Popular Music Production BA(Hons) 2017-18

This course also available for 2018-19 entry

It’s not too late to apply for September 2017. Find out more.

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Julian Surma

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About the course

This course aims to give you the skills to work as a recording studio engineer, producer, mix engineer or live sound engineer. Career opportunities also exist in putting sound and music to film and TV or in producing content for radio, so you have the chance to study these areas through our option module system.

You'll be supported in honing your creative skills, exploring popular music recording and mixing techniques, live music production and composition. Composition will focus on synthesis, audio manipulation, sound creation and electronic dance music production techniques.

A feature of this course is that you're also able to study popular music performance - as well as being enjoyable this aims to enhance your ability to talk to/engage with performers. We understand that you might have taught yourself to play an instrument, so you don't need to hold a formal music qualification. You'll perform popular music as a part of an ensemble. This gives you experience of how to work with live artists to enhance their performance both in the studio and in a live setting.

We aim to replicate the professional environment and so you'll have access to industry standard facilities. Many of our tutors are experienced industry professionals and with their support you'll gain experience of using professional equipment and software.

At Huddersfield, you'll be joining a large community of Music Technology students . You have the chance to enhance your employability by undertaking an optional placement year as part of your course. Working in music technology facilities of the type you would find in industry with a number of tutors who are experienced industry professionals, you'll have the opportunity to gain hands on experience of professional equipment and software including eleven Pro Tools recording and post-production studios. You can book into the studios for your own use, the studios you'll be taught in depend upon the modules that you study.

This course holds JAMES accreditation. JAMES accredit courses in audio recording and music production and endorse relevance, quality and continuing innovation.

Previous graduates have gone on to employment in organisations including the BBC, Warner Music and Universal Music Group and with recording studios including Angel Studios.

You might like to hear what Fraser has to say about studying Music Technology and Audio Systems BSc(Hons) at the University of Huddersfield.

UCAS code:

Start date:
18 / 09 / 2017


3 years full-time
4 years inc. placement

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for this course are normally one of the following:

•  BBB at A Level.

•  DDM in a relevant BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma.

•  120 UCAS tariff points from a combination of Level 3 qualifications

•  Pass Access to Higher Education Diploma with 45 Level 3 credits at Merit or above.

•  Pass International Baccalaureate with an overall score of 31 points.

Additional information

•  Practical experience of playing a musical instrument is required but this need not be formalised within a qualification.

•  In addition you must also hold Mathematics GCSE at Grade C or above.

•  Formal music grades do not contribute towards UCAS points. Other suitable experience or qualifications will be considered. For further information please see the University's minimum entry requirements at http://www.hud.ac.uk/undergraduate/howtoapply/entryrequirements/

Please note: UCAS points are based on the new UCAS tariff, introduced for courses starting in 2017/18.


Admissions and Marketing Office

Tel: +44 (0)1484 473116

Email: compeng@hud.ac.uk

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Places available:


(this number may be subject to change)

Huddersfield, HD1 3DH

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Course content

The music industry uses skilled recording studio engineers, producers, mix engineers and live sound engineers. This course aims to develop your practical skills in many areas of the music production industry including:

•  Popular music performance skills in a range of ensemble types from Rock to Funk and Jazz.

•  Popular music recording and mixing techniques, including modern drum production techniques, guitar tracking, microphone selection and placement, studio signal flow, utilisation of plugins and outboard processors, and techniques for the art of mixing.

•  Live music production, front of house mixing, monitor mixing, use of FX, signal processors, equalisation techniques and PA design.

•  Composition, with a particular focus on synthesis, audio manipulation, sound creation and electronic dance music production techniques.

•  Music theory from a popular music perspective.

•  The fundamentals of analogue and digital audio.

Career opportunities also exist in putting sound and music to film and TV or in producing content for radio. So option modules you may be able to choose cover:

•  Radio production, focusing on the production of radio content, including sonic branding, voxpops and interviews.

