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Music and Sound for Media

BA (Hons)
Music and Sound for Media
3 years (full-time)

In Music and Sound for Media you will study composition, sound design and production in order to produce innovative audio for film, television, game and interactive media.  You will be taught by industry-experienced tutors who will guide you to become highly skilled at acquiring, editing and embedding sound within a broad range of digital media. Based in Manchester, you will be part of a growing digital and creative sector and this course has been designed to create industry ready graduates.

Special Features

  • Manchester School of Art offers an ideal cross discipline environment where you will be studying alongside filmmakers, animators and many more creatives
  • You will have the opportunity to take part in Unit X, an innovative unit offered to students across Manchester School of Art that encourages interdisciplinary study and collaboration on an external-facing project

Course Content

Year 1

In Year 1 you will develop a broad theoretical and practical understanding of sound and music. You will be introduced to a range of techniques and processes whilst also exploring the fundamentals of composition.

Unit X

At Level 4, this unit encourages some collaborative, interdisciplinary practice and shared experience. There are lectures and talks from key research staff, students and external experts. Teaching will be in the form of tutorial groups, weekly meetings and presentations. The set projects will vary from year to year and are designed to be responsive to current creative opportunities. 

Creative Strategies: Sound

You will gain a broad theoretical and practical underpinning in key aspects of sound acquisition, processing and editing including the fundamentals of sound and critical listening, an introduction to microphone techniques and signal flow, digital audio editing and creative sound processing.

Creative Strategies: Music

You will explore strategies for improvising, devising, arranging and composing music including collaborative work as well as, where appropriate, individual creative work. Exploring the fundamentals of music composition, aesthetics, techniques, digital arranging, notation and recording tools, and basic notions of motif, tempo, harmony, dynamics, texture, narrative and form. 

Contextualising Practice with Language 1

You are allocated to one of five pathways addressing programme-based clusters of cognate practice areas. Lectures, seminars, guest speakers, visits will address the historical, critical and cultural contexts of art and design practice. The 15 credit option is taken when you opt to do a 15 credit Uniwide languages unit as well (mmu.ac.uk/uniwide).

Contextualising Practice 1

30 credit unit. You are allocated to one of five pathways addressing programme-based clusters of cognate practice areas. Lectures, seminars, guest speakers, visits will address the historical, critical and cultural contexts of art and design practice.

Year 2

In Year 2 you will develop your skills around industry facing studio production themes. You will also choose from optional units that will see you focus on composition, sound design, inter disciplinary collaboration or applied practice.

Studio Production

You will engage with industry facing studio production themes which will include blending of musical sound into a deliverable format using studio technology and an introduction to post-production techniques for delivering sound for image. Whilst this unit will have a considerable focus on building creative and technical skills, these activities will be contextualized through the critical study on the context and practitioner case studies.

Unit X

This unit explores collaborative and interdisciplinary art and design practice.  You will have the opportunity to engage in a range of external-facing learning opportunities which will encourage collaborative, interdisciplinary practice and shared experience; this may take the form of spending time outside of the University and working within the creative community and the public domain.

Contextualising Practice 2

Delivery of critical, historical and professional issues to enhance your development within practice-based clusters. Delivery to clusters of cognate practice areas. Content consists of selected thematic options in critical and historical areas plus cluster-wide professional and employability issues, facilitating and enhancing the development of both studio-based work and identity as a practitioner.

Contextualising Practice with Language 2

Delivery of critical and historical issues to enhance the student's development within practice-based clusters.  Content consists of selected thematic options in critical and historical areas facilitating and enhancing the development of both studio-based work and identity as a practitioner. Modes of delivery include lectures, seminars, tutorials, guest speakers, visits and placements.

Music: Composition

You will develop further practical and critical-reflective skills in composing, songwriting, arranging, and orchestrating music for visual media, including film, television, and interactive media. Thematic workshops could include: Songwriting for screen; Music improvisation for screen; Music for animation; Music arrangement for screen; Music for horror film; Music for gaming; Computer Music Composition for screen; Composing and Songwriting for drama.

Sound Design

You are introduced to historical and contemporary techniques for sound design across a range of media. Analysing seminal works from film, tv, game and radio provides a critical backdrop to the development of core techniques for acquiring and processing sound in support of linear narrative. This context is then broadened to include techniques and technologies for supporting non-linear narrative in game audio and interactive media. 

Applied Practice

This unit allows you to negotiate a pathway of study that supports your career aspirations. Using research informed strategies, you will further develop skills in one or more of the core themes of music composition, sound design or sound production within a context of professional development.

Year 3

In Year 3 you will work on a major project based on an industry brief where you will specialise in one or more of the three core themes of the course.

Unit X

On the third year Unit X, there is a student authored final project leading to a showcase of finished work. The unit includes a brief generated by the student, which leads to the presentation of a significant body of final work. Collaborative and interdisciplinary work can be incorporated into the project in relation to the professional context and ambition of the student.

Professional Project

You will engage in a substantial and collaborative project chosen from a selection of industry-focused briefs. These will be designed to offer scope for students to specialise in one or more of the core themes of music composition, sound design and sound production. A series of taught workshops will be offered for developing advanced skills in the same key areas alongside tutorial support.

Contextualising Practice with a Language 3

Programme of research and critical analysis of cultural and professional issues related to a your individual practice interests. A negotiated project focused around an individually defined area appropriate to your aims and ambitions.

Contextualising Practice 3

Programme of research and critical analysis of cultural and professional issues related to a student's individual practice interests.

Graduate Opportunities

Our graduates go on to a range of sought after roles such as audio producers for media, media voice over engineers and producers, screen composers, Foley artists and sound designers for screen, composition and sound designers for games and production assistants.

Making an Application

How to Apply

Apply through UCAS.

If you meet our criteria we will invite you to an Interview and ask you to show us a Portfolio of your work.

You will be notified of our decision through UCAS.

Entry Requirements

UCAS Tariff Points/Grades Required

112 at A2 or equivalent (which can include Foundation Diploma in Art & Design). A Level General Studies is not accepted.

Specific GCSE Requirements

GCSE English Language at grade C or grade 4. Equivalent qualifications (eg. Functional Skills) may be considered

Non Tariffed Qualifications

112 UCAS Tariff Points from Access to HE Diploma in a relevant subject with at least 45 credits at Level 3

International Baccalaureate26 Points

International Students

A minimum IELTS score of 6.0 with no element below 5.5 is required.

Check our MMU International site for further information if you are applying with non-UK qualifications.

Tuition Fees 2019 Entry

See Money Matters for further information and advice.