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MA Music Production and Audio Cultures

Don't let your skills go unrecorded

Year of entry: 2023 (September)

Length

1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2023 (semester dates)

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Whether you are a self-taught artist-producer who wants to make better recordings, or a trained recording engineer who wants to learn advanced techniques, this course will provide you with the critical thinking, listening and practical skills to realise your goals.

This course replaces the MA Music Production.

The MA Music Production & Audio Cultures programme aims to teach critical listening and studio practices for musical recordings based on creative uses of technologies ranging from various digital audio workstations through to tape machines, analogue console desks, and 3D audio systems. Informed by research from multidisciplinary perspectives (acoustics, cognitive psychology, cultural anthropology and sociology, engineering, feminist and queer theories, and musicology of production), this programme is designed both to convey the scientific principles behind sound reproduction and engage the new generation of music producers and sound engineers in a critical dialogue on audio cultures and the pressing needs to de-gender and decolonise the field. In this way, the evolution of aesthetics and genres are presented through economic, historical, and political lenses, empowering students to follow their artistic vision and to find their own voice in the global music industry.

The programme offers a balance of theoretical lectures, listening seminars, and guided studio workshops taught by industry professionals and scholars. Students complete their productions in the well-equipped performance and recording facilities of the School of Arts and Creative Technologies. Moreover, they have opportunities to contribute to group projects with non-academic partners to gain experiential knowledge in real-life settings and to expand their professional network. Our research-enriched pedagogy enables our graduates to apply a wide range of specialist practical skills, detailed knowledge, and informed judgement to studio-based tasks and other associated music production activities such as live engineering. The interdisciplinary approach of the programme also opens doors for them to pursue a career in education, business and management, and research and development.

The course covers a range of theoretical and practical sessions, which allowed hands-on practice with a balanced analytical input. Recording opportunities are always available ranging from Classical, Jazz, and Experimental. This was really useful for increasing the sound palette and to engage in different collaborations.
Lynette, MA Music Production

 

Learn from the experts

Course staff have a wealth of industrial experience as well as being active researchers

Recording opportunities

From choral to orchestral, jazz and folk to improvised electronica, gospel to gamelan, almost every kind of music is performed by the School's many ensembles, offering a wealth of opportunities for recording projects.

Course content

You'll study a series of core modules and complete an extended research project.

You'll cover both aesthetic and scientific approaches to music production, explore the history and context of a variety of genres and develop the practical skills needed to capture and edit musical recordings.

Modules

Core modules

  • Audio Cultures and Modernities
  • Audio Signals and Psychoacoustics
  • Studio Live and Analogue Mixing
  • Research Approaches and Processes
  • Production Techniques for Acoustic Recording

Option modules

You will also study one option module. The options available to you will be confirmed later in the year. For further information, please get in touch.

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
Our course structures are changing in September 2023. Find out more about how this course may be affected.

Research project

In the final stages of your course you'll complete a large-scale research project. This can take several different forms: you could produce a set of productions with accompanying commentaries, demonstrating either new practices and techniques or mimicking existing productions as a form of analysis; a dissertation analysing existing productions or developing and testing theories about aspects of production; or a combination of the two.

Previous research project titles include:

  • ‘Heaviness’ in heavy metal music
  • Combining minimalist composition and acoustic ecology in audio production.
  • Adaptive threshold noise-gating for drum recording.
  • Machine learning in music production.
  • Adaptive music systems for video game audio production.
  • Chipmusic: authenticity and emulation.

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Envision, create, and prepare for release audio artefacts that draw upon diverse aesthetics and genres in ways that successfully translate the sound images, ideas, and social identities of the musicians and production team to the target audience and intended listening environment with an awareness of international audio standards.
  • Carry out research and creative projects that are built upon best practices with regards to equity, diversity and inclusion, adopting an interdisciplinary approach that connects theory and practice, grounded in the literature that deconstructs the patriarchy and white supremacy of the audio field.
  • Devise, execute, and critique music production workflows that associate specific uses of recording technologies and both simultaneous and non-simultaneous, realtime and non-realtime creative processes in the studio.
  • Design, implement, and assess new technologies and/or new assembling of existing technologies for use in sound recording, electronic music composition, and/or post-production contexts.
  • Critically listen to, solve problems for, and optimise the sound quality of acoustics and equipment setups in recording studio and live performance environments.
  • Plan, manage, and academically present orally and in writing, collaborative projects that involve professionals and students from various cultural and education backgrounds.
  • Analyse music-making practices within their economic, historical, social, and political contexts, and place their own practice within these contexts.
  • Exchange, construct, and disseminate knowledge about the evolution of intermediary and technical professions in the global music industry.
The freedom to do what I wanted, mixed with amazing equipment and staff who genuinely care about your development really helped set me up on the path I'm on now.
Dan Watts, MA Music Production

