The Foundation Degree in Music & Sound is developed to mirror the modern music industry, helping students gain the skills to be independent, multi-skilled music practitioners, fluent with various forms of multimedia. The Foundation Degree in Music & Sound is fully validated by the University of West London, which encompasses the London College of Music. A Foundation Degree is a combined academic and vocational qualification, equivalent to two thirds of an honours degree, it is anticipated that those who complete the Foundation Degree in Music & Sound will progress to the BA (Hons) top-up in Music & Sound.

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Course Details

A Foundation Degree is a combined academic and vocational qualification, equivalent to two thirds of an honours degree. It can be topped up in the 3rd year to a BA (Hons) Music and Sound.

This course 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.

All modules are worth 20 credits each

Level 4

Semester 1 Semester 2
Sound Practice (20 credits)
Popular Music Styles-1 (20 credits)
Music Video Production (20 credits)
Music Radio Production (20 credits)
Options (students choose one of the following): Options (students choose one of the following):
Performance Studies 1a (20 credits)
Music Producer (20 credits)
Performance Studies 1b (20 credits)
Production Techniques (20 credits)

Level 5

Semester 1 Semester 2
Popular Music Styles-2 (20 credits)
Radio Documentary Production (20 credits)
Business Innovations and Enterprise (20 credits)
Interactive Music and Sound for Video Games (20 credits)
Options (students choose one of the following): Options (students choose one of the following):
Performance Studies 2a (20 credits)
Genre Production (20 credits)
Mixing and Mastering for Media (20 credits)
Performance Studies 2b (20 credits)
Studio Production (20 credits)
TV Advert Production (20 credits)

Before the start of each semester, you will be asked to pick 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:
SOUND PRACTICE (core module 20 credits)
Sound Practice requires engagement with hardware-based studio recording systems for the recording of live instruments (from guitar to full drum-kit).
While it is not yet expected that students will be producing recordings of a fully professional standard, marks will reflect the quality of work and commitment involved.
Assessment 1: presentation 40%
Assessment 2: Portfolio Recording 60%

POPULAR MUSIC STYLES 1 and 2 (core module 20 credits)
The Popular Music Styles 1 (Level 4) and Popular Music Styles 2 (Level 5) modules involve the chronological study and analysis of all of the most important popular music genres from second half of the 20th Century to the present day.

Throughout the module, students will:

• Engage in a considerable amount of listening appreciation by being exposed to hundreds of classic recorded examples by influential artists
• Learn about the historical context and impact of each genre (period, influences, socio-cultural context etc)
• Learn about the musical characteristics of each genre (instrumentation, song form, harmony, typical parts, lyric style, etc) allowing them to understand both the inspiration behind a musical style and the requirements and tastes of that style’s target audience.
• Create and record an authentic pastiche of a chosen style

Performers will also get experience performing an archetypical song from each genre on their chosen instrument in weekly live performance workshops with a full band.
Finally, style analysis classes are also underpinned by music technology ones that give students a thorough grounding in producing multi-track recordings from basic MIDI and audio capture to using effects and mixing down, allowing them to present and document their knowledge and creative interpretation of these important genres in recorded form.
Assessment 1: Written assignment 40%
Assessment 2: Musical Recording 60%

PERFORMANCE STUDIES 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b (optional module 20 credits)
The central part of the series of Performance Studies modules takes place with instrument-specific instruction. Through practical work and a series of supporting lectures, students will enhance their musicianship skills, performance skills, and knowledge of repertoire. They are expected to take part in practical ensemble work, which will introduce them to a wide range of repertoire. Learning how to arrange and devise music within different performing traditions will also be a part of the module. This will enable students to lead and direct an ensemble, as well as perform as part of a musical ensemble.

The module comprises:

• instrumental or vocal lessons
• ensemble activities in at least one ensemble
• musicianship training
• performance studies seminars
• public performances and masterclasses
• production of a critical learning journal.

