Music Degree at Northbrook College
Where passion meets practice

BA (Hons) Music Production

Grow your creative network with our music community on campus.

UCAS code: J931
Duration: 3 years full-time

Entry requirements: 2 A-Levels and 3 GCSEs in other subjects grade 9-4 or A-C (or equivalent) plus a portfolio of work or audition to demonstrate ability in the specialist area.
OR
1 A-Level, a Foundation course (or equivalent) and 3 GCSEs in other subjects grade 9-4 or A-C (or equivalent) plus a portfolio of work or audition to demonstrate ability in the specialist area.
English requirements: Applicants who have English as a second language and do not have a GCSE in English will be asked to present an IELTS UKVI certificate or equivalent as part of their offer conditions. They will need to achieve an overall score of 6.0, with 6.0 in the writing element and 5.5 in all other sub-elements.
Tuition Fee: £16,500

The assessment of your application will include a review of your grades, interview, portfolio/audition and any experience.

BA Music Production

 

Course Information

Course Content

Course Content

This course is developed and taught by current music industry professionals in unrivalled facilities to develop your unique career path in music. You will work in our specially designed 24-room studio complex with the technical specs and acoustic performance to match the best commercial studios.
You will work in our specially designed 24-room studio complex with the technical spec and acoustic performance to match the best commercial studios – as well as our five Apple Mac music workstation rooms, our fully equipped Learning Resource Centre, our Theatre, and numerous well-equipped classrooms.

You will build your production, recording and programming skills, and apply them in our artist development programme, in which you can grow as an artist, producer, composer, programmer, engineer or any combination of the above. The course includes track creation, recording, mixing, mastering, live sound, synthesis, sampling, some acoustic and music theory, weekly visits from key music industry practitioners, essential practical music business knowledge and work experience opportunities.

Collaboration opportunities abound with students of performance, production, photography, media, graphic design, props, costume, musical theatre, fashion, games design, acting and other creative areas – and with our extensive contacts in the music industry.

The course involves the making of significant amounts of self-directed music in the form of a project each year.

Teaching Method

Teaching Method

We use a variety of teaching methods, including: 

  • practical and creative studio-based workshops
  • discussions
  • lectures/seminars
  • tutorials
  • small group study
  • self-directed study
  • study trips

Key Features

Key Features

  • Regular visits from current music industry experts.
  • Opportunities to collaborate with fellow students from a range of creative disciplines.
  • Extensive state-of-the-art facilities to rival top commercial studios
  • Professional software and plugins
  • Undertake work experience, event planning, and build your music industry network (subject to student visa regulations).

Course Structure

Year One

In your first year, you will be introduced to the structure of the music industry and music law.

You will study artist management, Artists and repertoire, and release and market records from vinyl to digital streaming.

Unit 1

Unit 1: Creative Studio and DAW Production 1

The unit delivers essential skills in music production: synthesis, sound design and studio recording fundamentals  
You will explore a range of tools and concepts for sound generation, recording, production, and mixing, including:

  • Setting up mics: types of mics, uses and theory.
  • Studio monitors, rooms, and how they affect your perception of sound.
  • Introduction to audio manipulation: distortion, dynamics, compression, EQ, software and hardware processors, and editing tools. 
  • Signal path: routing, gain structure, auxes and inserts, software and hardware effects and plugins,  
  • Software instruments/synthesisers, audio manipulation, & audio sampling

Unit 2

Unit 2: Artist Development

This unit will develop your knowledge, confidence and skills in Artist Development, whether you aim to be a performer, a producer, a creator, or to promote some or all of the above.

The unit will include:

  • Songwriting, track creation, composition, arrangement.
  • The music business context: labels, publishers, management, DIY Establishing our creative community.
  • Working independently in the creation of new repertoire. Collaboration in the creation of new repertoire.
  • Team building for artists, producers, performers and managers. Well-being and Mental Health for music practitioners.
  • Development of a personal voice and musical language.
  • Establishing an artist brand.
  • Identifying gaps in skills and knowledge and planning effectively to fill those gaps. Instrumental technique lessons, Musical direction.
  • Performance skills - stage presence, dynamics, timbre, tone, control of sound, interaction with/sensitivity to other performers, professionalism.

