Foundation Year Zero
Students on all of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities Foundation Year courses will undertake 80 credits of generic core modules introducing them to study in the arts and humanities and university level skills, namely:
- Academic Writing and Study Skills
- Personal and Career Development
- Understanding Arts and Humanities
- Being Human: an Introduction to the Humanities
In addition you will be offered two 20 credit optional modules, one to be studied in each semester. The full list of optional modules is as follows and you will be placed onto the modules which most effectively complement your degree pathway choice and, where applicable, your study interests:
- Dangerous Ideas
- Foundation English Language and Communication
- Foundation English Literature
- Foundation Media and Communications
- Analysing British Cinema
- Historical Foundations
- America and the World (subject to validation)
- Music and Performing Arts in Context
- The Languages and Theory of Music
Audio Sequencing and Recording (20 credits)
This module is designed to provide you with a grounding in the applications and techniques of MIDI and audio sequencing. The module will focus on commercial music recording and production methods and will relate, for example, to the practical production of demo-format recordings required for Songwriting.
Commercial Music in Context (20 credits)
The aim of this module is to provide you with an understanding of the historical and cultural context of a range of styles and genres of commercial music. These will be considered by tracing the development of constituent strands of music to the present day. In addition, recorded examples from each style will be considered analytically in order to identify their salient characteristics and their relationship to other styles.
Popular Music Analysis (20 credits)
Popular Music Analysis builds upon the knowledge gained at level one in Commercial Music in Context, introducing you to more advanced forms of textual and cultural analysis. Musical material will be analysed in greater depth, with a particular interest in musical style as it relates to individual artists and genres in popular music. The module aims to develop your ability both to identify and relate key musical characteristics, patterns, and traits in popular music works.
This is an illustrative sample of some of the options we offer. Please note that not all optional modules will run each year.
Likely Optional Modules
Performance 1A (20 credits)
This module enables you to develop skills in performance through the study of a specialist instrument (including voice). Alongside the development of instrumental skills you will gain rehearsal and performance experience by participating in student and staff-run ensembles, which aim to encourage development and refinement of theoretical knowledge and practical skills across a range of musical styles.
Performance 1B (20 credits)
Building on Performance 1A, Performance 1B enables you to continue to develop skills in performance through the study of a specialist instrument (including voice). Alongside the development of instrumental skills you will continue to gain rehearsal and performance experience by participating in a student ensemble.
Sound Production 1A (20 credits)
This module provides students with a grounding in studio recording techniques. Complimenting the software-based sequencing and mix emphasis of Audio Sequencing and Recording, Sound Production 1A focuses specifically on studio recording practice, including studio set up, microphone technique, use of a mixing desk, and signal processing, as well as relevant theoretical principles related to acoustics and electronics.
Sound Production 1B (20 credits)
This module provides students with a further grounding in studio recording, processing and mixing techniques. Sound Production 1B expands on techniques discussed in Sound Production 1A and the software-based sequencing and mix emphasis of Audio Sequencing and Recording. The main focus is on microphone technique, use of a mixing desk, audio routing and effecting, as well as software based processing, mixing and mastering.
Music Industry Fundamentals (20 credits)
The aim of this module is to enable you to gain a broad understanding of the background, structure and organisation of the music industry and to give you a foundation for determining your own potential role within it. This includes the concepts of intellectual property and copyright, the development and production of recorded music and the marketing and distribution of finished product together with the requirements regarding performance and promotion. Also included is an examination of both the operation of major and independent record companies and DIY releases together with the marketing of music from both composers and performing artists.
Notation in Practice (20 credits)
This module aims to provide a grounding in musical theory and to enable you to develop your ability to read and write music in staff notation, chord charts and lead sheets. It will introduce you to concepts of music theory and you will also become familiar with the basic principles of computer music processing and will be required to produce scores using Sibelius as a score-writing tool.
Sound Structure (20 credits)
This module gives you grounding in the theories and practices used to analyse a range of audio examples and to enable you to become fluent in your ability to recognise the sonic characteristics of recordings and performances. You will be introduced to techniques used to analyse and document the development of sound in time, including spectral analysis, graphic representation and aspects of musical notation. The sonic characteristics of different materials will be explained, along with the basic principles of spectral morphology.
