Music Technology is a rapidly evolving field of study with a diverse and expanding range of possibilities.
The MSc in Audio Technology is designed to go beyond the simple provision of training, and to instead enable you to engage with current debates and actively participate in some of the most vibrant areas of contemporary research.
Throughout the course you will be encouraged to demonstrate self-direction and autonomy as you critically explore and define your position within the wider field. One overarching aim is that you should leave the course as not only an adept user of various hardware and software technologies, but as someone able to actively shape and develop their own, responding as necessary to future developments.
Thus, in addition to developing your theoretical and methodological understanding, the MSc in Audio Technology features a strong emphasis on practical work in a number of different (but related) areas. For example, you will study modules in Advanced Studio Practice, Sound on Screen, Music Computing and Musical Human-Computer Interaction. These are supported by a technology-orientated Research and Development module that provides robust foundation for the final Audio Technology Project.
Acting as summary of all that you have learned and a portfolio going forward, the Audio Technology Project provides an opportunity to plan and execute a substantial project in an area of personal specialism or interest. Innovative projects are encouraged, and there exists the potential for interdisciplinary and/or collaboration with practitioners in other fields.
Advanced Studio Practice
This module explores various methodologies employed in the planning, recording, editing, mix down and mastering stages of audio production. You will conduct research into genre and equipment-specific working practices, which will lead to the development of innovative engineering concepts and techniques. You will evaluate and use a variety of software and hardware tools and produce work in both stereo and surround sound.
Sound on Screen
The module aims to investigate the relationship between sound and the moving image in contexts such as film, television, advertising and video games. Throughout the module you will develop your understanding of theories, practices and techniques used in the production of music intended to be experienced in conjunction with other media. This will initially involve analysing and deconstructing a range of audio-visual media, examining their aims and how effectively these aims are met. You will then use your understanding of the work of others in the field to critically inform and evolve your own approaches. Using a variety of techniques and technologies, you will create a number of short practical pieces to accompany a variety of linear and non-linear media.
In this module you will explore the relationship between theories of music and computing and creative practice. More specifically, you will study perception and cognition of sound, the ways in which computers can analyse music and audio, generative musical structures, and how these compositional processes can be applied to the generation and transformation of audio. In carrying out the practical assignment, you will critically evaluate, understand the differences between, and demonstrate mastery of common musical programming languages in the realisation of your ideas.
Musical Human-Computer Interaction
Musical interaction is a vibrant area of contemporary research with considerable crossover into more established areas such as Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Physical/Ubiquitous Computing. In the first part of the module you will look at recent work by the New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME) community, using these examples to examine and explore a range of pertinent design issues. These include: novice versus virtuoso users (i.e. ease of use versus the potential for mastery), single versus multi-user, discrete versus continuous data control, the provision of haptic feedback, and causality of sound. Using appropriate Physical Computing technologies (e.g. Arduino, Beagleboard, sensors, actuators, basic electronics), you will then design and implement a musical interface for a chosen real-time application (i.e. analysis, composition, or performance). Finally, you will consider how HCI-inspired evaluation methods may be applied to your work, and document your design (online) in such a way that it can be recreated and developed further by interested others.
Research and Development
The Research and Development module initially explores the nature of innovation, then moves on to examine research process including design and development, fundamentals of both quantitative and qualitative traditions, and HCI-inspired methodologies for the evaluation of audio software, musical interfaces and other technologies. Towards the end of the module the emphasis then shifts to the development of an individual research design/proposal that may form the basis of your final Audio Technology Project.
Audio Technology Project
The Audio Technology Project is an opportunity for students to pursue a substantial, self-directed project in a chosen area of audio or musical technology.
The course offers an explicit and concerted move away from the notion of “training” in how to use specific software and/or other music technologies in favour of a more balanced synthesis of theory and practice.
The proposal for the Audio Technology Project is developed in the Research and Development module, providing time and opportunity to consider the project’s direction thoroughly, and to explore possibilities for collaborative/interdisciplinary working.
Course staff specialise in both traditional/well-established areas of music technology (studio production, film sound, audio synthesis and processing) and flourishing areas of contemporary research (musical interaction, generative music).
A wide range of career routes are open to graduates of the course. These are largely dependent upon the nature of the work the student chooses to produce, but may include: studio production, sound for games and film/video/animation, interactive media, interaction design, creative software development, design for music technology, post-compulsory and higher education.
The University of Wolverhampton continues to develop state of the art facilities to greatly enhance your learning experience. The Performance Hub, opened in 2011, has a diverse range of fully equipped music teaching, performance and practice rooms (accommodating single person to large band / ensemble), two high-end professional recording studios, and two bespoke technology suites boasting sixty Apple iMacs running industry standard software including Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Max, Pure Data and SuperCollider.
Our two recording studios offer the perfect blend of digital and analogue technologies giving students the opportunity to combine classic analogue recording technique with the flexibility and reliability digital technology provides. As well as a dedicated live room each for recording, for increased flexibility and choice of room acoustic, any of the music rehearsal rooms surrounding each studio can also be patched into the studio's control room.
The course will actively equip both graduates and those already in industry with a diverse range of skills to enhance their career prospects. It will also develop a range of opportunities for experience and employment in areas such as studio recording, media production and content creation, video game and software development, education (FE/HE), research assistantships/studentships, and employment in HE institutions.
In addition to subject-specific practical skills, you will also acquire a range of transferable skills relevant for pursuing a research degree. These include critical, analytical, project management and research skills from the study of a broad spectrum of literature, research, and external projects.
You will need a good degree (2:1 or above) in Music Technology, Music Computing, Sonic Arts, creative applications of Computer Science or Human-Computer Interaction, or other related subject. Other graduates will be considered through interview/audition as appropriate, but deep engagement with audio/sound/music and familiarity with contemporary tools and ideas are expected.
These fees are applicable for new entrants in 2018/9. Fees are for the academic year only, any subsequent years may be subject to an annual increase, usually in line with inflation.
Postgraduate Loans: A new system of loans for taught and research Masters courses for students resident in England was introduced from September 2016. For more information and how to apply online visit: www.gov.uk/postgraduate-loan
Professional and Career Development Loan: The University is a Professional and Career Development Loans (PCDL) registered Learning Provider, registration number . A PCDL is a commercial bank loan that you can use to help pay for work-related learning. For further information on financial assistance to support your learning, please visit the GOV.UK website or contact the National Careers Service on 0800 100 900.
Charitable Funding: You might also want to explore the possibility of funding from charitable trusts; please see the following websites www.acf.org.uk, www.dsc.org.uk/fundingwebsites or www.family-action.org.uk. Most charities and trust funds offer limited bursaries targeted to specific groups of students so you will need to research whether any of them are relevant to your situation.
University Postgraduate Loyalty Discount: The University also offers a postgraduate loyalty discount (http://www.wlv.ac.uk/study-here/money-matters/financial-support/postgraduate-study/postgraduate-loyalty-discount/): If you have completed an undergraduate degree at the University of Wolverhampton, you may be eligible for a 20% discount on the first year of a taught postgraduate programme.
Financial Hardship: Students can apply to the Dennis Turner Opportunity Fund (http://www.wlv.ac.uk/study-here/money-matters/financial-support/dennis-turner-opportunity-fund/) for help with course related costs however this cannot be used for fees or to cover general living costs.
If you are paying for the fees yourself then the fees can be paid in 3 instalments: November, January and April. More information can be found at www.wlv.ac.uk/howtopay.