MFA in Music for Motion Pictures and Contemporary Media

A one-year intensive programme created for aspiring composers who are passionate about cinematic storytelling and need to gain real-world professional experience. Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Internationally recognised. 54 credits.

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The Ultimate One-Year Practical Experience for Film and Game Composers

You can't break into the industry in 2024 without a finely tuned skillset, hands-on production experience and an impactful portfolio. We've solved that problem for you.

This fully-immersive MFA goes beyond theory and straight into practical experience with 15 live recording assignments with the European Recording Orchestra (ERO). You will graduate with the confidence to quickly produce your music at a professional level, collaborate with directors and work seamlessly within an experienced production team.

Learn. Compose. Record. Produce.

We approach this programme like a production company, complete with clients, deadlines and recording sessions.

Get hands-on experience on every step of the film music production process. The job comes in the door (the assignment is given) and the process begins: the cue is sketched, mocked up, critiqued, revised, orchestrated, reviewed, printed and copied. Pro Tools sessions are prepared and you head to the studio to record with a professional orchestra. After the session comes mixing, syncing and dubbing.

Become a well-versed professional ready to work as a composer, arranger, orchestrator, MIDI programmer, producer, copyist and score supervisor.

12 Module Catalogue

The role of the modern media composer has evolved into a multi-faceted profession, demanding speed, musical prowess, and expertise in producing, engineering, editing and business. Master the four pillars of scoring for the screen: Analysis, Composition, Orchestration and Music Technology.

Aesthetics & Analysis: A Vocabulary of Motion Picture Music

Module 1 (3 credits)

Just as with all art, film music has a lineage. Through intensive viewing, discussion, score analysis, and imitative exercise, learners will be guided through the processes by which the conventions, clichés, tropes, and gestures of film music became a language recognisable to a broad, international audience.

Advanced Score Analysis for Screen Composers: 20th and 21st Century Explorations

Module 2 (3 credits)

This module focuses on the historical influence of classical and popular music on early film scoring.

Techniques of Scoring for the Screen I: Contemporary Compositional Practice / Supporting Story with Score

Module 3 (3 credits)

General principles and common practices of composing music for film, with the belief that understanding the narrative arc of a film and creating a musical analogue of that arc is key to composing music for other forms of media such as television, games, and virtual reality.

Techniques of Scoring for the Screen II: Developing A Unique Personal Style

Module 4 (3 credits)

The largest component is the emergence of a personal style.The exercises and writing assignments given during this composition module will all be calibrated to "bring out" the composer's compositional identity.

Orchestration & Arranging

Module 5 (3 credits)

The knowledge of the characteristics of each standard orchestral instrument is part of the instrumentation section of the module.  The focus will be divided into the four orchestral families of strings, brass, woodwind and percussion instruments (including concert harp.)

Music Technology & MIDI Mockups

Module 6 (6 credits)

This training module is a hands-on course in film scoring, covering theory and practice in composing original underscore. 

Studio Conducting & Score Supervision

Module 7 (3 credits)

Develop the skills required for the learner to fulfil the role of Music Supervisor in a recording environment. The aim of this module is to introduce the learner to the physical mechanism of conducting and acquaint them with his/her responsibilities as both studio conductor and scoring supervisor.

Sound Design & Electronic Music Composition

Module 8 (3 credits)

Equip yourself with the skills and methodology needed to create electronic and electronically enhanced audio. The module focuses on the art of crafting sounds by utilising different types of synthesis (Subtractive, Additive, Wavetable, FM) and pre-recorded elements.

Scoring for Games

Module 9 (3 credits)

The student will generate a portfolio of work for prospective game developers. In this module, the learner will be introduced to linear and non-linear compositional strategies utilised in the gaming industries that are derived from concert and film music with specific reference to key practitioners in the field.

Recording, Mixing & Music Editing

Module 10 (3 credits)

The fundamentals of mixing and mastering with ProTools. This module provides comprehensive instruction on the entire process of recording live music and mixing the sessions.

