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Undergraduate Course

Digital Music BA (Hons)

Take a digital approach as you discover and create electronic music and sound.

practical classes

This course is your chance to specialise in producing music using the latest technologies. You will explore the unique sounds and possibilities of digital approaches to music production. Explore how technology has impacted the music landscape. If you want to become a successful electronic music producer, or you want to create, market and sell digital music, this is the course for you.

  • Available in Clearing

York campus

  • UCAS Code – J933
  • Duration – 3 years full time, 6 years part time
  • Start date – September 2021
  • School – School of the Arts

Minimum Entry Requirements

    96 UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language.

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2021 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2021 entry £12,750 per year full time

Discover Music Production at York St John University

Course overview

Learn by producing digital music for yourself and for professional clients using the digital audio workstation (DAW). This allows you to build your portfolio and become a confident electronic music producer and artist.

During your time with us, you will:

  • Write and arrange tracks for clients to develop your musical understanding
  • Learn to capture and process sound using advances production techniques
  • Sequence and synthesize sounds and beats using different digital technologies
  • Explore new ways of creating music with hardware controllers
  • Produce a major piece of digital work, like an album or film soundtrack.

Alongside the practical element of this degree, you will advance your theoretical understanding of music production. Through lectures you will contribute to current debates around production. This could involve examining the evolution of production technology, modern distribution platforms, music in film and much more.

When you study with us you benefit from professional experience with artists and clients. You will work on projects with professional producers from the creative industries. You will take part in masterclasses and workshops with high profile music industry guests. There are opportunities to visit professional recording studios, including a working visit to Abbey Road studios in your final year.

2022 applicants

This course will be recruiting for 2021 entry. For 2022 entry it will instead be incorporated into Music Production BA (Hons).

Facilities

Our campus facilities can help you extend your learning and explore your creativity. Our recording studios use large-format mixing consoles and there is a range of band instruments and amps in the live room. We have different professional studio microphones for you to use in the studios or on location. The main teaching room has iMacs you will use to learn the software we use, which includes:

  • Logic Pro X
  • Pro Tools
  • Ableton Live
  • Native Instruments Komplete 12.

Equipment

Equipment can be borrowed and used in your home or on location. We also have over 15 portable production packs you can borrow to continue working at home. Each includes a MacBook Pro, audio interface and microphone. Best of all, there are no weekly restrictions on how much time you can spend in the studio.

Course structure

Year 1

Our academic year is split into 2 semesters. How many modules you take each semester will depend on whether you are studying full time or part time. 

In your first year, if you are a full time student, you will study: 

  • 6 compulsory modules across semester 1 and 2
  • 1 compulsory module in semester 1
  • 1 compulsory module in semester 2.

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

Modules

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

On this module you will focus on your creative development as a music producer. You will explore ideas and theories relating to the creation of music and learn about the commercial elements of production. You will develop technical and creative techniques for producing music and apply these skills to build your portfolio. By the end of the module you will have produced almost 20 minutes of your own pieces. These will be a mix of your own work and work developed by you to fulfil a brief.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this practical module you will learn about the techniques and technology used in music production. We will then show you how you can use these in the creation of your own music products. This module gives you the time to explore the equipment by using it and to work in groups to develop your proficiency. In our studios you will learn how to record, edit, comp and mix. We will teach you how to use the studio and its hardware, and how to benefit from powerful digital audio workstations.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

This module is your chance to explore music production as an academic field of study. You will consider the history of music production and how it has developed through the decades. Together we will explore the key theoretical ideas and apply them to different musical works. From this you will understand the technological, economic, social and cultural issues that inform and impact music production.

Credits: 10

Compulsory module

On this module you will focus on the raw material of music itself. You will develop an understanding of basic music theory so you can apply it to the composition of music pieces. This will include examining how you can use melody, harmony, rhythm and structure creatively in your work. You will then apply what you have learnt to write music for different purposes. These purposes might include:

  • Song writing
  • Electronic music
  • Radio jingles
  • Music for moving image

Credits: 10

Compulsory module

Learn one of the most important skills of the music industry - listening to music critically. We will teach you to identify the sounds and treatments that have been applied to existing productions. You will learn how to seek our tonal characteristics between different released music and identify mistakes in the audio.

Credits: 10

Compulsory module

On this module you will gain a deeper understanding of the music industry.  You will start by exploring how the music industry has developed, appreciating how technology has propelled it into the 21st Century. You will learn about the formation of music industry institutions, legal frameworks and more. Together we will explore how the consumption of music has evolved by looking at the sales of records and music instruments. Finally, you will analyse the business models and fragmentation of the music industry.

Credits: 10

Compulsory module

On this module you will gain an understanding of different productivity and time management systems. You will learn how you can apply these to your studies, and your future career in the music industry. We will help you find the right way to manage your time, resources and projects. You will then apply these techniques to music production projects such as recording sessions, music release and studio installation.

