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Undergraduate Course

Music Production BA (Hons)

Develop recording studio, composition and production software skills to create innovative music. Immerse yourself in the audio industry and experience life as a music producer.

On this course you will discover how to create, arrange and manipulate music and sound. You will develop advanced sound engineering techniques as you build your portfolio of work, and collaborate with artists and clients from across the creative industries. Through this you will gain the skills and experience to establish yourself as an innovative music professional.

  • Available in Clearing

100% of Music Production students thought that staff are good at explaining things.(National Student Survey 2022)

100% of Music Production students felt that they received sufficient advice and guidance related to their course. (National Student Survey 2022)

York campus

  • UCAS Code – J930
  • Duration – 3 years full time, 6 years part time
  • Start date – September 2022, September 2023
  • School – School of the Arts

Minimum Entry Requirements

    104 UCAS Tariff points

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

Tuition Fees

    UK 2022 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2022 entry £13,000 per year full time

Discover Music Production at York St John University

Course overview

On this highly practical course you will learn by doing. You will explore producing music for professional clients and for yourself. This means you can build your portfolio and become a confident producer, able to adapt to any production situation.

During your time with us, you will:

  • Write and produce commercial tracks to enhance your understanding of music production
  • Sequence and synthesize sounds and beats using different digital technologies
  • Learn advanced studio recording techniques with a developed understanding of acoustics
  • Negotiate with clients and gain an understanding of copyright and business processes within the music industry
  • Produce a major piece of work, like an album or film soundtrack
  • Use digital marketing and social media to promote and sell your own music

Alongside the practical element of this degree, you will also advance your theoretical understanding of music production. Through workshops and seminars, you will contribute to current debates around production. This could involve examining modern distribution platforms, the history of synthesis and sampling, music in film, and much more.

You will gain professional experience by working on live projects within the creative industries. These will be in collaboration with our network of industry producers, artists and clients. You will take part in masterclasses and workshops with high profile music industry guests. There are also opportunities to visit professional recording studios, including a working visit to Abbey Road studios in your final year.

Facilities

Our state-of-the-art audio production facilities are available for you to extend your technical learning and explore your creativity. Our audio production studios are versatile spaces where you will develop your creative practice. These facilities include:

  • A dedicated recording studio, complete with large-format mixing console and an extensive stock of professional studio microphones and outboard equipment
  • Our live room that contains a full backline of band instruments and equipment
  • A electronic music production suite with a range of analogue and digital synthesizers, drum machines and hardware controllers
  • A mastering studio
  • Location recording packs for you to produce music outside of the studio

Our main teaching room contains individual workstations, complete with Apple computers, controller keyboards, Focusrite audio interfaces and industry standard audio production software, including:

  • Logic Pro X
  • Pro Tools
  • Ableton Live
  • Native Instruments Komplete 13

Equipment

Equipment can be borrowed and used in your home or on location. We also have a stock of 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. In your third year, you will have 24/7 access to the studio.

Course structure

Year 1

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

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

  • 6 compulsory modules across semesters 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: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will develop the foundation of professional sound engineering skills. After learning the principles of sound and studio technology, you will practically explore them through taught studio sessions. These include:

  • Transducers
  • Signal routing and gain staging
  • Processing and recording principles
  • Recording studio operations
  • Summing and mixing theory
  • Using the mixing console

The objective of this module is for you to begin to understand the physical properties of sound and how it behaves in different environments.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

A fundamental understanding of how production technology works is key to a successful future in the work of audio media. On this module you will investigate the techniques to effectively use digital workstations. These methods include:

  • Audio recording, editing and mixing
  • Analogue and digital sequencing, synthesis and sampling
  • Operation of different software packages

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will gain a deeper understanding of studio technology, composition, and DAW practice, learning how to utilise them efficiently to produce professional sounding outcomes. You will build upon the previous introduction to the studio and enhance your experience of using the studio as a workplace. You will be challenged to create music productions as part of a team, collaborating and managing outcomes as required.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will develop your musical understanding and ability to apply it creatively in composing music with meaning. Contemporary production methods have made it very simple to assemble a few pre-made loops into a listenable section of track. However a deeper understanding of music is required to create a dynamic composition that resonates meaning with the listener. You will explore the foundational elements of music by combining music theory with contemporary Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) based composition. You will study music theory concepts and ideas and will be required to apply them in communicating specific concepts in your compositions.

Credits: 20

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. You will also explore how the consumption of music has evolved by analysing at the sales of records and music instruments. Finally, you will consider the business models and fragmentation of the music industry.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module, you will be introduced to key academic sources, including books and journal articles. This will help you to analyse recorded pieces of music in a variety of contexts. Applying key frameworks to your written assessments will help you to develop your research and academic writing. You will be encouraged to join in discussions and debates, both spoken and written, of key concepts and issues surrounding the study of music production.

