BSc (Hons) Music Composition and Technology with Optional Sandwich Placement/ Study Abroad BSc (Hons)

About the course

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The Music Composition and Technology degree is a wide-ranging course for the composer wishing to combine the creative potential of technology within composition.  By encouraging you to develop your own personal musical language, you will have the opportunity to explore your creative interests and ideas through a series of compositional projects.  These include writing for acoustic instruments with digital technology, music and media and ensembles.  On this degree you will investigate a wide range of compositional trends, using both acoustic instruments and technology in your own creative work. You will be in the centre of these investigations, empowered to explore and engage in the full spectrum of current compositional practices.

Music Composition and Technology Gallery



Why choose this course?

  • You are fascinated by the potential of technology in the creative process
  • You wish to understand and explore current trends in music making
  • You wish to be taught by current practitioners and exponents in the art of writing music combining technology
  • You wish to be part of a department within a school that includes film making, animation and the creative arts
  • Gain a BSc – because we genuinely explore the art and science of music composition
  • We have a strong, ongoing record of student satisfaction over several years since the launch of the national student survey.
  • The University of Hertfordshire has consistently been towards the top of various league tables reflecting student satisfaction.
  • We have some of the best resources in the UK, including the £38 million Forum Hertfordshire where our students perform every month, and state-of-the art music studios and film and TV facilities. 
  • 2015 sees a massive upgrade to our studios within the Film, Music and Media building
  • Our music industry advisory panel is second to none in the UK and includes key figures in the music industry such as Tim Clark (Robbie Williams's manager), Mike Smith (MD Columbia Records) and Korda Marshall (who signed Take That, James Blunt etc.)

Entry requirements...

2016 entry

  • 260 UCAS points, plus GCSE English language and maths grade C or above. 
  • Key skills are accepted as equivalent.
  • If English is not your first language you will need an IELTS score of 6.0. 
  • Equivalent qualifications welcomed.
  • The University also accepts a number of other equivalent qualifications including BTEC, IB and Access courses – to find out more about the requirements for these and  other equivalent qualifications please go to: http://www.ucas.com/how-it-all-works/explore-your-options/entry-requirements/tariff-tables
  • Our offer for the International Baccalaureate (IB) is made outside of the UCAS Tariff and is calculated by dividing our tariff point offer by 10 i.e. 280 UCAS points equals 28 IB points.
  • If you do not have the required level of English for entry, our academic English and foundation courses can help you to achieve this level.

2017 entry

UCAS are introducing a new tariff for 2017 entry so the points being asked for are substantially different to previous years.

  • 104 UCAS points.
  • GCSE Maths and English Language at grade 4 or above.
  • IB - 104 points from a minimum of 2 HL subjects at H4 or above  (with the remaining points to come from a combination of HL, SL and Core). 

Key staff

Rob Godman
Reader in Music and Programme Leader for Composition
Find out more about Rob Godman

Tim Blinko
Professor of Music
Find out more about Tim Blinko

Professional Accreditations

Apple Authorised Training Centre

Careers

Our graduates have gone on to successful careers as composers and performers and work for organisations such as the BBC and PRS. Composing for television, sound design, creating sound for computer games and sound engineering and are all roles our alumni have taken part in. Owing to the balance of technological and creative aspects of our courses, students’ have been in constant demand for teaching positions.  Many have continued their studies for Master's and PhD degrees.

Work Placement

Placements are a valuable means of establishing industrial contacts and gaining an insight into the commercial reality of a chosen discipline. We have a long history of students working with industry supplementing the taught university curriculum with real life on the job experience.

All Music Composition and Technology students spend a week working in a local school, writing, rehearsing and performing a new music theatre work with over one-hundred children.  For many, these provide the stimuli for an exciting teaching career.

Study Abroad

The University of Hertfordshire is a truly international institution.  This course offers you the opportunity to study abroad through the University's study abroad programme offering a once in a life time opportunity to live in a new country and experience new cultures. We have students studying in institutions as diverse as Long Beach, California; Concordia, Canada; and Pecs, Hungary.
Study abroad opportunities are available worldwide and in Europe under the Erasmus+ Programme.

