BA (Hons) Electronic Music Production

Course summary

We were ranked 5th in London for Music courses by the Guardian University Guide 2019.

Overview

London College of Music's electronic music production course represents over two decades of development and experience. It has an enviable resource base, making us one of the largest audio complexes in Europe.

student-with-headphones-operating-control-panelWhy choose this course?

This pathway through the BA(Hons) Electronic Music Production provides a unique and vocational approach to the production of electronic music, applying theory through practice. 

The main areas of study and practice will include:

  • Sequencing
  • Sampling
  • Synthesis
  • Composition
  • Production
  • remixing and experimental sound design
  • music making.

During the course, you will have opportunities to work with a wide range of musicians and work in state-of-the-art studios.

Career and study progression

Past students, some of whom are now Grammy winners, have worked with prominent artists and producers, including:

  • Maroon Five
  • Lady Gaga
  • U2
  • Trevor Horn
  • Peter Gabriel.

On successful completion of the course you will have the opportunity to study at post-graduate level.

See our postgraduate degree courses page to view the full range of postgraduate degree courses offered by the London College of Music.

How will this course be assessed?

Year one
18% written exam, 16% practical exam, 66% coursework

Year two
0% written exam, 26% practical exam, 74% coursework

Year three
0% written exam, 18% practical exam, 82% coursework

Course detail

Course overview
Electronic music production is an integral part of music making today across the music and media industries. Electronic music should not just be considered a genre in itself, but a way of making music that can be applied to a multitude of styles and applications.

Modules

Year One (Level 4)

  • Contemporary Production Studies 1
  • Creative Music Technology 1
  • Music Industry Structures
  • Music for Media
  • Sound Practice
  • Sound Theory
  • Think Music-Tech

Year Two (Level 5)

  • Creative Music Technology 2
  • Contemporary Production Studies 2
  • Electronic Music Composition
  • Live Electronics
  • Working in the Music Business.

Plus one option from:

  • Acoustics
  • Advanced DAW Practice
  • Advanced Recording Techniques
  • Creative Sound and Music for Film and TV.

Year Three (Level 6)

  • Advanced Mixing Techniques
  • Advanced Production Techniques
  • Production Analysis
  • Major Project
  • Collaborative Production Project.

Module summaries

Year One (Level 4)

Contemporary Production Studies 1
This module works in parallel with Sound Theory and Sound Practice to provide level 4 students with a contextual understanding of popular music from the past century and the ways in which musicians and recordists have worked with recording and instrument technologies to shape the sound of this music during that period. The module runs over both semesters in level 4 and the content will be delivered by alternating, week by week, between a week of analytical and study and a week of ear training.

An understanding of the history of popular music is an essential component of a rounded education in music technology and you will view online lectures and engage with a program of set reading to prepare you for fortnightly, assessed seminar discussions about a range of topics. These will include discussions of musical styles, how they developed and how different technologies affected how they were produced and how they sound. These lectures and discussions will be informed by the research and professional experience of LCM's outstanding lecturing staff.

In addition, on the alternate weeks, you will engage in ear training exercises that have been designed to coincide with and enhance the knowledge that you will be acquiring through your parallel studies in Sound Theory and Sound Practice. This unique program of ear training explores the musical meaning of various production techniques as well as more conventional ear training in musical features such as instrument recognition, musical form, scales and modes.

Creative Music Technology 1

  • Sequencing
  • Sampling
  • Synthesis.

These terms should excite any aspiring music technologist.

This module explores the rudiments of Music Technology in a creative manner, arming you with the tools and techniques to harness cutting edge hardware and software to sequence music, synthesis sound, and lay a foundation of knowledge and critical awareness in this ever-developing field.

Music Industry Structures
This module provides the key provision on the roles of music industry professionals within your course.

Lectures will provide you with a foundation of the roles of music industry professionals within today's global music industry and feature examples of good working practice.

Each lecture in the module will focus on a specific issue or area relevant to today’s global music industry practitioners, along with an in-depth analysis of the knowledge and transferable skills required.

