Digital Music BA (Hons)
This course is focused on developing entrepreneurial producers who can earn a living through their passion for music.
Modern technology has opened up new approaches to production and new definitions of the producer. This programme is for the DIY musician who makes music on digital platforms. It is for those who want to explore the impact of digital technology on music production and become more successful producers.
- Available in Clearing
100% of Music Production graduates were in employment or further education within six months - DLHE 2017
- UCAS Code – J933
- Location – York campus
- Duration – 3 years full-time | 6 years part-time
- Start date – September 2019, September 2020
- School – Performance & Media Production
Minimum Entry Requirements
88 UCAS points
3 GCSEs Graded at C/4 or above (or equivalent) including English Language
UK and EU 2019-20 £9,250 per year
International 2019-20 £12,750 per year
The York St John Experience
This degree is one of a suite of Music Production programmes which share the same core ideals and each offer a different specialist focus in the field. Digital Music focuses on making music with the digital audio workstation (DAW), enabling students to explore digitally-based approaches to music production and create, market and sell their own digital music products effectively.
Our links with the industry inform our ethos and teaching. Guest speakers, prospective clients and co-producers ensure that the course is relevant and up to date. We want to work with students who share our passion for music and technology and who are motivated to produce great music.
All of our studio facilities use Pro Tools and Logic Pro X and are installed with Native Instruments Komplete 11. We also have installations of Ableton Live, Reason, Lexicon PCM Native plug-ins and Spitfire Audio Albion One composer tools, Izotope 8 and Wavelab. The studios are fitted with Thunderbolt switches to allow students to dock their own laptops to use with all of the studio equipment.
You will be taught through small group seminars, production meetings, studio skills workshops, recording sessions, composition workshops, discussion groups, practical tutorials, producer feedback supervisions, business seminars, music focus groups and one-to-one mentoring. We deliberately keep our group sizes small so that staff can get to know you and your creative personality in detail, and therefore better support your individual needs and aspirations.
Compulsory modules include:
- Digital Music Portfolio (30 credits)
This module is delivered in small group tutorials where the focus is on your creative output and the formation of your professional identity as an digital music producer. You will draw together specific skills learned in other modules and deploy them holistically in the creation of commercially-considered music products.
- Sound Engineering and Music Technology (20 credits)
This practical module provides you with essential knowledge of the techniques and technology for music production, using both analogue recording studio hardware and Digital Audio Workstations such as Pro Tools and Logic Pro. Key tasks covered include recording, editing, comping, sequencing, signal processing, sampling and synthesis.
- Introduction to Production Musicology (20 credits)
This module is about the academic field of music production. By studying key historical and theoretical sources in reference to seminal recordings you will gain the tools for analytical and critical thinking that will ultimately inform your creative and practical work.
- Making Music (10 credits)
The aim of this module is to develop your understanding of music as the raw material of production. You will learn the rudiments of melody, harmony, rhythm and structure and how to apply them creatively in a variety of composition tasks.
- Critical Listening Skills (10 credits)
This introduces one of the fundamental skills required of any worker in the music industry – the ability to listen critically to a sound source and accurately determine its component material. You will learn to identify sounds and treatments applied in existing productions, enabling you to effectively apply them within your own productions.
- 21st Century Music Business (10 credits)
This module provides you with a contextual understanding of the contemporary music business. By considering how key music industry institutions, legal frameworks and record labels have developed, you will gain a solid foundation for working in the 21st Century music industry and media industries.
- Project Management and Productivity (10 credits)
A key transferable skill of the music producer is the effective management of time, resources and talent in the organisation of large scale recording projects, album releases, studio installs and live events. Therefore you will study project and time management, evaluating a range of methods and techniques so that you can develop your own personal productivity systems best suited to you needs
- Sound and Acoustics (10 credits)
You will gain a fundamental understanding of sound and acoustic theory and apply the knowledge in various recording and listening environments. You will be able to illustrate how a music studio, such as your own facilities, should be designed or arranged for the best acoustic response.
Compulsory modules include:
- Developing Your Digital Music Portfolio (40 credits)
In this module you will continue to develop your identity as a digital music producer, drawing together the skills learned in other modules to produce music for yourself, other artists, or in answer to specific briefs from our professional industry contacts. You will learn through your collaborations and the feedback you receive from your clients in dedicated small group seminars.
- Studio recording and Computer-Based Production (20 credits)
Following from the technical skills gained at Level 1 this practical module develops a more advanced knowledge and understanding of recording skills, building confidence in using the mixing console and key Digital Audio Workstations. Areas covered include creative mic techniques; mixing in a variety of situations; handling a large scale recording session; and mastering.
