COURSE OVERVIEW

If you’re keen to launch a professional career as an audio engineer or music producer, this three-year degree teaches you everything you need to know to an advanced level.

You’ll become competent at using the latest state-of-the-art specialist studio equipment and technology, and will be confident working with musicians and artists to produce high-quality recordings across a range of recording studio environments. 

Despite being highly practical, this course isn’t afraid to explore the more theoretical concepts of audio engineering and music production, such as musical language, acoustics and psychoacoustics. These principles are used as a base to explain the more functional areas of the industry, including studio design, audio signal analysis and processing, microphone technology and application, live sound reinforcement and capture, and modular synthesis.  

Spending plenty of time in ICMP’s cutting-edge recording studios over the three years of your course, you’ll become an advanced post-production professional, getting to grips with elements including ambisonics, binaural recording, spacial and multichannel mixing, ADR and dialogue audio editing, and Dolby Atmos. 

Lessons will also take place in ICMP’s fully-kitted-out Mac labs, teaching spaces and rehearsal rooms – all equipped with high-quality production equipment and digital audio workstations (DAWs). Gear includes top-of-the-range instruments, microphones, PAs, loop stations, controllers, effects pedals, vocal processors and more. As an ICMP student, you can book these facilities free of charge for personal use, seven days a week, outside of class hours.  

Your learning will be guided by our faculty of highly experienced tutors, who are all exemplary educators and experts in their fields. They’ll provide expertise and support as you get to know the modern music industry, and cover audio engineering entrepreneurship, marketing, PR and branding. 

At ICMP, all our audio engineering students are highly in-demand, so you’ll have ongoing opportunities to record and engineer the work of talented fellow students from other ICMP course disciplines. Collaboration is integral to all our courses, so you’ll no doubt develop an impressive portfolio of recordings to showcase to the industry. 

You’ll also participate in real-world performances and music events across all three years of study, as you get ready to launch yourself into the music business. These include regular face-to-face opportunities to connect with the industry and grow your network through gigs, masterclasses, songwriters’ circle events, guest lectures, careers days, industry conferences and more. 

In your final year, you’ll complete two exciting industry-focused modules – Professional Practice and Creative Audio Engineering Project – where you’ll develop a music-related proposal of your choice, and complete a self-directed creative audio engineering project which could be an EP, multi-media composition, creative collaboration, podcast, live performance piece or more. 

Upon graduation, you’ll have the theoretical knowledge, artistic portfolio, music business know-how, creative drive and advanced technical skills you need to successfully launch a career in a professional recording studio environment – whether that’s as an audio engineer, music producer, mastering engineer, mixing engineer, recording engineer, podcast engineer or something else entirely.  

Fees & Funding

Taking a music production degree course at ICMP makes financial sense too, with the fees for ICMP music degrees the same as those at many traditional universities - making studying music at ICMP in London great value as well as great fun. 

Course Fees: UK Students | EU/EEA/International Students

Please visit our Fees pages for information on access to Student Loans. Students eligible for loans are able to borrow the full course fee for ICMP degrees.

Full Programme Specification 

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Successful completion of the BA (Hons) Audio Engineering and Production at ICMP will lead to the award of Bachelor of Arts by the University of East London.

Redesigned for 2021
This course has recently gone through a redesign process with our validating partner UEL, making it one of the most current Audio Engineering courses in the UK. Please visit https://www.icmp.ac.uk/study-at-icmp/2021-course-redesign for further detail on why we periodically redesign our courses and the benefits this has to you as an ICMP student.