Career & Major Project Development

Module 11 (3 credits)

This module aims to help learners develop their Major Project Proposal. The module develops key competencies in creative development, project management and presentation, and research design for the commencement of their Major Project practical and dissertation research.

Major Project

Module 12 (18 credits)

Learners engage in a practice-based creative project so that they can display the knowledge, skill, individuality and capability required for independent work, creating original music and writing a thesis.

15 Studio Recording Sessions

Bring your music to life - quickly!

Record from intimate solo piano to a large-scale 84-piece symphony orchestra and a 26-piece choir featuring the unmistakable sound of 6 Bulgarian folkloric singers. Manage your session from the booth, the podium, or even via a remote feed from thousands of miles away. Our programme is built on live recording opportunities for composers. 

Film Composer Production Facility

A supportive environment designed to spark your creativity and ignite collaboration. 

Enjoy 24/7 key fob access to the Academy which includes a high-tech classroom with dedicated composer workstations, a student lounge equipped with score and parts printing, comfortable furniture, free coffee, plus a conducting room with full length mirrors, faculty offices and a balcony. Situated right in front of a park in a residential neighborhood.

Study with Experienced Lecturing Faculty and Industry Professionals

Our globally recognised faculty members have years of experience in the industry and will share their knowledge and expertise with you to help you develop your own unique voice as a composer.

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Dr. Andy Hill

MFA Programme Director

Former Vice President of Music Production at Disney, Author of the acclaimed book "Scoring the Screen"

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Dr. Norman Ludwin

Orchestration for Film

Hollywood Orchestrator whose credits include Jurassic World, Inside Out, Star Trek Into Darkness, and more

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Mikolai Stroinski

Music for Games

Miloolai is a composer for The Witcher, Metamorphosis, Age of Empires IV, and many more

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Conrad Pope

Orchestration for Film

Hollywood Orchestrator whose credits include Jurassic World, Inside Out, Star Trek Into Darkness, and more

Exclusive Alumni Network

Study alongside and collaborate with other international composers. Join our network of over 360 composers from more than 60 different countries via our Alumni Access initiative. Gain exclusive ongoing access to live lectures, webinars and virtual events with guest composers.

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Watch Our Masters Composers in Action

EKRON - Jon Dudagoitia (Spain), European Recording Orchestra (ERO) 

MFA Alumnus Jon Dudagoitia's brilliant work, EKRON, is recorded by the European Recording Orchestra (ERO) at Bulgarian National Radio Studio 1 and a Bulgarian choir at Sofia Session Studio

A NEW HISTORY - Henrik Lindström (Sweden), European Recording Orchestra (ERO)

MFA Alumnus Henrik Lindström (Sweden) makes the most of this massive 110-piece Symphony Orchestra at Bulgarian National Radio Studio One with his incredible work titled "A New History"

GABRIEL - Fabrizio Riso (Italy), European Recording Orchestra (ERO) 

MFA Alumnus Fabrizio Riso gives a masterclass in string writing with his beautiful cue composed for the film GABRIEL

Experience Sofia, Bulgaria

Bulgaria's capital is known for its rich history, culture and vibrant nightlife. Affordable, friendly, a hidden gem you didn't know you were missing.

Nevsky Cathedral

One of the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals in the world. Built between 1882 and 1912 and features a mix of different architectural styles.

Nezavisimost Square

Built in 1950 consisting of iconic yellow cobble stone streets with a glass roof covering the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Serdika.

Vitosha Mountain

Vitosha Mountain, easily accessible from Sofia, is a popular tourist destination providing well-maintained ski and snowboarding slopes.

Sofia's History

Sofia has a long and rich history dating back to the Neolithic era. Throughout the centuries, it has been ruled by various civilizations including the Thracians, Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans, before becoming the capital of modern Bulgaria in 1879.

Six Scholarships Awarded Annually

The Admissions Board grants up to 6 partial scholarships for incoming MFA composers each year, in cooperation with celebrity composers, the European Recording Orchestra (ERO), and the Society of Composers and Lyricists. No additional applications for scholarships are necessary.