Unit 3

Unit 3: Ideas in Context: Why Music Matters

  • Situating your thinking: Your practice in the world.
  • Investigative methods using textual analysis, discourse analysis, participant-observations, and archived and published sources.
  • Critical/creative thinking.
  • Critical theory.
  • Writing and presentation methods and techniques, foundations in academic writing practices, and Pecha Kucha presentations

Unit 4

Unit 4: Creative Studio and DAW Production 2

Listening skills, audio quality, production values, studio roles and how behaviour and mood affect performer performance.

Tools:

  • Rooms and virtual rooms.
  • Advanced mic techniques, studio outboard, multi FX and dynamics, channel EQ, console and DAW signal path, routing and patch bays.
  • Signal interruption, auxiliary paths, or parallel processing?
  • Subgrouping and stems
  • Console and DAW-specific features:
    • Overdubs and punching in
    • Mixing, arrangement/session markers, audio editing, crossfading, flexing/time-stretching, automation, MIDI programming & editing, virtual instruments, and tempo manipulation.
    • Session management: grouping, folders, and libraries

Unit 5

Unit 5: Creative Studio and DAW Production 3

  • Performance and real-time production elements, including creative use of effects, real-time editing, selection or creation of live parts, filters, LFOs, envelopes and other sound design parameters, automation, midi controllers, DAW performance modes or instrumental performance. You may include approaches such as circuit bending and Dub techniques or experimental techniques, which you can research and apply.
  • Studio collaboration with performers.
  • Studio session and Project management. Critical listening, while performing or running performance in real-time and recording results.

Unit 6

Unit 6: Music Project

The unit allows you to create original, creative work focussing on your interest, developing and applying the skills introduced throughout the first year. The focus of this unit should be the individual or collective ownership of a project and introduce collaborative working as the basis for future creative and professional development. You may work in new or established teams, identifying roles and responsibilities to define and produce project outcomes.

  • You will respond to the given thematic direction and negotiate a project allowing you to create new music content.
  • Your creative curiosity will interrogate current practitioners and professional frameworks in proposing new products and performances.
  • Thematic development is supported by workshops that introduce and develop skills that will inform your project outcome.
  • You will draw on the community of practice the suite of Music courses provides to showcase your abilities, creating new content presented through creative platforms.
  • You will explore current and future audiences, participants and consumers and their relationship with your creative output.

The outcome of the project is the result of your enquiry and negotiation and may be demonstrated by:

  • a portfolio of recordings;
  • live public performance or event;
  • recorded performance;
  • music product or artefact;
  • content for broadcast or online media;
  • strategy or planning that proposes a future event;
  • planning and presentation informed by entrepreneurial intentions.

Year Two

In your second year, you will develop entrepreneurial skills while bidding for funding for your music business ideas and negotiating industry work placements. The course cultivates independence with your
vocational projects.

Unit 7

Unit 7: Advanced Audio Processing

  • You will investigate aspects of the mixing process and explore the functions and sounds of various analogue, digital and virtual processors.
  • You will expand your application of a broad range of audio processing options, comparing the results of different circuit designs, and be able to hear and
    measure differences using critical listening.
  • Mixing and mastering: signal flow and routing: signal interruption and parallel processing; distortion, saturation, re-amping, drum replacement,
    dynamics, delay, room simulation, exciters, various types of EQ, dynamic EQ,
  • Genre expectations: conventional and unconventional tools.
  • Reference mixes: enhancing your listening, mixing and mastering skills

Unit 8

Unit 8: Innovation

This unit will develop your knowledge, confidence, and skills in Artist Development, whether you aim to be a performer, a producer, a creator, or to promote or manage some or all of the above.

  • Explore concepts of fast failure, incremental innovation and radical progress.
  • Utilise strategies to gain knowledge of how innovation moves the industry forward.
  • Explore the uses of innovative strategies in developing originality and uniqueness in sound/songwriting/marketing.
  • Incorporate immersive audio/ binaural/ 5.1 mixing or recording techniques into a production - investigate the AirPods Pro details to see how they work with spatial audio.
  • Online Collaboration using new collaborative software techniques - suggested software, e.g. Pro Tools/Ableton/Splice/Spotify software.
  • Use controllers to input musical information in a production - push, Launchpad, etc.
  • Create a song using an innovative methodology/technology

Unit 9

Unit 9: Industry Briefs

  • Identifying, recognising and negotiating opportunities for music work. Forming and recruiting teams and managing roles in music teams.
  • Setting common goals and objectives, assessing the plausibility of outcomes and briefing teams.
  • Production management and production schedules in music.
  • Case studies of key music creators, performers, producers and entrepreneurs: vision, creativity and expansion.
  • Adjourning and exit strategies.
  • Risk, mistakes, failure and other learning opportunities in composition, performance, production and business; improvisation, agility and entrepreneurship.
  • Music in society: intrapreneurship and social entrepreneurship, ethics and responsibility.