 

UCAS CODES

Key facts

  • Get industry-ready and prepare for a career as a professional audio engineer or music producer.
  • Gain real-world experience in engineering, production, post-production and recording.
  • Develop the advanced technical skills to confidently work in any studio environment – from a professional recording studio to a ‘home studio’ set up.
  • Study in a professional music production environment using world-class industry-standard equipment and facilities. 
  • Acquire business, marketing, entrepreneurial and networking skills, learning how to promote your own portfolio career. 
  • Opportunities to assist and collaborate in recording sessions using ICMP’s impressive in-house studios. 
  • Develop your professional network across ICMP’s talented student and alumni communities. 
  • Connect with global music scene professionals at events and masterclasses as you build your network.
  • Showcase your professional and creative talents at live gigs and performances across London.
  • Apply Now

COURSE DETAILS

YEAR 1 (LEVEL 4)

YEAR 2 (LEVEL 5)

YEAR 3 (LEVEL 6)

During your first year on the course, you’ll be introduced to the theoretical, practical and technical fundamentals of music production and audio engineering. You’ll investigate concepts including signal processing and critical listening, while getting hands-on in the recording studio and using digital audio workstations (DAWs), exploring techniques such as sequencing, audio editing and microphone technology. Your first year will see you develop an entrepreneurial knowledge of the music industry and investigate a range of audio engineering career options. 

Digital Audio Workstations

In this module, you’ll learn how to operate a selection of industry-standard audio software used in the recording and making of music, while experimenting with it creatively. Planning, managing and delivering an orderly and effectual digital audio workstation (DAW) session is a vital talent for any audio engineer. You’ll learn to do this – and many other practical skills – as you explore computer-based music production approaches and delve into the craft of audio editing. 

  • Develop skills and knowledge of DAW use  
  • Basic recording  
  • Midi and stock instruments  
  • Basic plugins
  • Windows and controls
  • Sequencing, sampling and synthesis
  • Editing tools
  • Sample libraries
  • I/O setups
  • Track types and menus  
  • Importing and exporting audio
  • Session management and organisation
  • Auxes, routing and summing
  • Automation
  • Elastic audio
  • Tempo and Beat Detective
  • Advanced freehand editing  

audio engineering TECHNIQUES

You’ll concentrate on the essentials of audio theory in both a professional and personal recording studio context in this module. Whether a large highly technical professional studio operation or a small ‘home studio’ set up, you’ll discover flexible recording and engineering processes across a range of different studio types. By the end of the module, you’ll know how to use a selection of industry-standard production and recording equipment with confidence, as you apply the central principles of audio engineering to a practical project in an area that interests you. 

  • Fundamentals of audio theory  
  • Recording studio software and hardware 
  • Signal flow 
  • Methods used in a professional recording studio 
  • Professional engineering processes 
  • Editing techniques  
  • Professional recording practices 
  • Home studio recording techniques 

live sound engineering

This practical module offers regular collaboration opportunities, as you familiarise yourself with industry-standard sound engineering techniques in the context of a live performance. Working in groups with your fellow students, you’ll engage in critical listening activities, give and receive feedback on original work, and complete weekly exercises and creative tasks. You’ll develop strong technical skills for live sound recording as you explore everything from mic placements and monitor positions to sound behaviours in a live environment. By the time you complete the module, you’ll be able to confidently perform a soundcheck for a live band, and successfully engineer a performance at a live ICMP event.  

  • EQ for live sound  
  • PA setup and implementation
  • Stage monitoring
  • Mic placement, setup and technique 
  • Stage setup and protocols  
  • Front of house vs monitor mixes 
  • Live mixing for venues  
  • Effects for live sound 
  • In-ear, wireless and RF technology  
  • Live recording  
  • Technical specifications and band riders  
  • Venue acoustics  
  • Signal processing  

music business for audio engineers

To build a successful career in music, you first need a thorough understanding of the relationship between creative practice and business in the creative industries. In this module, you’ll explore the music business specifically from the point of view of an audio engineer and music producer. Using seminars, applied projects and case studies, you’ll study current industry models, practices and processes as you learn about revenue streams, music copyright and the role of trade bodies and professional organisations. By the module’s conclusion, you’ll understand how each sector of the industry interconnects and will use this wisdom to plan your future portfolio career. 

