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Music: Creative Music Technology

BA (Hons)

School - School of Arts & Media

Subject area - Music

UCAS Code: W374, WH74 (with foundation year)

Start Date(s): September


Three years full-time
Four years full-time with Foundation Year


UK - £9,250 per year

International - £14,820 per year

In Brief:

  • You will be taught by practicing music technology professionals on a course well known for producing graduates who excel in their chosen careers
  • You will be taught in a range of high-tech recording studios equipped with industry standard equipment across both hardware and software
  • You will be part of a diverse and vibrant music department and benefit from numerous performing and showcasing opportunities in Manchester and beyond
  • Overseas study available
  • Work/industrial placement opportunity
  • International students can apply

Course Summary

As the first UK institution to offer pioneering and distinctive courses in Popular Music and Recording and Band Musicianship, our reputation for innovation and excellence within music education continues to flourish. This course builds upon our long-standing reputation and offers a full specialisation  in  the field of music technology.

The studio recording and production modules enable you to develop confidence in traditional studio skills, backed up by a solid academic understanding of historical developments and aesthetic considerations. Audio for Media trains you in the specific discipline of composing, arranging and producing  audio  for film, radio and television. Studio Composition covers a broad range of technical and genre viewpoints, from popular electronic music techniques to electro-acoustic composition.  Thorough technical training and the study of acoustics underpin all of the creative work undertaken through  the  course.

You will also study as an instrumental performer, receiving one-to-one tuition on your instrument in your first year. Salford's proximity to Manchester city centre means you will be able to take full advantage of the region's world-renowned music scene as both an active participant and an enquiring  spectator.

Many of our graduates have gone on to forge careers as signed recording artists, professional performers, studio producers and engineers, live sound engineers and freelance composers/arrangers.

In addition to the traditional three year degree route, you have the option of pursuing additional training and academic tuition by undertaking our four year Foundation course, which prepares you for study at an undergraduate level.

Building upon our established reputation in music technology, the Creative Music Technology pathway offers a broad-based curriculum in Year One followed by the opportunity to specialise in music technology throughout Year Two and Three. Creative work is underpinned by technical training andstudy of acoustics. The Recording and Studio Production module enables you to develop confident technical ability underpinned by a thorough academic understanding. Audio for Media trains you in the specific discipline of composing, arranging and producing audio for media. Studio Composition is studiedfrom a range of technical and genre viewpoints; acousmatic music, sonic installations alongside contemporary popular production techniques. This pathway equips you with a technical training suitable for a range of industry engagements.

In addition to the traditional three year degree route, you have the option of pursuing additional training and academic tuition by undertaking our four year Foundation option. While the Foundation Year is listed as an option below, it is by no means a pre-requisite to the BA (Hons) Music: Musical Arts course.

Foundation Year (for four year pathway)

Semester 1

This module develops both your individual and ensemble instrumental ability. You will receive weekly one-to-one instrumental tuition from a specialist tutor, focusing on technique and its application across a broad range of repertoire. You will also join one of the many Ensembles within the Directorate,including Popular Music Choir, Big Band, Brass Band, Wind Band and Classical Choir.
This module aims to provide the theoretical foundations for all further areas of study. You will learn to recognise and confidently use fundamental theoretical terms in your work, notate all perfect, major, minor, augmented, diminished intervals, and identify and notate a range of basic chords and progressions.The assessment requires you to compose idiomatic music incorporating all these elements. You will also develop your Aural and Transcription skills with focused ear training tuition.
This module will equip you with the necessary analytical skills, IT skills and research techniques to complete written academic assignments. You will analyse a broad range of musical styles within the Popular, Jazz and Classical idioms. It will provide you with the appropriate reference framework fromwhich to critically evaluate examples of these styles, as well as the use of harmonic and analytical terminology within the discussion of music.

