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Music Technology BA(Hons)

Attendance UCAS code/apply Year of entry
3 years full time W370 2018
4 years full time including foundation year W371 2018
6 years part time Apply direct to the University 2018

Why choose this course?

This degree allows you to take a hands-on approach to learning and researching music technology. You'll produce and record music in our unique facilities which include recording studios, rehearsal rooms, Pro Tools and Logic-based MIDI/editing suites, a synthesis/sampling lab and our analogue/digital hybrid Visconti Studio.

In partnership with world-famous record producer Tony Visconti, the British Library and Science Museum, the Visconti Studio comprises of a 300m² octagonal live room stocked with rare and vintage recording equipment. Students can access this studio to develop skills in analogue sound engineering and tape-based record production.

You can also collaborate with students across the university on interdisciplinary projects in areas like music journalism, broadcasting, composition, post production and sound design for film, TV and games.

You can benefit from central London's vibrant multicultural music scene just 30 minutes from Kingston University. In addition to attending live music events and performances, you can participate in local musical initiatives like our community choir, the Kingston Singers.

Foundation year - Humanities & Arts

If you are thinking of returning to education after a break you could apply for our foundation year course. This course will provide you with the academic and transferable skills you need to study an undergraduate degree in any of the humanities or arts. At Kingston these include Creative Writing, Dance, Drama and English Literature.

Throughout the year-long course, you can study a range of these subjects, allowing you to get a better idea of which ones you prefer. It'll guide you in the direction of a humanities or arts degree that you're particularly interested in. The foundation year will develop your independent study skills and help you to better understand your academic ability, a potential career path and how to develop the skills that employers look for in graduates.

What you will study

Music technology is a diverse field and this course enables you to study it from a broad range of perspectives. You'll work with digital, analogue and hybrid music technology tools to create high quality sound and music productions. From record production to software programming, sonic art and performance, you will develop technical and artistic skills across a range of musical styles and contexts.

In Year 1 you will develop your technical and creative skills through practical instruction in synthesis, sampling and sequencing. You will explore the history and evolution of music technology and study modern recording and sound engineering techniques. You will also undertake training in critical and diagnostic listening. In the Sonic Environments module, you will be introduced to the science and aesthetics of real and imagined spaces.

In Year 2, while continuing to develop and diversify your skills, you can specialise in programming or performing with technology, audio post-production or sound design and perception. You will also learn more about careers in the music industry and undertake a work placement. All students will be trained in sound engineering in the Visconti Studio.

In Year 3, you will work with a supervisor to develop a personal project in your chosen area. You will continue to develop in the optional strands introduced in Year 2. Plus, there will be additional opportunities to undertake work on commercial music production, live sound management, music journalism, music technology in education, instrumental building/bending and breaking, broadcasting, and experimental music. You can also choose to do further work in the Visconti Studio.

Module listing

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.

Foundation year

  • This module aims to prepare you for undergraduate study and to give you the skills and knowledge related to the study of humanities, arts and social science subjects. The main areas covered will include research skills (like using a library and electronic resources), planning, note taking, building a bibliography, and avoiding plagiarism. You will also develop your communication skills, especially focusing on essay and report writing, delivering presentations and being an active participant in debates and discussions. The module will encourage you to develop the independent learning, critical analysis, and reflective skills crucial to succeeding in a degree.

     
  • Radical Imaginations focuses on creative writing, drama and English literature and aims to highlight how powerful you can be with your creativity. You'll look at text and performance, combining classroom learning with field trips to theatre productions in London.

    The module will help you understand how different texts relate to contemporary experiences: how have classic literary texts been translated into film, opera and ballet and with what effects? How do television drama shows such as Sherlock create dramatic interventions into established narratives, and for what purposes? How have contemporary playwrights like Caryl Churchill, Sarah Daniel, Debbie Tucker Green and Sarah Kane challenged perceptions through controversial and experimental works? Through these sorts of questions, you'll experience imagination at its most radical and relevant.

     
  • Being Human: History and the History of Ideas draws from history and philosophy. It considers how ideas shape our thinking about society, politics, and the arts. You'll reflect on how history has been studied, explore ideas like counterfactual histories, the use and misuse of history in different political contexts and ask questions on how history relates to memory. You'll also examine the ways in which ideas have their own history eg the idea of freedom, and its political history through philosophers, political thinkers, abolitionists, feminists, anti colonial militants, revolutionaries, and civil rights campaigners . In each of these areas you'll reflect on how our ideas are shaped by the social, political and cultural contexts in which we think.