  • The framework of the modern music industry 
  • Recorded music   
  • Music publishing 
  • Collection societies
  • Professional membership organisations
  • Trade bodies 
  • Music revenue streams 
  • The role of management in the music industry 
  • Sales and distribution  
  • Music rights and royalties
  • Exploring industry transformation
  • The future of the music industry 

theory of sound

To stand out as an audio engineer or music producer, you need an exceptional knowledge of how sound behaves – understanding instinctively how it transmits, and how it is captured, perceived and heard. This module concentrates on the essentials of audio theory, while also ensuring plenty of practical opportunities to capture recordings with the cleanest and clearest signal possible. You’ll study the theory of sound and discover how sound engineering processes have evolved over time – from the first manual capture to modern-day DAW practices. You’ll become competent in arranging, mixing and mastering sound using a variety of professional recording equipment. 

  • The building blocks of sound 
  • Pitch, frequency and harmonic series 
  • Perceived loudness, amplitude and Fletcher-Munson curves 
  • The history and evolution of recording and recording equipment 
  • AD/DA conversion 
  • Digital waveforms and complex sine waves 
  • Sample rates and bit depth 
  • Noise floor and signal-to-noise ratio 
  • Level metering, decibels and headroom 
  • Phase definition and theory  
  • Phase coherency  
  • Signal chain and signal flow  
  • Configurations of the signal path 
  • Recording console and the patchbay 

audio programming

Across this module, you’ll gain an understanding of the technologies and methodologies used for programming a range of different instruments. You’ll explore the software used in professional music-making environments, as you experiment with audio programming using digital audio workstations (DAWs). You’ll gain hands-on experience as you develop skills in articulation, quantisation, velocities and automation, and learn how to use sample libraries to answer real-world industry briefs. You’ll also expand your portfolio and technical know-how as you discover how to use audio programming to create authentic-sounding performances across a range of contexts. 

  • Audio programming for DAWs 
  • Responding to creative briefs 
  • Technical programming exercises 
  • Quantisation and swing 
  • Odd groupings 
  • Automation 
  • Articulation mapping 
  • Time signature and tempo automation 
  • Midi sequencing 
  • Expression controls 
  • Midi editing tools  
  • Programming workflows 
  • Copy, paste and loops 
  • Analysing different instruments 
  • Rhythmic and harmonic analysis 

Across your second year, you’ll expand on many of the skills, techniques, conceptual theories and business ideas introduced in your first year of study. Delving more deeply into the world of sound design, you’ll discover creative synthesis and have many fun opportunities to collaborate with fellow students across a range of live and studio-based scenarios. You’ll increasingly follow your interests and passions in your projects and assessments, focusing on the direction you’d like your future music-industry career to take. 

Sound Design and Creative Synthesis

In this module, you’ll dive into technical and creative approaches to sound design and synthesis as you explore different types of synthesis, including subtractive, additive, FM and wavetable, and various synthesiser components such as oscillators, filters and envelopes. Developing a deep understanding of sound design will help you create your own synthesiser patches for various musical contexts across film, TV, video games and more. This applied module will see you develop a portfolio of sound design tasks, which you’ll share with your peers for analysis and feedback. 

  • Creative sound design 
  • Subtractive, FM, additive, wavetable, PWM and granular synthesis 
  • Modular synthesis 
  • Creative sampling techniques 
  • Layering 
  • Resampling 
  • Spatialisation  
  • Audio FX 
  • DSP processing 
  • Procedural audio 
  • Time manipulation and editing 
  • Dynamics processing 

marketing strategies

PR, branding and marketing are essential for success in the music industry, no matter what area you specialise in. This module introduces you to the fundamental principles of marketing for the modern music industry, particularly from the viewpoint of the self-employed audio engineer/producer. It covers both traditional theory and contemporary approaches to marketing and branding, providing a robust understanding of how marketing has evolved and adapted to meet the changing needs of creative industry professionals and entrepreneurs. As you progress, you’ll explore consumer behaviour and will develop a marketing plan to help position yourself as a talented freelance audio engineer or producer. 

