenarios where music creation is reflexive and fast.

Space: Sound and Acoustics
You’ll explore the relationship of sound and music to space. You’ll learn the technology required to record, mix and reproduce sound in the three dimensions of space, consider spatial relationships in composition, and develop a philosophical outlook on sound and music through various lenses, such as Semiotics, Acoustic Ecology and Cybernetics. Through this, you’ll create a new piece of sonic art that emphasises, highlights and explores the listeners’ relationship to space, and by extension, place.

The Conscious Practitioner
This unit aims to promote progressive values and attitudes to diversity and inclusion in creative practice. You’ll have the opportunity to explore global perspectives and influences on creative practice, drawing upon interactions with varied identities, cultures, politics, and histories. You’ll explore how beliefs, values and attitudes drive behaviour and practices. You’ll reflect on the development of their own creative influences, perspectives, practices, and sense of belonging as developing creative professionals in global and contemporary spaces.

Opportunity Week
A series of talks, masterclasses and workshops from industry professionals; All year groups.

Time: Organising Sound for Screen
You’ll explore the relationship of sound and music to time in this unit, using technology to manipulate recorded material using various techniques in the time domain, develop more advanced notational techniques related to rhythm and tempo, and explore philosophical theories relating to the movement of time as we are making and listening to music, including investigating artists who incorporate concepts of time into their music.

Placement / Live Brief
You’ll research, negotiate and undertake a self-initiated work experience placement opportunity – or you’ll undertake a live brief related to the music, sound or media industries. You will be expected to reflect on your work experience or professional interactions critically and apply your experience to theoretical concepts covered on your course and begin to build a personal strategic plan to develop yourself and your skills towards a chosen career path and profession.

ATOM Activities
This unit is an extension of your Year 1 ATOM Activities.

PLE Digital Outcome
You’ll build your industry community and professional networking footprint, creating a digital folder evidencing that you are actively engaging in sustainable professional development. You’ll showcase current and newly established professional networks and identify common interests.

Elective units
You'll also undertake two elective units across the year - choose from:

  • Audio World building: Sound for Moving Image - The unit will give you the opportunity to explore different forms of sound in relation to genre, and develop your understanding of recording Foley and environments, directing voice artists, and mixing sound.
  • Immersive Production: Developing an Experiential Concept for Film and Television Production - The unit will give you the opportunity to explore cutting edge and future focused technology so that you have a broad comprehension of the expertise and skills required if you want to delve further into immersive media production
  • The Individual Performance Project – You’ll create a short live performance comprising at least two different elements, including things like a monologue, a piece of storytelling, a poem, a piece of dance/movement or a puppet show.
  • Theatre Production – You’ll work together with students from a wide range of courses to make a live theatre production.
  • Applied Music - In this unit you will deliberately expand who you share and create music with to include a wider sense of community.
  • Film Production – You’ll work together with students from a wide range of courses to make a short film, which could also include animated material or a game component.
  • Industry Insight: Crewing Up – Delivered at the Maidstone Studios, this unit gives you insight into the many roles in moving image production.
  • Shakespeare Festival - In this unit you will embrace the language of Shakespeare, staging performances of his work in in an outdoor festival setting at sites around UCA Farnham.
  • Showreels for the Creative Industries - This unit is designed to help you identify your career aspirations within the creative industries, and to build a professional showreel that best showcases your work.
  • Verbatim - you will learn about the history of Verbatim techniques in theatre. You will explore Verbatim texts and performance practices including ‘headphone’ theatre and documentary theatre practices.

If you opt to complete a professional practice year, this will take place in year three. You will undertake a placement within the creative industries to further develop your skills and CV.

While on your Professional Practice Year, you will be required to pay a reduced tuition fee for that year. This fee will be determined using government funding regulations. Based on current regulations, we expect this to be a maximum of 20% of the tuition fee rate that you are charged for your second year of study. You will also incur additional travel and accommodation costs during this year. The University will provide you with further advice and guidance about this as you approach your Professional Practice Year.

Please note: If you are an international applicant, you will need to enrol onto the course ‘with Professional Practice Year’. It will not be possible to transfer onto the Professional Practice Year after enrolment

Launch Week
Your final Launch Week is about listening and sharing. Each day we will listen to an important and significant musical work in its entirety together. From contemporary albums with amazing production values, to opera, electroacoustic music and everything in between. At the end of the week, you’ll create a mixtape of your own eclectic interests to share and sustain you throughout the final year.

Dissertation
Your dissertation is documentation of a sustained academically rigorous argument. This is normally through a written and referenced piece of writing, as might appear in a peer-reviewed journal. It may be possible to do a multimedia submission, depending on your area of focus. You’ll develop and research an area of enquiry from which your question and title are formed. Sound and music cannot exist in a vacuum, so an interdisciplinary approach to your methodology is encouraged.