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What Our MFA Graduates Say

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During my time at FSAE, I found myself going through a complete transformation of self. When I began, I discovered how very little I knew about film composition.  Throughout my studies, the professional instruction increased my understanding and fostered a skillset that has elevated my confidence and given me wings to fly within this industry. FSAE has been a life-changing experience and the path to achieving my dream of becoming a film composer!
During my time at FSAE, I found myself going through a complete transformation of self. When I began, I discovered how very little I knew about film composition.  Throughout my studies, the professional instruction increased my understanding and fostered a skillset that has elevated my confidence and given me wings to fly within this industry. FSAE has been a life-changing experience and the path to achieving my dream of becoming a film composer!
Maya Harrigan (Bulgaria) | MFA Graduate
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The program here in Sofia is running with all engines on, and I'm amazed by the will power of all the lecturers. This was the energy that was present from the very first day of this program and developed to one of the most interesting and exciting years for us. Meeting fellow students, having the most open and liberal discussions with all the lecturers among whom are some extraordinary minds that will never leave anyone behind, and having a chance to meet and discuss with the world's top composers in the film industry like Howard Shore, Mychael Danna, Christopher Young, David Arnold, John Powell, Conrad Pope (just to mention a few) and hear directly from them their experience on the film scoring journey, were the greatest moments that a fil...
The program here in Sofia is running with all engines on, and I'm amazed by the will power of all the lecturers. This was the energy that was present from the very first day of this program and developed to one of the most interesting and exciting years for us. Meeting fellow students, having the most open and liberal discussions with all the lecturers among whom are some extraordinary minds that will never leave anyone behind, and having a chance to meet and discuss with the world's top composers in the film industry like Howard Shore, Mychael Danna, Christopher Young, David Arnold, John Powell, Conrad Pope (just to mention a few) and hear directly from them their experience on the film scoring journey, were the greatest moments that a film composer should experience and it opened our minds on what we should be prepared for and how we can bypass many difficulties throughout this amazing journey.
 
