The Experimental Sound Practices specialization was established for musicians, composers, and sound artists with a strong musical background who want to explore the more radical branches of contemporary sound.

While coursework provides a strong foundation in the theory and application of digital media as well as the critical issues surrounding it, making work and presenting it in concert or installation is the key.

Opportunities to hear your work include the school-sponsored ESP Nights and the student-run OK Composer series, as well as self-produced events in our concert halls or other spaces around CalArts.

Looking back over the last few years of ESP Night concert programs, we have seen circuit-bending, instrumental modifications and deconstructions, random sound-effects database surfing, field recordings paired with ionic filters, an amplified rake, terrain-to-sound mappings, typewriter plus string quartet, video game hacking, cracking, and downsmacking, live cooking (and eating), all mixed in with a healthy portion of electroacoustic improvisation and other digital musics.

Our creative impulses and critical discourses take us in many directions, but we work together to produce a rich environment for sonic experimentation.


Composition-Experimental Sound Practices is a two-year MFA program for sound artists, composers, and musicians with sonically creative backgrounds who want to explore the more radical branches of contemporary sound.

    • MLSN601 Composition Hour Lesson as assigned (4 classes)
    • MFOR501/508 Graduate Composers’ or ESP Forum (4 classes in total)
    • Composition courses with the prefix MCMP totaling at least 6 units
    • Courses in music technology, theory, history, pedagogy, performance or world music (non-MCMP music courses, at least 10 units)
    • Courses outside the School of Music (2 classes)
    • MBLExxx World Music Ensemble (in MFA1)
    • Wintersession (2 units of coursework with subject code MITM, taken in January)
    • MCMP690 Graduation Portfolio Review
    • Electives (to fulfill 60-unit degree requirement)