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Commercial Music Producer (MA)



The MA Commercial Music Producer is a one year, industry-focused MA for the technically proficient, aspiring or established commercial music producer.

You'll be taught at Tileyard by professional writer-producers, engineers and industry executives and you'll work on live commercial briefs year round. 

Tileyard News
In what might be a first for Higher Education nationally, Tileyard Education launched their MA Commercial Music Producer 2022 with a majority female cohort. Read more...

PATHWAY OPTIONS AND HOW TO APPLY

You can apply through Tileyard Education or through the University's online application form.

How Do I Apply?

Applicants can start, pause, edit and finally submit when ready. You will need a photocopy of your UK/EU passport and where appropriate, a copy of your undergraduate degree qualification. If you do not have an undergraduate qualification and are applying as a professional with three years' experience, you may be asked at a later date for written documentation to support your application.


Book an Open Day Request Information Online/ Blended Course

Year 2023/2024
Home tuition fees: £11,830

Why choose this course

  • Small class sizes
  • Year round access to studios and writing rooms
  • 1-2-1 academic and pastoral tutorials
  • 1-2-1 industry mentoring sessions
  • Termly songwriting camps with live commercial briefs
  • Live brief of the week
  • Regular playbacks and A&R surgeries

What you will learn

Course Overview

The MA Commercial Music Producer is delivered by Tileyard Education is a one year, full time practical and industry-focused MA for the technically proficient, aspiring or established commercial producer. 

This practical MA programme features two pathways:

Commercial Music Pathway

The Commercial Music pathway is a unique opportunity for you to harness the latest technical and creative production skills for multi-genre popular commercial music whilst learning from and collaborating with the extensive professional network based at Tileyard.

Game Sound Pathway

The Game Sound pathway is based on the foundation of the established Commercial Music Producer MA program, but differs in the second (Development) term, focusing on subjects related to the video game industry. Creating sound and music for video games requires a different approach, tools and workflow to linear media as well as industry understanding and career strategy.

You’ll be taught at Tileyard by professional writer-producers, engineers and industry executives. The MA is a unique opportunity for you to harness the latest technical and creative production skills whilst learning from and collaborating with the extensive professional network based at Tileyard, the largest independent music community in the world.

Our 1-2-1 industry mentoring sessions ensure continued professional feedback and a strengthening of pathways to employment while students also benefit from regular industry networking events, professional masterclasses, industry playbacks, work-based learning opportunities and the unrivalled social network at Tileyard. 

Alumni receive regular live commercial briefs, discounts on products and events and can annually pitch any commercial projects to the Tileyard Investment Fund.

"Be inspired and connect with international hitmakers, artists and businesses"
Nick Keynes, Managing Director, Tileyard London

Module Topics

Term 1: Foundation (60 credits)

Contemporary Production Techniques

The Contemporary Production Techniques discipline is designed to provide you with the necessary skills to be able to manage, execute and deliver the practical production aspects of the course. You will explore the essential tools and techniques associated within modern production environments, as we analyse the approaches deployed within the production process of several creative recording sessions. Study of relevant tools within the software landscape, alongside recording techniques and microphone deployment plays a large part of this module.

Composing and Arranging

The Composing & Arranging discipline focuses on the use and application of musical concepts and techniques. Designed to embed music composition skills for technical professionals from the production idiom, the study includes critical analysis of commercial composition techniques, case studies, genres and the practical evaluation of your own original works.

Alongside this, you will begin to examine the theoretical framework of composition and explore its relationship to practice, including; chords, melody, harmony, countermelodies, musical hooks, harmonic and melodic rhythm and other rhythmic structures and arranging.

The Music Industry: Landscape

The module focuses on the interconnected and collaborative stakeholders and activities undertaken in the production, distribution and marketing of commercially released music. It begins with a mapping and critical evaluation of label, publisher and creative artist management in its historical context along with an analysis of how that landscape is evolving and adapting to competitive dynamics.

The module continues with an audit of those key creative management entities, roles functions, budget and timeline variables. It also details all of the music and entertainment industry legal and contractual points covering recording, publishing, management, live, digital, synchronisation and brand licensing, new tools, techniques and case studies in the physical and digital worlds.

Case studies used will be based in the UK and the wider international music scene, and will include both major labels and independents. Students are assessed on the formulation of a professional campaign for an independent music artist of your choosing, presenting a detailed analysis of key stakeholders, campaign timelines, budgets and marketing strategy.

Term 2: Development – Commercial Music (60 credits)

Mixing Techniques and Sound Design

You will continue to extend your knowledge and theoretical understanding of commercial music production through the study of Mixing Techniques. You will be guided though the process of mixing a track, and experiment with signal processing techniques to adapt and incorporate these methods in your own work.

Making Music Work

You will extend your knowledge and theoretical understanding of commercial composition through the study of writing to commercial brief. This discipline explores the nature of, and routes to, delivering commercial briefs from record labels, music publishers, film and TV productions, advertising agencies, games developers, corporate audio branding, multi-media convergence events and large scale government or local authority projects.

Creative Music Technology

The Creative Media Technology discipline delivers study of the burgeoning maker and hacker landscape. Analysis of instrument creation, physical computing, micro controllers and creative coding for musical professionals is undertaken, alongside study of new ways of manufacture, crowdfunding, batch production and real world applications.

Industry: Entertainment Marketing

The discipline provides a critical evaluation and analysis of the principals and practices of marketing, both physical and digital, with specific reference to entertainment, youth, media and campaign driven marketing case studies. It will focus on the sociological, psychological and consumer behavioural dynamics inherent in branding, promotion and the communication of perceived value.

