Alumni Spotlight: Film Music

By Dav Williams


BA (Hons) Music (Film Music)

Are you interested in the world of Film Music? Do you like the sound of scoring music for television or film? Are you wondering what career paths are available in this industry, or what career opportunities might be out there?  

Studying Film Music at Leeds Conservatoire trains students to refine their composition, arranging and production skills, and develop an entrepreneurial approach to working in the film music industry. Find out more about Film Music at one of our forthcoming Open Days 

Here we spotlight the careers of six different graduates who have found success in the world of composing music for moving image - from the Olympic Games and the Super Bowl, to the BBC and Amazon.

His interest in composing music for moving image began during the lectures he had with Brian Morrell at Leeds Conservatoire. Commenting on this, Dave outlined: 

‘One of the first lectures I had with Brian was an introduction to music for moving image, and I remember him saying 'someone has to write all of this film music, why can't it be you?' It just stuck with me really well. I think a lot of musicians struggle with confidence and imposter syndrome, and that lecture and quote has always stuck with me.’ 

Find out more about Dave and his work 

Visit Dave’s website 

Upon being asked what advice she would give to someone thinking of studying Film Music at Leeds Conservatoire, Olivia has this to say:

'To anyone considering studying Film Music at Leeds Conservatoire, my biggest advice would be to look at your current film music and film scoring experience. Whether your music sounds fake, you're not establishing relationships with directors or you can't expand your compositions from the same instruments/chords, there's likely something holding you back from feeling ready to work in the industry; it may be keeping you from getting work in the industry at all.'

Find out more about Olivia and her work

Read about her scores on her IMDB page

In reference to her time at Leeds Conservatoire, Hollie outlined the importance of the sense of realism and challenges presented by working in the creative industries: 

‘I remember the tutors being extremely transparent with regards to how difficult these industries are as a whole. Whilst it was incredibly sobering at first, I didn't take it lightly and this honesty truly prepared me for the career path I’d chosen and it most definitely contributed to my resilience after I’d left.’ 

Find out more about Hollie and her work 

Visit Hollie’s website 

‘Learning how to analyse music was probably the most important thing I learnt at Leeds Conservatoire. This gave me the tools to determine how other music is made up - in terms of the composition, orchestration, production and how emotion and meaning can be conveyed in music. Additionally, that helped me analyse my own music, to see what causes reactions in audiences, both positively and negatively, so I can develop and improve the music. I also learnt a lot about how harmony is used, particularly in film music.’ 

Learn more about Alex’s career 

Visit Alex’s website 

Commenting on the importance of collaboration and networking in the film music industry, Max indicated: 

The most vital skill I gained at Leeds Conservatoire was learning how to collaborate. This industry is largely about people skills and being a likeable and reliable person. Having the right chops is a given but being friendly and easy to work with is crucial. Most people prefer to work with their friends and forming a true relationship with someone can prove fruitful for many years. 

Discover Max’s work 

Visit Metronomix Studios website 

On his time at Leeds Conservatoire, Jarrod indicated: 

‘The course I did was an amazing primer for the real world. The assignments given are very similar to the ones I now receive every day at work. Brian Morrell, amongst many other tutors, really sparked my interest in storytelling and the range of uses music can provide for a movie. His lectures and the lessons I learned at Leeds Conservatoire still inform my writing to this day! The ability to work with so many different varieties of musician there is truly amazing. Collaboration and teamwork are among the main skills required in the industry. Leeds Conservatoire really allows and trains these skills to flourish.’ 

Learn more about Jarrod’s career to date 

Visit Jarrod’s website 

Here is what some of our 2020 graduates said about the Film Music course at Leeds Conservatoire:

Luke Bryan, commenting on pushing yourself as a musician:

'I had never seriously thought about trying to make a career out of film music, but after three years here I'm pretty confident something will come of it for me.'

Mitch Gardner, on discussing the best piece of advice he received during his studies:

'Brian Morrell said that as humans we possess an inevitable partiality. If we hear a singular note on its own, we unwittingly assume that it is the root of the chord, but in context it could be the dominant 7th, or even the 9th of the actual chord. Doing this is a way that we can impose character on a chord. I felt like this character is one thing that helps me engage with the story in a film to really get the emotional feeling out there.'

Gabriel Ness, outlining his favourite memory at Leeds Conservatoire:

'...showing my working to one of Hollywood's leading orchestrators, Nicholas Dodd, at the film night showcase is my favourite memory of studying at Leeds Conservatoire. Having someone with a lifetime of experience in the film music industry comment on your work is not an opportunity to be missed.'

'Film Music is a niche and some people may think a purely Film Music-based course may be too restrictive. At Leeds Conservatoire this is not the case. The course structure allowed me to major in Film Music whilst broadening horizons to others areas, such as classical performance, jazz arranging, and electroacoustic composition (that was a wild one). My experience at the conservatoire has been incredibly fulfilling and I'd recommend this course and the university to anyone who wishes to study all kinds of music.'

Find out more about studying Film Music at Leeds Conservatoire.

Find out more about what our successful graduates have been up to in our Alumni Profiles

Are you a Leeds Conservatoire graduate? Reconnect with us here

By Dav Williams

RT @LeedsDrama: One day left to apply for our Projects and Productions Coordinator. Who wants to join our Acting & Actor Musician Team #Pro…
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