Music Production is for people who love making music with digital technology. You will learn by producing music. This programme is for students who want to create great music and establish themselves as an innovative producer in today’s music industry and will build up your skills and knowledge to be successful in today’s music industry. On this practice-based programme you will work on external projects with real-world artists and clients giving you invaluable experiences needed to develop as a professional music producer.
- UCAS course code
- York St John University
- Course fees
- 2019 - 2020: Home & EU students: £9,250 per annum, International (non EU) students: £12,750 per annum
- 3 years full-time | Part-time options available on request
- Study Abroad
- Not currently available
- Start date
- September 2019
The Music Production degree is a practice-based programme that develops creativity and technical expertise in a wide range of production contexts. You will learn by producing music for yourselves and for real-world clients, immersing yourself in the contemporary music industry and experiencing life as a 21st century music producer. Of all the Music Production courses we offer, this programme offers the broadest experience of production, and develops confident producers able to adapt their skills to any music production situation.
You will learn the diverse set of production skills needed to become a confident, creative and enterprising professional working in the modern music and media industries. You will develop your musical understanding through writing and arranging commercial tracks; you will learn advanced recording techniques in conjunction with acoustic theory to capture sound professionally; you will use an array of digital technology to sequence, synthesize, sample and mangle sounds and beats for specific purposes; you will produce music for real-world clients and develop your project management and artist development skills; and you will contribute to current debate around production, examining modern distribution platforms, analogue recording technologies, film music and more.
The course is focused on developing entrepreneurial producers who can earn a living through their passion for music. Therefore you will also learn the practical business acumen needed to establish and market your music production skills, and gain essential confidence in handling contracts, copyright, client negotiations and product promotion.
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Music Production courses
Our suite of Music Production courses cover the essence of being a creative music producer, integrating musical artistry with contemporary technology, practical studio skills with project management, and artist development with business enterprise.
96% of our Music Production students were satisfied with their course.
National Student Survey 2018
The Music Production programme is designed around an experiential learning cycle of trying out things for real, then reflecting on them and using that critical reflection to improve what we do next. We lean towards the practical ‘doing‘ of production rather than just the ‘study’ of it. How to record, how to mix, etc. are learned in practice as well as learning the theory of them.
In the first 2 years, small modules cover the core technical, creative and managerial facets of production with increasing complexity, whilst at the same time you learn to bring all these aspects together in your portfolio. It is in these large portfolio modules that you create the music that demonstrates your development and achievement as a creative producer. In the final year, you draw on all your previous learning to produce a major piece of work, such as an album or film soundtrack.
Compulsory modules include:
- Music Production 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 a music producer. You will draw together specific skills learned in other modules and deploy them holistically in the creation of a broad range 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.
- 21stCentury 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 Music Production Portfolio (40 credits)
In this module you will continue to develop your identity as a 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 produce a broad range of music products such as pop songs, location recordings and soundtracks for moving image.
- 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.
- Location Recording (10 credits)
You will explore technology and techniques for recording on location, working in live and/or controlled environments such as a classical concert hall, church or rock gig. You will develop the skill to analyse the context and the space, and then design appropriate equipment specifications and techniques to achieve a quality recording.
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.
- Electronic Music (10 credits)
This module will introduce creative and technological practices fundamental to the production of electronic music. You will learn about specific genres of electronic production and study the work of influential artists, as well as producing music in a specific electronic genre in response to a client’s brief or label requirements.
- 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:
- Music Production 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 music product such as an album for a local band, or a 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.
- Music Production Research Project (20 credits)
This module enables you to focus on a topic of your choice within the field of Music Production. You will explore this through analysis, experimentation, theory and practice and articulate your research findings in an academic journal article.
Further information on this course is available in the programme specification. Please note that the programme specification relates to course content that is currently being studied by students at the University. For new programmes, the programme specification will be made available online prior to the start of the course.
York St John University works hard to create an inclusive environment for all our students. We offer a range of disability advice services to assist students throughout their studies.
Teaching and learning
Music Production programmes at York St John take a unique and student-centred approach to teaching and learning. Students are taught their 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 1-to-1 mentoring.
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.
Music Production programmes at York St John take a very practical approach to teaching and learning. We know that the best way to learn music production is by immersing yourself in the craft and producing a lot of music. In Years 1 and 2 you will be taught the core skills and theory in the smaller modules, and then bring it all together in the portfolio modules, producing your own creative work and getting detailed feedback in small weekly seminar groups. As we cover topics with increasing complexity you will be able to reflect on your learning and apply it directly to your ongoing productions and new projects as they happen, thereby continually developing and improving your practice. Most of the modules span across 2 semesters to allow the learning space for experimentation, reflection and refinement before your portfolio work is assessed. This culminates in Music Production Project in year 3, where you will receive dedicated one-to-one supervision in the development of your agreed project.
Your contact hours vary depending on the module and the best way of delivering the content. For example, for the more technically based modules such as Sound Engineering and Music Technology you have 4 hours a week in studio skills sessions; for the music modules such as Composing and Arranging you have an hour a week workshop; and for academic skills modules such as Critical Studies in Music Production you have a 2 hour lecture/discussion group every week. In addition to the timetabled hours you can book the studio spaces to enhance your skills, produce your own personal projects, and to try out techniques covered in the taught sessions or that you have discovered through your own research.
In Year 3 there is less group teaching as you become a more independent learner and your needs become more individual. At this point you are assigned supervisors who work with you one-to-one on your Music Production Project and Research Project.
