The BA Electronic Music Production & DJ Practice degree is delivered in two of the Uks most exciting creative cities - Manchester & London, with both campuses providing students with unique and expansive training in all aspects of applied music technology for music creation, production and performance.
At our London campus, this degree is delivered as an exclusive 2+1 model. This 2+1 degree means that you study the first two years in London and complete your degree in Manchester, giving you the experience of London’s campus and industry links, to then go on and tap into our full resources in Manchester for your final year.
Both degrees, whichever city you choose to study at, combine technical training from industry experts with research into practitioners from a range of artistic disciplines and eras, discussion of social and cultural influences, audio-visual and multi-media installation work, and industry studies.
Throughout your degree, we’ll promote a hands-on approach to technology, with Pro Tools, Ableton Live, Steinberg’s Cubase and Logic Pro, all embedded into your course. Utilising performance skills as much for the studio as for live work, our approaches focus on developing your individual workflows, where we’ll encourage the development of your personal composition, production and performance style.
Why be just a DJ when you can be so much more?
The course is split into modules over three levels (years):Year 1 (HE4 modules):DJ Technologies and Techniques
The module is focussed on creative techniques made possible through DJ technologies, including software and hardware devices to enable the development of skills and knowledge required for composition studies. There will be a focus on the following:
- Software (Ableton Live)
- Sampling & looping devices
- Serato and Traktor Kontrol
- Vinyl turntables, CD decks
- Prepared Vinyl/CD
Historical practices within new music and Hip Hop culture will be introduced and considered. The foundation skills and knowledge gained in this module will substantiate further study in this area.
1. Create a musical piece using DJ technologies
2. Employ foundation knowledge of a range of DJ software and hardware devices
3. Discuss the links between theory and practice within DJ technologies and techniques
Assessment: A composition (no longer than 7 minutes) and a research essay.Creative Music Computing
This module aims to develop creative skills required for the execution of a personal portfolio of work, and to introduce a range of music sequencing software, while developing cross-platform skills in the use of audio and MIDI in music production. It also aims to provide accreditation in industry recognised software while developing reflective practice and evaluative skills.
Delivery will take place in a computer suite where you will have your own computer workstation, and will involve practical demonstrations, supervised workshops, group discussions and peer review sessions. You will be expected to work on a portfolio of compositions throughout the year, and regular workshops and one-to-one tutorial sessions will allow for review and feedback opportunities on your work.
1. Apply foundation knowledge of MIDI and audio sequencing within computer music production
2. Produce a personal portfolio of compositions using a range of music technologies
3. Apply effective creative and corrective audio and MIDI processing techniques to enhance the musical product
4. Reflect upon and evaluate personal practice
Assessment: A portfolio of compositions and a 2000 word report.Sound Recording and Editing
This module will initiate you in the safe and effective use of studio audio equipment, and introduce the environment, equipment, techniques and procedures involved in the production of music in a recording studio. You will learn to employ correct use of signal flow and gain structure while developing effective skills in recording and editing of audio. You are also expected to document your personal progress in a journal and maintain studio logs.
You will acquire entry-level studio recording and editing skills using industry specific software and hardware. You will also be expected to undertake some independent study in unsupervised practical sessions in studio workshops while working towards the tasks that complete the portfolio.
1. Operate studio recording equipment safely and effectively.
2. Successfully record and playback audio data.
3. Effectively edit audio data.
4. Document studio sessions and reflect on personal practices.
Assessment: A portfolio, which incorporates recording and editing tasks and a technical log.Music in Context
This module will introduce you to a range of debates and issues surrounding music production, performance, DJ practice and cultures, electronic music production, and the dissemination of recorded music.
The lectures will be focused on contemporary musical practice with reference to the historical context; hence key texts, practitioners and technologies across the 20th and 21st centuries will also be explored as will appropriate examples drawn from other creative disciplines. Key methodologies for the effective analysis of various works will be examined and developed alongside an appropriate subject specific language.