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: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will develop your musical knowledge by studying composition and arrangement in different production contexts. You will explore the roles of instruments in an arrangement and how different sounds and sonic textures can be mixed to create compositions. Topics covered on this module could include:

  • Beats, grooves and syncopation
  • Creating a hook
  • 4-part harmony writing
  • Manipulating time signatures and tempo
  • Track development for communicating a meaning
  • Density and layering for effect

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

In a series of recording technique and computer-based production workshops, you will build your sound engineering skills. You will study the design and operation of specialist studio recording equipment, hardware and software synthesisers and samplers. This will enable you to develop your skills and apply your technical understanding effectively in production scenarios.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will develop your skills in mixing music, as well as skills in critical listening and sonic evaluation. Using historical and current methods, you will find your own best practices for putting different audio tracks together.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will manage a music production project from start to completion. The project will be based on a brief from an external client. As well as managing the production, you will be expected to deal with the client in a professional way. This is your opportunity to develop your creative direction and enhance your artistic identity.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will continue to focus upon contemporary debates and discussions regarding the art and practice of record production. You will investigate a range of research sources concerned with the analysis and criticism of recorded music. From this, you will evaluate factors that have shaped the evolution of the Music Production Studies field, including:

  • Technological
  • Economic
  • Social
  • Cultural

Credits: 20

Optional module

As a music professional, it is important to know how music is presented and sold to the public. You will learn about the different marketing and publicity processes used in the music industry. PR techniques have developed through research into how people use music in their lives and the impact is had on their everyday activities. You will look at how this information is gathered and how it feeds into business plans and models.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This practical module will prepare you for your major project in your final year. In practical workshops you will design, assemble and operate live sound systems and evaluate their effectiveness. You will use your understanding in assessing an event’s requirements, designing a system for it, planning its operation and then performing the live sound duties. On this module, you will also study the technical gear that is used in small to medium PA systems.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will develop your skills in presenting songs in a recorded format. You will investigate the concepts and contexts of producing song recordings, from demos through to the final production.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will focus on the raw material of popular song: melody, harmony, structure and lyrics. Through workshops and practical exercises you will explore how to combine these elements to communicate complex concepts and emotions and write songs that listeners can relate to. You will study great songs and analyse what makes them so effective in order to enhance your own practice and better understand your art.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will research the roles of audio personnel in the film and television industries and gain an insight into their working practices. You will learn the conventions and technical operations of producing sound to synchronise with moving image and study the structures of media projects, along with how sound designers make their contribution. You will gain this understanding through analysis of example film clips, studying the work of seminal sound designers and undertaking a series of sound design tasks.

 

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will develop an understanding of the role of music in combination with the moving image. The theories explored will most likely focus on music for narrative film, but the module will also cover music in television, video game and web contexts. You will learn both the technical requirements of working with music and picture, and the theoretical discussions around the purpose and function of music and moving image.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Learn how historical developments in music technology have influenced Electronic Dance Music production styles and develop an understanding of the techniques used to employ the technology in the creation of a music product. You will begin this module with a guided tour through the genesis of electronic music and its evolution into EDM in the contemporary context. You will examine the instruments, composition and performance culture around these early systems. You will be introduced to key figures such as Pierre Schaeffer, Bob Moog, Don Buchla, Derick May, amongst many others.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will develop a methodology for recording music in live performance situations. These are defined as performances that happen outside of a recording studio where overdubbing is impractical or not desired, or where the presence of an audience places significant limitations on the recording process. For example, recording a classical ensemble in a concert hall; producing a live recording from a gig in a rock venue; or recording an acoustic ensemble for a live session on a radio programme.

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 module is your opportunity to showcase the knowledge and production skills gained during your time on the course. You will demonstrate your production practice and run a full recording project. You will produce a portfolio of commercial music. This could take the form of:

  • An album production for a local music group
  • A collection of tracks or E.P.s of music that you have written or recorded
  • A soundtrack for a film or other moving image product

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Using analysis, experiment, theory, practice and reflection, you will write and submit a written document on a topic you are passionate about. After negotiating the subject with your supervisor, you will write up to 6,000 words that function as a contribution to research in your chosen field.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

During your time on the course, you will have developed skills that can be transferred into a number of industries. On this module, you will work with a supervisor to develop a career plan, based upon individual research into an industry or enterprise you are interested in. As a future professional, you will benefit from learning about Continued Professional Development (CPD) and self-reflective exercises. These are tools with which you can continue to develop your professional practice.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module, you will investigate the history of audio mastering and how historical events have affected music distribution. You will use your critical listening skills in different contexts when looking into headphone technology, acoustics and the evolution of audio formats. From receiving audio to delivering the final product, you will cover every part of the audio mastering process and gain a professional level understanding this area of music technology.

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
  • One to one supervision

Each module has 1 to 6 hours of contact time a week. We schedule our taught sessions between 9.00am and 8.00pm, Monday to Friday.

You will also need to conduct independent study outside of this time. This might include studio work, reading, composition 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 methods are based on practical coursework projects and vary from module to module. We have designed them to reflect the work you will carry out in the industry. Some of your assessments might include:

  • Portfolios of production work
  • Portfolios of creative business documentation
  • 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 Music Production

This course gives you the diverse creative and technological skills you need for a career in the music industry. You will develop specialist knowledge of contract negotiation and product promotion. The transferrable skills you gain in research, communication, and collaboration could be applied to many different careers.

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

  • Composer
  • Music producer
  • Radio producer
  • Film and TV audio technician
  • Sound engineer
  • Independent artist

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.

Entry requirements

Qualifications

Minimum Entry Requirements

    104 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 internationally (outside the UK). Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

UK 2022 entry

The tuition fee for 2022 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, 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 2022 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2022 entry £13,000 per year full time

International 2022 entry

The tuition fee for 2022 entry to this course is £13,000 per year for full time study.

This price applies to all students living outside the UK.

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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