Songwriting 1 (20 credits)
This module aims to introduce you to songwriting as a process, encouraging the development of an individual style over the duration of your studies. In addition to informing you about well-established ‘traditional’ songwriting models and common structures, contemporary songwriting practices and considerations of arrangement, performance and production will also form part of the module.
Year 2 Options
Performance 2A (20 credits)
Building on the skills acquired in Performance 1 this module enables you to further develop skills in performance through the study of a specialist instrument (including voice). Alongside the development of instrumental skills you will gain rehearsal and performance experience by participating in staff-run and student ensembles, which aim to encourage development and refinement of theoretical knowledge and practical skills across a range of musical styles.
Performance 2B (20 credits)
Building on the skills acquired in Performance 2A this module enables you to further develop skills in performance through the study of a specialist instrument (including voice). Alongside the development of instrumental skills you will continue to gain rehearsal and performance experience by continuing to participate in at least one staff-run ensemble, which aims to encourage development and refinement of theoretical knowledge and practical skills.
Sound Production 2A (20 credits)
This module aims to provide comprehensive coverage of the theory and practice of multitrack studio recording and production. You will have the opportunity to gain an understanding of the scientific principles that underpin sound production and develop the skills to use a recording studio environment, offering an analysis of equipment, technique and procedure.
Sound Production 2B (20 credits)
Building on Sound Production 2A this module aims to continue to provide comprehensive and analytical coverage of the theory and practice of multitrack studio recording and production. You will have the opportunity to expand further on your understanding of the scientific principles that underpin sound production and develop the skills to use a recording studio environment, offering an analysis of equipment, technique and procedure. Pre- and post-production processes are included in the practice of multitrack recording.
Melodic Improvisation in Theory and Practice (20 credits)
This module aims to enable you to develop skills in improvisation techniques through the study of theoretical concepts and practical application through a consideration of a variety of approaches to improvisation. In addition you will be required to analyse improvisations and will transcribe solos, developing aural and notation skills.
Creative Sound Design (20 credits)
This module aims to provide a substantial practical overview of studio-based approaches to sound design and electronic composition. A broad and diverse approach will be taken, emphasizing, for example, the influences of dance music and film sound, academia, the avant-garde and the commercial music industry on the shaping of the contemporary studio composer.
Music Enterprise (20 credits)
The aim of this module is for you to develop an understanding and appreciation of how music and the music industries, in various guises, can generate income. It considers the various elements that contribute to ensuring that composing, performing and recording rights are managed effectively and fairly and includes focuses on music publishing, entertainment law and copyright, performance and recording, venue and tour management and record label management.
Music in the Media 1 (20 credits)
You will develop the ability to compose music that enhances moving images and will learn to engage those stylistic conventions and techniques most commonly encountered in bespoke media music. You will develop those sequencing and arranging skills needed in the production of smaller-budget media music and will also be presented with opportunities to develop skills in sound design that may be used alongside or as an alternative to more traditional compositional skills.
Live Sound (20 credits)
This module provides coverage of the methods and processes undertaken when mixing audio for live performance band settings. Through addressing the principles of audio signal paths, processing and mixing for both audience and performers, you will explore the application of appropriate hardware in the live sound environment, supported by an overview of audio, technological and engineering discipline and theory. You will be introduced to criteria informing technical and aesthetic choices in the production of audio for live performance and opportunities will be available for the practical application of live sound skills within course performances.
Songwriting 2 (20 credits)
Songwriting 2 builds on the work completed within Songwriting 1 through the study of more advanced and extended songwriting models, whilst encouraging you to develop their own distinctive ‘voice’ within your creative work. The application of technology within the compositional process will be explored as a means to extend beyond traditional songwriting models and you will also develop an awareness of music from other contemporary genres as a means to further expand the diversity of influence applied within their songs and arrangements.
Online Promotion and Website Design for Musicians (20 credits)
This module is designed to introduce you to methods by which music-based media can be promoted using online digital multimedia. Traditional, current and emergent media are reviewed as you explore graphic and visual representation of musical subject and style in the context of online promotion.