I could only wish the best to all the new students and say to them: you are among the best if you’re sitting in one of the spots of that magic classroom there in FSAE in Sofia. You are now the true stars.
Trimor Dhomi (Kosovo) | MFA Graduate
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After all these months I can write that, for sure, the FSAE is worth every single Euro a student spends here. Nowadays a composer must be capable of a long list of skills that goes from audio engineering to mixing and mastering, from screenreading to composing, from conducting to orchestrating, from sound design to video game scoring, from equalizers to compressors, from taping parts to proofreading notes, from mocking up their music to being able to find things to improve. A composer must be able to compose simple music and fine compositions made of complex counterpoint. All of this is just too much for normal schools. Only a very high level university like FSAE can give you the best.
After all these months I can write that, for sure, the FSAE is worth every single Euro a student spends here. Nowadays a composer must be capable of a long list of skills that goes from audio engineering to mixing and mastering, from screenreading to composing, from conducting to orchestrating, from sound design to video game scoring, from equalizers to compressors, from taping parts to proofreading notes, from mocking up their music to being able to find things to improve. A composer must be able to compose simple music and fine compositions made of complex counterpoint. All of this is just too much for normal schools. Only a very high level university like FSAE can give you the best.
Giuseppe Lori (Italy) | MFA Graduate
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I would definitely recommend this program to everyone who's interested in learning the deepest secrets of the art of film Scoring. I’m more than thankful to the MFA program because not only did I learn from the best people in the business, but it also positively changed my perspective about academic experiences.
I would definitely recommend this program to everyone who's interested in learning the deepest secrets of the art of film Scoring. I’m more than thankful to the MFA program because not only did I learn from the best people in the business, but it also positively changed my perspective about academic experiences.
Michel Rodriguez (Mexico) | MFA Graduate
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I have learned more in the past 2 months about the film industry than in year on my own as a freelance composer. What really makes the Film Scoring Academy of Europe a one of kind course is that they really push you to find your own voice, and not only that but how to then market that voice in the sea of voices that saturate today's film industry. Since coming here I have had an immediate sense of camaraderie, family and supportive environment from my colleagues and teachers. In summary, just the bees knees place to hone in your compositional skills.
I have learned more in the past 2 months about the film industry than in year on my own as a freelance composer. What really makes the Film Scoring Academy of Europe a one of kind course is that they really push you to find your own voice, and not only that but how to then market that voice in the sea of voices that saturate today's film industry. Since coming here I have had an immediate sense of camaraderie, family and supportive environment from my colleagues and teachers. In summary, just the bees knees place to hone in your compositional skills.
Henri Salonen (Finland / United Kingdom) | MFA Graduate
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This course is seriously one of a kind. All the staff are extremely talented in their fields, and openly share their knowledge each day. Already they have helped me refine my compositional style, and it's only been a couple of months! I highly recommend this school to any composer looking to truly understand our roles in storytelling, and how to discover your unique voice! You will not regret taking this journey & adventure!
This course is seriously one of a kind. All the staff are extremely talented in their fields, and openly share their knowledge each day. Already they have helped me refine my compositional style, and it's only been a couple of months! I highly recommend this school to any composer looking to truly understand our roles in storytelling, and how to discover your unique voice! You will not regret taking this journey & adventure!
Michael Drew (Australia) | MFA Graduate
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As a student of the Film Scoring Academy of Europe I can highly recommend this program to anyone who is seriously interested in becoming a media composer. Not only are the teachers top notch in their fields, they are eager to share their knowledge with the students. The right mix of pragmatic, technological skills and aesthetic and film business insights bring you, the upcoming composer, the building blocks for years to come.
As a student of the Film Scoring Academy of Europe I can highly recommend this program to anyone who is seriously interested in becoming a media composer. Not only are the teachers top notch in their fields, they are eager to share their knowledge with the students. The right mix of pragmatic, technological skills and aesthetic and film business insights bring you, the upcoming composer, the building blocks for years to come.
Mark Kuypers (The Netherlands) | MFA Graduate
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This course has shown itself to be one of a kind. The quality and industry relevance of the curriculum, the facilities and the experience & willingness of the professionals at the helm is outstanding. It feels more like a professional development studio/workspace than a university campus. I’ve developed as a composer more in the last 3 months than in the last 3 years. If you’re someone who’s seriously looking to pursue music for film and visual media, then I cannot recommend this program enough.

This course has shown itself to be one of a kind. The quality and industry relevance of the curriculum, the facilities and the experience & willingness of the professionals at the helm is outstanding. It feels more like a professional development studio/workspace than a university campus. I’ve developed as a composer more in the last 3 months than in the last 3 years. If you’re someone who’s seriously looking to pursue music for film and visual media, then I cannot recommend this program enough.

Jack Bochow (Australia) | MFA Graduate
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I'm extremely grateful for this magnificent program! Surrounded by so many talented composers and such fantastic staff. Everybody is motivated and willing to help you to grow and to find, identify your personal voice as a composer. The opportunities you have as a student in this program are incredible. Every composer who wants to grow in the field of film scoring and understanding & developing the meaning of their own musical language should step into this wonderful garden!

I'm extremely grateful for this magnificent program! Surrounded by so many talented composers and such fantastic staff. Everybody is motivated and willing to help you to grow and to find, identify your personal voice as a composer. The opportunities you have as a student in this program are incredible. Every composer who wants to grow in the field of film scoring and understanding & developing the meaning of their own musical language should step into this wonderful garden!

Rosetta Bachofner (Switzerland) | MFA Graduate

Admissions Open for Academic Year 2024-2025

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Interested composers must apply as soon as possible.

Interested in more information?

Fill out the form to receive personalised answers to your questions and more information about the Master of Fine Arts in Film and Game Scoring.

FAFSA 2

Students from the United States qualify for Financial Aid via the FAFSA Federal Student Aid Program

Additional Information: Master of Fine Arts

Tuition and Fees

2024-2025 MFA Program Tuition: €36,950

Tuition Schedule

Program Deposit: €2,000 (Due Immediately to Enroll)
Tuition Downpayment: €5,000 (Due June 1, 2024)
Payment 1: €11,950 (Due September 1, 2024)
Payment 2: €9,000 (Due December 1, 2024)
Payment 3: €9,000 (Due March 1, 2025)

The MFA program at the Film Scoring Academy of Europe is the most affordable full-time Masters program in film & game scoring available today, while simultaneously offering more recording sessions than any other program in the world, thanks to our partnership with the European Recording Orchestra (ERO).