Semester 2

This module consolidates and expands the instrumental skills developed in semester one, with a continuation of the weekly one-to-one instrumental tuition with your specialist tutor. For your assessed Ensemble activity you will have the option to form your own Popular Music group, or join Big Band, BrassBand, Wind Band or Classical Choir.
Building upon the theoretical knowledge gained in Semester 1, this module introduces more advanced concepts and techniques including extended chord progressions, notation and recognition of diatonic melodic lines, moving bass lines, and complex rhythmic patterns, and SATB scoring. You will also receivefurther ear training within the Aural and Transcription tuition.
This module introduces software based solutions for recording and composition. You will learn to notate musical ideas appropriately with respect to instrumentation and genre and to identify appropriate software pathway to communicate musical ideas effectively. You will work with notation, sequencingand recording interfaces and interrogate the relationship between them.

Year 1

Semester 1

You will study two for modules:

Focusing on your instrumental proficiency, this module will develop your skills across three different assessed activities. Individual Performance consists of weekly one-to-one tuition with a specialist tutor, based upon an instrumental syllabus (pieces, technical exercises and sight reading). The Ensemblecomponent requires you to join either a Latin Percussion group (Rhythmic Awareness), Big Band, Brass Band, Wind Band or Classical Choir. Students will also choose an Associated Study, either Session Musicianship (a tutor led group rehearsal focusing on a broad range of Popular Music styles) or ClassicalConducting.
The core aim of this module is to provide you with the skills and knowledge necessary for composing and arranging music in a variety of styles. You will gain a working knowledge of the key aspects of instrumentation voicing, score layout, formal design and the manipulation of texture. The module alsoprovides an introduction to location recording techniques, appropriate sequencing software, musical acoustics and their relationship to music technology.

You will choose one of the following options:

This module engenders a sense of history and an awareness of significant cultural epochs and the music associated with them. It relates performance styles, compositional techniques and musicological discourse to particular historical periods.
Providing a historical overview of English-language popular music, this module begins to examine the concept of genre. You will develop an understanding of music style analysis as well as improve your aural skills throughout this module.

Semester 2

You will study two core modules:

Continuing on from Musicianship Skills in Semester 1, this module consists of Individual Performance (weekly one-to-one instrumental tuition), Ensemble Musicianship, and an Associated Study (either Session Musicianship or Classical Conducting). Within the Ensemble component, you will have the opportunityto form your own Popular Music group (writing and rehearsing original material to be presented at a concert at the end of the semester), or join Big Band, Brass Band, Wind Band, or Classical Choir.
This module will provide you with a strong understanding of advanced diatonic harmony, melodic writing, fundamental musical forms, and practical skills concerned with rhythm as applied to the broad field of composition. You will explore the creative uses of a range of microphones in relation to musicalinstruments and acoustic environments, and be introduced to techniques of sound synthesis using a range of hardware and software based synthesisers.

You will choose one of the following options:

This module explores the continual interaction between “art” music and “popular” music, demonstrating the relationship between musical techniques/practices, ideology and historical contingency. You will be introduced to a broad range of repertoire and explore the historical developmentof competing canons in relation to social class, available technologies and prestige.
Throughout this module, you will explore the social, political, and economic contexts impacting upon the production of popular music. This module presents key ideas from Culture Theory, Critical Theory, and Postmodernism in order to provide you with a strong understanding of popular music within thesevarious cultural contexts. You will be introduced to a systematic and rigorous method by which to critically examine popular music and develop abstract thinking.

Year 2

Semester 1

You will be introduced to the creative use of sound and a range of hardware and software interfaces.  This module instills a flexible and considered approach to musical interface by covering various sonic installation possibilities and a range of studio composition techniques, including synthesis,sampling, interactive and generative.
The purpose of this module is to introduce you to the creative use of sound and music within a range of media. You will explore techniques for recording stereo drama in a recording studio; sound and image synchronisation techniques; and how to apply and develop audio digital editing techniques.
You will explore the ways in which the needs and demands of technology and performing artists can best be reconciled.  This module will enhance your working knowledge of sound mixing consoles, audio recorders, signal processing equipment, Digital Audio Workstations and software audio applications.You will develop strategies for analysing existing recordings in order to appreciate and utilise the technology involved in the recording process.

