MUS2015 : Contemporary Studio Practice (Inactive)

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To work creatively and independently to realise studio based recordings and compositions.
· To develop and analyse the creative value in experimental recording and the value in risk-taking as a way of developing musicians in the studio environment.
· To introduce the role of a producer as a creative force, and look at accepted production values in contrast with more experimental production styles.
· To critically listen with informed ears and constructively critique through peer dialogue and reflection on one’s own work.
· To develop and expand advanced technical skills in a studio environment.

A contemporary/popular composition and production module for students who wish to work within a creative studio environment. Students taking this module will be familiar with studio-based working practices from MUS1010, and will be looking to develop their potential as producers, composers and experimenters. The module will prepare the students for final year study, and in particular major (MUS3015) and minor (MUS3019) specialist study projects that are focussed on these learning themes.

Outline Of Syllabus

The course encourages the challenging of conventional production values and techniques within a series of short composition projects constituting a portfolio submission. Students will experientially learn how to produce, develop and manage their own creativity and that of those they record. Emphasis will be on process over product, with projects, seminars and workshops guiding students toward discovering their potential.

Societal Themes:
•       Social Renewal: Students are given the tools to link their own identity, background and community to their work, this can be done by collecting sounds and recordings of their environment for use in their projects or in a more literal way through songwriting and the inclusion of traditional or ethnic musics. This speaks to the “People, Place and Community” and “The Past in the Present” themes of Social Renewal.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture201:0020:00Split across semesters
Guided Independent StudyProject work26:0012:002 per student. Scheduled studio sessions – one per semester.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops202:0040:0020 hrs/semester. Groups of no more than 5. Numbers based on 30 students.
Guided Independent StudyProject work1122:00122:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery61:006:006 tutorials per student. Individual project tutorials 3 per semester.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures introduce theory, aesthetic concerns, professional working and interaction, and concepts relevant to project work.

Students will submit a number of small audio projects and written documentation as a portfolio for each semester, with staggered deadlines for the constituent parts.

Tutorials will allow students to discuss their individual work with module staff, whilst workshops will be used for skills delivery and group seminar sessions for peer reflection on work.

Lectures will stop after the Easter break, this will give students the opportunity to concentrate on completing their major project whilst still giving access to lecturers during term time, this is captured in the Guided Independent Study hours. It is expected that students will be likely to have a similar level of contact with lecturers in this time through protected slots and rooms in the timetable after the Easter Vacation.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio1A25Portfolio of audio recordings (combined total c. 10mins).
Reflective log1A10Supporting commentary (c.300 words) of the creative process for each recording.
Design/Creative proj2A40Major Project: One major recording (c. 30mins) or a series of smaller developmental recordings (combined total c. 15mins).
Report2A25Supporting reflective commentary (c. 800 words) using the major project as a case study for the creative development undergone
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Semester 1 Portfolio:
Submission via blackboard of 2 or 3 audio recordings (totalling 10 minutes) out of those made by the student in the semester, one such recording will have been achieved in a “limited” time (during allocated sessions). These will be submitted to blackboard via a staggered deadline to ensure evidence of progression throughout the semester. At least one of these original compositions will be creatively realised in cooperation with coursemates, fostering collaboration and giving a basis for formative and summative reflective analysis. This portfolio will be heavily supported by workshop sessions and this will aid the student’s engagement with the module over a sustained period. These submissions will show the creative and organisational ability of the student and will follow their progression as practitioners who are developing their leadership and technical skill independently and occasionally under pressure. In this way we will be reflecting how work is carried out in the music industry, meaning that this assessment forms a key real world learning opportunity.

Semester 1 Reflective Log:
300 word reflection on the creative process behind each submitted recording, this will incorporate deep analysis of the ideas behind their creativity, with reference to lecture content and theory. Students will chart their own progress and show their own journey through the first semester, critiquing their work and showing how they improve on mistakes etc in later recordings in the portfolio.

Semester 2 Major Project:
Students will be guided through one large recording project. This could be an EP or a single longer recording (totalling 15 minutes). Work in this submission will be thematically related, and all work will be directed by the individual student. This will allow them to realise their individual creative vision on a large scale project whilst directing and producing other musicians. Students will be marked on the success of their composition, the creativity in the methods they have used to realise it and their direction of other musicians in addition to standard criteria such as tuning, harmony and recording quality. The assessment stresses discipline and commitment to the student’s own work and involvement in a wider community of creative practitioners.

Semester 2 Report:
This 800 word report will outline the process used for the major project, from inception to realisation and critical analysis. Rather than simply being a reflective log, this document will include references to texts on creativity, production and recordings which the students have critically analysed and taken inspiration from. They will explore why they have taken certain actions, in addition to how. Students will be encouraged to relate their practice to examples from academia and discuss the context of their composition and recording in the world of popular and contemporary music. Students will be assessed on the way their process and practice has been informed by their research, and also by the risks and novelty of their recordings and compositions. Assessment will also be marked on the success of their composition (in that it is musically sound as well as well produced and recorded), the creativity in the methods they have used to realise it and their direction of other musicians in addition to more standard criteria such as tuning, harmony and recording quality.

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