Be sure to check out the "Costs of Living in Sofia" dropdown to see how much more affordable Sofia is compared to other major European and American cities.

 

Financial Aid

Students from the United States can take advantage of the FAFSA Federal Student Aid program. For more information, visit https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa

More Financial Aid Programmes:

All students searching for scholarships should search this website: https://www.wemakescholars.com
Norway: Lanekassen - https://www.lanekassen.no/
Colombia: Colfuturo - https://www.colfuturo.org/
South Africa: National Film and Television Foundation (NFVF) - https://www.nfvf.co.za/home/
South Africa: Oppenheimer Trust - https://www.omt.org.za/

 

2024-2025 Academic Calendar

Two semesters of course work with a third semester dedicated to the Major Project.

2024-2025 Academic Calendar

Semester 1 - Full-time, presence in Sofia required
Sept. 16, 2024 - Semester 1 commences
Nov. 28 - Thanksgiving Holiday
Dec. 20 - Final day of classes
Dec. 23 - Winter break

Semester 2 - Full-time, presence in Sofia required
Jan. 6, 2025 - Semester 2 commences
May 30 - Final day of classes
May 31 - Semester 2 ends

Semester 3 - Presence in Sofia Optional
June 1, 2025 - Semester 3 commences
Aug. 31 - Semester 3 ends

 

Costs of living in Sofia

Costs of living in Sofia are extremely low in comparison to other major European and American cities. Exponentially cheaper than LA, NYC, London, Valencia, or Boston, while maintaining a comfortable standard of living.

Sofia, Bulgaria compared to other cities that are home to Film Scoring Masters degrees:
73% lower than New York City
65% lower than London
64% lower than Los Angeles
66% lower than Boston
30% lower than Valencia

For more information on comparing prices between cities, visit www.numbeo.com

The Film Scoring Academy of Europe has real estate agents in Sofia that work to help MFA students find accommodation that fits their needs and budget.

MFA Students who wish to live together will be able to find shared accommodation for as low as €150 - €200 per month.

MFA Students who wish to live alone will be able to find accommodation for as low as €350 - €400 per month.

 

Technology Requirements

Technology Requirements:

  • Avid Pro Tools 12
  • DAW (Logic Pro X, Cubase, Digital Performer, etc.)
  • NI Kontakt Full
  • Serum by Xfer Records
  • High Quality Reference Headphones
  • Industry Standard Orchestral Sample Libraries

Technology Recommendations:

  • Apple Macbook Pro (minimum quad-core, 16GB ram, internal SSD)
  • Cinematic Studio Series samples (CS Strings, CS Brass, CS Woodwinds)
  • NotePerformer Playback Engine
  • Spectrasonics Omnisphere
  • Soundtoys, Slate Digital, or Waves Mixing Suite
  • Minimum 1TB External SSD for Sound Libraries
  • MIDI Keyboard (for home use)

All students will receive a copy of Steinberg's revolutionary notation and scoring software, Dorico Pro. Students will also have access to a hardware station in the Film Scoring Academy of Europe headquarters that is equipped with a Nektar 61-key MIDI keyboard (with sustain pedal), a 24" curved external display, a Scarlett Solo Audio Interface, ethernet and power connectivity and a powered USB hub.

 

Visa Requirements

Accepted students from the EU do not need a Visa. They will simply need to establish residency upon arrival in Sofia, which our team will assist with.

Accepted students from outside the EU will require a Type-D Student Visa. Assistance on this process will be provided by our Visa Officer after a student officially enrols. It is advisable that accepted students from outside the EU begin preparing the Student Visa requirements listed on the Bulgarian Embassy website in their country as soon as possible, as this process can take a substantial amount of time.

 

Partnerships & Associations

Partnerships & Associations

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