     
  • Communication in Context and Practice introduces you to spoken and written communications and will explore a range of subjects like : journalism, publishing, and linguistics. It explores the dynamic ways in which language reports on, shapes, and transforms our understanding of the world. You'll be introduced to degree-level publishing and journalism, and look at communications across multimedia and multimodal formats. Through this, you'll understand the importance of the audience (or hearer/ reader) for effective communication in different contexts.

     

Year 1 (Level 4)

  • Hands-on instruction and practice in synthesiser programming, sampling, sequencing, electronic composition and orchestration. You will learn how to create unique instrument patches and sounds and use them effectively in music productions. Curriculum will cover beat making, groove writing, and style arrangement using Logic Pro and Ableton Live.

    The musical concepts of melody, rhythm, harmony, and form will be explored as applied to the principles and techniques of writing and arranging using computers.

     
  • You will learn about the history of music technologies, how they have evolved to the present day, transforming the way music is conceived of, played, heard, consumed and understood. You will critically engage with key developments led by inventors, producers, artists, composers, technicians in recorded music, live music, art and film, and consider the many ways in which music technologies are linked to culture.

     
  • This module offers hands-on study in modern recording and sound engineering. Students will learn about analog and digital consoles, microphones, audio signal flow, DAW session management, the principles of signal processing, audio editing and contemporary mixing techniques. You will also receive training in critical and diagnostic listening.

     
  • This module provides an introduction to the science and aesthetics of real and imagined environments, their acoustics and spatial phenomena. You will engage in creative practice research that will consider a wide range of inter-connected practices: from installations, location recording and measuring impulse responses in real environments, to examining how sound behaves in virtual spaces: interactive game environments, VR, soundtracks and soundscapes. You will learn the fundamentals of acoustics, sound diffusion and absorption, and get to grips with the basic operation of physical modelling software applications.

     

Year 2 (Level 5)

  • Building on recording and engineering skills developed in Year 1, this module will focus on the aesthetics of production from a range of genres, using the Visconti Studio live room and instrument collection. You will research and critically engage with 20th-century recording and production legacies by attempting to recreate configurations and set ups associated with 'signature' sounds of the past: Phil Spector, George Martin, Brian Wilson and Tony Visconti. You will record and produce music in a variety of styles using a mixture of analogue and digital techniques, and will learn how to master to 1/4 inch tape.

     
  • This is a core module for students on both Popular Music and Music Technology programmes and explores careers in music for the music graduate, allowing students to develop a comprehensive understanding of the business of music. The module includes a work placement of a minimum of 22 hours.

    You will study subjects including copyright law; contracts and legals; performing, publishing and synchronisation rights; publicity and social media; incomes streams for musicians including government, arts and crowd funding; publishing and the internet income; management, agents, promoters; live sound events and merchandising; self-assessment and tax; and the role of unions. The module will be delivered by both academic staff and a range of guest music industry professionals.

     
  • Choose one module from the following:

    • This module will help you unlock the full creative potential of computers through the use of programming. The module will focus on open source programming languages. Using these versatile tools students will be able to craft their own sounds and original instruments, develop and implement their own musical-logic, and use controllers to synthesise and manipulate sounds.

      Indicative content: MIDI, sequencing, granulation, spectral processing, machine listening and interactive electronics.

       
    • This module is for students who are interested in how technology applications and interfaces can enable innovative music performance. From performing with laptops, interfaces, rigs, triggers and turntables to live effects manipulation, electronics and video, this module will encourage diversity through a range of performance and collaborative practice. You will examine case studies and a range of historical and contemporary performance practices. You will have the additional opportunity to develop skills in 'front of house' and monitor mixing.

       
     
  • Choose one module from the following:

    • Building upon the skills and concepts taught in the first year module Sonic Environments students will explore the practical and creative uses of sound design and spatialisation for a variety of media. Concepts and practices relating to the use of sound design and surround sound mixing for films, games and art installations will be investigated.

