Equivalent to the 3rd year of a degree, this flexible top-up year is designed to follow on from our Foundation Degree in Music & Sound, but would also suit any applicants studying a music related HND, Foundation Degree or indeed those with recognised industry experience backed up with qualifications. Validated by the University of West London, the course has been developed to mirror the modern music industry, allowing students to learn the skills to become independent, multi-skilled music practitioners, fluent with various forms of multi-media. We provide the time, space and the opportunity to develop your own sound and work on your material alongside gaining valuable vocational skills.

500 Students
60 Professional Tutors
6 Regional Centres
Course Details

B.A. TOP-UP IN MUSIC AND SOUND

The BA (hons) in Music and Sound is a Level 6 course and is a Top-up to a Foundation Degree or HND to give the honours part of your degree. It has been developed to mirror the modern music industry allowing students to gain the skills to be an independent multi-skilled musician/producer fluent with various forms of multi-media.

Level 6

Semester 1 & 2
Level 6 Project (40 credits)
Semester 1 Semester 2
Music and Sound for Media (20 credits)
Recording Project (20 credits)
Freelance Portfolio (20 credits)
Options (students choose one of the following):
Showcase Studies (20 credits)
Advanced Studio Production (20 credits)
Advanced Radio Production (20 credits)
Music Management Project (20 credits)

Before the start of each semester, you will be asked to pick any optional modules to study. If there are not enough students to run your chosen module at your centre, you may be offered to be taught that module online.

Brief Description of Each Module:
Semester 1 and 2
LEVEL 6 PROJECT (core module 40 credits)
In this module, each student must define and explore in some depth, a topic relating to their intended future employment, as well as developing advanced skills in managing an extended project.
The project will be developed over Semester 1 and 2, and students choose to base their project on one of the of topics below:

• Dissertation
• Songwriting or Composition
• Performance
• Production
• Event Management
• Multi-media

The Level 6 Project also provides experience of critically evaluating and reflecting upon the particular methodologies of the chosen subject area.
Assessment 1: Presentation 10%
Assessment 2: Portfolio 90%

Semester 1

MUSIC & SOUND FOR MEDIA (core module 20 credits)
This module deals with the theoretical and practical issues of putting music and sound to a moving image: a discipline that is highly relevant and useful for any freelance worker aiming to build a portfolio-based career or even just to promote themselves as an artist in the modern popular music industry.
Students study: relevant academic theories by writers such as Chion, Cook, Davis, Karlin and Venn; scoring; the role of film sound; modes of listening; cuts and edits; montage; influential approaches of film-makers like David Lynch; creating music for computer games; creating music for dance and theatre.
These subjects are studied alongside the technical considerations and practicalities of importing video within Logic X in order to produce musical and sonic results that are evocative of the moving image.
Assessment 1: Written Report 30%
Assessment 2: Video clip with music 70%

RECORDING PROJECT (core module 20 credits)
There is a large market for music that film and TV production companies can take ‘off the shelf’ for genres such as sport, gameshows, wildlife etc. In this module, you will create your own portfolio of original music suitable for submitting to a publisher that covers a wide range of moods, styles and uses.
Students will be exposed to a ‘real life’ environment where a creative brief must be completed to professional standards and to a deadline and are given the opportunity to devise and execute an ambitious personal, self-managed music recording project that encompasses and showcases many of the skills and knowledge acquired and developed during the degree. This is an area traditionally known as ‘library music’ but now more commonly-known as ‘music for synchronisation’ and can be one of the most lucrative income streams for a modern music practitioner.
Assessment 1: Portfolio 20%
Assessment 2: Project 60%
Assessment 3: Written Assignment (Reflection) 20%

Semester 2

FREELANCE PORTFOLIO (core module 20 credits)
The bulk of employees in the popular music industry sector are freelance and a premium is set on a worker’s ability to balance a large portfolio of activities and show resourcefulness and adaptability as opportunities change.
In this gig economy, it is also important that freelancers have an entrepreneurial spirit and the knowledge and skills to create their own work through enterprise and industry; consequently, the Freelance Portfolio module requires students to formulate a proposal for their own viable business product or service, produce a business plan and then see that plan through to its conclusion by creating a tangible business product or service as well as the marketing machinery (including website) to promote it. This presents each student with an effective calling card when they graduate so that they can hit the ground running when they enter the market place. Critically, they will have the wherewithal to run their affairs on a cottage industry basis rather than rely on others for work.