The module will also examine key practitioners from the industry of the past fifty years and the contribution they have made to the business and their continuing influence.

Music for Media
The module aims to give you an overview of the concepts and technologies involved in sound-design and music to picture and the fundamental principles that underpin this practice. You will develop your awareness of the creative potential of sound and music.

Through the assignments you will experience working with sound and music to deliver compositions, which are more than the sum of their parts. This process will also develop listening skills, which are essential for the proper analysis and application of music and sound production. You will develop your appreciation, analysis and critical appraisal of audio.

Sound Practice
Sound Practice runs in parallel with the Sound Theory module, through semesters one and two. It covers all aspects of the recording studio and the recording process. The module will extend the ear-training techniques and examine each component of the studio in detail. In addition, it will address the techniques of recording coupled to the technology, providing each student with a backbone of knowledge designed to help the recording demands of the second year.

Sound Practice is primarily concerned with gaining the skills necessary in the practical use of large-scale studio recording systems. The module assessment strategy will involve producing your first studio recordings. While it is not yet expected that you will be producing recordings of a fully professional standard, obviously, marks will reflect the quality of work and commitment involved.

Sound Theory
You will gain an appreciation of the physical aspects of sound, and how this relates to the practice of recording. You will also receive a grounding in the use of the multi-track studio and attendant equipment.

You will receive a course of practical demonstrations allowing for a greater understanding of audio, both in its recorded and natural states, and how transduction plays a critical role in associated routing procedures. Working closely with the Sound Practice module, you will be comprehensively briefed on fundamental routing procedure in an effort to support the more practical aspects of the music technology course.

Year Two (Level 5)

Creative Music Technology 2
This module will build upon the knowledge and skills you will have acquired during Creative Music Technology 1 at Level 4.  This module provides an in-depth exploration of sampled and synthesised sound and electronic music production and technique. You will further discover the historical and creative concerns regarding this broad topic.  Participants will endeavour to break free from the preconceptions and stale narratives that plague modern electronic music production and forge their own relationship with creative music technology that will set the stage for the demands of the level 6 modules.

Contemporary Production Studies 2
This module will comprise lectures by members of the LCM staff and doctoral students with seminar discussions to explore the ideas and practices raised in them. Each fortnight a member of staff will give a lecture on their production practice or research. This will range from sequencing, sampling and synthesis techniques to orchestration and arranging for the recording studio; from experimental microphone techniques to the psychoacoustics of mixing audio. LCM staff range from Grammy winning producers to widely published researchers and these lectures will reflect their latest projects from the cutting edge of both professional and research activity.

The week after each lecture, you will participate in small group, seminar discussions exploring the ideas and practices raised in the lecture and informed by some set reading or viewing.

In addition, you will work on a practical production project of your own, negotiated with your module leader, which will demonstrate how you have synthesised knowledge from this broad range of lectures to expand your production ‘tool box’ and the ways in which you think about the production process. As part of this process, you will also create a short video explaining or demonstrating some aspect of what you have learned from this module and how you have applied it in your production project.

Electronic Music Composition
A sine wave, white noise, a throbbing kick drum pattern, a gurgling bass ostinato, a soaring synth melody, the relentless rhythm of a train running along the tracks.  Music created by electronic means can coalesce these sonic elements in an infinite number of ways with an infinite number more.  Electronic music is not a genre in and of itself, but a way of composing music not linked to instruments, but to ideas and the emotions it can convey.

Composing electronic music is like creating an abstract painting.  The process involves consideration of texture, timbre, perspective and gesture to create emotion.

These ideas will form the basis for a module that will look to develop your individual creative voice through the exploration of electronic music composition practice in an array of styles, contexts and purposes.

Live Electronics
MaxMSP, Pure DATA, Ableton Live, Eurorack, MIDI & OSC, Arduino, ARM, and Pi are all technologies than can be harnessed for live electronic performance. This module creates systems for real-time musical expression using these technologies.

