- Audio Sequencing and Recording
- Commercial Music in Context
Likely optional modules include: a specialism in either Performance OR Sound Production, Music Industry Fundamentals, Notation in Practice (usually taken if you opt for Performance), Sound Structure (usually taken if you opt for Sound Production), Songwriting 1.
Audio Sequencing and Recording
This module is designed to provide you with a grounding in the applications and techniques of MIDI and audio sequencing. The module will focus on commercial music recording and production methods and will relate, for example, to the practical production of demo-format recordings required for Songwriting. Through in-class exercises and project work you will develop a practical ability in the use of sequencing software and the skills to produce stereo masters that combine MIDI and audio sources in an effective and creative way.
Commercial Music in Context
The aim of this module is to provide you with an understanding of the historical and cultural context of a range of styles and genres of commercial music. These will be considered by tracing the development of constituent strands of music to the present day. In addition, recorded examples from each style will be considered analytically in order to identify their salient characteristics and their relationship to other styles. The module focuses upon Anglo-American popular music since 1950 and introduces a number of simple conceptual frameworks that will enable you to discuss popular music with more confidence and precision. It also aims to foster your ability to utilise an appropriate vocabulary when discussing and writing about musical concepts and equip you for more detailed study at subsequent levels.
Likely modules include: a specialism in either Performance OR Sound Production, Melodic Improvisation in Theory and Practice, Creative Sound Design, Music Enterprise, Music in the Media 1, Live Sound, Songwriting 2, Online Promotion and Website Design for Musicians
Popular Music Analysis
Popular Music Analysis builds upon the knowledge gained at level one in Commercial Music in Context, introducing you to more advanced forms of textual and cultural analysis. You will analyse musical material in greater depth, with reference to key issues within popular music. The module aims to develop your ability both to discuss and write critically about topics relating to popular music analysis.
You will continue with your specialist pathway in either Performance or Sound Production, choosing from the options set out below:
Performance , Sound Production, Studio Composition, Jazz: Performance, Arrangement and Composition, Film Music, Music Business Futures, Songwriting, Repertoire and Styles, Music in the Media , Sound Art, Independent Project.
Likely optional modules
This is an illustrative sample of some of the options we offer. Please note that not all optional modules will run each year.
This module enables you to develop skills in performance through the study of a specialist instrument (including voice). Alongside the development of instrumental skills you will gain rehearsal and performance experience by participating in student and staff-run ensembles, which aim to encourage development and refinement of your theoretical knowledge and practical skills across a range of musical styles.
Building on Performance 1A, Performance 1B enables you to continue to develop skills in performance through the study of a specialist instrument (including voice). Alongside the development of instrumental skills you will continue to gain rehearsal and performance experience by participating in a student ensemble.
Sound Production 1A
This module provides you with a grounding in studio recording techniques. Complementing the software-based sequencing and mix emphasis of Audio Sequencing and Recording, Sound Production 1A focuses specifically on studio recording practice, including studio set up, microphone technique, use of a mixing desk, and signal processing, as well as relevant theoretical principles related to acoustics and electronics.
Sound Production 1B
This module provides you with a further grounding in studio recording, processing and mixing techniques. Sound Production 1B expands on techniques discussed in Sound Production 1A and the software-based sequencing and mix emphasis of Audio Sequencing and Recording. The main focus is on microphone technique, use of a mixing desk, audio routing and effecting, as well as software based processing, mixing and mastering.
Music Industry Fundamentals
The aim of this module is to enable you to gain a broad understanding of the background, structure and organisation of the music industry and to give you a foundation for determining your own potential role within it. This includes the concepts of intellectual property and copyright, the development and production of recorded music and the marketing and distribution of finished product together with the requirements regarding performance and promotion. Also included is an examination of both the operation of major and independent record companies and DIY releases together with the marketing of music from both composers and performing artists. The module introduces you to the legal framework within which music is composed, performed, recorded and licensed through a consideration of copyright and publishing and of the industry bodies that exist to support, promote and protect the composition, performance and recorded rights owners.
Notation in Practice
This module aims to provide a thorough grounding in musical theory and familiarise you with the basic principles of computer music processing in the production of scores using Sibelius as a score-writing tool. Allied to this theoretical approach, you will be expected to rehearse and perform your own music in a variety of workshop sessions that emphasise the importance of notation within a practical musical environment.
This module gives you grounding in the theories and practices used to analyse a range of audio examples and to enable you to become fluent in your ability to recognise the sonic characteristics of recordings and performances. You will be introduced to techniques used to analyse and document the development of sound in time, including spectral analysis, graphic representation and aspects of musical notation. The sonic characteristics of different materials will be explained, along with the basic principles of spectral morphology.