Credits: 10

Compulsory module

This module is your introduction to the theory of sound. Together we will explore the connections between the electronic and acoustics worlds of sound and audio. You will learn the fundamentals of acoustics, focusing on how this knowledge can be applied to the recording studio. By the end of the module you will know how a music studio should be arranged, altered or constructed to achieve a productive working environment with considered acoustic treatment.

Year 2

In your second year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • 5 compulsory modules across semester 1 and 2
  • 1 compulsory module in semester 1
  • 1 optional module in semester 2.

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

Optional modules will run if they receive enough interest. It is not guaranteed that all modules will run every year.

Modules

Credits: 40

Compulsory module

On this module you will continue to construct your identity as a music producer. You will work both independently and with industry practitioners to produce a variety of music products. To do this, you will apply the knowledge you have gained throughout Year 1 and Year 2. By doing this you will expand your abilities and understanding of working with clients in the 21st Century music industry.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will continue to develop your technical understanding and skills in using music production technology. This will include recording studio hardware and computer audio tools. You will develop advanced skills in:

  • Operating Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs)
  • Using a large format studio console
  • Microphone technique
  • Programming synths
  • Using digital controllers
  • Sampling and mixing
  • Using EQ, compression and time-based effects

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will engage with different theoretical sources as you expand your ability to analyse recorded music. Together we will cover the key debates and discussions in the art of record production. You will assess the impact of technological advancements and social phenomena on the industry. Throughout the module you will engage in research and background reading that will develop your research skills and academic writing abilities.

Credits: 10

Compulsory module

Expand your understanding of arrangement theory and practice as you take your music skills to the next level. You will consider the role of instruments in arrangement and write parts that make the best use of their characteristics in different registers. You will explore the use of different sonic textures and how they can be combined to achieve different effects. Some of the topics you will cover include:

  • Writing for a drum and bass rhythm section
  • Arranging strings
  • Beats and synopation
  • Harmonising a melody
  • Creating a compelling hook
  • Arranging backing vocals

Credits: 10

Compulsory module

This module gives you the opportunity to develop your ability to listen, identify what you hear and communicate it with your classmates. We will teach you how to listen from the positions of recording, mixing or mastering engineers and help you understand the methodologies of listening. You will also investigate how consumers listen, appreciate and identify with music.

Credits: 10

Compulsory module

Take a guided tour though the creation of electronic music and examine how it has evolved into the digital music we know today. Together we will investigate the instruments, technology and performance culture that surround these early systems. As you develop a greater understanding of digital music’s background, you will start to create your own music in response to what you have learnt.

Credits: 10

Optional module

This is one of our modules that lets you explore some of the applications of music production you may not have thought of. We will help you gain a theoretical and practical understanding of music synchronised with moving image. You will consider how the combination can create and help convey meaning in both narrative film and television. You will expand your technological knowledge so that, by the end of the module, you can accurately produce music for picture.

Credits: 10

Optional module

This module lets you apply your technical audio skills in film and television production. You will create and manipulate nonmusical sound to help tell a story in collaboration with a client, such as a film director. This involves creating the sound on the film that is not music. Through practical work and the analysis of case studies you will develop sound design skills such as:

  • Designing the soundtrack
  • Creating sound effects
  • Manipulating emotion through sound
  • Cleaning up on-set recordings
  • Replacing dialogue
  • Foley production

Credits: 10

Optional module

This module is your guide to using the tools available online to produce and release your music without being signed. You will explore the legalities of self-release and investigate the marketing and placement options available. We are dedicated to giving you all the skills you need to succeed, and this module does just that. You will gain technical abilities outside of music production that will mean you can manage your self-release effectively.

Credits: 10

Optional module

On this module you will have the opportunity to explore the field of interactive music production. Together we will examine the concepts of alternative controllers and interactivity with digital music production equipment. You will also develop an understanding of interactive production performance techniques from the past. At the end of the module you will use the technologies you have explored to create an interactive music production performance instrument or installation.

Year 3

In your third year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • 2 compulsory modules across semester 1 and 2
  • 1 compulsory module in semester 1
  • 1 compulsory module in semester 2.

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

 

Modules

Credits: 60

Compulsory module

This is your opportunity to work independently on a substantial digital music project. Together with your tutor you will discuss the type of project you will work on and they will support you throughout the project. You might want to produce a white label of electronic music or an EP of experimental electronic music you have arranged. You could even choose to produce a digital music soundtrack for a film or TV show. It’s your chance to work on something you are passionate about and aligns with your ambitions. You will see the project through from conception to completion using all the skills you have learnt while studying.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will explore the mixing and mastering steps of the production process. You will take the mixing skills you have learnt and advance them to a new, specialist level. Together we will also look at mastering practices so you can learn the strategies and techniques to create professional audio outcomes. Throughout this module we will encourage you to think of these practices as an art form and to apply your creativity accordingly.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will explore your career aspirations and potential routes to achieve them. You will research the employment or enterprise you are interested in pursuing. We will then help you to build a career plan based on your ambitions. We are dedicated to helping you succeed when you graduate. This module will give you the action plan you need to follow your ambitions and achieve your potential.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will design and complete an extended critical project. You will choose a project topic that interests you in consultation with your tutor. For example, you could choose to explore creativity in the digital music environment or maybe you would like to investigate the evolving technologies in digital music and their impact. Whichever topic you choose, you will work independently to research the topic and write up your findings in a journal article and present your findings at the annual Music Production Symposium in January.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning

We keep our group sizes small so we can get to know your creative personality and support your aspirations. We deliver your modules through:

  • Workshops
  • Studio seminar groups
  • Technical Skills Training
  • Lectures.

