BA (Hons)

Popular Music: Production and Performance

W374

Popular Music: Production & Performance provides you the opportunity to learn in industry-standard facilities and be taught by industry practitioners. The programme embraces a practical approach to learning with a balance of practical workshops and lectures, promoting different learning styles.

Drum kit in a music recording studio

Course overview

In Year 1 you will learn the basic skills in production, manipulation and performance of recorded and live music. Working independently and collaboratively, you will be introduced to the ethical considerations involved in the music industry as well as the theoretical underpinning. Modules include Recording Studio Practice and Performance that are delivered over two semesters, as well as Digital Music and Artist Development1: Songwriting.

Year 2 will build on your knowledge of production and performance; it will give you an awareness of the relationship between the practical theoretical understandings of the industry as well as its diversity. You will have the opportunity to develop the skills and experience of working within production teams and musical ensembles. You will study advanced techniques in Performance 2, as well as modules like Synthesis & Sequencing, Popular Music Culture and Creative Music Production.

By Year 3 you will be studying advanced skills in a range of professional music production and performance techniques. Teaching is designed to prepare you for employment in the music and creative industries whilst encouraging a strong sense of autonomy.

The programme builds on the University’s values, encouraging you to embrace individuality, and staff will support professional and creative development at all stages.

What you need to know

Course start date

September

Location

Winchester campus

Course length

  • 3 years

Apply

W374

Typical offer

104-120 points

Fees

From £9,250 pa

Course features

  • Learn in industry standard facilities
  • Practical course with in-situ workshops
  • Learn from industry practitioners
  • Develop professional and creative skills in music production
  • Top 10 in the UK for Music in The Guardian's Best Universities 2022

Course details

Our aim is to shape 'confident learners' by enabling you to develop the skills needed to excel in your studies here and as well as onto further studies or the employment market.                   

You are taught primarily through a combination of lectures and seminars, allowing opportunities to discuss and develop your understanding of topics covered in lectures in smaller groups.

In addition to the formally scheduled contact time such as lectures and seminars, you are encouraged to access academic support from staff within the course team and the wide range of services available to you within the University.

Independent learning

Over the duration of your course, you will be expected to develop independent and critical learning, progressively building confidence and expertise through independent and collaborative research, problem-solving and analysis with the support of staff. You take responsibility for your own learning and are encouraged to make use of the wide range of available learning resources available.

Overall workload

Your overall workload consists of class contact hours, independent learning and assessment activity.

While your actual contact hours may depend on the optional modules you select, the following information gives an indication of how much time you will need to allocate to different activities at each level of the course.

Year 1 (Level 4): Timetabled teaching and learning activity*

Teaching, learning and assessment: 252 hours
Independent learning: 948 hours

Year 2 (Level 5): Timetabled teaching and learning activity*

Teaching, learning and assessment: 276 hours
Independent learning: 924 hours

Year 3 (Level 6): Timetabled teaching and learning activity*

Teaching, learning and assessment: 132 hours
Independent learning: 1068 hours

*Please note these are indicative hours for the course.

Teaching hours

All class based teaching takes places between 9am – 6pm, Monday to Friday during term time. Wednesday afternoons are kept free from timetabled teaching for personal study time and for sports clubs and societies to train, meet and play matches. There may be some occasional learning opportunities (for example, an evening guest lecturer or performance) that take places outside of these hours for which you will be given forewarning.

Assessment

Our validated courses may adopt a range of means of assessing your learning. An indicative, and not necessarily comprehensive, list of assessment types you might encounter includes essays, portfolios, supervised independent work, presentations, written exams, or practical performances.

We ensure all students have an equal opportunity to achieve module learning outcomes. As such, where appropriate and necessary, students with recognised disabilities may have alternative assignments set that continue to test how successfully they have met the module's learning outcomes. Further details on assessment types used on the course you are interested in can be found on the course page, by attending an Open Day or Open Evening, or contacting our teaching staff.

Percentage of the course assessed by coursework

The assessment balance between examination and coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. The approximate percentage of the course assessed by different assessment modes is as follows:

Year 1 (Level 4)*:

62% coursework
0% written exams
38% practical exams

Year 2 (Level 5)*:

59% coursework
0% written exams
41% practical exams

Year 3 (Level 6)*:

87% coursework
0% written exams
13% practical exams

*Please note these are indicative percentages and modes for the programme.