This module aims to introduce you to songwriting as a process, encouraging the development of an individual style over the duration of your studies. In addition to informing you about well-established ‘traditional’ songwriting models and common structures, contemporary songwriting practices and considerations of arrangement, performance and production will also form part of the module.
Building on the skills acquired in Performance 1 this module enables you to further develop skills in performance through the study of a specialist instrument (including voice). Alongside the development of instrumental skills you will gain rehearsal and performance experience by participating in staff-run and student ensembles, which aim to encourage development and refinement of theoretical knowledge and practical skills across a range of musical styles.
Building on the skills acquired in Performance 2A this module enables you to further develop skills in performance through the study of a specialist instrument (including voice). Alongside the development of instrumental skills you will continue to gain rehearsal and performance experience by continuing to participate in at least one staff-run ensemble, which aims to encourage development and refinement of your theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Additionally, evaluation of performance technique through peer observation and self-evaluation will feature within the module.
Sound Production 2A
This module aims to provide comprehensive coverage of the theory and practice of multitrack studio recording and production. You will have the opportunity to gain an understanding of the scientific principles that underpin sound production and develop the skills to use a recording studio environment, offering an analysis of equipment, technique and procedure.
Sound Production 2B
Building on Sound Production 2A this module aims to continue to provide comprehensive and analytical coverage of the theory and practice of multitrack studio recording and production. You will have the opportunity to expand further on your understanding of the scientific principles that underpin sound production and develop the skills to use a recording studio environment, offering an analysis of equipment, technique and procedure. Pre- and post-production processes are included in the practice of multitrack recording. You will be expected to start gradually developing a more individual approach as you explore studio production techniques both from a musical and technical perspective, while adopting the respective roles of artist, engineer and producer.
Melodic Improvisation in Theory and Practice
This module aims to enable you to develop skills in improvisation techniques through the study of theoretical concepts and practical application through a consideration of a variety of approaches to improvisation. In addition you will be required to analyse improvisations and will transcribe solos, developing aural and notation skills.
Creative Sound Design
This module aims to provide you with a substantial practical overview of studio-based approaches to sound design and electronic composition. A broad and diverse approach will be taken, emphasising, for example, the influences of dance music and film sound, academia, the avant-garde and the commercial music industry on the shaping of the contemporary studio composer, and you will be encouraged to reflect on these influences within a creative portfolio of works.
The aim of this module is for you to develop an understanding and appreciation of how music and the music industries, in various guises, can generate income. It considers the various elements that contribute to ensuring that composing, performing and recording rights are managed effectively and fairly and includes focuses on music publishing, entertainment law and copyright, performance and recording, venue and tour management and record label management.
Music in the Media 1
The aim of this module is to give you an introduction to the skills, approaches and insights needed to produce music for the media. You will develop the ability to compose music that enhances moving images and will learn to engage those stylistic conventions and techniques most commonly encountered in bespoke media music. You will develop those sequencing and arranging skills needed in the production of smaller-budget media music and will also be presented with opportunities to develop skills in sound design that may be used alongside or as an alternative to more traditional compositional skills.
This module provides coverage of the methods and processes undertaken when mixing audio for live performance band settings. Through addressing the principles of audio signal paths, processing and mixing for both audience and performers, you will explore the application of appropriate hardware in the live sound environment, supported by an overview of audio, technological and engineering discipline and theory. You will be introduced to criteria informing technical and aesthetic choices in the production of audio for live performance and opportunities will be available for the practical application of live sound skills within course performances.
Songwriting 2 builds on the work completed within Songwriting 1 through the study of more advanced and extended songwriting models, whilst encouraging you to develop their own distinctive ‘voice’ within your creative work. The application of technology within the compositional process will be explored as a means to extend beyond traditional songwriting models and you will also develop an awareness of music from other contemporary genres as a means to further expand the diversity of influence applied within their songs and arrangements.
Online Promotion and Website Design for Musicians
This module is designed to introduce you to methods by which music-based media can be promoted using online digital multimedia. Traditional, current and emergent media are reviewed as you explore graphic and visual representation of musical subject and style in the context of online promotion.
This module has a particular focus on studio technique, whilst continuing to develop your live rehearsal and performance technique in staff-run ensembles. As with Performance 2, the study of a specialist instrument or voice is the central core activity, and you will develop skills for studio performance within a recording session. The development of instrumental skills is supported by a further extension of rehearsal and performance experience through participation in staff-run ensembles.
The aim of this module is to further develop skills in live performance, and your study of a specialist instrument or voice continues to be the central core activity. The development of instrumental skills is supported by a further extension of rehearsal and performance experience through participation in at least one staff-run ensemble.
