Your first year of study will cover a number of areas, but integral throughout will be learning about the music industry and how to make it work for you. You’ll learn about the history of sound and electronic music, learn the basics for your craft, discover how sound impacts a creative environment, and explore and apply your skills through a series of dynamic projects.
Adventures in Sound and Music (BA/BSc)
You’ll be introduced to the basic concepts of creating sound and music for the screen, exploring the physical properties of sound and the technical tools required for recording and working with audio.
Exploring Narrative (BA/BSc)
This unit introduces you to narrative storytelling through music and sound, and explains how music and sound are an intrinsic part of screen-based media. As a music composer or sound designer, you will need to produce soundtracks for on-screen media for example films, animations,computer games. This unit provides an opportunity to consider appropriate forms of sound and music for different on-screen media and also explore thematic development and genre.
Sonic Art (BA/BSc)
You will explore the powerful effect of sound and music in a space or environment and consider how our interpretation and reading of sound and music changes with the environment and vice-versa. You will consider the work of artists and musicians working in this area, for example Susan Phillipsz, Janet Cardiff, Laurie Anderson and Bill Fontana. You will also start to think about the environment as a theatre for staging dramatic performances and performance work.
Studio Toolkit 1 (BA/BSc)
An introduction to the fundamental techniques and processes of audio production and engineering, you’ll use a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) to help you understand how audio engineers manipulate sound, the different ways they do it, and why.
Beats and Bleeps 1: Audio in History and Theory (BA/BSc)
You will be introduced to historical and artistic movements by examining them through key concepts and critical debates in art, media and popular music studies theory. You will also discover how technological innovation not only stimulated creativity in composition and production but in many cases became synonymous with that time.
As you continue to develop your skills, two key things happen in the second year. First, you’ll decide whether you want to complete your degree as a BA, or continue it as a BSc. Secondly, you’ll have an opportunity to either go on work experience, or work with UCA Acting and Performance students on a project.
Studio Toolkit 2 (BA/BSc)
Building on your knowledge of the technical implementation of audio, you will investigate how different tools can be used to solve more sophisticated audio problems. You’ll explore software that enables you to work creatively in both linear and non-linear environments.
Linear Brief (BA)
You will learn how to communicate with a client and to plot a workflow, for both short and long timeframe projects, and learn about allocation of budgets – from plotting the spend on players, technology resources and composer’s fees. You will critically reflect on the management of the project and the process of doing this within a given set of constraints.
Designing Interactivity (BSc)
You will explore the ways and means of creating sound and music to work in flexible, non-linear ways. You’ll study the use of sound/music in interactive contexts and develop interactive media soundtrack. Building on prior work exploring narrative, you’ll learn to plot and plan digital audio in creative ways. You will produce audio/music to an interactive brief, possibly through collaboration.
Sound Advice (BA/BSc)
This unit introduces you to the current working structures and operations of the UK and global music and media industries, giving insights into how music producers, film/media producers and businesses interact with each other on a creative and commercial basis. You’ll explore the roles of various intermediaries that operate, and intervene, between music producers, film/media producers, the rights owners and the users/consumers.
Beats and Bleeps 2: Audio Consumption and Theory (BA/BSc)
In this unit, you will focus on developing your advanced research skills in relation to twentieth century audio and critical theory interact. Using different methods for analysis, drawing on key theories and engaging in current debates, you will understand the contexts of theory and practice through essays and in seminars. You will broaden your frame of reference by studying your practice from various perspectives and will examine such topics as representation, identity and consumption, putting your compositional and sound design work in a social and cultural context.
Self-Generated Project or Work Experience (BA/BSc)
Work Experience: You will be required to research, negotiate and undertake a legitimate self-initiated work experience/placement opportunity relevant to the music industry and to your aspirations. Alternatively, you can choose to undertake a placement on a music tour. The work experience/placement or tour should last for a minimum of two weeks or ten working days.
Self-Generated Project (BA): Working in a small group, you will develop an idea that you wish to share at the point of delivery with an on-line audience, you will use your devised music or sound and record and broadcast a live event.
Self-Generated Project (BSc): This unit gives you the opportunity to work collaboratively. You will devise and realise both an individual project and a group project.
Your final year of study is the culmination of your work at UCA, with two compulsory units and a choice between either a Dissertation, or completing the Practice as Research unit.
This unit consists of a substantial period of sustained, individually negotiated research on a subject that is likely to be related to the contextual and/or theoretical concerns of your discipline or chosen area of practice, towards the provision of structured written argument.
Practice as Research
This unit consists of two elements – a 2,500-word contextual paper and an individually negotiated Music Composition or Sound Design Project which practically explores and investigates the issue, concern, practice or theory raised in your contextual paper. The research is designed for you to locate and explore your practice in a theoretical context.
The Sound Business (BA/BSc)
In this unit you’ll have the opportunity to bring together all your creative projects, skills and knowledge to form a professional practice ‘package’ designed for music and media industry clients, customers, users and intermediaries. Once you have this you can present yourself and your music and/or media projects to the industry.
This unit consolidates your technical knowledge and practical skills in music composition and/or sound design with your collaborative and conceptual abilities. You will build a showreel of up to 30 minutes of original work, appropriate to your chosen genre(s).
Fees and additional course costs
The course fees per year for 2020 entry are:
- UK and EU students - £9,250
- International students - £16,250 (standard fee)
- International students - £15,600 (full early payment fee)
Additional course costs
In addition to the tuition fees please see the additional course costs for 2020 entry.
Find out more about our course fees and any financial support you may be entitled to:
These fees are correct for the stated academic year only. Costs may increase each year during a student’s period of continued registration on course in line with inflation (subject to any maximum regulated tuition fee limit). Any adjustment for continuing students will be at or below the RPI-X forecast rate.
So much music is about collaborations and partnerships. The course has a wide and varied network of industry partners that provide us with performance opportunities, guest lectures, and work placements.
Some of our industry links include:
- Audient - Mixing consoles and interfaces
- ECME – Edinburgh Contemporary Music Ensemble
- The Gildas Quartet - String Quartet based in Manchester and London
- Lamb Films – Video and film production company based in Belfast
- We Are OCA - New Music Collective
- The Sonic Lodge - Recording studio in Edinburgh
- Steinberg – Digital audio workstations and music notation software
- Surrey Music Hub
- Adventure Camera - mountain film producer Keith Partridge
- SoundVaultHQ – Podcast network.
We are also an official Avid Learning Partner.