Search our site
Search our site

Production of Popular Music MMus

Mode Duration Start date
Full time 1 year September 2017
Part time 2 years September 2017

Choose Kingston's Production of Popular Music MMus

This course will enable you to study popular music from a practical perspective with an emphasis on music production and songwriting. For your final major project you will focus on composition and production within the popular music genre, producing an extended professional-quality album of your popular music compositions/covers.

Find out more about our postgraduate music courses:

Key features

  • The wide selection of option modules allows you to tailor the course to your interests.
  • Several members of staff are engaged practically with the professional production of popular music. You will also have the chance to attend masterclasses and workshops run by national and international producers, performers and composers - such as Youth, Gavin Greenaway, Rick Astley and Steve Martland.
  • We have five, state-of-the-art recording studios, including one with a large live room used for professional recordings. We also have two computer laboratories containing iMacs with full music software for sequencing and processing.
  • Lunchtime concerts, involving students or visiting artists, take place throughout the year.

What will you study?

You will focus on the production of current popular music, creating and recording tracks using the University's high-quality recording facilities.

You will also explore the composition of popular music, recording techniques and the marketing of popular music. In addition, you will widen your musical knowledge and experience by choosing one option module from an extensive range, including those covering sound design, ensemble performance and composing for film and TV.

Assessment

Coursework, essays, compositions, productions, and major recording project.

Course structure

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list.

Core modules

  • The module is designed to give students a deep and thorough understanding of the processes and techniques involved in the recording and production of popular music. It will look at a range of recording techniques and will provide students with the opportunity to gain fluency in the operation of a recording studio. The role of the Producer in creating, developing, managing and presenting a recording project will be studied and students will be equipped with the faculties to produce work which demonstrates creativity and is of a professional standard. Topics covered will include microphone techniques, digital recording and editing techniques, advanced sequencing, mixing and mastering techniques, creating arrangements and communicating with artists and session musicians, investigation of genre-specific production techniques and analysis of contemporary and historical recordings. The relationship between the Producer and the recording and media business will be examined.  Students will be trained to critically evaluate their own work and position it in the context of the wider music and media business environment.  Students will employ these techniques and skills to create a portfolio of short recordings accompanied by a commentary detailing the techniques employed, and to develop and present a recording project, with supporting documentation.

     
  • The module is designed to give students a deep and thorough understanding of the processes and techniques involved in popular music composition, and to equip students with the faculties to produce work of a professional standard. Students will learn compositional techniques applicable to a range of popular music genres and will employ these to enhance their own personal style and create a portfolio of compositions. The nature of the creative process, how collaborators (co-writers, band members) communicate with each other and with other artists, and how popular music terminology and notation is utilised will be discussed.  The position of the songwriter and popular music composer within contemporary society and the wider music and media business will also be examined.

    This module will also explore strategies behind the manufacture, marketing, distribution and sale of popular music from a global perspective. Students will examine music industry models in an historical context, exploring how practices are evolving through the advent of digital technology. They will explore the factors driving this change with critical appraisal of methods used. Topics covered will include the structure of major and independent record labels, management strategies, identifying a target audience, publicity and marketing within different territories, financing, choice of formats, music video, new media, the live industry, going it alone and the value of popular music as a commodity. Students will be assessed on a portfolio of work including a project that demonstrates the marketing and promotion of one of their popular music compositions.

     
  • This module supports the development of a major piece of research, or creative work, or performance which is focused on the subject of the student’s programme of study. Therefore the nature of the project is chosen from the following: a dissertation; a folio of produced popular music compositions/covers; a folio of sonic arts work; a folio of compositions to moving image; a folio of compositions; or a performance. In the case of the creative work, students will also undertake related research which culminates in a paper or critical commentary to complement and support their creative work. The module is taught through a mixture of seminars and individual tutorials.

     
  • Researching Music is designed to prepare students for their research and writing on the Music Masters’ programmes. The teaching covers academic referencing, creating a bibliography, library skills, use of research on-line indices such as RILM, writing skills, and approaches to research. Later in the module research seminars will be given by Kingston and visiting researchers/composers/performers which provide opportunities for student discussion on a variety of issues in current music research. The module is assessed through a folio of written work including an extended annotated bibliography, an extended research paper and an on-line forum.

     

Optional modules

  • This module examines the hybrid and diverse nature of British cinema from the early 1960s to the present day. The central focus of this course will be the relationship between British cinema and national identity. Students will not only investigate the ways in which British cinema reflects national consciousness, but examine the ways in which it has shaped and contributed towards it. In so doing, students will explore the multiple ways in which British cinema has both reflected and produced sociohistorical, cultural and political change. This module will focus on a diverse range of key British film genres (related to British national identity), auteurs and movements, examining the socio-historical, cultural and cinematic not only their relationship with society, but the industrial and economic factors that have determined their production and reception.

     
  • This module examines the diversity of practice associated with school-based music provision in the UK maintained sector and associated research. Current positions concerning universal entitlement to the subject will be explored and traced back to influential antecedents.  Students will formulate a critical response to course themes by designing a short investigation exploring the complex transactional character of pedagogy which typifies music lessons across the UK. It will be located in a school if possible, supported by CRB checking (and if necessary, ethics clearance),  or alternatively, will be based on student peer teaching. Outcomes will be interrogated with the aid of tools commonly applied to intersubjective contexts, such as activity system modelling, identity profiling or documentation of transactional process.