  • Environmental analysis  
  • Competitor analysis  
  • Market research 
  • Product development  
  • Positioning 
  • The product life cycle
  • The marketing mix
  • The 4Ps of product marketing
  • The 7Ps of services marketing 
  • Promotion, pricing and distribution 
  • Creating an integrated promotional campaign 
  • Building an online presence 
  • Viral marketing 
  • Online advertising and PR 
  • Social media and the role of content 
  • Building audiences and engagement 
  • Brand partnerships  
  • Commerce vs credibility 

ADVANCED LIVE SOUND ENGINEERING

Building on the Level 4 ‘Live Sound Engineering’ programme, this module extends on your previously studied concepts and techniques. With emphasis on more complex live performance and sound environments, you’ll put your skills and knowledge into practice as you run your own live sound gig as part of the module’s assessment. You’ll cover live mixing, recording, stage organisation and soundchecks, as you gain a good idea of what to expect when you work as a live sound engineer at gigs, corporate events, music festivals, theatre shows and other live scenarios. 

  • Live sound engineering 
  • Live gig sound management  
  • Advanced mixing desks 
  • Routing and patching
  • Live sound problem solving
  • Live mixing for festivals  
  • Digital vs analogue mixing in a live setting  
  • Remote mixing  
  • Venue acoustics
  • Professional soundcheck
  • Stage organisation and planning  

mix engineering

In this module, you’ll build upon your first-year learnings to produce professional, clear and exciting mixes using industry-standard hardware and software such as Pro Tools. You’ll study a variety of mixing techniques, learning how to adapt and experiment with these to develop your sonic signature. You’ll consider different mixing approaches and workflows as you operate across a variety of genres to meet real-world client briefs. Upon completion of the module, you’ll be confidently making informed technical and aesthetic decisions as you skillfully mix a prepared multi-track recording. 

  • Understanding Spatial FX
  • Advanced compression techniques 
  • Mix and sub-mix processing 
  • Distortion and saturation 
  • Drum replacement 
  • Mixing a variety of genres 
  • Creating the right mixing environment 
  • Planning your mix methodology
  • Mix preparation
  • Using reference tracks 
  • Headroom and gain staging 
  • Understanding EQ and frequency masking 
  • Stereo placement and panning 
  • Low end mixing 
  • Mid-range placement
  • Mixing highs to add clarity while avoiding harshness 
  • Sidechaining to create space and movement 
  • Using send/returns
  • Reverbs, delays and other spatial effects

studio engineering

You’ll continue to build your abilities in using industry-standard recording and production equipment in this module. You’ll advance your editing and sound production processes as you explore the fundamental principles of audio recording theory in a studio environment context. Demonstrating a clear knowledge of how microphones and recording techniques affect the outcome of music productions, you’ll also learn to adapt and respond quickly in live recording scenarios. You’ll grow your skills as you work on your creative technical assessment – employing a range of engineering techniques to affect and capture various audio sources.   

  • Stereo recording 
  • Preamps  
  • Multi-microphone recording 
  • Drum recording 
  • Microphone polar patterns   
  • Gain structure  
  • Alternative microphone techniques 
  • Alternative recording techniques  
  • Signal-to-noise ratio in recording  
  • Boundary microphones 
  • Historical recoding techniques 
  • Critical listening and analysis 

audio editing and post-production

This module explores the art of audio editing and post-production – a truly vital part of the creative process. Once sounds have been captured and created, preparing them for the mixing process is an important role that requires attention to detail and an equal balance of technical and creative musical know-how. Here you’ll experiment with functions such as comping, editing, timing, tuning, audio restoration, mix prep and more. As you extend your skills, you’ll learn to select the process best suited to the particular types of material, styles or genres you’re working on. 

