Pre-College: Music and Sound Design

Audio professionals play an important role on any game production team. Whether composing the musical score that sets a game’s mood or recording the sound effects that give players moment-to-moment gameplay feedback, it’s a job that requires both musical knowledge and technical expertise.


Students must have completed their sophomore, junior, or senior year* of high school in order to enroll in a Pre-College Program. See Admissions Information for more details about the additional application requirements for this course.

*Students MUST be within 18  months of their graduation date at the start of the program to be eligible for the Pre-College Program.


All Pre-College Program classes are held at DigiPen's campus in Redmond, WA (9931 Willows Road NE, Redmond WA, 98052).

Program Details


Students in this track take the following courses:

  • Music Theory and Musicianship (MTM) offers an introduction to basic music theory and musicianship. Topics include pitch, intervals, scales, chord structure, keys, music notation, functional harmony, modes, simple analysis, sight singing, transcription, and ear training. Musical examples are drawn from various styles and periods.
  • Music History and Literature (MHL) presents a survey of Western music from the Middle Ages through the Classical period. Representative compositions will be studied within their cultural contexts through the development of methods for analysis of musical style. Topics include musical styles and periods, texture, genre, and form.
  • Fundamentals of Music and Sound Design (FMSD) offers an introduction to the fundamentals of music and sound design, giving an overview of audio production for animation, film, and video games. Topics include digital audio, wave synthesis, processors and effects, creating and spotting SFX, tempo and frame rate analysis, and digital audio production methods and techniques.
  • The Project Lab (L) lets students apply the concepts they learn in the classroom to hands-on projects, including an original video game soundtrack.

Admissions Information

In addition to the other application materials, students applying to the Music and Sound Design track of the Pre-College Program must complete a self-assessment that demonstrates the ability to successfully read music. 

  • The application form and a non-refundable $50 application fee.
  • An official high school transcript that includes a list of all completed courses and grades earned.
  • A Statement of Purpose that discusses your reasons for applying to the Pre-College Program and how these reasons relate to your personal, educational, and/or professional goals.
    • Formatting Guidelines: Electronic submissions must include the applicant’s name and the program to which he or she is applying at the top of each page, and the date of submission on the last page. The essay must be typed, double-spaced, and no longer than two pages. Please upload as a pdf. or word doc. within the online application form.
  • A self-assessment (for Music and Sound Design applicants only) that demonstrates the ability to successfully read music. To request a copy of the assessment, please email
  • An optional letter of recommendation from a teacher in the student’s subject area of interest. Letters of recommendation from family members or friends will not be considered.
Schedule and Tuition

Schedule for 2016

The Pre-College Program meets every Monday through Friday from July 5 – July 29, 2016.

9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. MTM MTM MTM MTM MHLL
10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. MHL FMSD MHL FMSD FMSDL
12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch
1:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. Project Lab Project Lab Project Lab Project Lab Project Lab


  • MTM: Music Theory and Musicianship
  • MHL: Music History and Literature
  • MHLL: Music History and Literature Lab
  • FMSD: Fundamentals of Music and Sound Design
  • FMSDL: Fundamentals of Music and Sound Design Lab



$2,699 per four-week session, including a $50 non-refundable application fee. If admitted, students must submit a $549 non-refundable deposit within 10 business days of the date they are notified to secure their place in the program. The remaining balance of $2,100 is due by June 15, 2016.

Course materials are provided to students at no additional cost.

DigiPen's ProjectFUN offers workshops, camps and college prep courses for kids and teens. Technology courses are held in Redmond, WA (near Seattle and Bellevue), and online.