Year 3 options
Performance 3A (20 credits)
This module has a particular focus on studio technique, whilst continuing to develop live rehearsal and performance technique in staff-run ensembles. As with Performance 2, the study of a specialist instrument or voice is the central core activity, and you will develop skills for studio performance within a recording session. The development of instrumental skills is supported by a further extension of rehearsal and performance experience through participation in staff-run ensemble.
Performance 3B (20 credits)
The aim of this module is to further develop skills in live performance, and the study of a specialist instrument or voice continues to be the central core activity. The development of instrumental skills is supported by a further extension of rehearsal and performance experience through participation in at least one staff-run ensemble.
Sound Production 3A (20 credits)
The aim of the module is provide you with the opportunity to focus on creative studio technique and develop an integrated approach to the session end-product: a definitive master demonstrating a distinctive approach to recording and production.
Sound Production 3B (20 credits)
You will continue to explore the role of the producer (artist-, engineer-, composer-, arranger-producer) in the generation of multitrack recordings to a commercial standard, informed by an awareness of established, current and emerging global production styles.
Studio Composition (20 credits)
This module aims to develop your ability to conceive and realize original compositions through creative use of the music production studio. You pursue individual areas of interest in technology-based music composition, devising creative ideas and the work of contemporary composers and producers in various genres is considered, with a particular emphasis on how methods of production (including studio process, collaboration, and relevant technologies) influence the creative output.
Jazz: Performance, Arrangement and Composition (20 credits)
This module builds upon the work done in Melodic Improvisation in Theory and Practice at level two by developing aspects of composition, arranging, improvisation and performance techniques in jazz-based styles.
Film Music A (20 credits)
The module aims to give you an understanding of the process of writing music for film and you will be introduced to the development of the language of film music, film scoring techniques and to broader cultural and critical issues.
Film Music B (20 credits)
Continuing from Film Music A, this module aims to develop your understanding of the language of film music, film-scoring techniques and the broader cultural and critical issues. You will develop composition, production, and software techniques and apply these skills to the creation of music for film.
Music Business Futures (20 credits)
The aim of this module is to develop a clear and deep knowledge of the current music industry informed primarily by investigation and practice. The module focuses in detail on the many new and emerging technologies available for promotion, discovery, distribution and consumption of music via the Internet and mobile networks that are currently being explored within the industry. The changing attitudes to copyright law is considered in the context of music copyright control in the digital age, plus online product marketing and music publishing in order to provide a ‘digital sense’ of real‐world music business activity.
Songwriting 3A (20 credits)
Songwriting 3A aims to provide you with the opportunity to extend and enhance a personal songwriting style whilst fostering an awareness of songwriting in a commercial context. In order to develop your practical, creative and technical skills in songwriting the module engages you with projects such as the completion of an e.p. (extended play).
Songwriting 3B (20 credits)
Songwriting 3B aims to provide you with the opportunity to extend and enhance a personal songwriting style whilst fostering an awareness of songwriting in a commercial context. In order to develop your practical, creative and technical skills in songwriting, the module builds upon the work done in Songwriting 3A by engaging you with more substantial projects, such as the completion of an album. This module also requires you to present your songs in a live setting.
Repertoire and Styles (20 credits)
This module aims to enable you to become increasingly confident and flexible practitioners in a broad range of popular music performance styles. The module aims to consider a range of musical styles not previously covered in performance modules at levels 4 and 5, and to develop skills further in the rehearsal and performance process.
Music in the Media 2 (20 credits)
You will develop composition, production, and software techniques and apply these skills to the creation of music for various forms of media. Through the use of industry briefs, you will develop the ability to work under time constraints, to specific creative guidelines.
Sound Art (20 credits)
This module includes a strong emphasis on emergent forms of sound design, and alternative approaches to composition will be explored. You will be introduced to a range of skills, such as formulating project proposals and creating documentation, whilst new developments in Sound Art are discussed through a variety of lectures and practical demonstrations. You will also be encouraged to collaborate with visual media artists, such as photographers or web designers, in the creation of a mixed-media work.
Independent Project A and B (20 credits)
The module will enable you to undertake a substantive project which may be practical with an accompanying reflective commentary or research based in the form of a dissertation.