      You will also gain an understanding of the underpinning acoustics, psychoacoustics and philosophy of musical perception in relation to sound design and sound diffusion. perception in relation to sound design and sound diffusion.

       
    • Study on this module will see you creating, editing and manipulating music and sound in a range of media post-production scenarios, including trailers, TV, advertising, film and games. You will develop practical skills in Foley and ADR recording, editing, design and creation of sound effects, as well as creating audio assets for game soundtracks and interactive media.

      This module also includes an introduction to the world of broadcast production, covering podcasts, radio production, advertising, mixing for film/TV and video editing using Final Cut Pro.

       
     

Year 3 (Level 6)

  • Students will produce a substantial creative piece of work which develops their skills in a specific area marking the culmination of their degree work. It is designed to enable students to work independently in an area that excites and interests them. Students may choose to create their work within performance, songwriting, composing for media, a research dissertation, a production project or a combination of any of these. Students will be supported by themed group seminar meetings as a whole cohort, supplemented by individual tutorials. Students will work towards the major project of their choice and produce a reflective summation which will be presented as part of the Level 6 creative festival. Students' ideas will further be challenged through a series of employability and research seminars on cutting-edge music topics on which they will produce a critical written reflection.

     
  • Choose two modules from the following:

    • This is a level 6 optional module and will see students collaborating on the creation of music as part of a production team. The writing, performing, recording, mixing and mastering of music to a professional standard will be studied, as well as its distribution, marketing and retail. Part of the module will feature how to pitch music to replicate the real-world scenario of securing funding / seeking collaborative partners in the creative industries.

       
    • This module provides hands-on experience in live sound reinforcement. Building on already developed understanding of both acoustical sound and electrical audio signals, you will train on analogue and digital consoles and gain experience engineering live sound at events held in a variety of external venues. The module content covers monitoring, lighting and projection, stage design, professional conventions, working with performers and promoters, and logistics.

       
    • You will examine music pedagogy and the use of specialist and inclusive technologies at different phases of education (early years, primary, secondary, FE), in diverse settings and across genres. Content draws from aspects of the psychology of music and didactics and will include specific approaches to the teaching of composition, performance and music production using studios and DAWs. You will either gain experience in a work placement or take the opportunity to research and develop new ways in which music and technology can be used for education, play, therapy and/or enhanced accessibility in a specified setting.

       
    • This module is an optional module for students on the Popular Music and Music Technology programmes. The focus of this module is the development of a comprehensive theoretical and practical grounding in tape-based analogue studio craft. The module will be taught in the Department of Performing Arts' unique facility, the Visconti Studio, with a mixture of lecture demonstrations and practical workshops during which students will learn tape machine operations, how to care for, connect and operate relevant machinery / outboard equipment, and develop a comprehensive understanding behind the science, technology and traditions that underpin these practices.

       
    • This module explores London culture through research and writing music criticism, journalism, researching a scene and examining case studies. Students will publish the materials created and build a unique Kingston University archive. Students will also have the possibility to create radio journalism along with students from courses in other areas of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

       
    • From musique concrète and the Radiophonic Workshop to Noise Music and Live Coding artists used technology in innovative ways while advancing technological innovation. You will be introduced to key artists whose musical experiments shaped today's musical and technological landscape.

      You will then focus on developing your own practice through a process of research and experimentation leading to the production of a unique and personal artifact (composition, performance, installation, or hybrid forms).

       
    • You will apply your technical knowledge and skills to produce a portfolio of broadcast ready radio content: interviews, links, news clips, advertisements and jingles, performances in-session, editing and producing streaming podcasts. You will take over operations of the Kingston University radio station and gain hands-on experience in studio operations, production preparation, and broadcast engineering.

       
    • In this module you will create bespoke instruments for musical expression using music programming languages and circuitry. From basic oscillators to complex synthesisers, you are taught the essential skills to devise your own sound-making equipment and software. The concepts and ethos of circuit bending and hacking to create new and innovative instruments will also be explored. As part of your assessment, you will devise performances using these unique instruments.

       
     

You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University on a not-for-credit basis as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Most of our undergraduate courses support studying or working abroad through the University's Study Abroad or Erasmus programme.

Find out more about where you can study abroad:

If you are considering studying abroad, read what our students say about their experiences.

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