Feedback

We are committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to you on your academic progress and achievement in order to enable you to reflect on your progress and plan your academic and skills development effectively. You are also encouraged to seek additional feedback from your course tutors.

Modules

Please note the modules listed are correct at the time of publishing. The University cannot guarantee the availability of all modules listed and modules may be subject to change. The University will notify applicants of any changes made to the core modules listed. For further information please refer to winchester.ac.uk/termsandconditions

Modules

Studio Recording Techniques

This module introduces the various skills required to record music in the recording studio environment providing students with a foundation in techniques including:

  • Microphone Theory
  • Multi-track Recording
  • Analogue and Digital Recording Principles
  • Digital Audio Workstations (Pro Tools)
  • Recording Studio Workflow
  • Using the recording studio safely and in compliance with Health and Safety regulations

Students will study the practice of analogue recording techniques, developing a portfolio of short recordings that demonstrate a command of the recording studio and analogue domain. Students will also create a short video presentation that demonstrates knowledge of a chosen studio recording technique.

Studio Recording Practice

This module builds on the recording studio concepts and techniques developed in Semester 1 and students build a repertoire of integral recording studio practices that will include:

  • Microphone Placement for Music Production
  • Hybrid Recording Workflows
  • Mixing multitrack music
  • In depth use of Digital Audio Workstations (Pro Tools)

Students will study hybrid recording studio workflows which make use of analogue recording into digital domains, developing a portfolio of recordings that demonstrate a command of the recording studio and mixing multitrack recordings. Students will submit two multitrack recordings (and their relevant components) that they have recorded in the recording studios and mixed in a set Digital Audio Workstation. These recordings will include a series of required elements that will be set out in the lecture series

Performance Techniques 1

This module provides students the opportunity to perform in a variety of settings and explore the creative nature of contemporary musical performance. Through practical workshops students will perform in a range of different styles and contexts and design productive rehearsal strategies.

Lectures will explore the varied nature of musical performance in the 21st century and practice-led workshops will afford the opportunity to discuss the nature of performance in different contexts: live; recorded; acoustic; electronic; networked; and, interactive. Students are encouraged to perform collaboratively, and form their own bands/ensembles, working towards a portfolio of live performances.

Performance Practice 1

This module explores popular performance traditions and artistry in a variety of settings. Through practical workshops students will perform in a range of different styles and contexts and develop rehearsal strategies tailored to their own performance aspirations.

Lectures will explore the varied nature of musical performance in the 21st century and practice-led workshops will afford the opportunity to develop rehearsal strategies for performances in different contexts. Students are encouraged to perform collaboratively, and form their own bands/ensembles, working towards a portfolio of live performances totalling 15 minutes.

Guerrilla Recording

This module focuses on recording and capturing sound outside of the high-end studio environment in diverse and challenging spaces. Lectures will cover the behavioural aspects of sound in different acoustical spaces and how microphone technique can be employed to get good results in adverse or limited circumstances.

Practical workshops will provide you with the means to work with ‘pure audio’ covering the basics of acquisition, ingest and editing of audio. You will have the opportunity to explore and experiment with different production workflows such as that of bedroom production DAWs or on location field recording whilst experimenting with different mono and stereo mic configurations and models.

Culture, Industry & Context

In this module you will discuss the nature of the creative industries in which you are engaged and individually present a polished presentation in response to an agreed brief. You must also submit an individual essay analysing a current and challenging topic assigned by the lecturer.

You will be introduced to practices used in the delivery of various media and concepts for understanding the benefits and disadvantages of different media platforms, including practical constraints of delivery. Through the use of contemporary case studies, you will analyse the production process and decision-making for a range of media texts. Theoretical understandings of media forms, such as issues of representation, copyright, adoption cycles, will be explored across different media. New and emerging media technologies will be examined.

Digital Music

This module focuses on the exploration and composition of varying styles of digital (and electronic) music. Lectures will cover the history and context of digital music, and explore key artists, composers, genres and trends.

Practical workshops will provide students with the means to work with different digital platforms covering the basics of sequencing, composition and manipulation of electronic, virtual instruments. Students will have the opportunity to explore and experiment with different production techniques through directed workshop tasks and per-review opportunities.

