One of the most intriguing majors offered at select music programs, scoring for film and television has become an integral part of many music programs throughout the entire world.
This is with good reason.
Film and television composition, as well as writing music for video games, has become one of the best avenues for creating a great revenue stream for composers. Whether you are watching a television show, a commercial advertisement, or a new motion picture, you are likely also listening to the dedicated work of a paid commercial music composer.
With so many places in commercial music for composers, that to me sounds like a serious incredible economic opportunity for the aspiring music creator, doesn’t it?
When making this particular list, we looked at what the faculty at each school has accomplished in the film and television scoring markets, whether the students are taught a curriculum that reflects the current requirements of succeeding in the commercial music industry, what recent alumni have done with their film degrees, what kinds of opportunities are available for collaboration with student filmmakers, and more.
Before we get to this list, there are some things to consider when pursuing a film scoring degree.
Almost all programs for film scoring in the US and abroad are at the Master’s degree level only. Two exceptions do exist though, the Berklee College of Music in Boston as well as the Musician’s Institute in Los Angeles, which offer undergraduate degrees. NYU’s undergraduate composition program does allow its students to pursue a film music concentration in the degree, however it is not a “film music degree.”
Unless you are very serious about pursuing film scoring at the Bachelor’s degree level, I would recommend you first get a degree in music composition from a reputable music school, then go ahead and a get a film and television scoring degree at the Master’s level.
Here are some of our recommendations for the top programs in traditional music composition.
Also, many schools that do teach classes in scoring for visual media are not included in this list. While many schools have fine programs in arts technology that are integrated into a visual media portion, this list is focused solely on schools that provide students with degrees in a film-focused or film-intensive curriculum.
Many of the lists on this website deal with entirely US-based schools. In this particular list, we branch out into international colleges as well.
So without further ado, here are the top 10 colleges for film and television scoring in the entire world.
10. Musicians Institute – Los Angeles, CA
One of only two colleges in the entire United States to offer a film scoring degree at the Bachelor’s Degree level (the other being the Berklee College of Music), the Musicians Institute is a program that trains its students for the real world of film composition. Graduates of this department consistently land jobs in the commercial music field as composers, arrangers, producers, MIDI editors, and more.
The curriculum in MI’s film scoring program is in-depth, with students taking many classes in contemporary arrangement, film scoring, theory, composition, business, history, and even Apple’s Logic Pro program, which is industry standard software in the film, television, and video game music business.
Along with USC, UCLA, and the LA Film School, the Musician’s Institute is located in one of the premiere commercial music hubs of the entire world, making the location of this school ideal for any young musician looking to pursue film scoring at a serious level.
Being in LA, students have the opportunity to extend outside of collaborations at MI and seek out filmmakers of varying professional status for collaborations that will ultimately enrich their educations as commercial music composers.
9. National Film and Television School – Beaconsfield, UK
The Composing for Film & Television program is among the most prestigious schools for film composition in the entire world. The head of the program, musician Dean Humphreys, has worked with Ridley Scott, Franco Zeffirelli, and Roman Polanski, among many other internationally recognized directors.
Alumni of the program include many of the world’s most well-known film composers, including Dario Marianelli, who won an Oscar for his score to the film Atonement. Marianelli has also won a Golden Globe and has previously been nominated for a BAFTA. Other alumni include composer Rob Lane, who composed the score to the HBO hit miniseries John Adams.
Students of the program learn modern midi programming techniques that prepare them for the real world of the film composition industry as well as skills in traditional composition and orchestration. Students also are provided unique opportunities to work alongside filmmakers and future film industry workers.
Recently, the Hollywood Reporter named this college as the very best international college for studies in the filmmaking industry. The Composing for Film & Television Program is available only at the Master’s Level.
8. Royal College of Music – London, UK
One of the premiere schools for film and television scoring, the Royal College of Music’s “Composition for Screen” program is among the world’s finest programs for aspiring commercial music composers.
Some recent guests to the program have included several of the world’s most famous film composers, including Hans Zimmer (The Lion King, The Dark Knight), Rachel Portman (Chocolat, The Cider House Rules), Michael Giacchino (Up, Cars) and Howard Shore (Lord of the Rings, Hugo).
Faculty at the college consist of many of the leading UK commercial music composers, including Area Leader Vasco Haxel, who has written music for award-winning short films, as well as Enrica Sciandrone, who has won several awards for her work in visual media composition.
Students at the college are exposed to an exceptionally well-rounded curriculum that prepares them for the real world of commercial music. Students have access to the Royal College of Music studio, which is a certified commercial recording facility in England.
The location of the school could not be beat, as London is one of the most creative cities in the world, widely considered a mecca of video advertising production as well as a hotspot for European filmmaking. This program, available at the Master’s level only, is possibly the finest of its kind in all of Great Britain.