Jazz & Pop

Composition for Film & Theatre


Check which subjects you will follow each study year in the Composition for Film & Theatre curriculum

Specific admission criteria for Composition for Film & Theatre

Composition / Production

  • Being able to emit sound and by means of a score or piano elucidate and reflect on the production process of:
  • Three original pieces of film music (in total at least 6 minutes), of which at least one with a score
  • Two original autonomous compositions (in total at least 6 minutes), both with scores; one of those may be in lead sheet format if the other is a fully arranged composition.

General Music Theory
Chord symbols: being able to summarize a note picture in chord symbols vice versa.

Theory of Harmony

  • Functional harmony: functions and steps. Knowing, being able to apply and to recognize from a note picture the terms like #IVdim, V Molldur, dominant, secondary dominant and so forth in keys until five sharps and flats.
  • Being able to name functional relations between chords from a note picture
  • Being able to make a conscious four- and five-part harmonization from a given melody with chord symbols, and being able to substantiate the choices
  • Being able to harmonize a given melody in at least two ways, using chord symbols


  • Being able to play a chord progression, written in symbols.
  • Being able to play the above mentioned harmonizations.
  • Being able to harmonically summarize a note picture.


  • Demonstrating basic musicality on an instrument of choice (including vocals), or;
  • Demonstrating a sufficient level on an instrument of choice (including vocals) that would allow you to be a member of a fair amateur band.

Music Notation Software
Being able to produce a correct and usable score of an at least 5-part composition using Finale or Sibelius.

Fundamentals of Acoustics
Students should be familiar with the fundamental principles of acoustics to the extent that he or she is familiar with the possibilities and limitations of audio engineering and digital signal processing. This refers in particular to human perception of sound in a three dimensional space. Additionally, the acoustically applied size and terminology as a basis for calculating acoustic phenomena such as volume, phase, and harmonics are part of the prerequisites.

Sampling Techniques
Creating musically appealing productions with the help of sample libraries is a prerequisite for the study of sampling techniques. This means an applicant’s compositions should be comparable with real productions, or be even further developed to the point of including a production as a creative compositional medium. In the area of popular music, this involves not only familiarity with the relevant libraries but also programming drums with kit-based libraries (loop-based libraries do not play a role here) and the musically-relevant use of other band-derived sound sources such as bass, keyboards/synthesizer, and melody instruments. Expectations in the orchestral area include the high-quality tonal use of dry sample libraries (without integrated reverb) in various standard microphone arrangements (ORTF, EBS, AB, XY). Hybrid productions will be positively considered as long as they are part of a musically-sound production. Control of Midi for virtual sound sourcing with sound libraries should be at an expert level, which includes familiarity with the respective continuous controllers, timeline operations, and event operations. 

Recording | Mixing | Mastering
In addition to a general familiarity with Pro Tools at Level 101, polished fundamentals of recording, mixing, and mastering are required to participate in the course of study. These include competent use of microphones of varying types and directionality, proper use of dynamic control amplifiers and their use in special and typical arrangements in the signal flow, modulation effects, and the proper use of equalization. Applicants should be able to confidently use these tools in all steps of production for pop music (recording, mixing, and mastering); only mixing and mastering are required for orchestral music. The applicant should also be able to apply the acoustic parameters of the previously mentioned fundamentals of acoustics to position sound sources, including the use of parametric reverberators. 

Film Music Dramaturgy (Audio&Motion)
Knowledge of the theories of Earl Hagen is expected, which includes the parameters for classifying cinematic situations as defined by Hagen. Applicants should be able to confidently classify film scenes according to this theory. Practical experience is demonstrated by the submission of a short film which features music composed by the applicant demonstrating the applicant’s competence in film dramaturgy.

Please Note:
An advanced level of composition as well as competence in the fields of music production and film score dramaturgy are necessary to take part in the program. With regard to the professional experience that will follow, the subject of music production is seen as an equally important part of the program as the subject of composition. In short: all above-mentioned skills are equally important.
However, a small amount of deficiencies in specific areas can, in some cases, be compensated if the applicant demonstrates an exceptional high level in other fields.

As a basis for this film and theatre specialisation, we recommend attending the year-long Basic Film Music Composer Course at the Musicube Academy in Bonn.

As a basis for this film and theatre specialisation, we recommend attending the year-long Film Scoring and Production Course at the musicube academy in Bonn.

Major lecturers

Rainer  QuadeRainer  Quade

Rainer Quade


Andries  van RossemAndries  van Rossem

Andries van Rossem


Matthias  WittwerMatthias  Wittwer

Matthias Wittwer