Semester 2

Focusing on current economic structures and potential development, this module provides an in-depth examination of the UK creative economy.  You will explore concepts of copyright, authorship and ownership and gain an understanding of the processes involved in successful personal developmentplanning.
Continuing on from Studio Composition in Semester 1, this module begins to explore the integration of live sound, live instrument recording, and signal processing within studio composition.
Building upon your learning from Studio Recording and Production in Semester 1, this module aims to provide you with confident, genre-appropriate mixing, mastering and signal processing skills. You will develop a range of detailed recording strategies in relation to acoustic considerations.

Year 3

Semester 1

You will study one core module:

This module is designed to enhance an artistic skills base in two areas of specialist study. It assists the realisation of creative work that will feed into the negotiated major project and encourages the exhibition of a high level of individuality, versatility and confidence within the chosen fields.

You will choose one of the following options:

This module provides a theoretical understanding of live sound and informs a creative interpretation of musical material and situation. You will gain practical experience of rigging, sound checking, and be exposed to a range of setups, instrumentation and problematic scenarios.
Providing you with a strong understanding of programme production and key creative and technical posts, this module will enable you to gain experience in programme construction, planning and execution in television, audio or video.
The purpose of this module is to provide you with the necessary creative and technical expertise to coordinate the production of a music video. It introduces the methods of organising the production processes from planning to final delivery. You will gain knowledge and understanding of production andtechnical basics, technical language and communication of requirements.

Semester 2

This module enables you to undertake a comprehensive project encompassing two areas of specialist study. It assists the realisation of creative work (practical and/or written), encourages the development of a personal style within the chosen fields of study, and hones your artistic and academic skillsbase.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

Entry Requirements

Qualification Entry requirements
You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.
English and Maths GCSE grade C
UCAS tariff points 104 - 120 points
FY: 72 points
GCE A level 104 - 120 points including B in music. Appropriate subjects to include music, General studies not accepted
BTEC National Diploma DMM to include music
Scottish Highers 104 - 120 points.
Irish Leaving Certificate 120 points.
International Baccalaureate 30-31 points, to include 5 (Higher Level) in Music. 24 points for Music: Interactive Music and Studio Production with a Foundation Year.

Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.

There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.

English Language Requirements

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0 (no element below 5.5) is proof of this.

Applicant profile

You should be able to sight-read, have a good understanding of chords, scales, rhythms and harmony, and have the ability to transcribe ensemble performances. You will be auditioned on the instrument you wish to study for practice-based pathways. All applicants are expected to have some knowledge of acoustics and the principles that govern the creative use of music technology. 

You will be required to undertake a theory test and performance audition for the course.

We positively welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to successfully pursue a programme of study in higher education. Students who do not have formal entry qualifications are required to sit a written assessment which is designed for this purpose. Support in preparing for the written assessment is available from the University. Please contact Beth Hewitt the Director of Admissions for further information.

Fees and Funding


Fees 2019-20

Type of Study Fee
Full-time £9,250 per year
Full-time International £14,820 per year

Fees 2018-19

Type of Study Fee
Full-time £9,250 per year
Part-time Your annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying.
Full-time International £14,400 per year


  • Lectures are enhanced with audio/visual material. A lecture on a topic is usually followed up by a relevant seminar
  • You will be encouraged to prepare materials in preparation for seminars, where you’ll contribute to discussions
  • Masterclasses - Visiting speakers and performers from relevant areas of the music industry
  • Supervision both individual and in groups
  • Individual Instrumental Tuition to develop you performance technique and musical vocabulary
  • Ensemble Tuition in order to develop your performance technique and musical vocabulary in an ensemble setting
  • Workshops to explore concepts and develop research techniques within a workshop environment, mixing class-based discussion and activities with library and archive work, providing you with the opportunity to develop creative ideas and to interact with leading scholars in the field Virtual Learning Environment(VLE) – 'Blackboard', supports every module within the course.