Working in the Music Business
This module will introduce you to the fundamental business principles of the UK music industry. It will explore the range of legal and contractual responsibilities related to the music industry and examine the issues around setting up and operating a business within this field.

Each lecture will focus on key areas including the creation and protection of copyright and the legal framework of the music business. The module will also analyse the mechanics of promotion and income generation and identify the ways of communicating with key industry professionals.

Plus one option from:

Acoustics
This module will provide a detailed understanding of the principles of acoustics. The module will develop these principles in the context of studio and concert hall design, specifically focusing on the control of sound in a space to a required specification, and the prevention of interaction between isolated spaces.

Advanced DAW Practice
The module aim is to build upon core DAW skills and to enable advanced operation of Pro Tools software to produce a computer-based, digital mix of music only projects to a professional standard.

With a strong emphasis on project analysis and problem solving you will become confident in talking on large mixes and challenging editing tasks.

On completing you will be able to speak the language of the DAW and collaborate with producers, engineers and musicians to realise their creative goals.

Advanced Recording Techniques
This module aims to provide you with an enhanced recording experience, exploring a range of advanced techniques that build on the Level 4 recording module. The module concentrates on specific recording elements, focussing on drum, guitar, vocal and acoustic instrument recording, giving you a range of tools and then exploring the most appropriate of those tools for your recordings. The suitability of techniques will be assessed based on target musical sounds and staging, with the influence of the recording space fully considered.

Creative Sound and Music for Film and TV
The module content will be delivered through lectures and tutorial work in progress sessions. Lectures will introduce sound design concepts and practice by analysing artefacts, professional examples and relevant media. You will also learn about processes and techniques, associated workflows and considerations by means of in focus on work in tutorials and development of student work in progress.

Year Three (Level 6)

Advanced Mixing Techniques
This module aims to offer you the chance to build a portfolio of mix material that builds on the previous module content with additional advanced mix techniques. You will incorporate the content of lecture and seminar material into your work, developing new mix techniques whilst refining existing approaches. The module will also encourage reflection in groups, with small group listening sessions and peer feedback contributing to the module delivery. The module will also continue to develop analytical and listening skills and further enhance the development of an analytical musical language.

Production Analysis
The module aims to provide you with an overview of the history of the technology used in the production of electronic music along with the institutions and individuals who developed it and the ways in which it was used. Alongside this analysis of the social construction of these technologies and the musical cultures in which they developed, you will examine the ways in which the sounds, that were and are produced, create and suggest musical interpretations and, therefore, meaning.

Major Project
The Major Project module is an individually negotiated and self-managed undertaking and as such has little prescribed module content. However the generic characteristics such as the learning outcomes, the timetable and assessment strategies will largely remain the same for all.

The module will commence with a series of sessions focusing on key aspects necessary for success in the undertaking of the project namely:

  • organisational skills
  • managing resources
  • planning research
  • engaging in professional practice.

You are encouraged to make contact with staff with whom you would like to work to act as your academic supervisor.

There are various stages of development that must be completed by set deadlines on this module, these will include:

  1. a 'pitch' presentation to a panel
  2. development of a proposal
  3. development and realisation of the agreed project
  4. research and extended critical analysis of the artefact and the production process.

During the development of the project you must keep a record of all personal and professional development issues. This should include key critical decisions and the subsequent actions considered and taken following reflection. This document is intended to act as a record of events and occurrences. Consistent and dedicated documentation of your progress will act as an aide memoire when writing the critical evaluation of the finished artefact.

Collaborative Production Project
This module will explore the role of creative collaboration in creating dynamic alliances that have been responsible for the development of pioneering scholarly ideas, scientific theories and revolutionary art forms. Analysing the work of authors such as John-Steiner and Keith Sawyer, you will learn the importance of blending different backgrounds into new forms studying their historical perspective and relevance and putting it into practice yourself. The module will try to imprint into you the idea that the mind, rather than thriving on isolation, is totally dependent on the reflections created by human interactions and that these are indispensable and essential in today's world. You will also examine the issues involved in working with other musicians.