The content of your instrument-specific lessons will be determined by the designated instrumental or vocal teacher.
Assessment 1: Written assignment 20%
Assessment 2: Ensemble Live Performance 30%
Assessment 3: Individual Musical Performance and technical skills 50%

MUSIC PRODUCER (optional module 20 credits)
Students will study topics that will provide them with a comprehensive grounding in the musical knowledge and skill required to make a well-rounded popular music producer:

• Popular song forms
• Guitar effects and textures
• Vocal textures
• Songwriting methods (hook, writing melodies, issues relating to tempo, balance and contrast: phrase length, dynamics & texture etc)
• Sonic Components
• Critical Listening (Musical Faults)
• Acoustics
• The roles of the various personnel involved in studio recording
• Changing trends in Music Production
• The impact of emerging technologies
• Key stages of the recording & release process
• Producer profile: George Martin
• EDM producers
• Increasing commercial potential in music
• Producer profile: Phil Spector and David Foster
• Modern producers
Assessment 1: Productions 60%
Assessment 2: written assignment 40%

MUSIC VIDEO PRODUCTION (core module 20 credits)
This module aims to provide students with: a working knowledge of film grammar and established industry conventions; the basic concepts and fundamental disciplines necessary in production; techniques in pre-production planning; team-building; digital camera; lighting; sound and simple – but effective – non-linear editing techniques.
Students will be required to produce two videos demonstrating that they can combine creativity and applied technology while working successfully as a member of a production team. They will also be required to submit a critical analysis for each production.
Assessment 1: Practical Skills Video 30%
Assessment 2: Video & Written Portfolio 70%

MUSIC RADIO PRODUCTION (core module 20 credits)
This module involves producing an exciting live music show, encompassing DJ voice, music, links, idents, adverts and interviews.
It provides students with the knowledge, understanding and skills required to produce and present a music sequence in a variety of formats for radio, but most
importantly, to produce innovative radio that goes beyond playing a track and telling the listener what it is. During the module, students will study a varied spectrum of styles and formats to enable them to produce their ideas with flair and at a high level. They will be introduced to the notions behind institutional practices of music radio scheduling, editorial and production, music’s uses and settings and the debates surrounding these practices in order to make them aware of all factors surrounding the production of a music programme. We will also look to the future and changing platforms and formats within which Music Radio can be listened to and utilised. Ultimately, students will be exploring the question: ‘What is Music Radio?’

Students will gain an understanding of communicating with a target audience, putting together a playlist, branding packages and a variety of pre-produced content such as interviews, features, documentary style or otherwise, reportage, but always displaying high levels of research audible in every facet of their programme.
To enhance their production skills and allow them to produce their programme, they will be introduced to industry-standard sound recording and non-linear music editing software – learning such technology will make students much more useful in industry situations (radio stations, production houses, post-production and imaging studios). We will study recording techniques and presentation style, so that students’ programmes sound the best they can, and they will ultimately develop a variety of techniques in writing for radio.
Assessment 1: Programme pitch 15%
Assessment 2: Written proposal 15%
Assessment 3: Radio programme and relevant production files 70%

PRODUCTION TECHNIQUES (optional module 20 credits)
The Production Techniques module builds on the music-related themes developed in Music Producer (previous semester).
The bulk of this module is devoted to developing skills relating to songwriting focussing on the following topics:

• harmony; harmonised chord sequence; non-diatonic chords; chromatic harmony
• how to use the ‘cycle of fifths’ to create cycle progressions
• the quality and density of different chord types; the difference between static and functional chords; how inversions can be used to create smooth and logical bass lines; modal progressions; how arrange a song so that various notes of the harmony are assigned to different instruments; various general points relating to composing the harmony of a song
• the lyric styles of various musical genres; the use of love and other emotions as a subject when writing lyrics
• ways of avoiding ‘love’ as a subject matter when writing lyrics; the influence of background knowledge on the emotional response of the listener; the principle of following a narrative/storyboard, powerful images and simile/metaphor when writing lyrics
• the use of abstract/surreal/meaningless subject matters when lyric writing; lyrics that are hook-driven; musical arrangements dictated by the lyrical subject matter; various aspects (such as legal issues) relevant to collaboration (working with a partner)
• finishing a tune; creating a checklist detailing the various elements required in a successful pop song; long term issues relating to improving and finding success as a songwriter; various useful songwriting tools.
Assessment 1: Production work portfolio 60%
Assessment 2: Written Assessment 40%