Each module has 1 to 4 hours of contact time a week. We schedule our taught sessions between 9:00am and 8:00pm, Monday to Friday.

You will need to conduct independent study outside of this time. This might include studio work, reading, writing tasks and research. You can also arrange academic tutorials with your module tutors throughout the year to receive feedback on your work and discuss the course content.

Our teaching draws on our professional experience as music producers, and we bring in guests from the industry to work with you. This means your learning is informed by the most current thinking in the subject area. You can find out more about our research and backgrounds by visiting our staff pages.

Assessment

There are no exams on this course. Assessment types are based on practical coursework projects and vary from module to module. We have designed them to reflect the work you will do in the industry. Some of your assessments might include:

  • Portfolios of production work
  • Essays
  • Journal articles
  • Presentations
  • Practical skills tests.

For each assessment you will have the chance to talk to a tutor about your work before submission. Each assessment will be marked and returned with feedback so you can improve your work.

Career outcomes

Your future with a degree in Digital Music

This course gives you the diverse creative and technological skills you need for a career in the music and media industries. The transferrable skills you gain in communication, planning and critical reflection could be applied to many different careers.

This degree could be the first step toward your career as a:

  • Composer
  • Music producer
  • Sound engineer
  • Sound designer
  • Studio manager
  • Talent agent.

Discover more career options on Prospects careers advice pages.

You could also progress onto a postgraduate degree and take your learning even further.

Postgraduate degrees at York St John University

Music Production MA

Whatever your ambitions, we can help you get there.

Our careers service, LaunchPad provides career support tailored to your ambitions. Through this service you can access:

  • Employer events
  • LinkedIn, CV and cover letter sessions
  • Workshops on application writing and interview skills
  • Work experience and volunteering opportunities
  • Personalised career advice.

This support doesn't end when you graduate. You can access our expert career advice for the rest of your life. We will help you gain experience and confidence to succeed. It's your career, your way.

Entry requirements

Qualifications

Minimum Entry Requirements

    96 UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language.

Calculate your UCAS Tariff points 

International Students

If you are an international student you will need to show that your qualifications match our entry requirements.

Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our International pages.

If English is not your first language you will need to show that you have English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

International entry requirements

Mature Learners Entry Scheme

If you have been out of education for 3 years or more and have a grade C GCSE in English Language or equivalent, you are eligible for our entry scheme for mature learners. It's a scheme that recognises non-traditional entry qualifications and experience for entry onto this course. Information on how to apply can be found on our dedicated page.

Mature entry offer scheme

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. You can read them on our Admissions page.

 

Fees and Funding

To study for an undergraduate degree with us, you will need to pay tuition fees for your course. How much you pay depends on whether you live inside the UK or EU, or internationally (outside the UK/EU). Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

UK and EU 2021 entry

The tuition fee for 2021 entry onto this course is

  • £9,250 per year for full time study
  • £6,935 per year for the first 4 years if you study part time.

These prices apply to all UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

You can find out more about funding your degree by visiting our funding opportunities page.

Funding Opportunities

Placement year funding

If you choose to take a placement year, and your course offers it, you can apply for the Tuition Fee and Maintenance Loan for your placement year. How much you are awarded is based on the type of placement being undertaken and whether it is a paid or unpaid placement. The tuition fee for your placement year will be reduced.

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2021 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2021 entry £12,750 per year full time

International 2021 entry

The tuition fee for 2021 entry to this course is £12,750 per year for full time study.

This price applies to all students living outside the UK/EU.

Due to immigration laws, if you are an international student on a Student Visa, you must study full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

Find out more about funding your degree.

International Fees and Funding

Additional costs and financial support

There may also be some additional costs to take into account throughout your studies, including the cost of accommodation.

Course-related costs

While studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.

Study Abroad

For more information on tuition fee reductions and additional costs for studying abroad, please visit our study abroad pages.

Accommodation and living costs

For detailed information on accommodation and living costs, visit our Accommodation pages.

Financial help and support

Our Funding Advice team are here to help you with your finances throughout your degree. They offer a personal service that can help you with funding your studies and budgeting for living expenses. 

For advice on everything from applying for scholarships to finding additional financial support email fundingadvice@yorksj.ac.uk

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