The BA Electronic Music & 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 and Visual Presentation
This module aims to develop approaches to music composition with visual materials in mind while exploring the synergy between audio and visual materials. You will learn to apply a range of procedures pertinent to sound and visual technologies and develop the skills and knowledge involved in the creation of visual media for public presentation.
Course content will focus on analysis of innovative work in the area of music and moving image with discussion of music videos, film scores and live visual projections. You will review compositional techniques across a range of genres, and study basic video production techniques, editing and post production as well as live video projection in terms of software and hardware.
1. Compose a piece of music that is developed in conjunction with visual media.
2. Create an effective synergy between audio and visual materials.
3. Employ audio and video technology in the creation of an original work.
4. Create visual media suitable for presentation in a public context.
Assessment: A composition to accompany visual media, and a visual presentation.Research Project
This module presents an opportunity for you to identify a specific research topic area reflecting your particular interests and practice. It aims to develop strategies for independent learning by allowing you to explore an area of personal research study, relevant to the course, where you will identify and adhere to academic standards, and develop appropriate critical and contextual language skills. Teaching staff will explain the strategies necessary to create a research project development plan, while the tutorial process will include the identification of the most appropriate research methodologies and sources, and the format of the submission.
1. Identify and instigate an individual self-directed area of study.
2. Employ appropriate research strategies within an agreed area of investigation.
3. Utilise critical and contextual language specific to individual self-directed study within the ethos of the music production course.
4. Demonstrate ability to articulate research material in accordance within academic conventions.
Assessment: A 3000 Word essay, or part essay/practical by negotiation with your tutor. 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.Creative Composition
This module aims to prepare you for an effective presentation/lecture where you will identify a range of developmental possibilities for the creative assignment brief and discuss their compositional approaches and working process as a whole. You will be expected to locate your work in a wider context, which will enable you to formulate a cohesive body of work at this level, and synthesise your ideas and techniques to bring innovation to your original work. As the module is student centred its content will be specific to the work of each individual, and musical composition will be guided by individual interests.
1. Formulate innovative compositional strategies to facilitate production work.
2. Evaluate the working process and the development of musical materials and technical ideas.
3. Create work which evidences synthesis of ideas and techniques between music production and its composition.
4. Prepare and deliver a presentation which will contextualise the student’s compositional approach and discuss the focus of their creative work.
Assessment: A work of creative production and a presentation/lecture about the development of the piece.Industry Studies
This module aims to promote independent thinking and develop industry-led project briefs, while broadening the perceived scope of available career paths and highlighting issues surrounding self-employment. It aims to introduce you to the creative and music industry business environment while raising awareness of necessary professional attributes and protocols. You will examine various techniques and processes used by entrepreneurs, and develop researching and networking techniques.
Study within the module will focus on self-employment, legal issues (such as copyright, royalties and taxation) and ethics, marketing for multimedia, publishing and distribution, including independent and corporate record companies, entrepreneurial skills, and personal development planning.
1. Research and critically evaluate appropriate music industry structures.
2. Integrate methods of promotion, advertising and marketing strategies to a body of work.
3. Produce a personal development plan through negotiation.
4. Apply professional values to the development and presentation of your own work.
5. Research and produce a body of work that adheres to academic conventions.
Assessment: A personal portfolio which documents an industry project and a personal development plan.Major Project
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. You will undertake to find a public outlet for your work (which could be outside the School) and plan and structure the development of the project. You are to be responsible for recruiting, managing and leading your creative team. The project will be realised through aims and strategies developed with the help of your tutors, and you will present your work in an appropriate form and to a standard expected at this level of study.
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 and the way a programme of events can be creatively constructed. It will also highlight and discuss presentational conventions and audience expectations. 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.
1. Evaluate the context in which the work is created and presented.
2. Create fully realised original work for the public domain from a set of aims, strategies and project development possibilities.
3. Present material in a form appropriate for a programme of innovative work.
4. Identify and apply professional values to all aspects of the production process, presentation and archive.
Assessment: A major project of your own devising, and a viva voce.
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