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Music Technology BA(Hons)

Attendance UCAS code/apply Year of entry
3 years full time W370 2017
2018
6 years part time Apply direct to the University 2017
2018

Why choose this course?

This degree covers both digital and analogue sound creation, performance and music production practices, favouring a practical approach to learning and research. You will apply your skills to various styles and contexts, and collaborate on interdisciplinary projects. There will be opportunities for work placements and internships for some students through our prestigious analogue Visconti Studio and its associated partners.

This exciting degree programme also capitalises on London's vibrant multicultural music scenes via performances and events, educational and community outreach, music journalism and broadcasting, and we work with partners including the Science Museum and the British Library. 

Staff in the Department of Music are committed to the study of record production, and we have four dedicated recording studio spaces:

  • the Lodge, which houses two control rooms and two live rooms;
  • Coombehurst House, which features an SSL desk and quality outboard; and
  • our flagship facility, the Visconti Studio, which is an analogue/digital hybrid studio based around an extraordinary 300m2 octagonal live room, stocked with vintage and rare recording equipment.

What you will study

Music technology is a diverse field. Successful practitioners are multi-skilled, adaptable and adept at collaboration across different disciplines and media.

In Year 1 you will focus on developing your technical and creative skills through practical instruction in synthesis, sampling and sequencing. You will explore the history and evolution of music technology, study modern recording and sound engineering techniques and 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 Year 3, you will work with a supervisor to develop your personal project and to develop your chosen area. Optional modules develop strands introduced in Year 2, with additional opportunities to undertake work on commercial music production, live sound management, music journalism, music technology in education, instrumental building/bending and breaking, broadcasting, experimental music, or to do further work in our unique analogue 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.

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 module explores careers in music for the music graduate and develops a comprehensive understanding of the business of music. The module includes a compulsory work placement.

    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.

    The compulsory work placement will consist of a minimum of 25 hours.

     
  • 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)

  • This module supports you in identifying and creating your own individual creative/research project. You will choose the form of your project (examples may include performance-related work, media composition, songwriting, production projects). You will be encouraged to develop a project which demonstrates a mastery of your professional skills within a focused area.

    You will be supported by weekly small group seminars, themed by the type of project chosen (eg multimedia composition, performance, production, songwriters). In addition, guest lectures will deliver further research training and professional industry skills. An exciting series of professional speakers will demonstrate industry practices and share their experiences. The module will include some focused employability sessions. All students will additionally be supported by a supervisor through one-to-one sessions.

     
  • Choose two modules from the following:

    • This module will focus on the creation of music as part of a production team. You will study the writing, recording, mixing and mastering of music to a professional standard, as well as the distribution, marketing and retail of your tracks. Part of the module will feature how to pitch your music to replicate the real-world scenario of securing funding / seeking collaborative partners.

       
    • 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 technology pedagogy at different levels (primary, secondary, FE) 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, music production using studios and DAWs. You can gain experience in a work placement or take the opportunity to research and develop new ways in which music technology can be used for education, play, therapy and/or enhanced accessibility.

       
    • 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 Music's 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.

      Note: for Popular Music BA(Hons) students, you must have completed the pre-requisite Mixing and Production Styles module.

       
    • This module explores London culture through research and writing music criticism, journalism, researching a scene and through case studies. Students will publish the materials created and build a unique Kingston University archive. You will also have the option to create radio journalism along with students from courses in other areas of the School of Performance and Screen Studies via the Kingston University radio station.

       
    • 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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