Find out more about Study abroad opportunities

Structure

Year 1

Core Modules

  • Perspectives of Music 1

    This module introduces the student to characteristic streams of music from the 20th century and will examine models which demonstrate differing stylistic parameters and techniques of construction. The issue of recorded sound and image and how this has changed the creation and perception of music in recent decades, will also be explored. Finally, the fundamental principles which govern the relationship between music and other media will be examined through the presentation and discussion of relevant examples (all pathways).

  • Composition and Performance 1

    This module encourages students to explore their creative, musical ideas, through the related subjects of performance, improvisation and composition. During the module, students are required to complete two compositions, which should be performed by individuals or groups of peers from the class, or played back through recorded means to peers. Students will also be guided into sensitive and appropriate ensemble techniques, whereby teamwork and dedication to purpose is encouraged.

  • Learning Skills

    In this module, students will be guided to develop important study skills, such as computer file management, word processing, using books, journals and the internet as a study aid, essay presentation, and the use of appropriate, academic English in written work. Other skills essential to the practising musician, such as aural discrimination of intervals, chords, rhythm and timbre, will also be fostered.

  • C/Techniques and Technology 1 (Version 2)

    Students will be introduced to the Department computer workstation and basic skills such as sample recording, sequencing, mixing and processing will be covered. Students will also be guided through the basic techniques of instrumental writing and the presentation of an instrumental score using computer notation software.

Optional

Year 2

Core Modules

  • Perspectives of Music 2

    This module examines the styles, idioms, developments and innovations that occurred in popular Western music during the early to mid 20th century and will look at models which demonstrate differing stylistic parameters and techniques of construction. Reference will be made to developments in both instrumental as well as electroacoustic music. The relationship between sound and image will be analysed and students will be led towards describing the relationship in appropriate and detailed terms. Finally, the changing face of business within the cultural industries will be examined during the period from mid 20th century to the current day, focusing on the commercial sector. Students (film and gaming only) will gain a greater understanding of the aesthetics of audio-visual practice.

  • Composition and Performance 2

    Building on the foundation of Composition and Performance 1, this module examines compositional models and their attendant techniques from a variety of schools and traditions. Students are encouraged to explore the application of these ideas within their own creative work, producing compositions which demonstrate a practical working knowledge of the methods examined. The relationship between acoustic instruments and digital technology will be explored and emphasised. Students will be led to explore in practice a wide variety of performing styles and musical conventions from differing traditions. Students will be led to explore in practice a wide variety of performing styles and musical conventions from differing traditions. A greater degree of fluency in interpretation, integration, sensitivity and understanding is expected.

  • Studies and Investigations 2 (Version 2)

    Studies and Investigations 2 is designed to foster intellectual curiosity and independent thought. Students are offered a range of options, each examining a particular aspect of musicology or music history in detail. Two options should be chosen, which make up a third of the credit points for the module. The remaining third of the module is taken up by an independent study, which can take the form of a 3-4000 word essay, formal presentation or project. The topic for this is decided in conjunction with a tutor, who will guide the student to relevant resources. Compulsory tutorials and seminars ensure that the student maintains an appropriate timetable for the completion of the study. In addition, a short-term work placement is permissible, replacing the self-directed independent study.

  • Techniques and Technology 2 (Version 2)

    Students will explore the features of the computer workstation at an advanced level, covering interactive techniques and hard disk sound editing and transformation. In addition, this will include multi-speaker sound projection and mastering.

Optional

  • Professional Work Experience 30: Music

    Students may identify a work experience opportunity or have a work experience suggested to them. Before starting students meet with the Programme Leader or their nominated tutor, to discuss the impending placement. All aspects of the intended experience are addressed from health and safety to client confidentiality and students are given guidance on behaviour and how to manage expectations. Proposals need to identify an outline work programme, the number of days in placement and the main learning outcomes; and are subject to agreement of the Programme Leader.

Year 3

Core Modules

Optional

  • Year Abroad

    The Year Abroad will provide students in Creative Arts with the opportunity to expand, develop and apply the knowledge and skills gained in the first two taught years of the degree within a different organisational and cultural environment in a partner academic institution. The host institution will appoint a Programme Co-ordinator who will oversee the student's programme during the Year Abroad and will liaise with the appointed UH Supervisor.

