Music Technology - MMus / PgCert / PgDip

  • Level: Postgraduate Taught
  • Starting: September 2019
  • Study mode: MMus - Full Time, Part Time
    PgCert - Part Time
    PgDip - Full Time, Part Time
  • Course cost: £8,100 per year for UK/EU Full Time 2019 entry (view all fees)
  • Location: Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

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Our postgraduate courses in Music Technology provide an opportunity for composers and composer-performers to experiment with and develop expertise in the creative application of established and new music technologies.

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire is an internationally important centre for performance and composition with technology, especially live electronics. An example of its work is the highly acclaimed Integra Live project, an application that makes it easy to use interactive audio processing to create new music.

As you might expect, in this context, our postgraduate courses in Music Technology provide an exciting opportunity for composers and composer-performers to experiment with and develop expertise in the creative application of established and new music technologies.

You'll have full access to our superb £57 million facilities, including our Concert Hall,  Recital Hall, seven recording studios, editing and mastering suites, and our black-box performance space known as The Lab. Alongside your focus on Music Technology, our courses provide opportunities for you to develop other skills relevant to a future career in the music profession.

What's covered in the course?

  • Regular individual tuition in Music Technology from world-leading practitioners and researchers
  • A chance to develop a distinctive creative voice within the context of a broad-based course, enhancing your employability.
  • The opportunity to participate in a wide variety of creative projects, including interdisciplinary collaborations.
  • Access to state-of-the-art hardware, software, recording studios and performance spaces including our experimental black-box performance space called The Lab. 
  • Regular forums, seminars and masterclasses with distinguished visiting composers and performers.
  • A chance to network with leading professionals from around the world through our leading role in Integra Live.
  • By studying Music Technology in the setting of a thriving conservatoire, you'll benefit from opportunities to work with professional ensembles and musicians, as well as student performers, including our contemporary music group, Thallein Ensemble.
  • In PgDip and MMus, a core career development module designed to get you thinking about your future professional plans. 
  •  In PgDip and MMus, the flexibility to choose from a broad menu of Professional Development modules designed to help you work towards achieving your personal career aspirations.
  • In MMus, a core module designed to develop your skills as a researcher or informed practitioner.
  • In PgCert, the ability to focus wholly on the principal study area.
  • The possibility of transferring between PgCert, PgDip to and/or MMus (as appropriate) once you have begun your studies (but before completion of your original course).

Why Choose Us?

At Royal Birmingham Conservatoire we provide a friendly and supportive environment in which you can pursue your postgraduate studies. This is a time when you need to think particularly carefully and strategically about the direction of your developing career as a musician. We therefore encourage you to be ambitious in pursuing your aspirations, and endeavour to provide you with the flexibility to mould your course to your individual needs, both within your Principal Study area and – for PgDip and MMus students – in complementary modules.

Conservatoire Open Day Feature

Open Days

Our next Open Day for this course will take place on Thursday 23 January 2020. Visit us to get a real insight into student life at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

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This course is open to International students

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Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

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Speak to an expert

If you’ve got any questions about the course, we’d love to hear from you. Please email the Course Director: Simon Hall.

Email Course Director

Alternatively, you can register for our next open day.

Entry Requirements

MMus/PgDip/PgCert
Essential

UK students should normally hold an honours degree, ideally but not necessarily in Music.

Non-UK students should hold a Bachelor's degree or a similar degree-equivalent diploma, ideally but not necessarily in Music.

Audition requirements

 You should be prepared to discuss a portfolio of recordings, productions,   compositions or other material, which must be submitted on CD or DVD at                    least two weeks before the audition.*

 

Portfolios should be sent by Recorded Delivery to: Senior Administrator, Admissions, Birmingham Conservatoire, 200 Jennens Road, Birmingham B4 7XR, UK

The panel will be interested to hear you talk about your artistic influences, your inspiration to be a musician and your career objectives.

This is an opportunity for you to ask the panel questions about the Music Technology Department and what life will be like as a musician in Birmingham.

The audition and interview together will last for about half an hour.

English language requirements

You must have a minimum of IELTS 5.5 or equivalent in all four skills areas to secure a visa

PgDip, MMus: You must have IELTS 6; or alternatively must have studied and completed a Bachelor’s degree in the UK;*.

PgCert: You must have IELTS 5.5; or alternatively must have studied and completed a Bachelor’s degree in the UK.

International Students

Entry requirements here

International Students

Don't meet our entry requirements? You could apply for courses at our International College.

Apply now

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MMus Sep 2019 FT 2 years £8,100 per year Apply via UCAS
PT 3 years £5,400 per year Apply via UCAS
PgCert Sep 2019 PT 1 year £4,050 per year Apply via UCAS
PgDip Sep 2019 FT 1 year £8,100 per year Apply via UCAS
PT 2 years £4,050 per year Apply via UCAS

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MMus Sep 2019 FT 2 years £19,500 per year Apply via UCAS
PgDip Sep 2019 FT 1 year £19,500 per year Apply via UCAS

The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

For any candidates who demonstrate an exceptional level of achievement in their audition/interview, a panel may identify them as a potential contender for our 12-month MMus, with credit for advanced standing. If the candidate expresses interest in pursuing this option, this will trigger a follow-up interview to explore their suitability further. However, it is not possible to apply for direct entry to this 12-month programme.