Music Business
Develop the strategies, plans and pragmatic information you’ll need for your next steps in the music business. You’ll create a dossier, which evidences the steps taken to prepare yourself for the future, including details on your online presence, your biography and artist statement, your CV and more. By embracing preparedness and flexibility, this unit will help provide you with the tools needed to plan and evolve with the changing landscape of the music business.

Opportunity Week
A series of talks, masterclasses and workshops from industry professionals for all year groups.

Final Major Project
The Final Major Project is a culmination of your skills, passions and creativity. If you are working as part of a wider collaborative team, then a defined role within the group will also be negotiated. The brief and role description set the parameters in which your final major project will develop. It should be ambitious but achievable and framed within how you want to promote yourself as a composer, musician or music producer.

Examples might include:

  • Creating and implementing sound design for a project with games
  • Scoring a film or animation
  • Working with an external partner
  • Working with other composers on a joint project

Alongside the project, you'll compile a showreel of work to showcase your compositions. Your course will conclude with a festival that celebrates the compositions and projects completed for this unit.

Tuition fees - 2023 entry

UK students:

  • Integrated Foundation Year - £9,250
  • BMus course - £9,250

EU students:

  • Integrated International Foundation Year - £9,250 (see fee discount information)
  • BMus course - £9,250 (see fee discount information)

International students:

  • Integrated International Foundation Year - £16,950
  • BMus course - £16,950

If you opt to study the Professional Practice Year, for 2023 you will be required to pay a reduced tuition fee of £1,850 (UK students) and £3,390 (International students). You will also incur additional travel and accommodation costs during your Professional Practice year. The University will provide you with further advice and guidance about this.

Additional course costs
In addition to the tuition fees there may be other costs for your course. The things that you are likely to need to budget for to get the most out of a creative arts education will include books, printing costs, occasional or optional study trips and/or project materials. These costs will vary according to the nature of your project work and the individual choices that you make. Please see the Additional Course Costs section of your Course Information for details of the costs you may incur.

Further information
For more detailed information about our course fees and any financial support you may be entitled to please see our fees and finance pages.

The fees listed here are correct for the stated academic year only. Costs may increase each year during a student’s period of continued registration on course in line with inflation (subject to any maximum regulated tuition fee limit). Any adjustment for continuing students will be at or below the RPI-X forecast rate.

Industry placement
offer

Preparing graduates for successful careers underpins everything we do, and all students on this course may be offered support to identify and prepare for an industry placement according to their individual needs. We’ll draw on our wide range of contacts within the creative industries to help provide you with opportunities that align with your interests and future career aspirations.

A day in the life of a Music Composition student

Second year student, Clayton De Haan, tells us that there is no such thing as an average day on his course.

Read Clayton's story

Facilities

Our teaching spaces have a mixture of analogue and digital equipment. We have sound editing, recording and mixing suites with software such as Avid Pro Tools, Steinberg Dorico and Cubase, Ableton Live, Max/MSP, Logic Pro and the Vienna Symphonic Library. The media store has a good supply of equipment to hire, specialist music equipment includes: Ableton push controllers, amplifiers, midi keyboards and high quality microphones such as the Neuman U87 and AKG 414. You'll also have access to the Grove Music dictionary and Naxos Music Library.

Sound editing suite, UCA Epsom

Recording studio, UCA Farnham

Pro-tools room, UCA Farnham

Foley studio, UCA Epsom

Career opportunities

Career opportunities

Music is very much about collaborations and partnerships. The course has a wide and varied network of industry partners that provide us with performance opportunities, guest lectures, and work placements.

Some of our industry links include:

  • Audient - Mixing consoles and interfaces
  • ECME – Edinburgh Contemporary Music Ensemble
  • The Gildas Quartet - String Quartet based in Manchester and London
  • Lamb Films – Video and film production company based in Belfast
  • We Are OCA - New Music Collective
  • The Sonic Lodge - Recording studio in Edinburgh
  • Steinberg – Digital audio workstations and music notation software
  • Surrey Music Hub
  • Adventure Camera - mountain film producer Keith Partridge
  • SoundVaultHQ – Podcast network

We are also an official Avid Learning Partner.

Working in sound and music often leads to a varied and interesting career, frequently moving from one field into another or using a wide range of skills on a single project. Careers directly applicable to this course include:

  • Composer for Moving Image
  • Non-linear Composer (Computer Games)
  • Sound Designer
  • Sound Artist
  • Orchestrator
  • Copyist
  • Music Producer
  • Musicologist
  • Music Educator
  • Sound Engineer
  • Sound Recordist.

Your BA or BSc will prepare you for a wide range of postgraduate courses. We will help you find the correct course for you and support you in your application should further study be for you.

