Composing Film Music for Beginners

Organizing institution
HKU University of the Arts Utrecht - Music and Technology
Course code
Course fee (excl. housing)
€ 850.00
Apply now!

Film music is one of the most essential elements in audiovisual story telling. To become a successful film music composer, you will need a lot of exercise and experience in different areas. During this course we will cover the various aspects of being a film music composer. How does music in film work? What is the relationship with other disciplines such as editing and sound design? How to communicate with a director? What is the difference between film music and ‘normal’ music? Using both theory and practical exercises, you will learn about the complicated tasks of a film music composer.

In this course we take a close look at the creative process of a film composer. How to start? Which compositional techniques are there to use? How to deal with the other disciplines involved? And what about scoring horror movies, comedy, tv-commercials, documentary, animation, etc? Relevant questions that will be dealt with in this course. In addition, we will investigate the relationship between the visual track and the sound track through hands-on assignments and the analysis of specific film excerpts.
To get a broader perspective, the course will address the ‘construction’ of the media industry (cinema, television, corporate identity and branding, online audiovisual content, games, etc.) in general and the role of music and the music composer in specific. A guest lecture from a renowned film composer and an excursion to a international music production company such as Massive Music (www.massivemusic.com) are also part of the course program.
Your main assignment is to compose music for a short film but short exercises on specific elements in film music will help you to get more insight and grip on ‘how to compose film music’. To enable this, we will pay attention to the technology needed in the workshop to make sure everybody can do the exercises and assignments. There will be many moments for feedback from your peers and from the course leader on work-in-progress. The course will also offer the possibility to differentiate between the course members so everyone can participate on a suitable level.
The course is offered by the HKU Music and Technology.
Download the day-to-day programme (PDF)

Course director

Rens Machielse

Target audience

This course is designed for anyone who can play an ‘instrument’ (including your voice or electronic instruments) and who is considering becoming a film music composer or is interested in the process of composing film music. The course will take place in a classroom with Mac desktops + midi keyboards. No previous experience required but you do need a laptop or desktop computer with software that allows midi- and/or audio recording in combination with visuals so you can work on assignments during closing times of the classroom. A high quality headphone is also recommended.

Study load

There are ca. 6 till 8 hours of contact per day. These include lectures, demo's, excursion, discussion and feedback sessions on work-in-progress. In the remaining time the student is expected to work on the exercises and final assignment.


€ 850.00
Housing € 350.00 , through Utrecht Summer School

More information

Rens Machielse E: rens.machielse@hku.nl


Application deadline: 07 August 2018