Entry requirements

112 – 128 UCAS tariff points from Level 3 qualifications.

These can include:

  • A Levels at grade B, B and C, or above
  • BTEC Extended Diploma with Distinction, Merit, Merit
  • Access to HE Diploma
  • You also need GCSE English and Maths (grade 9 – 4 / A* - C) or Level 2 equivalents.

    Candidates without a level 3 Music Technology qualification are required to provide a portfolio.

    Mature applicants (aged 21+): If you do not hold the above qualifications but possess relevant work experience, you are invited to apply. Your application will be considered on an individual basis.

    Level 5 entry
    If you wish to enter directly at level 5 of this course you will be required to follow procedures in accordance with the university regulations. The demonstration of appropriate knowledge, competencies and relevant industrial experience is required and will be considered by the relevant university board. You are an ideal candidate for entry at this level if you have a 120 undergraduate credits at level 4 or a CertHE in a related subject area.

    Level 6 entry
    If you wish to enter directly at level 6 of this course you will be required to follow procedures in accordance with the university regulations. The demonstration of appropriate knowledge, competencies and relevant industrial experience is required and will be considered by the relevant university board. You are an ideal candidate for entry at this level if you have a 240 undergraduate credits (at level 4 and 5), a DipHE, Foundation Degree or HND in a related subject area.

    International entry criteria
    International students need to meet our English language requirement at IELTS 6.0 or above and a minimum of 5.5 for each of the 4 individual components (Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening).

    In some countries where teaching is in English, we may accept local qualifications. Please visit http://www.uwl.ac.uk/international/your-country to check for local equivalencies.

    We offer pre-sessional English language courses if you do not meet these requirements. Find out more about our English Language courses

    Fees

    Fees for home and EU students

    Main fee
    £9,250 (2019 fees may change subject to government policy and regulations)

    Fees for overseas students

    Main fee
    £12,500
    Find out if you are a home or overseas student.

    Funding

    Help with funding is available to a range of students, whether you are studying full or part-time, in your home country or overseas.

    You may be eligible for a student loan to cover the cost of tuition fees or a maintenance loan to support you during your studies. Additional funding is available to some types of students, such as those with dependants, disabled students and more. Find out more about applying for student loans and other funding options.

    Information in the video above is accurate at the time it was produced. Bursaries for September for 2019 entry have not been announced. 

    Please note fees are paid for each year of study unless otherwise stated. You will be required to re-enrol and pay fees at the beginning of each academic year. Fees may be subject to government regulations on fee increases. Future inflationary increases will be applied to each subsequent year of the course, subject to government regulations on fee increases.

    How to apply

    For detailed information on how to prepare your portfolio and what to expect in the interview or audition please see our Interview and audition processes page.

    Apply for this course

    UK and EU students

    Apply for this course at www.ucas.com when UCAS applications are open, from the previous September until June (see dates). You will need our institution code W05 and the UCAS code given on the right hand side of this page.

    If the UCAS deadline has passed, you can apply through Clearing by calling our hotline on 0800 036 8888 (or +44 8231 2468). Clearing takes place over the summer months (July to September).

    If you are making an early application, before UCAS has opened, you can apply directly to the University by clicking the red 'apply now' button above. You should also use this button to receive specialist information if you are applying for Nursing and Midwifery courses.

    More about how to apply to the University of West London.

    Please also read our student terms and conditions.

    International students

    Apply at www.ucas.com or you can apply to study this course using our online application system.  Simply click the red ‘apply now’ button above.

    You can also review the relevant information about the qualifications we accept from your country and our English language requirements, as well as details about your visa application.

    More about the application process for international students.

    Please also read our student terms and conditions.

     

    During the course

    What our students say

    Angela Kibson - BA (Hons) Electronic Music Production

    I’m glad I have found a place that teaches not just a field of my interest but also assists me to broaden my vision and skills necessary for this competitive industry. The courses are designed with current awareness and state of the art facilities, also the staff and lecturers are very supportive and understanding. I could not be happier with my chosen course and University.

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