Sound Production 3A
The aim of the module is provide you with the opportunity to focus on creative studio technique and develop an integrated approach to the session end-product: a definitive master demonstrating a distinctive approach to recording and production.
Sound Production 3B
The aim of the module is to provide you with continued opportunities to focus on creative studio technique and develop an integrated approach to the session end-product: a definitive master demonstrating a distinctive approach to recording and production. You will continue to explore the role of the producer (artist-, engineer-, composer-, arranger-producer) in the generation of multitrack recordings to a commercial standard, informed by an awareness of established, current and emerging global production styles.
This module aims to develop your ability to conceive and realise original compositions through creative use of the music production studio. You pursue individual areas of interest in technology-based music composition, devising creative ideas and the work of contemporary composers and producers in various genres is considered, with a particular emphasis on how methods of production (including studio process, collaboration, and relevant technologies) influence the creative output.
Jazz: Performance, Arrangement and Composition
This module builds upon the work done in Melodic Improvisation in Theory and Practice at level two by developing aspects of composition, arranging, improvisation and performance techniques in jazz-based styles. You will perform, discuss and analyse a range of musical examples taken from the breadth of the genre, and jazz theory, arrangement and notation skills are further developed through the practice of writing and presenting music appropriately for this styles.
Film Music A
The module aims to give you an understanding of the process of writing music for film and you will be introduced to the development of the language of film music, film scoring techniques and to broader cultural and critical issues. The module covers a variety of composers working in the industry today with a focus upon the detail of influential works and practical exercises, extending further the creative and technical skills developed during level two of the course within modules such as Music in the Media and Songwriting 2.
Film Music B
Continuing from Film Music A, this module aims to develop your understanding of the language of film music, film-scoring techniques and the broader cultural and critical issues. You will develop composition, production, and software techniques and apply these skills to the creation of music for film. Practical exercises extend further the creative and technical skills developed during Film Music A and you will also be required to produce a show-reel of your work and supporting documentation, as if presenting to an agent or client.
Music Business Futures
The aim of this module is to develop a clear and deep knowledge of the current music industry informed primarily by investigation and practice. The module focuses in detail on the many new and emerging technologies available for promotion, discovery, distribution and consumption of music via the Internet and mobile networks that are currently being explored within the industry. The changing attitudes to copyright law is considered in the context of music copyright control in the digital age, plus online product marketing and music publishing in order to provide a ‘digital sense’ of real-world music business activity.
Songwriting 3A aims to provide you with the opportunity to extend and enhance a personal songwriting style whilst fostering an awareness of songwriting in a commercial context. In order to develop your practical, creative and technical skills in songwriting the module engages you with projects such as the completion of an e.p. (extended play). The emphasis of the module is upon encouraging and facilitating creativity and individuality whilst aiming to achieve a convincing level of competence in songwriting and arranging.
Songwriting 3B aims to provide you with the opportunity to extend and enhance a personal songwriting style whilst fostering an awareness of songwriting in a commercial context. In order to develop your practical, creative and technical skills in songwriting, the module builds upon the work done in Songwriting 3A by engaging you with more substantial projects, such as the completion of an album. This module also requires you to present your songs in a live setting.
Repertoire and Styles
This module aims to enable you to become increasingly confident and flexible practitioners in a broad range of popular music performance styles. It aims to consider a range of musical styles not previously covered in performance modules at levels 4 and 5, and to develop skills further in the rehearsal and performance process. The module will provide a theoretical consideration of stylistic traits and appropriate performance techniques, as well as improvisational and compositional approaches within the selected musical styles.
Music in the Media 2
The aim of this module is to develop skills related to the creation of music and sound for various forms of media. Concepts and practices introduced in Level 5 Music in the Media 1 are extended and applied to the creation of a body of work that reflects your individual areas of interest. You will develop composition, production, and software techniques and apply these skills to the creation of music for various forms of media. Through the use of industry briefs, you will develop the ability to work under time constraints, to specific creative guidelines.
This module includes a strong emphasis on emergent forms of sound design, and alternative approaches to composition will be explored. You will be introduced to a range of skills, such as formulating project proposals and creating documentation, whilst new developments in Sound Art are discussed through a variety of lectures and practical demonstrations. You will also be encouraged to collaborate with visual media artists, such as photographers or web designers, in the creation of a mixed-media work.
Independent Project A and B
The module will enable you to undertake a substantive project which may be practical with an accompanying reflective commentary or research based in the form of a dissertation. The module is taught in two parts. Independent Project A focuses on developing research skills though the presentation of a written research plan, annotated bibliography and literature review and contextualisation whilst Independent Project B allows you to develop the work in practical or written form. If you take Independent Project A you would generally be expected to take Independent Project B in order to see your project through to completion.