Completing your application

Further information on writing your personal statement can be found on the UCAS Conservatoires website.

Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on your course. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15. 

The additional costs listed here are to be used for indicative purposes only and are based on the additional costs for the 2018/19 academic year. The additional costs for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible.

View additional costs for this course

Additional costs

The additional costs listed at the bottom of the page are to be used for indicative purposes only and are based on the additional costs for the 2018/19 academic year. The additional costs for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible.

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Did you know that you can apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,906 for some courses and options?

Postgraduate loans

PG Cert

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete one of the following CORE modules (totalling 60 credits):

Principal Study 1: Music Technology
60 credits

This module enables you, as a postgraduate Music Technologist, to advance your training in your specialist area. For MMus students, it provides a prelude to the further advancement of your training in the Principal Study 2: Music Technology module.

This module is focused entirely on your continued growth as a Creative Music Technologist. The skills developed will be specific to your own interests, but are likely to include a combination of composition utilising technology, performing with technology, interactive music technology, programming, recording, production, mixing and mastering.

PG Dip

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete the following CORE module (totalling 60 credits):

Principal Study 1: Music Technology
60 credits

This module enables you, as a postgraduate Music Technologist, to advance your training in your specialist area. For MMus students, it provides a prelude to the further advancement of your training in the Principal Study 2: Music Technology module.

This module is focused entirely on your continued growth as a Creative Music Technologist. The skills developed will be specific to your own interests, but are likely to include a combination of composition utilising technology, performing with technology, interactive music technology, programming, recording, production, mixing and mastering.

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 20 credits):

Career Development
20 credits

Members of the music profession require not only high-level specialist skills but also the ability to target those skills strategically to different circumstances. This module focuses on a range of different aspects of a musician’s professional development that directly relate to the music industry and their preparation for it: from self-promotion and self-management, to funding and wellbeing. It is thus central to a programme which aims to prepare you for a career as a musician in the 21st century.

It requires you, near the beginning of your postgraduate studies, to reflect ambitiously yet realistically on your professional aspirations, and to formulate a plan that helps you stand the best chance of achieving your goals. Weekly workshops, delivered by internal staff and external professionals, will focus on the practicalities of a career in music, providing you with a better insight into the industry you will be entering, as well as encouraging you to be self-reflective about your own personal and professional development needs.

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete at least 40 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules.

Optional modules
40 credits

Each module listed is worth 20 credits.

Conservatoire based

  • Concepts in Musicology
  • Contemporary Music Concepts and Practice
  • Creative Interactive Music Technology Performance
  • Critical Editing Techniques
  • Documentation
  • Experimental Performance in Context(s)
  • Historical Instrument Performance
  • Historical Performance Practice
  • Independent Scholarship in Music
  • Music and Ideas
  • Music Technology Contexts
  • Orchestration
  • Performing and Producing in the Studio
  • Professional Music Criticism
  • Self-Promotion Project
  • Teaching Matters: Principles and Practice
  • Work Placement
  • Writing Music for Media
  • Music, Community and Wellbeing (BMus module)

School of Art based

  • Art and Ecologies
  • Contemporary Philosophy and Aesthetics
  • Discourses in Art and Design
  • Models and Methods of Curatorial Practice
  • Queer Strategies in Practice
  • Small Arts Business Set Up
  • Social Practice in the Visual

School of Media based

  • Live Events and Festival Management
  • Social Media as Culture and Practice
 
Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

MMus

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete THREE CORE modules (totalling 140 credits):

Career Development
20 credits

Members of the music profession require not only high-level specialist skills but also the ability to target those skills strategically to different circumstances. This module focuses on a range of different aspects of a musician’s professional development that directly relate to the music industry and their preparation for it: from self-promotion and self-management, to funding and wellbeing. It is thus central to a programme which aims to prepare you for a career as a musician in the 21st century.

It requires you, near the beginning of your postgraduate studies, to reflect ambitiously yet realistically on your professional aspirations, and to formulate a plan that helps you stand the best chance of achieving your goals. Weekly workshops, delivered by internal staff and external professionals, will focus on the practicalities of a career in music, providing you with a better insight into the industry you will be entering, as well as encouraging you to be self-reflective about your own personal and professional development needs.

Principal Study 1: Music Technology
60 credits

This module enables you, as a postgraduate Music Technologist, to advance your training in your specialist area. For MMus students, it provides a prelude to the further advancement of your training in the Principal Study 2: Music Technology module.

This module is focused entirely on your continued growth as a Creative Music Technologist. The skills developed will be specific to your own interests, but are likely to include a combination of composition utilising technology, performing with technology, interactive music technology, programming, recording, production, mixing and mastering.