Also in this module you will develop the skills required for successful essay writing, for constructing and delivering presentations and effective research strategies.
1. Use critical and contextual language in relation to specific areas of music.
2. Initiate research from a number of sources and through various methodologies.
3. Show how research has informed a group presentation.
4. Articulate individual academic research in a written essay.
Assessment: An in-class presentation, and an essay.E-Music and Marketing
This module aims to examine music industry marketing models while you develop and apply music promotion and marketing strategies. You will also develop the technical skills to use software in the creation of an online creative presence and identify strategies to design a functioning website with an end user in mind. Course content will focus on the study of music marketing models and the planning, design and creation of your own online creative presence while studying a range of case studies of online creative practice.
1. Recognise the strategies employed in an effective music marketing campaign.
2. Present a research informed music promotion campaign for a specific market.
3. Plan and design a functioning web presence for promotional purposes.
4. Utilise appropriate software to establish an online presence with a design aesthetic tailored to an individual creative output.
Assessment: An in-class presentation on marketing, and your own creative online presence.Year 2 (HE5 modules):The DJ as Instrumentalist
This module will allow you to develop an awareness of the role of the DJ when working with other musicians, and to consider how collaboration can inform creative practice. You’ll be able to understand the potential of the use of DJ and controller technology and techniques, as instrumental and compositional material, while reflecting upon the collaboration and providing an understanding of the context for work of this nature.
You will be expected to undertake some independent study in unsupervised practical sessions in studio workshops while working towards practical assessments, and to arrange your own collaborative partners. Practical demonstrations will enhance your understanding of various DJ and controller technologies and techniques, and their place in a range of musical approaches, while seminar discussions will focus on creative strategies and analysis of musical materials.
1. Plan and undertake a collaboration with other musicians wherein the DJ’s role is as an instrumentalist.
2. Apply specific musical elements within the collaboration through their role as instrumentalist within that setting.
3. Appraise the effectiveness of the collaboration with reference to an appropriate archive of the collaboration.
Assessment: A musical collaboration work with an archive and documentation.Applied Electronic Music Production
This module introduces further creative and technical skills in music production, and develops competences in editing, mixing and remixing music. It will also develop professional practices in undertaking client-based projects, and promote and develop reflective, analytical and evaluative skills while you investigate and appraise current practitioners and current industry standards and techniques.
Industry software training is embedded with Apple Logic Pro Level 1 accreditation as an option. You will also be expected to undertake some independent study in unsupervised practical sessions in studio workshops while working towards the tasks that complete the portfolio. In preparation for the portfolio of work, you will be expected to liaise with a client to define and negotiate a project.
1. Negotiate and develop a brief through to completion with a client in the production of a musical piece.
2. Integrate audio processing software and hardware in the music product.
3. Remix a pre-recorded track working to a specific brief.
4. Produce a portfolio of work where pre and post production skills are fully employed.
5. Analyse and critically evaluate both personal work and current practitioners in the field
Assessment: A portfolio of work comprising 3 projects and a viva voce.Creative Sampler and Sound Library
This module aims to develop skills in the creation of a sound library with an end user in mind while evaluating the technical processes involved in the creation of the sound library, and you will employ skills in the production of a range of encoded and compressed audio files. You will also acquire skills in creating a software sampler collection with an end user in mind while applying techniques in the production of audio software patches for pro-audio applications.
1. Create a sound library with appropriate production values applied and organised with the end user in mind.
2. Create audio software sampler patches with appropriate production values applied with the end user in mind.
3. Demonstrate an understanding of the workflow stages involved in the production of a range of encoded and compressed audio files for a sound library.
4. Demonstrate the workflow stages involved in the production and operation of software patches for a specific audio application through a short presentation.
5. Evaluate and discuss in writing the technical processes involved in the creation of their sound library.
Assessment: A sound library with a technical log and a multi-sampled instrument patch.Music, Sound, Image
In this module you will create an installation event of audio and video materials within a presentation space while exploring themes, aesthetic considerations and technologies with reference to theory and practice within the field. The module aims to highlight and develop compositional technique in sound design work, and explore the potential of programme notes in terms of supporting and promoting work. You will develop a range of audio assets to be used when working with film and games.
