Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I Be Enrolled Part-Time?
- No. At this time, the
graduate program in Music Composition for the Screen accepts only full-time
students who are able to complete studies within the delineated two-year
period. Average class load per semester is ten credit hours, amounting to nine
to ten classroom hours per week plus necessary lab time.
- When Do Classes Meet?
- Almost all classes meet
on weekdays between the hours of 9:30am and 6:00pm. Courses are scheduled
in three-day blocks with the aim of freeing up four-day weekends for part-time
work, performance and writing assignments. There are periodic
exceptions for special weekend workshops or evening master classes, but in
general, we try to keep those times free for writing. Occasionally, a class may
need to be scheduled in the evening due to instructor conflicts or space
issues, but this is rare.
- How Is the Program Structured?
- Music Composition for the Screen is a two-year, 54 credit program leading to the creation of a
thesis film score and the earning of an MFA degree, the terminal degree in this field.
Studies are completed in four sequenced and rigorous semesters in Chicago and a final, five-week thesis semester in Los Angeles, at the
conclusion of which many graduates opt to remain in L.A. and launch their careers. The program accepts just twelve new students
each fall, and these students progress through the course sequence as a cohort, sharing experiences and assignments, and ultimately, working as a team once they reach Los Angeles. There are currently no elective offerings in the program, but students are not restricted from taking additional coursework or private lessons if they so desire. Extracurricular writing, performing, and research are strongly encouraged.
- What Kind of Background Does a Successful Applicant Typically Have?
- The MFA program strives to reflect the
profession in its diversity and range of backgrounds, but the typical applicant
has a bachelor’s degree in music composition or performance, or in a related
field such as film, theater, or audio engineering. Applicants must demonstrate
a proficiency in music theory and harmony equivalent to two years of
undergraduate study, and may be asked to undergo a written assessment to gauge
their skills in these areas. Instrumental virtuosity is not expected, but
minimal keyboard proficiency is an essential. The key criterion, however, is
demonstration through work samples of a strong, authorial voice, innate
musicality, and a passion for visual music.
- Are There Any Special Scholarship Opportunities Available?
- Not at this time. For a complete listing of College-wide scholarships, click here.
- What Facilities Are Available to Your Students?
program maintains a fully staffed and equipped, professional grade
composers lab to which all MFA candidates have access during building hours.
The MFA lab has 13 digital audio workstations outfitted with iMac computers,
M-Audio controller keyboards, external drives and M-Boxes, and running Apple
Logic Pro, ProTools LE, and Vienna Symphonic Library, Finale and Sibelius
notation software, and related applications.
- Who Are the Core Faculty?
- For a listing, click here.
- Who Are Some Noteworthy Alumni?
program has only been in operation since Fall 2006, but already its graduates
are making themselves known in the film and television music community. Beth
Caucci (’08) and Victor Chaga (’10) work as composer’s assistants to John
Powell; John Fee (’08) is a composer’s assistant to Jeff Danna; Elon Arbiture
(’09) scores “The Legend Of Neil” for Comedy Central and Joseph Cooper scores
“DigiVangelist” for Reelz Network and Christopher Coppola; Duncan Blickenstaff
(’09) assists Mychael Danna; Victor Hernandez-Stumpfhauser orchestrates and
copies for Javier Navarrete; Alexa Ramirez (’10) is an assistant for Danny
view general graduate study FAQ