Skip to content
Home>Study at York>Undergraduate>Courses>Music and Sound Recording (BA)

Overview Sound Recording as Musical Activity


UCAS code

J931

Typical offer

AAB/ABB (full entry requirements)

Length

3 years full-time

The primary way we experience the music we enjoy and find fascinating, whether it was written centuries ago or released just last week, is through sound recording. Capturing music to a professional standard requires a combination of technical and musical expertise. A successful career in music production demands practical, engineering and scientific knowledge of the recording process, as well as a deep understanding of music creativity, practice, and entrepreneurship. 

Our degree covers a range of production technologies and techniques aligned to a wide variety of music including popular, rock, electronic, classical, contemporary, and non-western music. You will study audio engineering and music technology subjects, gain practical recording experience, and engage with music theory and practice.

Featured Studio Space

The Trevor Jones Studio is centred around a brand new SSL Duality console, which offers high quality analogue signal paths and processing as well as integrated control of digital editing and recording systems. The studio patch bay is integrated with a wide range of bespoke analogue and digital hardware including Bricasti reverberation, TC Electronic reverberation and mastering, 1176 and LA-2A compression, API buss mastering and vintage Neve EQ.

The Department of Music hosts outstanding facilities including a 350-seat concert hall, one of the finest purpose-designed listening spaces for reproduced sound in the country and four recording studios.

Course content What you’ll study


General

The BA Music and Sound Recording programme acknowledges that music and production are no longer separate activities. At its heart is a contemporary view of music production and associated audio professions that recognises the dramatic and ongoing changes in the recording and media industries in recent years. You'll have an opportunity to create an individual set of intellectual, technical and creative skills from a core programme of artistic and technical development.

You can specialise across a wide range of music activities (including performance and composition) and studio-based arts. We provide a skill set which highlights enterprise, enabling you to take creative, design and managerial roles in projects that will prepare you for a career in the music and audio industries. To this end, the course addresses a wide array of contemporary contexts for music production: from pop studio practice, to classical recording of ensembles and instrumentalists.

You'll also engage with extensive practical and theoretical coverage of new systems and philosophies for sound and music creation and performance. This is combined with an evidence-based approach to audio principles and studio technique, drawing on relevant engineering practice and scientific knowledge. This will enable next generation tools to be designed, developed and used.

You will benefit from modules in creative entrepreneurship, developing individual work and research under close supervision by staff with significant industrial and creative experience. These modules will develop your entrepreneurial creative activities, along with critical reflection,  responding to the demands of the professional environment in which our graduates can expect to find themselves.

Year 1

  • Introduction to Sound Recording – understand key aspects of acoustics, psychoacoustics and electroacoustics and gain practical experience in recording acoustic instruments.
  • Software Systems for Music Technology – introduce audio software design and programming concepts for digital synthesis, signal processing and control systems.
  • Core Music Skills – develop your skills in music theory, analysis, critical listening, musicianship, research and academic writing.
  • Practical and Ensemble Studies 1 – engage in practical music-making and critical reflection in ensemble rehearsal and performance and other live concert settings.
  • Sound Recording Techniques and Aesthetics – build a portfolio of productions which demonstrates an understanding of the history, practice and aesthetics of sound recording for western art music and associated technologies and techniques.
  • Music Module – chosen from the BA Music modules.

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module. This covers some of the essential skills and knowledge which will help you to study independently and produce work of a high academic standard which is vital for success at York.

This module will:

  • define academic integrity and academic misconduct
  • explain why and when you should reference source material and other people's work
  • provide interactive exercises to help you to assess whether you've understood the concepts
  • provide answers to FAQs and links to useful resources.

Year 2

Year 3

  • Sound Practice and Entrepreneurship – understand the impact of creativity and entrepreneurship in the development of music technologies through case studies on various sound practices and audio professions.     
  • Music Module – chosen from the  BA Music modules.
  • Aural Cultures – analyse current debates surrounding sound practices and aural cultures and develop work that responds to key contemporary aesthetic and cultural theories of sound.
  • Independent Project – develop a substantial piece of creative, technical or scholarly work which will be presented to professional standards.
  • Practical and Ensemble Studies 3 – engage in practical music-making and critical reflection in ensemble rehearsal and performance and other live concert settings.

Study abroad

There are a number of Study Abroad options at York. Here are some of the many opportunities you'll find here at the University:

Teaching and assessment How you’ll be taught and assessed


Teaching format

We are proud of our approach to teaching and score highly for it in the National Student Survey. We teach in small groups, allowing for closer individual attention, and our aim is to develop you as an independent critical learner.

Assessments

We want to discover what you can create in response to our teaching; the majority of your assessment will be through portfolios, the exact contents of which you will choose yourself with guidance from the module tutor. A folio might consist of a music production, or a recording with an essay, or an essay by itself; it may include composition, or arrangement, or a sound installation; it may be a performance; or it might be a new software application.

The flexibility this offers is a unique aspect of the York Music and Sound Recording degree and is an approach which challenges you to take what you have been taught and extend it into new, exciting areas.

Careers Where you’ll go from here


The majority of York students go on to graduate-level jobs in music and related professions. These include broadcast and media, professional performance, arts management, teaching and community education. Others undertake further study for an MA, PhD, conservatoire programme, or PGCE.

Career opportunities

Our students go on to build successful careers in music, as well as in fields such as law, finance and management. Recent graduates from the Music department have taken up careers in the following areas:

  • Film sound
  • BBC production (Proms and Radio 3 & 4)
  • Classic FM production
  • Music publishing (most major houses)  
  • Major music agencies
  • UK Concert Director of the Philharmonia Orchestra
  • General Director of the Southbank Sinfonia
  • Freelance musicians
  • Music outreach
  • University lecturing
  • Opera direction
  • Orchestral management
  • London Symphony Orchestra

Transferable skills

The creativity, professionalism, and critical thinking that you develop in this degree sets you up for a wide variety of careers, both within the field and beyond. Our students graduate with well-developed skills in the following areas:

  • Independent thinking
  • Teamwork
  • Presentation
  • Writing
  • Critical analysis
  • Creative problem-solving
  • Communication
  • Audio Engineering
  • Use and Development of Technology
  • Science and Technology Research

Entry requirements How to get here


Course entry

All applications must be made through UCAS. Following your application you may be called to an interview and audition. On the day you visit York, there will be a chance to talk to current students and see the department in action. For general information about the application process, visit the UCAS site.

A-levels and GCSEs

AAB/ABB (including A level in Music Technology or Music at grade A).

In place of A level Music, we will accept ABRSM Grade VIII Theory in combination with at least one essay-based A level. 

Other UK qualifications

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

  • AAAAB/AABBB at Higher Level
  • AB at Advanced Higher Level

BTEC 

  • BTEC National Diploma
  • QCF BTEC Extended Diploma with DDD/DDM

Cambridge Pre-U
D3, D3, M2 / D3, M2, M2

 

Access to HE

  • 30 credits from units awarded Distinction and 9 awarded Merit or higher 
  • 15 credits from units awarded Distinction and 15 awarded Merit or higher

 

Other qualifications are accepted by the University, please contact Undergraduate Admissions

International options

International Baccalaureate

Diploma with 35-34 points including Higher Level 6 in Music

English language

IELTS

6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in all units

Pearson PTE Academic

61 overall with 51 in all parts

GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first language)

Grade C

Full list of English language requirements

Unistats for this course

Enquire Contact our admissions tutor if you have any questions


Dr Federico Reuben, Programme Leader, BA Music and Sound Recording

Dr Federico Reuben, Programme Leader, BA Music and Sound Recording

Related courses

BA Music