Study on this module may include theories and aesthetics within the presentation of creative video and sonic art; audience reception of media according to the presentation space and scale of technologies; the installing and rigging of audio/visual hardware and techniques; preparing programme notes; music composition for the medium of film and games; sound design, Foley, and the creation and organisation of a library of audio assets.
1. Create an installation through a customised rig using audio and / or video materials.
2. Devise and compile programme notes to support and promote an installation presentation.
3. Create a sound design composition for a film or a game which utilises music, sound effects and recorded Foley sound.
4. Produce an organised catalogue of audio assets used for cinematic / games application.
Assessment: A sound design project and an installation presentation.Year 3 (HE6 modules):The DJ as Performer
This module aims to develop strategies for presenting DJ performances programmed from a variety of individuals, while researching a range of approaches within current and emerging DJ practice in a live context. You will be expected to explore possibilities for the musical arrangement of a live DJ set, and consider methods of presenting a live DJ set whilst understanding possible production values. Course content will focus on the study of key contemporary and historical practice across a range of venues and cultures, and the analysis of a variety of practitioners, as well as DJ performance skills and knowledge. There will also be consideration of lighting, sound reinforcement, live projections, event management and programming and Health & Safety issues.
1. Analyse and evaluate an aspect of current and emerging live DJ practice.
2. Create, prepare and perform a live DJ set.
3. Design the staging and presentation of a live DJ set with specific production values.
Assessment: A live DJ set and a research essay.Composition and Innovation
This module aims to synthesise ideas and techniques to bring innovation to original work. It will prepare you for an effective presentation/lecture and locate your work in a wider context.
As the module at this level is student centred, its content will be specific to the work of each individual, and musical composition will be guided by individual interests. Study may include analysis of key texts in areas appropriate to your own work and areas of interest, and the development of academic presentation/lecture skills.
1. Formulate and apply innovative compositional strategies.
2. Create work which evidences a synthesis of ideas in music composition and production.
3. Deliver a presentation which contextualises and evaluates their musical composition.
Assessment: A creative composition project and a presentation/lecture.Career Focus 3 – Professional Preparation
This module aims to initiate the development of a body of work in a form appropriate for continuing professional development opportunities within key areas of the industry, or within self-employment or entrepreneurial practice. It will investigate methodologies for specific vocational aspirations through independent study and research, and investigate current business practices, while also appraising the skills necessary to disseminate a contextual report in line with academic conventions.
There is a focus on a wide range of industry careers and opportunities for self-employment, and in order that you are professionally prepared, the module content includes: career possibilities, including entrepreneurship and self-employment; the initiation and testing of methodologies to facilitate vocational goals; appraisal of current business practices and models, including start-up business models; research and development strategies, with particular focus on professional development and employability; and networking and social media to enhance the individual within their professional domain.
1. Produce a body of work according to a defined career pathway.
2. Evaluate current business practices and methodologies for achieving vocational goals within a specialist field.
3. Research and produce a contextual report that adheres to academic conventions.
Assessment: A personal portfolio of work to be negotiated with your tutor.Major Project – Music and Multimedia
This is a student-centred module. You will be expected to take your work into the public domain by initiating and realising a project of your own devising. This module aims to identify the context for the creation and presentation of a variety of creative work while developing an awareness of the standards required for successful public presentation. You will be expected to manage and administrate the presentation of work within the public domain, and be able to archive practical work and supporting evidence in a form appropriate to the project. Assessment on the module is in the form of a public domain presentation of your work in the context of a student showcase.
1. Create original work for the public domain in line with their chosen creative practice.
2. Present material for a programme of events in the area of music and multimedia presentation.
3. Identify and apply professional values to all aspects of the production process, presentation and archive.
Assessment: A major project and an archive of the work.
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