Students will work individually to produce two digital compositions that build on taught sessions in accordance to a specified brief. Students will also demonstrate an understanding of different approaches by ensuring that the two compositions contrast in style/genre and production approaches.

Artist Development 1: Song Writing

This module gives students the opportunity to develop a small portfolio of songs, whilst exploring a diverse range of practical songwriting techniques. Students will explore different song writing traditions, commercial approaches and the songwriting industry. Students will be expected to develop songs weekly, sharing their output with their peers and will be assessed on a portfolio of different songs.

Modules

Creative Music Production

This module builds on Recording Studio Practice at level 4 and encourages the use of the recording studio as a creative environment, as well as a technical space. There is emphasis on advanced approaches to recording and using the recording studio to enhance musical phenomena. Practical workshops will provide you with advanced technological skills including multi-microphone arrays, use of space, advanced editing and mixing, and creative use of audio processing. You will explore the ‘art’ and ‘science’ of music production and explore how pioneering producers made creative and musical choices within the recording studio environment; as well as more unique approaches to recording and mixing including 5.1 surround sound for music.

Performance 2

This module builds on Performance 1 at level 4 and explores approaches to performances in a variety of settings and to critically explore contemporary performance practice. Lectures will explore the varied nature of musical performance in the 21st century and practice-led workshops will afford the opportunity to discuss the nature of performance in different contexts: live; recorded; acoustic; electronic; networked; and, interactive. You are encouraged to perform collaboratively, and form your own bands/ensembles, working towards a series of performances that include: live television and streaming broadcasts; and an extended live performance in a large venue.

Synthesis & Sequencing

You will work inside complex digital signal processing workflows, utilising synthesizers, sample instruments and incorporating programming to devise an original audio composition. The focus here is on sculpted sound and digital workflows of recording and mixing. As such, the nature of the music may be more experimental in nature and may feature fieldwork and home recording to a greater extent than studio based recording.

The Soundtrack: Sound Design for Cinema

This module explores the world of post-production sound design for film and moving images, providing you with the knowledge and practical understanding required to carry out an effective piece of work in this specialist field. You will gain an understanding of how multi-modal sensory information competes, altering a viewer’s interpretation of sound when placed alongside the moving image. Theories such as Gestalt will be discussed as both an explanation of perception phenomenon and as a conceptual tool used by sound designers to exploit psychoacoustics. Alongside this, more purely practical techniques and strategies will be taught such as Foley & ADR recording; where they sit in the film sound industry and how one accommodates them in a studio. Students will show their mastery of these theoretical and practical skills by designing sound for a short video sequence provided by the lecturer.

Popular Music Culture

In this module students will explore the field of contemporary Popular Music Studies and are encouraged to develop and engage with these in relation to their own musical interests. Students will explore the cultural value of popular music, and its varying styles, as well socio-cultural contexts that have influenced, and been influenced by, popular music movements. A critical understanding of: physical and digital audiences; the contemporary musicological canon; music video; technology; popular culture; and, the music industries will inform discussion in both lectures and seminars.

Optional Modules
  • Composing Song Lyrics - 15 credits
  • Artist Development 2: Identity - 15 Credits

Optional

Creative Music Production

This module builds on Recording Studio Practice at level 4 and encourages the use of the recording studio as a creative environment, as well as a technical space. There is emphasis on advanced approaches to recording and using the recording studio to enhance musical phenomena. Practical workshops will provide you with advanced technological skills including multi-microphone arrays, use of space, advanced editing and mixing, and creative use of audio processing. You will explore the ‘art’ and ‘science’ of music production and explore how pioneering producers made creative and musical choices within the recording studio environment; as well as more unique approaches to recording and mixing including 5.1 surround sound for music.

Performance 2

This module builds on Performance 1 at level 4 and explores approaches to performances in a variety of settings and to critically explore contemporary performance practice. Lectures will explore the varied nature of musical performance in the 21st century and practice-led workshops will afford the opportunity to discuss the nature of performance in different contexts: live; recorded; acoustic; electronic; networked; and, interactive. You are encouraged to perform collaboratively, and form your own bands/ensembles, working towards a series of performances that include: live television and streaming broadcasts; and an extended live performance in a large venue.

