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Student and tutor module reviews

Music, sound and technology

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  • Points: 60
  • Code: A232
  • Level: 2
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Student reviews

I found this module to be very interesting, even as a non-musician.

There is a great deal of technical information in the module, ranging from how we hear through to how instruments make sound. This is combined with a thorough overview of how to make recordings - of musicians, instruments, and just about anything else - and then how to edit, mix (and to a certain extent) master these into tracks.

The tutor-marked assignments are reasonable, and you very much get out what you put in. I ended up spending a lot of time on these, but that was mainly because I found them so interesting.

I can attest that it is possible to do the module as a non-musician. I don't play a note on any instrument (much to my regret), and my singing is enough to clear a room, but I found acceptable workarounds for the tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) that require recording music and had no problem creating acceptable sounds, recordings and music for the end-of-module assessments (EMAs) because by the time the EMA came round, I was adept at using DAWs to capture sounds generated in imaginative ways, and the creation of music through the use of MIDI input and synthesis.

I would add, though, that I did spend a large chunk of time googling musical terminology, so the module would definitely be easier for someone with a musical background. (If you're wondering why a non-musician would take this module, then in my case it was so I could learn how to create sound effects - and possibly simple tunes - for computer games.)

These latter skills were taught (well!) on the module, and the explanations of the free Reaper DAW throughout the module was first class. (An aside: you can use any DAW, and in fact I did for some of the TMAs and the EMA).

All tutorials were online - and of a high standard.

My experience is that the tutors give good feedback, and there are appropriate tutorials that help explain what is required in the TMAs and EMA.

I would highly recommend this module for any musician who wants to further their understanding of how to record music, and even what is possible in the way of sound generation from an instrument.

A tip: You do need to buy a sound recording device, but don't spend too much and choose one of the cheaper options on the recommended list. Also, if you have a laptop and a sound interface with support for a couple of microphones, then that can be really handy for recording sounds for the TMAs/EMA, but it is the icing on the cake and definitely not needed.

I found myself playing with various audio plug-ins. Many of these are free (and the tutors do a good job of signposting these in the tutorials, especially when it comes to synths), but a number are also massively reduced in price for students. Reaper comes with everything that you'll need for the TMAs/EMA, but (for example) I found it much easier to learn how Compressors work, for example, by using 3rd party plug-ins which had richer user interfaces.

Finally, make sure that you take lots of screenshots (of plug-ins/DAW settings/etc. and pictures/diagrams of recording setups. The TMA word counts are tight, and without pictures you will have little chance of getting your points across within the limits.

David Wheeler

Course starting: October 2021

Review posted: July 2022

Absolutely loved this module! Great tutor and a nice balance between the technical and the artistic. Highly recommend if you are interested in music and sound engineering.

Christopher James Fergus Gibson

Course starting: October 2018

Review posted: September 2019

Please note

Each of the views expressed above is an individual's very particular response, largely unedited, and should be viewed with that in mind. Since modules are subject to regular updating, some of the issues identified may have already been addressed. In some instances the faculty may have provided a response to a comment. If you have a query about a particular module, please contact your Regional Centre.

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