•  Sound to moving picture concentrating on the creation of Foley, track laying, ambience creation, mixing and the composition of music cues.

Year 1

Core modules:

Introduction to Music Theory

This module aims to provide a grounding in music theory and listening skills applicable to the field of music technology and sound recording. You will have the opportunity to study different aspects of music theory through the use of pop music, classical music and music from around the world and develop your critical listening skills through regular exercises in listening.

Performance Skills 1

This module is designed to help you to gain key skills in general musicianship. You will learn about and practice skills in improvisation and aural awareness, as well as gain experience in critical evaluation of concerts and your own development as a musician. You will have the opportunity to develop skills and experience in ensemble performance and participation. Assessment consists of practical tests and coursework assignments in which you will demonstrate your knowledge, understanding and skills through written assignments, music performance, and practical tests of your musicianship.

Introduction to Digital Media and the Internet

Serving as an introductory module, you'll study how the web can be harnessed by the music industry. The module covers how to create a content managed website with a wide range of functions including: blog, picture sliders, embedding video and social networking widgets, and adding your Soundcloud and other music-related content directly in to the pages. You'll explore the importance of interconnectivity between your hub website and your various music/social platforms, optimising each to suit your purposes. You'll also study how to plan and create digital videos and incorporate special effects. The portfolio of work you're expected to create provides an excellent tool for landing a great placement and is a springboard for further self-promotion to the world.

Computer Composition and Sound Design 1 (CCSD1)

This module covers a wide range of creative musical applications of computer hardware and software. The focus of the module is to broaden your perspectives and help you develop an understanding of a range of compositional techniques through the creation of a small portfolio of compositions. However, there is no requirement for you to be an already experienced composer to complete this module successfully. The composition techniques are described in full with lots of examples, and you’ll partake in workshop sessions based largely around the exploration of these techniques and the development of your composition portfolio. This module provides you with the opportunity to fully appreciate how extensive the creative potential of the computer is and gain an understanding of standard composition software, along with the chance to develop your skills in a range of compositional techniques.

Audio Technology 1

This module aims to provide an overview of the technologies found in a modern audio recording environment. You will be introduced to audio principles such as signals, acoustics, hearing, basic electronics and digital audio processing fundamentals. You’ll be supported in using these principles to develop an understanding of audio technologies found in music production, such as microphones, mixing desks, amplifiers, audio processors and speaker systems.

Recording 1

This module is designed to introduce you to the basic theory and practice of a broad range of techniques and equipment used for studio, concert hall and location recordings. The studio recording part of the module focuses on techniques involved in modern pop/rock music production. The module includes practical recording sessions delivered in our professional quality studios equipped with ProTools HD and a digital mixing desk. The concert hall and location recording content of the module is aimed at providing you with a firm understanding of various stereo microphone techniques for acoustic recording. You’ll also get the opportunity to put your learning into practice by making recordings of a classical ensemble at the University’s concert venue.

Year 2

Core modules:

Computer Composition and Sound Design 2 (CCSD2)

The module aims to develop your skills as a music producer and composer through creation of electronic music, with a particular focus on electronic dance music remixing techniques. Using a digital audio workstation (DAW), you’ll be encouraged to develop your skills in audio editing, mixing and sound design, and apply them to popular music tracks. You will also have the opportunity to create a variety of synthesisers and sound manipulation/effects tools using modular audio software packages.

Recording 2

This module will cover advanced concepts around the theory and practice of recording and mixing sound. It will review some of the current ideas about recording and production, and place techniques and technologies in a historical context. In combination with the content delivered during the lectures for the module, you’ll have the opportunity to gain practical experience of sound recording and mixing to a high commercial standard in our digital recording studios, where a series of in-depth workshops are delivered.

Live Music Production

This module has been designed to help you to become familiar with the live music industry and how it operates. You’ll also be given the opportunity to develop skills which may enhance your career prospects. Subjects covered include health and safety, front of house and monitor mixing, tour management, lighting, green issues, feedback suppression, PA design and more.