Arusik Nanyan
Arusik Nanyan

"I really enjoy the availability of being creative and making any of your crazy ideas become reality. Here at UCA you are provided any kind of assistance, equipment, time and space you need."

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

BMus (Hons) course
BMus (Hons) course with Professional Practice Year

The standard entry requirements* for these courses are one of the following:

  • 112 new UCAS tariff points, see accepted qualifications
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Distinction, Merit, Merit at BTEC Extended Diploma / BTEC National Extended Diploma
  • Merit at UAL Extended Diploma
  • 112 new UCAS tariff points from an accredited Access to Higher Education Diploma in appropriate subject
  • 27-30 total points in the International Baccalaureate Diploma with at least 15 IB points at Higher level, see more information about IB entry requirements

And A2 Music at grade B or Pass in Grade 5 Music Theory (ABRSM, LCMM, Trinity Coll, Rockschool or others recognised by Ofqual)**

And four GCSE passes at grade 9-4/A*-C including English (or Functional Skills English/Key Skills Communication Level 2).

Other relevant and equivalent Level 3 UK and international qualifications are considered on an individual basis, and we encourage students from diverse educational backgrounds to apply.  


BMus (Hons) course with Integrated Foundation Year
BMus (Hons) course with Integrated Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year

The standard entry requirements for these courses are one of the following:

  • 64 new UCAS tariff points, see accepted qualifications
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Merit, Pass, Pass at BTEC Extended Diploma / BTEC National Extended Diploma
  • Pass at UAL Extended Diploma
  • 64 new UCAS tariff points from an accredited Access to Higher Education Diploma in appropriate subject
  • 24 points from the International Baccalaureate, see more information about IB entry requirements

And four GCSE passes at grade 9-4/A*-C including English (or Functional Skills English/Key Skills Communication Level 2).

Other relevant and equivalent Level 3 UK and international qualifications are considered on an individual basis, and we encourage students from diverse educational backgrounds to apply. 


**We understand that not all applicants have the opportunity to formally study music. In place of an A2 Grade B in Music or Pass in Grade 5 Theory, we request to see an equivalent level of skill demonstrated through portfolio contents upon application. This would include wide-ranging portfolio contents suitable for the course applied for.

*We occasionally make offers which are lower than the standard entry criteria, to students who have faced difficulties that have affected their performance and who were expected to achieve higher results. We consider the strength of our applicants’ portfolios, as well as their grades -  in these cases, a strong portfolio is especially important.

Check the equivalent qualifications for your country and the English language requirements:


  • Non-UK equivalent qualifications
  • English language requirements
  • BMus (Hons) course with Integrated International Foundation Year
    BMus (Hons) course with Integrated International Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year
    For these courses you need to have completed 12 years of schooling (with good grades) and show strong evidence of your ability to successfully complete the programme and progress onto your chosen degree.

    Don't meet the international entry requirements or English language requirements?
    You may be able to enter the course through the following entry pathways:

    BMus (Hons) course
    BMus (Hons) course with Professional Practice Year

    These courses require a submission of a portfolio of musical work. We’ll invite you to attend an Applicant Day so you can have your review in person, meet the course team and learn more about your course. If you would prefer to upload a portfolio digitally, there is also the option to submit it online via your UCA Applicant Portal. Further information will be provided once you have applied.

    We are not necessarily looking for a polished production but rather something that you feel demonstrates your musical and sonic interests. It could include a video of a performance, the music to a short film, a piece of sound design, a score, graphic score or lead sheet of original work. It could be a mix or remix in any style and might include a description of your technical or artistic process. In other words, it should represent you, your interests and your process. We recommend you keep your work to less than 5 minutes in total. 


    BMus (Hons) course with Integrated Foundation Year
    BMus (Hons) course with Integrated Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year

    These courses don't require a portfolio of musical work. If you receive an offer, you’ll be invited to attend an Applicant Day where you can meet the course team and learn more about the course.


    BMus (Hons) course with Integrated International Foundation Year
    BMus (Hons) course with Integrated International Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year

    These courses don't require a portfolio of musical work. If you receive an offer, you’ll be invited to attend an Applicant Day where you can meet the course team and learn more about the course. 


    More portfolio advice 

    Chatto a student

    Apply now

    Please use the following fields to help select the right application link for you:
    • UCAS Institution

      C93

    • UCAS Code for 3 year/standard

      W300

    • UCAS Code for course with Professional Practice

      W301

    • UCAS Code for course with Integrated Foundation Year

      W30A

    • UCAS Code for course with Integrated International Foundation Year

      W30C

    • UCAS Code for course with Integrated Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year

      W30B

    • UCAS Code for course with Integrated International Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year

      W30D

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