Outside of timetabled sessions you are expected undertake directed reading and practical work around the topics being covered. Each module has a reading list that you are expected to engage with in order to support the taught sessions. For example, it is common for you to be asked to read a set chapter in a key text, or do a particular practical exercise, in between sessions. Many of the books and journal articles are available electronically and can be accessed from anywhere via the Information Learning Services website. You will do most of your creative productions in your self-study time and often this will include improving your work following feedback and direction from your seminar group, professional client, or tutor.
Our staff have ongoing professional profiles as music producers and/or run businesses that constantly inform the ethos and teaching on our programmes. Staff members are active recording and mix engineers, and we have a range of specialists: a professional songwriter, a mastering engineer, a silent film composer, a touring session musician, a sound designer, a studio designer, a DJ, and several published authors of production musicology and music technology textbooks. As well as this you will be working with our network of Industry Partners who will be your professional clients, artists, and label associates on some projects.
All the lecturers are Fellows of the Higher Education Authority.
Assessments are mostly through practical coursework projects. Critical work may be written essays, journal articles or presentations and there are some ’tests’ with regard to aural and studio skills, but no exams. As this programme is based in ‘real-world’ experience, the assessments, particularly practical ones, are aimed at reflecting what is expected in the music industry. The course is structured around a cycle of continuing reflective development, and part of that is receiving meaningful feedback every week in your small group production seminars.
All our studio facilities use Pro Tools and Logic X are installed with Native Instruments Komplete 11. We also have installs 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 the studio equipment.
The Bunker Studio
The Bunker suite is our largest studio space comprising 3 live recording spaces and a large control room. Centred around a brand new Audient ASP 8024-HE analogue recording console, this HDX-enabled space provides high acoustic specification with mastering-grade PMC monitoring to meet it. The studio is equipped with high-end analogue outboard compressors, pre-amps and effects units including:
- Universal Audio 1176LN compressor
- Warm Audio WA-2A compressor
- Focusrite ISA828 8 channel mic preamp
- Thermionic Culture Vulture Super 15 valve distortion.
- Stereo pair of Empirical Labs Distressors
- Sony NS10 monitoring option
- Genelec 5.1 monitoring facilities with dedicated 5.1. monitor controller
- Bricasti M7 Reverb
The microphone stock includes a large range of classic studio recording mics too long to list here, but highlights include:
- Neumann U87
- Matched stereo pair of Coles 4038 ribbon mics
- Shure SM7B vocal mic
- Matched stereo pair of Oktava MK012s with interchangeable capsules
- Audix D6, AKG D112, Shure Beta 91A kick drum mics
The Bunker is also home to our well maintained instrument stock which includes:
- Orange Dual Terror tube amp and 2 x 12 cab.
- Fender Vibrolux valve amp
- Pearl Vision drum kit
- Ashdown MAG 300 Evo11 Bass Amp and 4 x 12 cab
- Zildjian K Custom Hybrid Cymbal Set
- Fender American Special Stratocaster
- Takamine GD93CE Dreadnought acoustic guitar (with pickup system)
- Gibson Les Paul Studio 2018
- Fender Roger Waters Precision Bass
- Vintage Hammond organ
- Line 6 Spider Valve HD100 amp and cab
- Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S88
- Native Instruments Maschine.
The Mix Room
This large space is our dedicated mix and overdub space using an SSL Nucleus 2 DAW and studio control unit rather than a traditional console. Often dubbed 'The Mix Room' students develop their productions here, laying down overdubs and finishing projects. It has an isolation booth for tracking vocals and solo instruments.
- SSL Nucleus 2 Dark
- Alesis 3630 compressor
- Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S88
- Native Instruments Maschine
The Mastering Suite
This is a dedicated mastering room, but many students use the highly rated monitoring for their DAW based mixes too. A small room for composing, listening and working using the ATC SCM50 SLA monitors and Presonus Faderport.
The Octagon is our computer room housing 25 Apple iMac computers loaded with Pro Tools, Logic, Ableton Live, Wavelab, Native Instruments Komplete 11, Reason and Spitfore Audio Albion One composer tools. This is free for music production students to use outside of scheduled training. There’s also a space set aside for production meetings and student business work.
Students are encouraged to use alternative spaces to the studios for recording sessions. Our location rigs are available for students to borrow for concert hall recordings, live gig recordings, acoustic sessions, or for recording in their own homes. The rigs consist of Apple MacBook Pros (15” 2.99GHz i9, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD) cased with high quality RME Fireface UC interfaces.
The minimum entry requirements for this course are:
88-104 UCAS Tariff points
3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent) including English Language
As well as a strong standard of written English, we also look for the ability to demonstrate knowledge and experience in Music Production. This can be done in a variety of ways, for example, through previous study, demonstrating a broad interest in a wide range of musical styles and/or documentation of practice.
Candidates can demonstrate a real enthusiasm for the subject that goes beyond achieving good grades in exams. Examples of this include:
- Demonstrating a number of musical interests/experiences rather than confining yourself to only one
- Demonstrating experience of project/personal management e.g. through running a club, playing in a band and/or organising a trip
- Subscribing/reading recording technology magazines e.g. Sound on Sound
- Composing your own music/songs or arranging it for others
- Demonstrating experience of doing live sound for concerts/gigs
- Showing an active engagement and enthusiasm for producing music
- Producing your own CD or your own productions
- Uploading your own work to online platforms e.g. SoundCloud, Bandcamp
- Demonstrating experience of working with other musicians
- Doing regular DJ work
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.
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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.
UK & EU 2019 / 20
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.
Overseas 2019 / 20
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.
We welcome international students from all over the world at York St John University and have a vibrant international community. You can find out more on our International Pages about how you can study with us and what it’s like to live and learn in York, one of the UK’s most historic cities.
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