Activity – composing for film

Boom operator

Access ‘Inclusion Makes the World More Vibrant’, paying particular attention to the film’s score and how it changes as the story progresses. Answer the questions below.


  • Describe the music at the start of the film.
  • At what point is a second layer added to the musical texture? What is happening on-screen at this point? What might the denser texture represent in the narrative?
  • At 1:22 a trumpet is seen. What happens to the score at this point?
  • At 1:29, the boy turns suddenly, and marching drums are heard. Describe the soundscape that follows.
  • After the applause, music starts with a slow crescendo. Compare and contrast this final section of music with the music at 0:49. What is the same? What has changed slightly? What is different? What does this thematic development suggest about the narrative?
  • How is music used in the closing credits? What mood might the final credit music leave the audience feeling?
Two guitarists

Select your favourite scene from ‘Inclusion Makes the World More Vibrant’ and invent your own music for the selected scene (known as a musical cue).

Challenge yourself to match the mood changes with musical changes, and practise exact placement of sound to match the musical beats or editing cuts. Remember that emotion and story-telling through music are the main reasons for including music.

This activity can be completed in several ways, including: 

  • improvising in real time while watching the film footage
  • composing with notation software
  • using a free DAW (digital audio workstation) of your choice to arrange loops or live audio, with the film footage imported.

One way to structure your music is to create a short theme and vary it in many ways – different tempo, changed instrumentation, different register, a few notes added, one note removed, and so on.

For inspiration, here are 2 examples of short musical cues from Me-Lee Hay.



Film title: A Second Chance: Rivals!
Director: Clay Glen
Producer/production company: Glenpictures
Any other required attributions. Courtesy of Pinnacle Films (Aust)