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, with the editor and with the sound design department? 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 strategies and 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. Guest lectures from a renowned film composer and an experienced sound designer are also part of the course program.

Everyday you will be busy composing music for a particular film scene, short film or animation. In addition we'll do some short exercises on specific elements in film music that will help you to get more insight and grip on ‘how to compose film music’.  There will be many (individual) moments for feedback from your peers and from the course leader on your 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 is already capable of creating music and is considering becoming a film music composer or is interested in the process of composing film music. No previous experience with film music is required. The course will take place in a classroom with Mac desktops including Logic and ProTools software + midi keyboards. Best thing to do however is to take along your own 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 (guest) lectures, discussion meetings and (individual) feedback sessions on work-in-progress. In the remaining time the student is expected to work on the exercises and assignments.


Course fee
€ 850.00
Housing fee
€ 350.00

Housing through Utrecht Summer School

Unfortunately, the housing for this course is almost fully booked. If you still need a room through us please contact us on / + 31 30 253 4400

More information

Rens Machielse E:


Application deadline: 07 August 2019