Musicology of Production

This module aims to introduce you to the study of music production from a musicological perspective. The focus of the module will be on understanding the ideas that circulate in the study of production. Teaching and learning concentrates on three main areas of study including the technological contexts and repertoire, analysis techniques appropriate to production and critical writings on the subject.

Popular Music Directed Ensembles 1

In this module you are coached as a fully formed band in more advanced groups. The ensembles you could be in are: Folk, Blues, Funk, Reggae/ska, Prog Rock, Jazz, Laptop Ensemble, Frank Zappa Band, Guitar Orchestra, Guitar Improvisation, A Capella Choir, Samba Band plus the opportunity to create original bands. Assessment comes in the form of two practical gigs through the year and a reflective report tracking your experience in the module.

Option modules: Choose one from a list which may include-

The Music Industry and the Internet

In this module, you'll be expected to harness the internet to drive real traffic to a real website you will produce for you or your band. You'll be supported in creating professional social media accounts, linking music uploading accounts, using search engine optimisation, making screencasts and using special effects for videos relating to your digital profile. The model also explores money-business models for musical artists including advertising, videos, e-commerce and merchandise. The aim is that at the end of this module you will have an integrated digital footprint with an e-commerce website selling (or with the potential) real (or designed) products.

Radio Production

In this module you’ll be supported in engaging in industry practices to help you explore radio programme making and commercial production. The module covers interview techniques, communication theory and the legal and ethical frameworks surrounding the production of broadcast material.  In term one you’ll be supported in producing a voxpop and two commercials for radio. You’ll be provided with a ‘client brief’ and are expected to interpret this and combine the use of music, speech, silence, sound fx and appropriate production techniques in the creation of a high quality production suitable for broadcast. In term two you’ll work in small teams to plan, produce and present a short radio programme using specialist radio production scheduling software in a dedicated radio production studio. You’ll be encouraged to create a sonic branding package which includes jingles, idents, music beds and presenter links. You will also create a longer feature package, new bulletin and devise a music policy that is suitable for a discrete target audience.

Year 3 – optional placement year

Final year

Core modules:

Individual Project (Music Technology)

The module provides the opportunity for you to take a substantial project from a suitable starting objective to a satisfactory conclusion. Your project can be based on any of the subject areas of your course, or on a combination of subject areas. This module has been designed to enable you to apply and increase your knowledge in a chosen field and allow you to demonstrate your capabilities in a Music Technology related area.

Business and the Music Industry

This module will is aimed at providing you with a greater awareness of how music is now being created, consumed and, with a view to future developments, exploited as a commodity in the larger context of the entertainment world. The module will explore strategies and opportunities whereby you can best position yourself for a successful business experience or career in the music industry.

Recording 3

The skill of a mix engineer has an overwhelming impact on the quality of the resulting production. This module focuses on advanced production techniques applied during this process, with case studies presented. Both stereo and 5.1 surround mixing and recording are explored.

Popular Music Directed Ensembles 2

In this module you are coached as a fully formed band in more advanced groups with the expectation that you will take a leading role in the group. The ensembles you could be in are: Folk, Blues, Funk, Reggae/ska, Prog Rock, Jazz, Laptop Ensemble, Frank Zappa Band, Guitar Orchestra, Guitar Improvisation, A Capella Choir, Samba Band plus the opportunity to create original bands. Assessment comes in the form of two practical gigs through the year and an audio report tracking your experience in the module.

Option modules: Choose one from a list which may include-

Creative Programming with MIDI and Digital Audio

This module delves deep into the creative potential of audio and Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) development and processing software. These applications provide lots of possibilities to create expressive and engaging interactive music and sound tools that can link with video and other media types. You’ll examine the ‘how and why’ of using these tools to create interactive sound and music systems and will be encouraged to develop an open and creative, sometimes abstract, approach to the design of such systems from both a creative and technical/problem solving perspective. The module aims to build upon the previous composition modules of Years 1 and 2 and aims towards the creation of a fully interactive and engaging sonic experience, developed throughout the year, that is worthy of being exhibited in a gallery or exhibition hall.

