Theatrical Sound Designers and Composers Association

Submitted: Matthew Tibbs Position: Date: February 18, 2019

If you represent this school, and the information below is incorrect, please email If you want to know who TSDCA is a graduate of this program, you can search the member directory.

School Location:

Cincinnati, OH

Description of your program:

The Sound Design and Technology MFA at CCM is a comprehensive education focused on both classroom instruction and production experience. Located in the heart of Cincinnati, the program focuses on professional training, customized to each student’s goals and aspirations following school. We produce a diverse season of 16 supported productions, including musical theatre, drama, opera, and dance.

Describe what makes your program unique:

The Sound Design and Technology program does not depend on an installed house system for any of our 16 shows a season, rather giving each design team an opportunity to assemble their system from the ground up, designing each interconnection on paper, installing the system, tuning the system, and observing in practice the ramifications of the design decisions that were made. CCM also is home to one of the nation’s top musical theatre programs, assembling a remarkable amount of talent on stage, in the orchestra pit, and backstage. The production season at CCM is of a scale and diversity that sets it apart from many programs.

Current Faculty Names & links to Websites

Matthew Tibbs

Type of degree conferred

MFA Sound Design and Technology

Number of years of study


Typical Class Size

15 – 20 student population (avg. of 4 grad and 14 undergrad)

Description of the venues and facilities the students have access to in our program:

CCM houses three theatres, including: Corbett Auditorium, a 730-seat proscenium theatre Patricia Corbett Theater, a 380-seat modified thrust theatre Cohen Family Studio Theater, a studio theatre most often around 120 seats, but flexible depending upon staging of the production. CCM underwent a $15 million infrastructure upgrade in the 2017-2018 season. Other sound facilities include a sound design studio with industry-standard hardware and software, as well as a well-equipped sound shop and an office for graduate students.

Description of the production and design opportunities a typical student can expect:

MFA students will have major roles on as many as six productions per academic year. Many of our graduate students receive stipends as graduate assistants. Those graduate assistants provide load-in and load-out support for all mainstage productions, lead work in the sound shop, and may be assigned to teach courses as desired and worked out with faculty. Initial production roles for graduate students depend on their familiarity with the field. Most grads will jump immediately into roles as a Sound Designer, Associate/Assistant Sound Designer, Mix Engineer, or a Production Sound Engineer. Many three-year MFA students will leave school with 12 – 15 design credits on a variety of shows.

Skills and characteristics looked for when admitting a student to your program:

CCM looks for students who are motivated to succeed in a competitive, challenging field. We seek a professional aptitude which values honesty, hard work, communication skills, and empathy. Additionally, a love of music, a voracious appetite for story, and a curiosity toward the world and humanity is valuable. While the ability to read music and a strong grasp of technology are helpful, they are not required for entry into the program.

Skills and characteristics will a successful graduate:

A graduate from the Sound Design and Technology program will have a solid grasp of each step of the design process, from the initial read of the script through opening night. Graduates will engage with technology as an extension of design, with the knowledge to utilize the hardware and software at their disposal, whether they are working at a low/no budget theatre or in the highest echelons of professional theatre. Graduates will be truth-tellers, inquisitive artists, knowledgeable technicians. Successful graduates will have, as our alums have proven, the necessary skills to excel in: musical and rock tours, regional theatre, Broadway, education, rental houses, house of worship, installation and distributed systems, theme park, and event audio-visual.