Producing and performing as DanAleX

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2023/24

Study modeUK (home)International and EU
Full-time (1 year) £9,990£22,250
Part-time (2 years) £4,995£11,125

Students on a Student Visa (formerly Tier 4 Visa) are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

For courses which are longer than one year, the tuition fees quoted are for the first year of study.

  • UK (home) fees may increase in subsequent years (up to a maximum of 2%).
  • International fees may increase in subsequent years in line with the prevailing Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate (up to a maximum of 10%).

Fees information

UK (home) or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status.

Find out more information about tuition fees and how to pay them.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2023/24 throughout the year.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Funding opportunities

Subject-specific funding

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.

Teaching format

Teaching is delivered via lectures, listening seminars (held in our renowned Rymer auditorium) and practical workshops. Lectures will usually take place over a series of weeks, with the weeks following focussing more on practical assessment work. You will also participate in weekly practical workshops, as well as weekly listening seminars.

Facilities

Our School is home to the Music Research Centre, containing a large-scale neutral listening and performing space built to extremely low noise specifications (PNC15); a linked studio suite containing a dedicated performance space with configurable acoustics; and two mix down/control rooms (one with an SSL Duality console).

The Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall has a dedicated studio control room along with a suite of editing and programming rooms. You'll have access to a wide range of microphones and recording hardware/software and extensive computing facilities for practical work and research. We also have multiple sets of 5.1 monitoring and a full periphonic (ie with height) 16 loudspeaker ambisonic system for use with surround sound work.

Teaching location

You will be based in the School of Arts & Creative Technologies on Campus West. Almost all of your teaching will take place within the School.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You'll largely be assessed through production portfolios, supported by commentaries where applicable, as well as essays and your own choice of format in the extended research project.

What I loved about York was that I was able to take learning into my own hands. I chose to do an international record production project, which took me on a crowdfunded album project to Colombia. While on this trip I learned what it was to truly manage and produce artists on my own project, and I discovered a new type of self-confidence in being able to produce my own truly unique vision.
Matt, MA Music Production

Founder, Music Alignment

Careers and skills

This course will provide you with a versatile skill-set which will be of value for both entrepreneurs or for those seeking professional appointments, be it with a small independent production house or a broadcaster with global reach. You will graduate with a set of robust skills which will transfer to many different scenarios along with a breadth and depth of understanding of Music Production which will allow you to create meaningful and significant audio content, as well as critically analyse the work of other producers.

Career opportunities

  • Music teacher
  • Music editor
  • Studio assistant
  • Music producer
  • Audio engineer
  • Freelance musician (teaching and performing)

Transferable skills

  • Time management
  • Critical analysis
  • Problem solving
  • Lateral thinking
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Research skills

Entry requirements

Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:1 or equivalent in Music or another relevant discipline. We will also consider unrelated first degrees provided you can demonstrate a good grasp of music theory and some practical ability in music making.
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

Additional requirements

Provide a statement (maximum 750 words) describing your musicianship, previous experience with audio technologies, and specific topics that you would like to research during your studies. You may also want to enclose an academic paper that you have written for your previous degree.

Following your application, you will be contacted to submit a short portfolio of 2 music tracks (no longer than 10 minutes in total) that you recorded/produced, edited, and mixed, with a written commentary (maximum 500 words) including the tracks' credits and describing your workflow.

We expect the tracks to be non-compressed (.wav format). If you do not have access to an Internet connection that enables you to upload non-compressed files, you can submit mp3 (320kb/s) files.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Minimum requirement
IELTS 6.5, minimum 6.0 in each component
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 176, minimum 169 in each component
Duolingo 120, minimum 105 in all other components
LanguageCert SELT B2 with 33/50 in each component
TOEFL 87, minimum of 21 in each component
Trinity ISE III Merit in all requirements

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.

Applying

You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

Apply for this course

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