RADIO DOCUMENTARY PRODUCTION (core module 20 credits)
The content of this module will be diverse, detailed, and span critical listening and analysis, production models / production management, programme design and delivery and analytical study of the genre of Radio Documentary. Sessions will take place in the format of lectures, seminars, practical workshops and tutorials as well as group seminar / feedback sessions.
Assessment 1: Programme Proposal 20%
Assessment 2: Radio Documentary Programme 60%
Assessment 3: Reflective essay 20%

GENRE PRODUCTION (STUDIO OR EDM OPTIONS) (optional module 20 credits)
In this module, traditional producers will learn how to record live audio and mix/produce in the styles of: rock, funk/disco, acoustic and a genre of their choice; whereas electronic music producers will study the production styles of House, Trance, Drum & Bass and an EDM genre of their choice.
Assessment 1: Recordings 60%
Assessment 2: Written assignment 40%

MIXING & MASTERING FOR MEDIA (TV/RADIO/WEB/ CINEMA) (optional module 20 credits)
Students will study all aspects of mastering audio for a range of different media (e.g., radio, TV, film, podcast, streaming etc) learning how to utilise various industry-standard plug-ins and covering vital topics such as levels, crest factor, RMS, compression, EQ, limiting, stereo widening, dither, ISRC coding and ID3 tagging.
Assessment 1: Practical portfolio 60%
Assessment 2: written assignment 40%

BUSINESS INNOVATIONS AND ENTERPRISE (core module 20 credits)
As a preparation for running your own business enterprise, you will study various business strategies (including crowd funding) before submitting your own provisional plans for a viable business idea of your own.
This module will introduce students to the theoretical and practical knowledge necessary for the planning, setting up and running of a company within the music industries, as well as the entrepreneurship theory that underpins these skills. There is an increasing move towards smaller specialised companies, short term contracts and freelance project-based employment. Therefore, it is necessary for students to embrace the principles of company registration, tax and national insurance; incorporating the techniques of business planning, raising capital and entrepreneurship.
Assessment 1: Written assignment (Business Poster) 30%
Assessment 2: Portfolio 70%

INTERACTIVE MUSIC AND SOUND FOR VIDEO GAMES (optional 20 credits)
This is primarily a practical module, with the assignments being original composition/sound design projects – the seminars are designed to prepare students for these. At the same time, it is crucial that students acquire an awareness and understanding of the general context of working as a composer for games; therefore, the module aims to deliver knowledge regarding the history of the primary game genres, the current trends in the industry, as well as the wider game development process. Composition and sound design for video games requires additional knowledge and skills on top of those traditionally practised by composers working in other sectors (e.g., interactive music implementation, composing to brief/conceptual art, techniques for looping music, understanding game development). Sound design is included in the module content, as a majority of composers for games are required to undertake this task in addition to music.
Assessment 1: Practical 40%
Assessment 2: Practical and written work 60%

TV ADVERT PRODUCTION (optional 20 credits)
In this module, students will study all aspects of producing effective music and sound for a TV advert to a given commercial brief and must be delivered in an industry-standard format.
Assessment 1: Presentation 20%
Assessment 2: TV adverts 60%
Assessment 3: Written assessment 20%

STUDIO PRODUCTION (20 credits)
Studio producers will learn how to record live audio and produce in the styles of: Soul, Electronic Pop and Metal; whereas electronic music producers will study the production styles of Break Beat, Dub Step, Electronica and an EDM artist of their choice.
Assessment 1: Production Work 60%
Assessment 2: Essay 40%

  • Level: 4-5
  • Length: 2 years
  • Fees: £6165 | Student Loan Finance available
  • Study Locations: Exeter • Gateshead • 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 is via UCAS. Institution: University of West London, Institution code: TVUY UCAS Code: W331

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