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Unit information: Professional Techniques in 2020/21

Unit name Professional Techniques
Unit code MUSIM0024
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Mr. Scott
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Music
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit introduces the concept of studio production: the grey area in between the typical job of a composer and the creation of a polished audio product. The unit trains the aspiring media composer in the key aspects of music studio work and covers techniques in: effective MIDI sequencing; use of sample libraries and synthesis; audio recording; audio mixing; audio mastering; picture synchronisation.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this unit students should be able to: use a MIDI sequencer with proficiency, understanding their role as (offline) performer in a variety of musical genres; record individual and groups of real instruments and voices to a high standard, using a combination of 'close studio' and 'classical' microphone techniques; mix their compositions bringing together electronic and live elements effectively; master their audio, optimizing quality for a variety of output formats.

Teaching details

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, including lectures, practical activities supported by tutorials, and self-directed exercises.

Assessment Details

3 x 20% and 1 x 40% Project

Reading and References

Recommended reading

  1. Andrea Pejrolo Creative Sequencing Techniques for Music Production, 2nd edition (Focal Press, 2011)
  2. Bartlett & Bartlett Practical recording techniques (Focal Press, 2002)
  3. John Borwick Sound Recording Practice, 4th edition (OUP, 1996).
  4. John Eargle Handbook of Recording Engineering, 4th edition (Kluwer Academic, 2002).
  5. John Eargle The Microphone Book (Focal Press, 2001).
  6. David Miles Huber, Robert E. Runstein Modern recording techniques, 5th edition (Focal Press, 2001)
  7. Francis Rumsey, Tim McCormick Sound and Recording: an Introduction (Focal Press, 2002)
  8. Francis Rumsey, Spatial Audio (Focal Press, 2001)
  9. Bob Katz Mastering audio: the art and the science, 2nd edition (Focal Press, 2007)
  10. Ed. Weis and Belton Film sound : theory and practice (Columbia University Press, 1985)
  11. Paul White Basic mixing techniques (Sanctuary Press, 2000)
  12. Paul White Creative recording. Part 2, Microphones, acoustics, soundproofing and monitoring
  13. Richard Brice Music Engineering, 2nd edition (Newnes, 2001)
  14. William Moylan Understanding & Crafting the Mix: the art of the recording, 2nd edition (Focal, 2007)
  15. Francis Rumsey and Tim McCormick Sound and Recording, 4th edition (Focal, 2002)
  16. Paul White Basic Microphones (Sanctuary, 1999)
  17. Paul White Basic Mastering (Sanctuary, 2000)
  18. Paul White Basic Effects & Processors (Sanctuary, 2000)

Also, user manuals for software and hardware including: Logic Pro X, Pro Tools, EastWest orchestral libraries, Native Instruments' Komplete, and a wide range of other instruments, plugins, and tools.

The Arts & Social Sciences Library has a good selection of studio-related books, including many that are available as e-books. If you are browsing for studio-related books in the main Arts & Social Sciences library, bear in mind that they are not with the main bulk of music books, but instead are in the Engineering section at TK7881.4.