Term 2: Development – Game Sound (60 credits)

Mixing Techniques and Sound Design

You will continue to extend your knowledge and theoretical understanding of commercial music production through the study of Mixing Techniques. You will be guided though the process of mixing a track, and experiment with signal processing techniques to adapt and incorporate these methods in your own work.

Making Music Work

You will extend your knowledge and theoretical understanding of commercial composition through the study of writing to commercial brief. This discipline explores the nature of, and routes to, delivering commercial briefs from record labels, music publishers, film and TV productions, advertising agencies, games developers, corporate audio branding, multi-media convergence events and large scale government or local authority projects.

Creative Media Technology

The Creative Media Technology discipline looks at the tools and workflows used in video game creation. Game Engines are investigated as well as Game Audio Middleware solutions such as Wwise and FMOD. An introduction to coding provides an understanding of how the sound and music can be controlled and implemented in the game.

Industry: Games Industry Landscape

This discipline will provide an overview of the Video Games industry and will touch upon aspects including the structure of the games industry, income opportunities, game streaming and E- sports as well as the marketing side of the industry. Lectures will be enhanced with executive guests from a range of games development companies.

Term 3: Creation (60 credits)

Creative Production Project

This module is the culmination of your Masters level studies and an opportunity for you to plan, research and ultimately create a major creative production project. The nature and scope of the project you undertake is entirely at your discretion and is an opportunity for you to combine theory and practice into a single portfolio of work.

Throughout the module you will enhance your skills as both a researcher and music producer practitioner, through the design of a body of work that is based on a sound theoretical framework and linked to your main areas of production interests. The module is supported by an initial series of classes in academic research methods, critical and reflective analysis and project management techniques.

You will also be allocated an industry mentor for the duration of the module who will help guide the development of your work. Meetings with your mentor will take place through a balance of regular Skype meetings.

Assessment

Foundation:

Element 1 – Portfolio (40%)

20 to 30 minutes (Equivalent to 3000 words)

Students are required to analyse three contemporary commercial music tracks, in three different musical genres/styles.

They are then to produce and create three tracks of their own that match the genre, production style and arrangement of the analysed tracks.

Element 2 – Essay (40%)

3000 words

The portfolio is supported by a 3000 word essay, that should aim to provide insight into the production process, outlining key aspects of your methodology that are underpinned by research.

Element 3 – Presentation (40%)

15 minutes (Equivalent to 3000 words)

You are allocated a small (virtual) working budget of £500 and tasked to develop an original artist campaign to include the recording, planning for digital release and promotion of a single (this can be one of the tracks created for the Portfolio element).

Development:

Element 1 – Pre-production Portfolio (20%)

30 minutes (Equivalent to 3000 words)

You are to compose, produce and submit musical artefacts that demonstrate your ability to interpret the specifications of a commercial brief.

For this assignment element, you are to submit pre-production standard tracks, that demonstrate your approach and interpretation of the briefs.

Element 2 – Instrument (40%)

Element 2a – Instrument Artefact (60% of 40%)

You are to create a software instrument.

Element 2b – Instrument Essay (30% of 40%)

You are to submit a 4000 word Essay that details the research, discussion, work and feedback conducted to create the instrument

Element 2c – Instrument Presentation (10% of 40%)

You are to give a 10 minute online presentation that demonstrates the capabilities of your instrument.

Element 3 – Portfolio (40%)

30 minutes (Equivalent to 3000 words)

This element builds upon the work and feedback given from your Pre-Production Portfolio.

You are to compose, produce and submit musical artefacts that demonstrate your ability to interpret the specifications of a commercial brief.

Creation:

Element 1 – Written Proposal (15%)

(2500 words)

Conduct a range of research from both academic industry sources to deliver a 2500 word final project report that focuses on the theory underpinning your final project.

Element 2 – Original Music Work (85%)

Element 2a – Portfolio (80% of 85%)

(30-45 minutes)

You must submit a portfolio of work that is produced, recorded, mixed and mastered to a “high quality” standard.

Element 2b – Reflective Commentary (20% of 85%)

(5000 words)

You are to submit a 5000 word Reflective Commentary that details and reflects upon the research, discussion, work and feedback conducted in the creation of the portfolio.

Tileyard Education Links

Key Information

Staff
Entry Criteria

A minimum of a 2:2 honours degree, or an appropriate equivalent, i.e. a professional qualification, from a recognised British or overseas institution. Mature students with at least 3 years of industry experience are also welcome to apply.

Applicants without an undergraduate qualification at the required level will be considered if they possess three years work experience in the field and are capable of undertaking and completing the programme at the required academic standard. These applicants will be asked to submit an academic assessment, work experience portfolio after submitting their first application.

Applicants may be asked to interview. Offers are subject to confirmation with the Programme Director and final confirmation with the university.

Applicants who have been taught and assessed in languages other than English should have the English language equivalent to IELTS 6.0.

Currently, this course is open to British, Irish (Northern and Southern) and EU nationals with settled status (that is, those who moved to the UK before 31/12/20) who are currently living or planning to live in England. If you are an EU national and want to see if you are eligible for settled status, check the UK Government's online guidance

 This course is not currently available to international students. If you are an international student looking to study this course, you are eligible to apply to our MA Commercial Music Producer (Online Blended).

 Students accepted onto the MA Commercial Music Producer course can apply for a UK Government Postgraduate Master’s Loan

 Applicants to our MA programmes are automatically included in a shortlist for Tileyard Education bursaries and scholarships.

Additional Costs

Any additional software or hardware music equipment you might want to purchase, but all equipment is provided at Tileyard Education's facilities.