Synthesis & Sequencing

You will work inside complex digital signal processing workflows, utilising synthesizers, sample instruments and incorporating programming to devise an original audio composition. The focus here is on sculpted sound and digital workflows of recording and mixing. As such, the nature of the music may be more experimental in nature and may feature fieldwork and home recording to a greater extent than studio based recording.

The Soundtrack: Sound Design for Cinema

This module explores the world of post-production sound design for film and moving images, providing you with the knowledge and practical understanding required to carry out an effective piece of work in this specialist field. You will gain an understanding of how multi-modal sensory information competes, altering a viewer’s interpretation of sound when placed alongside the moving image. Theories such as Gestalt will be discussed as both an explanation of perception phenomenon and as a conceptual tool used by sound designers to exploit psychoacoustics. Alongside this, more purely practical techniques and strategies will be taught such as Foley & ADR recording; where they sit in the film sound industry and how one accommodates them in a studio. Students will show their mastery of these theoretical and practical skills by designing sound for a short video sequence provided by the lecturer.

Popular Music Culture

In this module students will explore the field of contemporary Popular Music Studies and are encouraged to develop and engage with these in relation to their own musical interests. Students will explore the cultural value of popular music, and its varying styles, as well socio-cultural contexts that have influenced, and been influenced by, popular music movements. A critical understanding of: physical and digital audiences; the contemporary musicological canon; music video; technology; popular culture; and, the music industries will inform discussion in both lectures and seminars.

Optional Modules
  • Composing Song Lyrics - 15 credits
  • Artist Development 2: Identity - 15 Credits

Modules

Final Major Music Production and Performance Project

You will produce a considerable piece of work, to a professional industry standard, such as an album of multitrack recordings, a portfolio of sound design, a performance (live/recorded) portfolio, or a project showcasing an area of audio/visual media production which interests you. Exact specifications of the project are decided by negotiation between the student and supervisor and approved via proposal.

Performance 3

This module builds on performance at level 5 and explores professional approaches to performances in a variety of settings and the performance industry. Practice-led workshops will afford the opportunity to develop performance as a product and the professionalism required to work in the live industry. You are encouraged to perform collaboratively, and form your own bands/ensembles, working towards two final performances that include: an extended industry audition and pitch; and a short live performance in an alternative venue focussing on the use of technology in performance.

Music in the Community

This module gives you the opportunity to work in a client led relationship to produce a project to an external brief while at the same time exposing you to the benefits of participating in community led or third sector ventures.  Working in groups, you are encouraged to engage with the ethos of a not for profit organisation and use your production skills to benefit the community at large.

Music Industry Practice

This module explores enterprise and entrepreneurship in the creative industries. You will each work on developing a robust and commercially viable business idea, which you will present as a formative pitch as if to a venture capitalist.  Your submitted portfolio must contain a fully formed business plan including market analysis, feasibility studies, cash flow forecasts and sensitivity analyses. Additional supplementary items in the portfolio will support the business plan through innovative marketing strategies.

Original Music Composition

Students will compose, arrange and record an original music piece with a rationale as to its purpose expressing engagement with the concepts, theories and practices of composition. This can be developed as a score to another media project or a stand-alone work. In either case it should feature comprehensive intentional musical choices illustrated with notation or midi sequencing and be presented as an audio recording.

Entry requirements

104-120 points

Our offers are typically made using UCAS tariff points to allow you to include a range of level 3 qualifications and as a guide, the requirements for this course are equivalent to:

  • A-Levels: BCC-BBB from 3 A Levels or equivalent grade combinations (e.g. BBB is comparable to ABC in terms of tariff points)
  • BTEC/CTEC: DMM from BTEC or Cambridge Technical (CTEC) qualifications
  • International Baccalaureate: To include a minimum of 2 Higher Level certificates at grade H4
  • T Level: Merit in a T Level

Additionally, we accept tariff points achieved for many other qualifications, such as the Access to Higher Education Diploma, Scottish Highers, UAL Diploma/Extended Diploma and WJEC Applied Certificate/Diploma, to name a few. We also accept tariff points from smaller level 3 qualifications, up to a maximum of 32, from qualifications like the Extended Project (EP/EPQ), music or dance qualifications. To find out more about UCAS tariff points, including what your qualifications are worth, please visit UCAS.