  • Critical listening and evaluation 
  • Evaluating fixes and edits 
  • How to build a bespoke workflow 
  • Comping 
  • Advanced audio editing   
  • Post-production 
  • Fixing timing, groove templates and quantisation 
  • Noise reduction 
  • Audio restoration tools, such as iZotope RX 
  • Cleaning audio and removing clicks and pops 
  • Vocal tuning (Melodyne) 
  • Vocal comping 
  • Editing voice recordings for podcasts and voiceovers 

In your final year, you’ll take your audio engineering and music production skills to a professional industry-standard level. Studying advanced mixing, mastering and recording techniques, you’ll graduate confident in using the latest cutting-edge equipment in a commercial studio environment. By undertaking self-directed projects in your areas of interest, you’ll start to map out your career and produce a real-world entrepreneurial business plan you can use to progress your path to future employment. 

advanced studio engineering

This advanced module, taught at ICMP’s brand-new music production facilities, will help you evolve the skills and knowledge needed to successfully run a professional recording session. You’ll consolidate your abilities from previous years while adding new studio engineering techniques and elevating your technical capabilities. With practical workshops, studio-based experimentation, masterclasses and peer-review sessions, this module will push you to achieve a commercial standard with your work. You’ll undertake an in-depth study of commercial tracks, so you’re aware of the high levels of quality required within the professional audio world. 

  • Preparation for sessions 
  • Pre-production 
  • The recording set up 
  • Musician choices 
  • Recording with processing 
  • Time management 
  • Microphone experimentation 
  • Multi-microphone techniques 
  • Advanced DAW techniques 
  • Recording in context 
  • Whole ensemble recording 
  • How to record strings and brass 

mastering engineering

In this advanced final-year module, you’ll develop your skills and knowledge of mastering – the crucial last step in producing recorded music. Mastering has changed enormously over the years, and it’s now increasingly important for industry professionals to have strong capabilities in this area. Through the module content and assessment programme, your learning will focus on real-world industry projects and scenarios, and you’ll gain valuable practical experience in mastering both single tracks and longer album projects.  

  • Mastering and listening skills 
  • Using appropriate reference material 
  • Working with stereo sound 
  • Creating rich stereo 
  • Mono compatibility
  • Signal processing
  • Mastering-focused techniques for EQ
  • Dynamics processing
  • Perceived loudness
  • Clippers and limiters
  • Advanced metering
  • Loudness measurement 
  • Platform-specific loudness standards
  • Working with long-form projects
  • Assembling EPs/albums
  • Consistency for EPs and albums
  • Metadata, metatags, and ISRCs
  • Delivery formats
  • Masters for diverse formats

professional practice

Throughout this year-long module, you’ll bring together your technical experience, creativity and transferable business skills to develop a professional project of your choice. You’ll manage, plan and realise a music-related project that links together the craft of audio engineering and the business side of the music industry. This project offers a great way to connect to real-life opportunities – either through community or charitable work or by launching your project and brand to the world. As you progress, you’ll regularly develop, test and refine your ideas thanks to ongoing peer and tutor feedback. You’ll graduate with a substantial piece you can showcase to the industry, having cemented your communication, negotiation, analysis, project planning and project management skills along the way. 

  • Developing a music-related project proposal 
  • Project risk assessments 
  • Ethics 
  • Presentation and communication skills 
  • Problem-solving 
  • Research methods and enquiry 
  • Effective planning and pitching 
  • Analysis and interpretation 
  • Project management best practice  
  • Project management methodologies 
  • Interdisciplinary practice  
  • Creative and technical development  

CREATIVE AUDIO ENGINEERING PROJECT

This year-long self-directed creative audio engineering project provides a focus for all the skills you've developed in previous modules while allowing you to undertake exploratory creative work which makes use of advanced, contemporary and experimental music-making techniques. Using a combination of research methods, practice-as-research, project planning and management, you'll develop a significant body of audio engineering creative work of your choice – such as an album, live performance, multi-media composition, podcast or installation. You’ll document your project online in the form of a contextualising blog post, which you can use to demonstrate your unique voice as an engineer–producer when launching your music industry career. 