- Critical Studies in Music Production (20 credits)
This module builds upon the academic foundations established in Introduction to Production Musicology. At this level you will engage in contemporary debates and discussions regarding the art and practice of record production, and demonstrate an increasing level of sophistication when making an argument and articulating your research findings in academic writing.
- Composing and Arranging (10 credits)
Following from the Making Music module you will expand your musical understanding with arrangement theory and practice, exploring the use of various sonic textures and how they can be combined for particular effect. Topics covered may include writing for drum and bass, harmonising a melody, constructing a sound world and creating a hook.
- Developing a Producer’s Ear (10 credits)
This module continues to develop your appreciation of the core skill of the professional music producer – their ability to listen and accurately identify and communicate what they hear. You will develop an understanding of the importance of audio reproduction and media consideration (e.g. vinyl, CD, high definition, etc.), along with an understanding of the importance of monitor design, amplifier design, listening environments, and listener placement.
- Digital Music (10 credits)
You will explore the influences on the development of contemporary trends in digital music, examining the birth and growth of electronic music, the instruments and techniques used, and their evolution into the digital sphere in contemporary music. You will be encouraged to incorporate this knowledge of early systems into your own electronic productions.
Choose one optional module to achieve 120 credits at Level 2.
Optional modules include:
- Music Production for the Moving Image (10 credits)
You will examine the ways in which music combines with the moving image to create meaning in film and television production. You will study the functions of music in narrative film, learning film music composition and production techniques and using them to create music to be synced with specific moving image productions.
- Sound Design for the Moving Image (10 credits)
This module requires you to apply your production skills in the creation and manipulation of non-musical sound in film and television production. Through practical work and the analysis of case studies you will develop an understanding of key sound design elements, such as production sound; foley; dialogue editing; spot effects; sound effects and atmospheres.
- DIY Musician (10 credits)
You will be introduced to the processes of taking a track that you have produced yourself through to commercial release. The module will cover the key aspects of the process in terms of licensing, registration, neighbouring rights, distribution, PR and marketing of the product, enabling you to manage the process of getting your music out into world and working for you.
- Interactive Music Production (10 credits)
This module give you the opportunity to engage in research and practice in the field of interactive music production. You will explore alternative controllers, breaking away from the traditional interfaces of the MIDI based piano keyboard by exploring alternative means to generate sound, ultimately creating an interactive music production instrument or installation.
Compulsory modules include:
- Digital Music Project (60 credits)
This module represents the culmination of the development of your music production potential. In this module you will draw together all your creative, technical and contextual understanding in the creation of a substantial digital music project such as a white label of electronic music, or a digital music soundtrack for a film.
- Advanced Mixing and Mastering (20 credits)
This module considers the role of mixing audio as an artform, with unique artistic elements and processes. You will build up your mixing skills to an advanced specialist level using modern and classic techniques. You will also cover the specific skills of mastering and use your techniques and strategies to create professional audio productions.
- Progressing Your Music Production Career (20 credits)
This module supports your Professional Development Planning for your future after University. You will develop a grounded career plan based on your personal aspirations and careful research of your chosen area, so that you can go confidently into the world with a solidly researched and realistic action plan for the years after graduation.
- Digital Music Research Project (20 credits)
This module enables you to focus on a topic of your choice within the field of Digital Music. You will explore this through analysis, experimentation, theory and practice and articulate your research findings in an academic journal article.
Teaching & Assessment
From the day you start with us we consider you to be a working Music Producer and this approach informs our relationship with you. We deliberately keep our group sizes small so that staff can get to know you and your creative personality in detail, and therefore better support your individual needs and aspirations. You will be taught your art through small group seminars such as production meetings, studio skills workshops, recording sessions, composition workshops, discussion groups, practical tutorials, producer feedback supervisions, business seminars, music focus groups, and one-to-one mentoring.
The minimum entry requirements for this course are:
88 UCAS Tariff points
3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent) including English Language
Terms and conditions
Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. These can be accessed through our Admissions webpages.
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 will depend on whether you're a UK & EU student or an international (non-EU) student. Tuition fees are charged for each year of your course.
Find out more about funding for Foundation Year and/or Placement Year by visiting the Funding Advice pages of our website. York St John offer special reductions to students graduating from York St John University Undergraduate degrees in 2019 and continuing directly onto Postgraduate study. Find out more about discounts and scholarships. There may also be some additional costs to take into account throughout your studies, including the cost of accommodation
Home / EU students
The York St John University tuition fee for the 2019 entry to Foundation Degree, BA and BSc, PGCE Primary and Secondary and UG Health Programme degrees is £9,250 per year for UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.
Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.
The York St John University tuition fee for the 2019 entry to Foundation Degree, BA and BSc, PGCE degrees is £12,750 per year for international students.
Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.
Additional costs and financial support
Whilst 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.
For more information on tuition fee reductions and additional costs for studying abroad, please visit our study abroad webpages.