Commercial and Media Writing Audition Requirements

The Commercial and Media Writing option is a degree that focuses on orchestration and scoring for film, television, video games and other media. A majority of the work is in instrumental composition and orchestration but you will also work on song writing and use of the voice in ensemble settings. Because of the focus of the program, we ask that you have prior training in classical or jazz styles in an instrument or in voice. 

Entrance Requirements

  • Submit a portfolio of 3 compositions in different styles (submit pdfs of scores, mp3 of matching recordings, and letter of intent to be uploaded directly onto your music department application). Please show dramatic range, and ability to use instrumental samples in a current DAW (Logic, Digital Performer, Cubase, ProTools). At least one piece should illustrate the ability to notate music from a notation program (could be from MuseScore, Note Flight, Sibelius, Finale, Dorico, etc). The PDF of the full score should be included in the portfolio. Your ability to understand how orchestral or jazz ensembles work together, how to write for them, and how their music looks on a score, is a critical requirement.
  • You will upload a letter of intent discussing musical background and goals.
  • You will schedule an on-campus performance audition with the appropriate applied area (keyboard, woodwinds, voice, etc.). When you fill out the online application you will see the exact requirement for the instrument you play (or voice).
  • After the performance audition, you will have an campus interview with the head of the Media option, Professor Kyle Simpson.

Once accepted to CSUN you will have the opportunity to take a number of media composition based courses, most of which start in your junior year. These include MUS 315A Orchestration, MUS 316 Analysis, MUS 317A Jazz Arranging, MUS 321 Beginning Composition, MUS 322 Beginning Media Composition, MUS 364/L Instrumental Conducting, MUS 391 Midi Sequencing, MUS 397/R Music Recording.  We strongly recommend MUS 388 Studio Ensemble as a suitable ensemble requirement. Studio is a lab band and offers practice in arranging and writing in commercial styles.

The senior level classes include MUS 419 Music Industry Studies, MUS 420A Media Composition, MUS 420B Media Orchestration, MUS 422A Individual Lessons in Composition, MUS 483ME Music Entrepreneurship, MUS 494A CSUN Internship, MUS 494A/B Outside Internship, and MUS 495 Senior Recital.

All students in the music department are entitled to private lessons after audition on their instrument if the lessons have not been completed at community college. Commercial And Media Writing Option music students receive 4 semesters of 1/2 hour lessons. All music students take the Musicianship sequence after placing into the appropriate level. 6 levels of Musicianship or their equivalent are required for the Bachelor of Music. Other department requirements include Keyboard and Music History classes.

Facilities at CSUN Music include two labs, a larger MIDI lab serving technology classes and a smaller project lab.  We also have a recently upgraded recording studio. It is strongly suggested that Media students have their own laptop with a DAW of their choice and entry-level instrument samples.

The ideal Commercial And Media Writing Option student is comfortable with technology, is eager to write in many styles, understands basic orchestration techniques, reads music in all clefs and plays keyboards.

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