Unit 10

Unit 10: Ideas in Context: Musicking

  • Situating your thinking: What you bring to your practice.
  • Investigative methods using textual analysis, discourse analysis, archived and published sources.
  • Critical/creative thinking.
  • Critical theory.
  • Presentation skills, methods and techniques; essay writing conventions, Pecha Kucha and mooting a particular subject/perspective on an argument.

Unit 11

Unit 11: Individual Project

Individual Project is your opportunity to engage in a sustained project that aims to allow your voice, ambitions and intentions in Music to emerge. Production students may produce a portfolio of recordings; Performance students may demonstrate advanced musical techniques; and Business students may propose and manage events or market and release the creative output of others - all with a high level of critical analysis.

The outcome of the project is the result of your enquiry and negotiation, and formats may include:

  • A portfolio of recordings or remixes.
  • Live public performance or event.
  • Recorded performance.
  • Music product or artefact.
  • Content for broadcast or online media.
  • Strategy or planning that proposes a significant future event.
  • Planning and presentation informed by entrepreneurial activity and intentions.

Year Three

In your third year, one-to-one tutorials will inform your projects, plus weekly industry visits from practitioners across all music industry sectors, such as record labels, publishers, artist managers, music lawyers and performing artists in all genres, including many successful alumni.

Unit 12

Unit 12: Collective Practice

  • Identifying, recognising and negotiating opportunities outside traditional music areas.
  • Forming and recruiting teams and managing roles in teams in music and other creative industries.
  • Setting common goals and objectives, assessing the plausibility of outcomes.
  • Budgeting for collaborative projects.
  • Briefing teams, interrogating briefs.
  • Working across disciplines in multi-disciplinary groups.
  • Production management and production schedules.
  • Measuring progress, mitigating risk, and strategies for overcoming hurdles.

Unit 13

Unit 13: Music Dissertation

  • Investigative methods using textual analysis, discourse analysis, practice-as research, autoethnography, and archived and published sources.
  • Critical/creative thinking.
  • Critical theory.
  • Advanced writing and presentation methods and techniques

Unit 14

Unit 14: Professional Practice

This unit provides the opportunity to plan and prepare for progression from the course onto the next steps, whether to further study, to employment, self-employment, founding a business, or a combination of all or any of the above as appropriate to your development and ambitions.
You will:

  • Conduct a skills audit.
  • Build a network of professional contacts.
  • Plan effectively for your progression from this course.
  • Pursue specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely career goals in industry, public sector, education or elsewhere.
  • Seek commissions, sales, contracts or promotional avenues for your musical service or product that improve your employability and investability.
  • You will evaluate the effectiveness of your actions.
  • You will evaluate the terms and conditions of any agreements that you have managed to secure or are considering.

You will explore avenues of personal career development through direct experiences with those professionals in your discipline, through offering musical services, creating musical products or the case study of intended employment or entrepreneurial activities. Your preparation should include an initial proposal in the first three weeks of the unit. Use the proposal to research your marketplace using case studies. Then, create a SMART plan to investigate, negotiate and exploit these opportunities.
You may choose to work in several areas related to music with this project. Valid areas for projects might include sales or streaming of recorded music via traditional or digital channels, the exploitation of recordings or compositions through publishing or licensing to various media, the organisation or promotion of live music events, opportunities in the educational, musical instrument or radio sectors or the application for funding of creative and commercial projects

Unit 15

Unit 15: Major Project

This unit is the culmination of your undergraduate journey and allows you to apply your creative expertise to an open final major project brief.
High production values are expected, and you must adapt to the disparate demands of complete creative freedom and a strict deadline.
You will form the shape of the project and its content. Examples of which include traditional recording, experimental/conceptual, genre-based portfolio, soundscape/music for media

 

 

 

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