In addition to level 3 study, the following GCSE’s are required:

GCSEs English Language at grade 4 or C, or higher. Functional Skills at level 2 is accepted as an alternative, however Key Skills qualifications are not. If you hold another qualification, please get in touch and we will advise further

If you will be over the age of 21 years of age at the beginning of your undergraduate study, you will be considered as a mature student. This means our offer may be different and any work or life experiences you have will be considered together with any qualifications you hold. UCAS have further information about studying as a mature student on their website which may be of interest.

International points required

If English is not your first language, a formal English language test will most likely be required and you will need to achieve the following:

  • IELTS Academic at 5.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in all four components (for year 1 entry)
  • We also accept other English language qualifications, such as IELTS Indicator, Pearson PTE Academic, Cambridge C1 Advanced and TOEFL iBT

If you are living outside of the UK or Europe, you can find out more about how to join this course by contacting our International Recruitment Team via our International Apply Pages

2024 Course Tuition Fees

  UK / Channel Islands /
Isle of Man / Republic of Ireland 

International

Year 1 £9,250 £16,700
Year 2 £9,250 £16,700
Year 3 £9,250 £16,700
Total £27,750 £50,100
Optional Sandwich Year* £1,850 £3,340
Total with Sandwich Year £29,600 £53,440

Additional tuition fee information

If you are a UK student starting your degree in September 2024, the first year will cost you £9,250**. Based on this fee level, the indicative fees for a three-year degree would be £27,750 for UK students.

Remember, you don’t have to pay any of this upfront if you are able to get a tuition fee loan from the UK Government to cover the full cost of your fees each year.

UK Part-Time fees are calculated on a pro rata basis of the full-time fee for a 120 credit course. The fee for a single credit is £77.08 and a 15 credit module is £1,156. Part-time students can take up to a maximum 90 credits per year, so the maximum fee in a given year will be the government permitted maximum fee of £6,935.

International part-time fees are calculated on a pro rata basis of the full-time fee for a 120 credit course. The fee for a single credit is £139.14 and a 15 credit module is £2,087.

* Please note that not all courses offer an optional sandwich year.

**The University of Winchester will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year.

Additional costs

As one of our students all of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including, lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of student support and IT services.

There might be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying. The following highlights the mandatory and optional costs for this course:

Mandatory

Printing and Binding

The University is pleased to offer our students a printing allowance of £5 each academic year. This will print around 125 A4 (black and white) pages. If students wish to print more, printer credit can be topped up by the student. The University and Student Union are champions of sustainability and we ask all our students to consider the environmental impact before printing.

Optional

We recommend our students invest in a pair of studio quality closed back headphones. There are a number of good options available and your programme team will be happy to make recommendations. Indicative cost is £100.

We also recommend that our students invest in a portable hard drive or cloud storage subscription for backing up and storing their creative work. Indicative cost is £50-£200.

You will find all of our core reading texts in the library, as well as a vast number of electronic resources. However, you may want to buy select core textbooks for reference. These can be found at reasonable prices second hand.

The programme team aim to organise field trips both locally and internationally. These will not be mandatory and will incur additional costs.

Disclosure and Barring Service

A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance check may be required if you undertake a placement, volunteering, research or other course related activity where you will have contact with children or vulnerable adults. The requirement for a DBS check will be confirmed by staff as part of the process to approve your placement, research or other activity. The indicative cost is £40.

SCHOLARSHIPS, BURSARIES AND AWARDS

We have a variety of scholarship and bursaries available to support you financially with the cost of your course. To see if you’re eligible, please see our Scholarships and Awards.

CAREER PROSPECTS

Graduates from Popular Music: Production & Performance are expected to progress to jobs in music and sound production, live performance, or as music industry professionals. These may include music composers or sound designers for film/games/television; music publishing; or performers. Graduates will have the technical ability that gives them a strong grounding for working in studio based environments (i.e. producing, recording, mixing, mastering) and producing their own musical output to industry standard requirements.

The University of Winchester ranks in the top 10 in the UK for graduates in employment or further study according to the Graduate Outcomes Survey 2021, HESA.

Pre-approved for a Masters

If you study a Bachelor Honours degrees with us, you will be pre-approved to start a Masters degree at Winchester. To be eligible, you will need to apply by the end of March in the final year of your degree and meet the entry requirements of your chosen Masters degree.

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