Vision and Sound

This module aims to develop your skills in audio recording/editing and writing music for film. You’ll have the opportunity to record audio and to compose original and unique music for a short film. Your lectures focus on sound design, creation of ambiences, synchronisation, Foley, automatic dialogue replacement (ADR), audio editing, track laying and film music composition techniques. Workshops are designed to be highly practical and will allow you the freedom to experiment with techniques covered in the lectures.

Important information

We will always try to deliver your course as described on this web page. However, sometimes we may have to make changes as set out below.

We review all optional modules each year and change them to reflect the expertise of our staff, current trends in research and as a result of student feedback. We will always ensure that you have a range of options to choose from and we will let students know in good time the options available for them to choose for the following year.

We will only change core modules for a course if it is necessary for us to do so, for example to maintain course accreditation. We will let you know about any such changes as soon as possible, usually before you begin the relevant academic year.

Sometimes we have to make changes to other aspects of a course or how it is delivered. We only make these changes if they are for reasons outside of our control, or where they are for our students’ benefit. Again, we will let you know about any such changes as soon as possible, usually before the relevant academic year. Our regulations set out our procedure which we will follow when we need to make any such changes.

When you enrol as a student of the University, your study and time with us will be governed by a framework of regulations, policies and procedures, which form the basis of your agreement with us. These include regulations regarding the assessment of your course, academic integrity, your conduct (including attendance) and disciplinary procedure, fees and finance and compliance with visa requirements (where relevant). It is important that you familiarise yourself with these as you will be asked to agree to abide by them when you join us as a student. You will find a guide to the key terms here, where you will also find links to the full text of each of the regulations, policies and procedures referred to.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.


This course offers you the chance to undertake an optional placement in Year 3. This opportunity helps you to build on the knowledge and skills developed on the course. You will be employed by the company for 12 months, but the actual number of weeks worked will be dependent on the annual leave entitlement you are given in line with the placement company's policy.

The placement year is a valuable tool that can enhance your employability and help you to develop as an individual. It is acknowledged that graduates with industry experience are generally much more attractive to employers.

Our Placement Unit will be on hand to support you in finding suitable placement opportunities. They will assist you with preparing your CV and with interview techniques. They'll also be in contact with you during your placement so that you'll be fully supported while you gain the experience that employers value so highly.

The Placement Unit team are regularly in contact with local and national companies. Previously companies such as Sound Foundation, Steelworks Studios, Nitin Sawnhey Studio and Soundworks have provided our students with placements.

Alternatively, if you are a student from within the UK or the EU, you could consider starting your own small business by applying for the Enterprise Placement Year in conjunction with the University's Enterprise Team. You'll have the opportunity to benefit from business advice, mentoring and networking sessions. You can find out more information on the Enterprise Placement Year here.

Career opportunities

100% of our graduates from this course go on to work and/or further study within six months of graduating (DLHE survey).

Previous graduates from this subject area have gone on to work in a variety of roles such as composer and producer of music and sound design for media, broadcast engineer, licensing assistant, in artist relations and as a trainer in organisations including Warner Music, Apple, ITV and the BBC*.

*Source: LinkedIn

Professional links and accreditations

This course holds JAMES accreditation. This is an internationally recognised accreditation which endorses relevance, quality and continuing innovation throughout the student curriculum in audio recording and music production courses. Visit their website for more information.

Teaching and assessment

You'll be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials and practical sessions. 24.3% of the study time on this course is spent in lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical sessions etc.