Instrumental tutor list

Les Bolger
Glenn Cartlidge
Paul Cusick
Mel Dean
Andy Duffy
Brian Kelly
Adam Palma
Carl Barnett (Bass Guitar)
Ollie Collins (Bass Guitar)
John Wilson (piano)
Laurina Sableviciute (piano)
Rob Gibney (Piano)
Matt Steele (Piano)
Clare Hogan (voice)
Sue Hickey (voice)
Jim Fieldhouse
Tim France (sax/ensembles/ Big Band)
Helen Tonge (Strings)
Mark Wilkinson (flugel / cornet)
Brian Taylor (cornet)
Richard Marshall (cornet)
Mike Eccles (flugel)
Helen Varley (tenor horn / French Horn) Peter Christian (baritone /ensembles)
Billy Millar (euphonium)
Les Storey (bass trombone)
Gary Curtin (euphonium & tenor horn)
Brett Baker (trombone)
Lee Hallam (jazz trombone)
Les Neish (tuba)
Eryl Roberts
Steve Gilbert (drums)
Gaz Hughes (drums)
Mark Landon (percussion)


Examination and coursework.


Career Prospects

Salford’s music courses are renowned for producing graduates who excel in their chosen professions. Our graduates have forged careers as signed recording artists, professional performers, studio producers/engineers, live sound engineers and freelance composers/arrangers. Many have become events organisers, promoters and entrepreneurs while others have developed successful careers in music education as teachers, lecturers, senior administrators and educational advisors. Those who continue their studies at a postgraduate level find themselves well-equipped to cope with the academic and technical demands of a higher degree.

Alumni Profile

The following profiles demonstrate the diverse range of successful careers our music graduates have embarked upon: 

Two members of the band Everything Everything (lead singer/song-writer Jonathan Higgs and Bassist Jeremy Pritchard) are popular music graduates from the University of Salford. They will support Snow Patrol on their 2012 UK Stadium Tour, and have performed live on BBC2’s Later with Jools Holland and at the 2011 Mercury Prize Ceremony. Everything Everything have been nominated for two Ivor Novello Awards and were shortlisted for the Mercury Album of the Year award for their debut album Man Alive. 

Recording artist and singer-songwriter Kristyna Myles graduated from Salford in 2005 and has since featured on albums by Chris de Burgh and Rick Guard. She has supported Mick Hucknall on a UK tour, and performed her own songs on television programmes such as Songs of Praise and Play it Again. In 2009 Krystina was nominated for Best Gospel Act at the MOBO Awards as part of the gospel collective DTWG. She has since signed a five album deal with Decca Records.

Popular music graduates James Cook (lead singer) and Rick Boardman (keyboards) are members of 3-piece Indie Electronica band Delphic, and have supported acts such as Orbital and Kasabian. Their debut album Acolyte received a Times 4 star review, and they were placed third on the BBC Sound of 2010. Their music has been regularly utilised within the wider media, for example, promoting Sky Sports’ coverage of the 2010-11 Premier League. 

Andrea Leonelli studied popular music and then a Masters in Composition at Salford and now works full-time in digital production at Universal. He has also created a Podcast dedicated to the latest trends in Digital Music interviewing start-up CEOs, technology experts and journalists. The show has a wide following within the industry.

Popular music graduate, Caroline Redman Lusher, is the Founder and Director of Rock Choir TM which has received widespread praise for its community ethos and extensive membership. Caroline’s entrepreneurial success has resulted in numerous television appearances on ITVs’ documentary The Choir That Rocks and BBC’s Breakfast, and she has been widely praised for her inclusive teaching methods. 