In the course of the module, students will study:

• The impact of emerging technologies
• The financial considerations that apply to different types of music
• Raising local sponsorship; funding opportunities within the music industry
• Sample use & guidance on appropriating royalty-free samples
• The legal requirements of music downloading and on-line sales
• Brand awareness
• The role of the publishing industry and how it impacts on working practice in the music
• Industry
• The implications of recording copyright
• The importance of recording play lists to the appropriate organisations (e.g. PRS for Music)
• The role of royalty collection societies and how these protect artists and companies’ rights
• The different trading formats in the music industry
• Socio-Political Factors Affecting The Creative & Cultural Sector
• Ethical and Legal Factors Affecting The Creative & Cultural Sector
• Informal project presentations

Finally, each student must critically evaluate their learning on this module.

Assessment 1: Proposal 0%
Assessment 2: Project & Evaluation 100%

SHOWCASE STUDIES (optional module 20 credits)
In this module, once their material is rehearsed and ready for public performance, each student will promote and stage a live showcase.
They will develop an understanding of the key concepts of design, image and
saleability that enables them to market their music and band/teaching/solo career concept as a ‘product’. It deals with issues that have traditionally resided in the hands of management, record companies and publishers such as:

• publishing
• online marketing
• mailing lists
• distribution (online, via publications and retail outlets) etc

Showcase Studies will provide you with technical insights into a future musical career enhanced by the added independence gained from the experience of producing and marketing your own work.

Assessment 1: Performance 50%
Assessment 2: Course work 50%

ADVANCED STUDIO PRODUCTION (optional module 20 credits)
In the course of the module, students will get introduced to ‘signature’ techniques used by various successful commercial music producers with view to informing their own practical knowledge and research.
Students will be expected to engage in an in-depth investigation of a successful commercial music producer of their choice, producing a 15-minute body of multi-track recorded music that makes that research and musical influence manifest in a creative way.
To meet the all the outcomes of this module, it is also important that students plan, implement, and reflect critically on work-in-progress; consequently, as well as the practical assessment described above, they must also produce a recording plan and an evaluation of their submitted work
As well as focussing on the signature production techniques, students will also study other essential elements of advanced production techniques:

• The main acoustical events/parameters in the mixing environment
• Stereo microphone techniques
• Surround sound multi-microphone patterns
• Rewire
• Advanced multi-track audio quantising with FlexTime
• ‘Out-of-the-box’ mixing
• The fundamentals of advanced vocal production
• Melodyne as a pitch correction and a composition tool.
• Identifying sample-based instruments
• Creating your own production sound palette
• Mastering
Assessment 1: 15 minutes of multi-track recorded music 70%
Assessment 2: Presentation and evaluation 30%

ADVANCED RADIO PRODUCTION (optional module 20 credits)
In this module, students will study and be expected to manage all aspects of producing a short radio play production:
• Pre-production (e.g., casting, script editing, storyboard, rehearsals), management (e.g., equipment requirement, recording schedules, logistics) and direction (e.g., delivery, vocal cues, production quality etc) required for radio productions
• Dialogue editing
• Use of incidental music
• Radio sound effects/foley
• Mixing and mastering
• Presenting a radio production in an industry-standard format
Assessment 1: Presentation 20%
Assessment 2: 15-minute radio production 60%
Assessment 3: Report 20%

MUSIC MANAGEMENT PROJECT (optional module 20 credits)
This module is largely self-directed: with the option of specialising in artist management or music, retail management or crowd funding.
It provides an overview of the current and future broader music industry and
seeks to furnish the student with the intellectual tools and specialist knowledge required to be a robust practitioner in today’s diverse and competitive global music business.
Lectures will provide students with a foundation of the principles of strategic music
management and consider the need for planning within an ever-changing business
environment. The music industry will be viewed from multiple viewpoints and the actions of policy and wider media practices will be examined for their impact upon the development and implementation of management strategies.
Assessment 1: Project 60%
Assessment 2: Written assignment 40%

  • Level: 6
  • Length: 1 year
  • Fees: £6165
  • Study Locations: Edinburgh • Exeter • Glasgow • Gateshead • Southampton • Online

Audition & Interview

Our qualifications require a successful audition and interview to enrol onto a course, but don’t be nervous! The auditions are on a 1-1 basis to assess your future potential to see what you can do, rather than what you can’t. It’s a great chance for you to see the centre, meet our fantastic tutors and ask any questions. You’re coming to us to learn and improve your skills, so we appreciate everyone has their strengths.

How To Apply

Application for this course is via the application form below

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