The majority of lectures are delivered in a surround sound lecture theatre with Genelec monitoring and a dedicated iMac running Pro Tools, Reaktor and Logic. The Live Music Production module is taught and assessed in a dedicated, purpose built facility using a quality PA system. You are able to book time in our studios for your own work outside of tutorials and practical session. Depending upon your modules you will work in different studios and facilities at the different stages of your course. For example in Year 2 depending on the modules you choose you have the option to work in the well-equipped radio studios. Again in your Final Year, depending on the modules you choose you may work in the foley production studios producing radio content, effects and dialogue for film/TV and also use production studios to produce both stereo and surround sound mixes of popular music.

You'll be assessed mostly through ongoing coursework. Typically you'll submit an artefact, for example a recording, and support this with a report or oral presentation on the theory and practice behind your work.

Your module specification/course handbook will provide full details of the assessment criteria applying to your course.

Feedback (usually written) is normally provided on all coursework submissions within three term time weeks – unless the submission was made towards the end of the session in which case feedback would be available on request after the formal publication of results. Feedback on exam performance/final coursework is available on request after the publication of results.

Huddersfield is the only University where 100% of the teaching staff are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy.*

*permanent staff, after probation: some recently appointed colleagues will only obtain recognition in the months after their arrival in Huddersfield, once they have started teaching.


Music Technology is based in a complex in our Technology building, designed and built to professional standards. You are able to book time in our studios for your own work outside of tutorials and practical session. Depending upon your modules you will work in different studios and facilities at the different stages of your course.

There are five excellent Pro Tools HD recording studios, two with large live rooms. The facilities you'll actually be taught in depend upon the modules that you study, but you'll have access to book out any of our facilities and equipment (as long as there is availability); including professional drum kits, amplifiers, electric guitars, basses, acoustic guitars and assorted percussion.

The main complex consists of five modern professional specification recording studios (each with separate control room and live space and using Pro Tools HD), six production studios, and two large 265 and 28 seat Mac-based audio workstation suites. Dolby 5.1 surround sound is available in the five of the studios and six of the studios have large plasma screens for viewing software or for video post-production work. Additional facilities include a concert hall, location recording equipment, a dedicated live sound room with 7kW PA and Digidesign Venue desk, a radio studio, and a Foley studio.

How much will it cost me?

In 2017/18, the tuition fee for UK and EU students at the University of Huddersfield will be £9,250.

Tuition fees will cover the cost of your study at the University as well as charges for registration, tuition, supervision and examinations. For more information about funding, fees and finance for UK/EU students, including what your tuition fee covers, please see Fees and Finance. Please note that tuition fees for subsequent years of study may rise in line with inflation (RPI-X).

If you are an international student coming to study at the University of Huddersfield, please visit the International Fees and Finance pages for full details of tuition fees and support available.

Please email the Student Finance Office or call 01484 472210 for more information about fees and finance.


The School of Computing and Engineering offers scholarships of up to £3000 to Music Technology students who meet the eligibility criteria. Find out more.

Further study

Progression to a postgraduate course is dependent on successful completion of your undergraduate studies, there may also be minimum qualification requirements such as a first class or higher second (2.1) degree. Please check the course details to confirm this. You could also consider further study in the form of an MSc by Research (MRes) and ultimately if you're successful you could potentially progress onto PhD study.


If you are an international student (including EU) you can check if you meet our entry requirements (both academic and English language) by visiting our country pages.

If you do not meet the entry requirements you can consider completing a degree preparation programme (if you are from a country outside of the EU) at the University's International Study Centre (ISC) or you can call the ISC on +44 (0) 1273 339333 to discuss your options. You can also complete the online application form or to ask a question please fill in the enquiry form and talk to one of our multi-lingual Student Enrolment Advisers.

If your English language is not at the required level (IELTS 6.0 overall), we have a range of Pre-Sessional English programmes that you can enrol on before starting your degree programme. You will not need to take an IELTS test after completing one of our Pre-Sessional English programmes.

How to apply

Research community

Research plays an important role in informing all our teaching and learning activities. Through research our staff remain up-to-date with the latest developments in their field, which means you develop knowledge and skills that are current and highly relevant to industry. For more information, see the Research section of our website.

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