Popular music graduate, Stuart Avery, has developed his own successful music promotions business, SA Promotions. He also works as a record producer / mastering and post-production engineer on a freelance basis for bands and London-based dance labels Energise Records, Klone Records and Rumour Records. Another of our music graduates, Kelly Wood, works for the Musicians Union in the North West. Kelly studied aspects of arts administration as part of her course, during which time she attained a placement with Granada Studios. 

The Head of Music at LIPA, Mr Martin Isherwood, graduated with a BA in Band Musicianship and then an MA in Compositional Studies from Salford (Martin also went on to win the BBC Song for Europe in 2003). Also working in the popular music education sector, Mr Mark Acton, another popular music graduate, is the Programme and Quality Leader for Music at Trafford College, Manchester.   David Connolly graduated in 2010 and is now working as a composer and sound designer for London based creative music and sound company, Radium Audio Ltd. His latest projects have involved creating music for a Blackberry commercial and music and sound for Sky 3D.

Links with Industry

We have direct links with professional institutions such the BBC Philharmonic, Halle Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain as well as the ‘Sounds from the Other City’ festival. We have a good working relationship with many venues in the local area including Islington Mill.

Further Study


New Adelphi Recording Studios:

The Music Directorate houses 6 fully equipped professional recording studios, plus a 7.1 surround mixing studio and a voice acting studio. We have created a creative and educational environment that aims to mirror contemporary professional studio practise. Our general philosophy is to facilitate the use of both analogue and digital recording platforms, software and hardware signal processing. All studios centre around a large format mixing desk which can feed computer and hard disk recording systems as well as 24 track analogue tape machines. All studios make use of professional quality outboard equipment and software plugins as well as comprehensive patch bays, giving students the opportunity to fully explore traditional signal routing, a skill vital to ones progression into professional practice.
Recording Studio equipment

Mixing Desks:

Audient ASP 8024: Heritage Edition (24/36 Microphone Preamplifiers with 48/72 mixdown channels)
Avid S3 – control surface software controller


ATC SCM-150A Pro
Neumann KH310A
Avantone Mixcube
Genelec 8030/8040 speakers for multi-channel/surround


Pro Tools HDX
RME M-32 - 32 channels of A/D – D/A conversion
RME MADIface USB – 64 channel MADI to USB laptop interface
Studer A820 – 24 track 2” reel-to-reel tape machine
Tascam MSR24 – 24 track 1” reel-to-reel tape machine
Tascam DA3000 – 2 channel digital recorder
Focusrite Rednet DANTE interfaces for sending digital audio to/from many other spaces in the building including the TV Studios and Theatre spaces.

Software & Plugins:

Pro Tools HDX, Logic X, Ableton Live, MAX MSP, Sibelius, Native Instruments Komplete, Sound Toys, Waves, Fab Filter, GRM Tools, Adobe CC Suite amongst others.

Microphone Pre-amplifiers:

Neve 4081 – 8-channel microphone pre-amp
API 3124+ - 4-channel microphone/instrument pre-amp
Warm Audio Tonebeast TB12 – Microphone/instrument pre-amp
MOTU 828 – 2-channel microphone/instrument pre-amp, 8 line inputs

Outboard Equipment:

2x Empirical Labs Distressor EL8 – Compressor
2x DBX 1066 – 2-channel compressor
2x Warm Audio WA76 – 1176 style compressor
2x Warm Audio EQP WA – Pultec style valve EQ
Briscati M7 – Stereo Reverb
MOTU MIDI Express XT – 8-channel MIDI interface
Plus other equipment from SPL, Klark Teknik, Lexicon, TC Electronics, TL Audio, Drawmer and Alesis amongst many others.

Live Rooms:

Large professionally treated live rooms, with separation booths available in some studios. All studios feature wall mounted movable panels and large wheeled baffles to allow adjustment/control of room acoustics.
Studio 6 utilises the 100m/sq Band Room with double height ceilings for large ensemble recording.
Behringer P16-M Headphone Mixers – 16-channel modular digital headphone distribution system.