  • Professional engineering processes 
  • Creative music production techniques 
  • Conscious ‘rule-breaking’ in production 
  • Engineer–producer identity   
  • Creative limitation methods
  • Site-specific and technology-inspired approaches
  • Artistic research methods
  • Development of a personalised production identity 
  • Practice-as-research methods  
  • Concept-led production 
  • Process-led music creation 
  • Audio–visual composition workshops 
  • Blog development  
  • Project management  
  • Project development and documentation  

TEACHING, LEARNING AND ASSESSMENT

You will be taught at our campus in Kilburn and Queen's Park, utilising our live rooms, tech suites and in-house music studio facilities as well as classrooms and lecture rooms. You will have access to use these facilities outside of class time while you are a student at ICMP in order to rehearse and record your music. 

You will be taught through a variety of teaching and learning methods including lectures, small group tutorials, performance workshops, music technology workshops tutorials and one to one instrumental tuition. 

You will have access to the Student Services Department for support and advice concerning welfare, finance, personal development, safeguarding etc. You'll also have access to our Professional Development team ‘The Hub, who provide bespoke music industry careers advice and access to unique industry opportunities.

As a student of UEL you will also enjoy access to a range of UEL facilities, including the 24/7 multimedia libraries, with over 300,000 books, journals, audio-visual resources and archives, 500 electronic books and 25,000 electronic journals and databases. 

Teaching and Learning

On the BA (Hons) Audio Engineering and Production programme you will be taught through a variety of lectures, seminar, workshops and demonstrations.

When not attending lectures, seminars or other timetabled sessions you'll be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve reading articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library, and preparing coursework assignments.Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities, including our Learning Resource Centre, our many performance and practice rooms, and well-equipped tech suites.

Throughout the duration of your course your time will be split as follows:

Teaching hours per week
Semester A • Year 1: 12hrs | Year 2: 10hrs | Year 3: 8hrs
Semester B • Year 1: 12hrs | Year 2:  10hrs  | Year 3: 8hrs

Total Teaching, Learning and Assessment hours per year
Year 1: 288hrs | Year 2: 240hrs | Year 3: 192hrs

Total self-study hours per year
Year 1: 912hrs | Year 2: 960hrs | Year 3: 1008hrs

Assessment

Your knowledge and thinking will be assessed through reports, workbooks, presentations, essays, examinations and recordings. Your practical skills will be assessed through recordings, performance, composition and practical examinations, and your skills for life and work will be assessed through project pitches, coursework and presentations.

The assessment breakdown of this programme is:

Year 1: 30% Written | 50% Practical | 17% Coursework
Year 2: 33% Practical | 67% Coursework
Year 3: 33% Practical | 67% Coursework

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Applicants will typically have A Levels, BTEC Diploma or Extended Diploma, or International Baccalaureate equivalent to 80 UCAS points, or an ICMP Higher Diploma.

In addition, you should hold a GCSE Grade C or 4 or above in English, or suitable equivalent, such as Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Adult Literacy/Numeracy.

International students will typically hold a relevant equivalent qualification –please check your qualification with our Admissions Team. In addition, you should hold a relevant English language qualification equivalent to CEFR  Level B2.

We also welcome applications from mature applicants who may have no formal qualifications but can demonstrate their suitability for study through appropriate skills and experience.

All applicants will be invited to attend an audition/interview.

This course is also available as a one-year Cert HE.

UCAS code W101Uni code i25

HOW TO APPLY

 Please apply via  the "APPLY NOW" link  below.

At any time during application process if you need help or further advice just contact our Admissions team who will be happy to assist you. 



By phone:
020 7328 0222

By email:
enquiries@icmp.ac.uk

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