     
  • This module is core for MMus Performance and is offered as an option for other MA and MMus programmes. The module will address the development of critical and aesthetic insights into both the substance of music and the varied practices of performance required to deliver high quality musical experiences across a range of genres. It considers performance roles, values and practices including issues of meaning in music and emotional responses to music. It will trace the development of aesthetic attitude theories and post-structuralist approaches to understanding and performing a wide range of musical repertoires. Themes explored will include: issues of authenticity, value judgements, virtuosity and the role of the performer. Themed lectures will introduce topics, followed by seminars which will provide opportunities for students to reflect and discuss issues raised in lectures, which are then consolidated in debates that relate ideas to specific texts, repertoires and personal performances. Assessment will be through prepared debates, on topics suggested by the tutor, a critical reflection of a filmed performance and an essay on a related topic selected from a choice provided by the tutor.

     
  • The module is core for MA Music Education and is offered as an option for the MA Music and other MMus programmes.  The module will consider the psychological processes that underpin musical understanding; interpersonal communication; the social construction of meaning and how such processes contribute to the educational philosophies of world cultures. There will be opportunities to investigate the philosophies and practices in music education in a variety of cultural and international contexts including the UK and those of the students themselves. The issues surrounding the teaching of musical will be explored and in particular the views and research associated with composing and how/why it is not explored in many different cultural contexts.

     
  • This module will explore the analysis of instrumental music, from a range of genres. Students will develop their creative work, by applying their analytical understanding of a chosen style to creating new arrangements and orchestrations. They will develop skills in arranging a melody, formulating a harmonic support, structural layout, in a manner which is appropriate for the chosen style. They will also develop skills in orchestration with reference to a chosen genre.

     
  • This module deals in depth with the subject of composition for film and television. Students explore, through lectures and seminars, the essential technology and techniques that composers for Film and Television need to master. Subjects covered include the use of Main Themes, underscoring and the harmonic languages of soundtracks, in both big and small screen contexts.  Coursework consists of several compositions to image, chosen to encourage musical diversity and exploration of compositional styles, together with a written commentary.

     
  • Through this module students will gain an awareness of Music Education in the UK and have an opportunity to engage with some current issues and practical challenges.  It will examine a variety of topical and sometimes contentious issues and practical challenges concerning, for example, music in the National Curriculum; the curriculum in the primary and secondary school; extra-curricular music such as instrumental teaching, composing, arranging and conducting. Psychological perspectives on learning, teaching and creativity will also be addressed.  In the first semester the module will be delivered through keynote lectures, seminars and workshops, with student participation in discussions, mini-presentations and group practical tasks. Further workshops and tutorials dedicated to students’ chosen project will be arranged as necessary in the second semester. The assessment for the module will be in the form of a project focusing on a chosen area of interest in music education in the form of either a small educational investigation, devising a series of lessons for children of a chosen age, or addressing a practical challenge such as arranging for and conducting a school orchestra.

     
  • Jazz harmony, rhythm and improvisation skills will be taught in this year-long optional module, along with their practical application in performance. The module will enable students to recognise features of a range of jazz styles within a historical context and put them into practice.

     
  • This module focuses on the collaborative development of a group performance project, and explores the technical skills necessary to stage a professional performance event. As well as performing in a group, students undertake both practical and theoretical work in live sound management and event production. The performances may be multimedia-based (which could involve dance and/or moving image), or might centre on live electronics, hybrid art-forms or the role of music technology in live performance. Individual groups may decide to focus on traditional acoustic or amplified electronic instrumentation; the specific agenda of each performance, and the technical parameters necessary, are negotiated with module tutors. The wording of the module title is intended to promote as broad, inclusive, and overlapping a definition of composition/performance/improvisation as is possible; students may utilise all relevant forms of repertoire, but significant emphasis is placed on creative interpretation. Summative assessment is through performance, critical reflection and peer assessment.

     
  • This optional module will consider music from a psychological standpoint, with emphasis on experimental psychology. It considers the diverse levels of engagement we have with music by examining our experience of music including: learning music, memorising music, composing, performing and improvising. Students will be exposed to current theories of music psychology. Themed lectures will introduce key topics, followed by student-led discussion workshops which will provide the opportunity for students to reflect and discuss issues. Assessment will be through an applied project which involves collecting empirical data in a chosen field via observation and/or questionnaires and submitting a critical assessment of the data (30%), and, an essay on a related topic selected from a choice provided by the tutor (70%).

     
  • This module is a level 6 optional module for both Music and Music Technology students. It calls upon the knowledge and skills which students have developed at levels 4 and 5 of their programme and provides an opportunity for them to work to a high academic and professional standard. Students will learn how to plan, develop and produce group studio recording projects and how to position them in terms of genre, audiences, marketing and the music business. The final outcomes are group master recordings, supported by individual research and documentation.  Presentations and seminar sessions will provide the opportunity for formative feedback on the projects. In the lectures and seminars, the historical and contemporary roles of producers, recording engineers, composers/arrangers, session musicians, marketing and the music business will be analysed and evaluated, as well as the influence of technology on music creation and dissemination of work. Lectures and seminars will include group discussion, and students will be encouraged week by week to participate by bringing in audio and audio and visual materials that illustrate lecture topics. Lecture materials will be provided on StudySpace.

     

You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

For further information

Postgraduate admissions administrator
Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 2361
Email us

Location

This course is taught at Kingston Hill

View Kingston Hill on our Google Maps

For further information

Postgraduate admissions administrator
Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 2361
Email us

Location

This course is taught at Kingston Hill

View Kingston Hill on our Google Maps
Favourite this course

Find a course

Course finder

>

Music open days

Postgraduate music open eventsThe music department holds postgraduate information days.
Find out more.

Find us on Facebook

Postgraduate study
Site menu