Amplification:Fender ’65 Twin Reverb
Orange Rockerverb Twin Channel Head and PPC212 Cabinet
Vox AC30 HW2X
Ampeg SVT-7 Pro Bass Amp and SVT-410 Cabinet
Markbass CMD 151P Bass Amp
Plus other amplifiers from Marshall, Laney, Peavey, Yamaha and Fender.

Microphones and Other Equipment

In addition to the equipment permanently installed in the recording studios, there are a variety of synthesizers, drum machines, instruments and effects units stored in the studios' facilities office that can be booked out for use in sessions. This office also houses our extensive microphone collection. We stock microphones from manufacturers such as Neumann, Brauner, Schoeps, Coles, AKG, Beyer Dynamic, Electrovoice and many more. Access to microphones is streamed as students begin to specialise in music technology.


All studios feature Yamaha grand or upright pianos, Fender guitars and basses, Rhodes and Wurlitzer electric pianos and professional drum kits by DW, Gretsch, Ludwig and Yamaha.
Synthesizers & Drum Machines:
Dave Smith Instruments - Prophet 6
Dave Smith Instruments - Prophet 08
Moog - Sub 37
Roland - Juno 106
Access - Virus C
Korg - MS20
Korg - MS2000BR
Doepfer - A-100 Modular System
Arturia - Micro Brute
Elektron - Machinedrum SPS-1
Roland - TR8
Vermona - DRM1

Computer suites

Our suite of 24 iMacs is equipped with sequencing, scoring, editing, synthesis, signal processing and post-production software. The software in the computer suite is, on the whole, the same as that found in the recording studios, so that work can easily be transferred from one facility to another. Pro Tools, Logic, Ableton, Max MSP, Native Instruments Komplete and Sibelius, amongst many others, are standard across all the machines.

Location Recording

There are a variety of facilities available for location recording assignments, ranging from simple stereo microphone and SD/compact flash card recorder kits to 32 track professional recording systems. We stock location microphone kits that can also be borrowed for recording both large acoustic ensembles and venue based band performances.

Opening Hours:

Monday - Sunday:  9.00am – Midnight
The recording facilities always have at least one technical demonstrator on hand to deal with technical issues and provide students with advice.

Performance Rehearsal Facilities

The Music Directorate houses 27 bookable music practice rooms, all with “room in room” construction for maximum acoustic isolation. Opening hours are long – until 10.30 at night and open at the weekends. There are 11 ensemble rooms for amplified band rehearsals, each containing a vocal PA system, stage piano, drum kit and back-line amplifiers for guitars, bass and keyboards / electronics. Equipment includes: PA from QSC, Mackie and RCF. Drum Kits from DW, Yamaha and Mapex. Keyboards from Roland, Nord, Sequential and Waldorf. Bass amps from Ampeg, Mark Bass, Aguilar and Phil Jones. Guitar amps from Fender, Orange, AER, Vox and Mesa.  There are 14 Music Tuition rooms with pianos, guitar amps and Bluetooth stereo playback, plus a specialist drum kit teaching room with Drum Workshop kits. All of the equipment is maintained by our team of music rehearsal technicians, who can also help students set up and maintain their instruments and equipment. Music students can also book out everything they need to put on their own gigs on campus or in the city: Vocal PA, drum kit, keys, backline etc.

We also encourage students to use their own equipment for rehearsals, so we have storage areas where students can leave their equipment (instruments, amps, cabs, keyboards, drums etc.) to avoid having to constantly carry it between lectures, seminars and their accommodation.

'The Band Room' is a large hall space with variable acoustics, suitable for rehearsing large acoustic ensembles like our Big Band, Brass Bands and Wind Band. It is also used for performance master classes, small concerts, sound reinforcement classes and as the huge live room for Studio 6 which overlooks it.

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