  • Sandwich Year (Creative Arts)

    The optional 'Sandwich' placement year may be undertaken between the levels 5 and 6. Students undertake the placement within a commercial, public or not for profit setting that is able to provide an appropriate learning experience related to the creative and cultural industries. A placement could take a variety of forms, including: * working in an external organisation; * working with a University company or professional team within the University; * self-employment within defined context and externally refereed. The placement duration would typically be sustained for at least 36 weeks (from a maximum of two separate placements, neither of which should normally be less than 12 weeks in duration), though may be sustained for a full year. While the School actively supports the placement process, ultimately it is the placement provider that will agree to manage and select students, normally through an interview process. During the placement a member of the academic staff will be assigned to the student as a tutor and will monitor the student's progress during the placement period.

Year 4

Core Modules

  • Perspectives of Music 3

    This module examines the styles, idioms, developments and innovations which occurred in Western music during the mid 20th century to the present day and will look at models which demonstrate differing stylistic parameters and techniques of construction. Reference will be made to developments in both instrumental as well as electroacoustic music. The changing face of business within the cultural industries will continue to be examined focusing on the current day in the commercial sector. Students (composition and songwriting only) will undertake a creative investigation of the relationship between sound and image and produce a piece of original work exploring this (for example, a soundtrack synchronised with a video sequence). Students (film and gaming only) will gain an advanced understanding of the aesthetics of contemporary audio-visual practice.

  • Project (Composition)

    This module allows students to undertake a substantial piece of independent work, which demonstrates an area of interest or specialism. Students will be assigned a tutor and regular tutorials and guidance will be given throughout the academic year in order to help the student maintain sufficient progress to complete the project successfully.

  • Techniques and Technology 3 (Version 2)

    Students will explore the features of the computer workstation at an advanced level, covering interactive techniques and hard disk sound editing and transformation. In addition, this will include multi-speaker sound projection and mastering.

  • Studies and Investigations 3 (Version 2)

    Studies and Investigations 3 is designed to foster intellectual curiosity and independent thought. Students are offered a range of options, each examining a particular aspect of musicology or music history in detail. Two options should be chosen, which make up two thirds of the available points for the module. (The options include topics such as Sound Cognition and Perception 3, Experimental Music, Crossovers and Fusions, World Music or Film Music Analysis 3.) The other third of the module is taken up by an independent study, which can take the form of a 4000 word essay, formal presentation or experimental project. The topic for this is decided in conjunction with a tutor, who will guide the student to relevant resources. Compulsory tutorials and seminars ensure that the student maintains an appropriate timetable for the completion of the study. Qualifying work experience can be undertaken either during the previous summer vacation (between L5 and L6) with appropriate evidence, including a reflective report, submitted to be accredited within the module; or during term time in place of one assessed component within the module, or alternatively included as part of a larger portfolio of work. Normally the outcomes from work experience would form part of or replace the Independent Study submission although it may replace one of the optional topics given the approval of the Programme Leader and Studies and Investigations tutor. It is the responsibility of the student to negotiate the detail of their work placement; further information is available in the programme specification and School’s Accredited Work Experience Handbook.

Optional

Fees & funding

Fees 2016

UK/EU Students

Full time: £9,000 for the 2016 academic year

Part time: If you decide to study this course on a part time basis you will be charged on a modular basis. The cost is £1,125 for each 15-credit module

International Students

Full time: £11,500 for the 2016 academic year

View detailed information about tuition fees

Other financial support

Find out more about other financial support available to UK and EU students

Living costs / accommodation

The University of Hertfordshire offers a great choice of student accommodation, on campus or nearby in the local area, to suit every student budget.

View detailed information about our accommodation

How to apply

2016

Start DateEnd DateLink
28/09/201620/05/2017Apply online (Full Time)
28/09/201620/05/2017Apply online (Part Time)
28/09/201620/05/2017Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
28/09/201620/05/2017Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)

2017

Start DateEnd DateLink
28/09/201720/05/2018Apply online (Full Time)
28/09/201720/05/2018Apply online (Part Time)
28/09/201720/05/2018Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
28/09/201720/05/2018Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)

2018

Start DateEnd DateLink
28/09/201820/05/2019Apply online (Full Time)
28/09/201820/05/2019Apply online (Part Time)
28/09/201820/05/2019Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
28/09/201820/05/2019Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)