Principal Study 2: Music Technology
60 credits

This module enables you, as a postgraduate Music Technologist, to continue to advance your training in your specialist area, and thus provides professionally-relevant experience. It builds on the technical and creative skills acquired in the Principal Study 1: Music Technology module, encouraging a greater maturity of approach, the development of an individual voice and personal aesthetic, and a consistently professional approach to presentation.

This module is focused entirely on your continued growth as a Creative Music Technologist. The skills developed will be specific to your own interests, but are likely to include a combination of composition utilising technology, performing with technology, interactive music technology, programming, recording, production, mixing and mastering.

In order to complete this course, a student must successfully complete at least 100 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules:

  • THREE Professional Development modules (20 credits each), and

  • ONE MMus optional module (40 credits)

Optional modules
100 credits

Professional Development modules (20 credits each)

Conservatoire based

  • Concepts in Musicology
  • Contemporary Music Concepts and Practice
  • Creative Interactive Music Technology Performance
  • Critical Editing Techniques
  • Documentation
  • Experimental Performance in Context(s)
  • Historical Instrument Performance
  • Historical Performance Practice
  • Independent Scholarship in Music
  • Music and Ideas
  • Music Technology Contexts
  • Orchestration
  • Performing and Producing in the Studio
  • Professional Music Criticism
  • Self-Promotion Project
  • Teaching Matters: Principles and Practice
  • Work Placement
  • Writing Music for Media
  • Music, Community and Wellbeing (BMus module)

School of Art based

  • Art and Ecologies
  • Contemporary Philosophy and Aesthetics
  • Discourses in Art and Design
  • Models and Methods of Curatorial Practice
  • Queer Strategies in Practice
  • Small Arts Business Set Up
  • Social Practice in the Visual

School of Media based

  • Live Events and Festival Management
  • Social Media as Culture and Practice

MMus optional modules (40 credits each)

  • Research Project
  • Critical Edition
  • Lecture-Recital
  • The Reflective Practioner
    • There are two pathways through this module: 1. Professional Placement, and 2. Creative Interdisciplinary Artist.
 
Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Course structure

Whichever course you choose, work in the Principal Study area lies at its heart. For Music Technologists, the Principal Study modules each culminate in a portfolio of original creative music technology work. Preparation of this is supported by individual specialist tuition, as well as by departmental activities.

If you are a MMus or PgDip student you will take a Career Development module, which will require you, near the beginning of your course, to reflect ambitiously yet realistically on your professional aspirations, and to formulate a plan that helps you stand the best chance of achieving your goals. You will also choose, in addition, some Professional Development Options from a varied list. The following gives an indication the kind of optional modules which may be offered in a given year, including some offered by Birmingham City University’s Schools of Art and Media (note, not all will run every year).

MMus students will additionally choose a 40-credit option from one of two categories: ‘The Emerging Researcher’ or ‘The Reflective Practitioner’.

Part-time options

There is some room for negotiation in how the course unfolds for a part-time MMus student over three years, or in the case of part-time PgDip students, over two years.

Meet our Head of Music Technology

Dr Simon Hall is Head of the Music Technology Department at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Take a look at how he came to his current role and what he thinks prospective students can look forward to when they join.

Read more 

Meet our first ever Recording Artist in Residence

Students at Royal Birmingham Conservative are benefiting from an innovative new scheme which will allow them to gain hands-on experience working alongside an experienced recording artist.

Read more 

Student stories – Luke Aziz

I made the decision to return to education to study a Masters in Music Technology in order to strengthen my portfolio and gain more experience in the area. The Conservatoire has some of the most talented musicians in the country working there as well as excellent facilities, so I felt it would be a brilliant place to help me move forward in the field and hopefully make some contacts for the future!

I'm studying a one-year intensive course, so I get a lot of one-to-one sessions with the tutors which is really helpful. All the lecturers have such a huge enthusiasm for the subject, it makes it really interesting and really brings Music Technology to life. It’s obvious that the staff really love their subject and are very knowledgeable in the area, so it's great for me to be able to learn from them. There are also opportunities with external lecturers who are currently working in the Music Industry, which means I actually learn straight from the people that are directly involved in the field I want to end up working in.

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Birmingham Conservatoire has a growing community of international students from across the world.

We appreciate the challenges of moving to a new country to live and study, and aim to be as supportive as possible.

Aside from being friendly and welcoming, we've put various support mechanisms in place to help you settle in as an international students, including:

  • An international students' 'orientation week', including a special Conservatoire 'welcome' event.

  • A dedicated international student admissions administrator.

  • A full-time staff member employed as international student mentor (who speaks Mandarin).

  • A pastoral mentoring system in which you, as a new postgraduate international student, are mentored by continuing postgraduate international students.

  • Additional academic skills support provided by expert tutors from the University's Centre for Academic Success, and by postgraduate academic mentors from among continuing postgraduate students.

Further information for prospective international students is available on the University's international pages.

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.

BCUIC

BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our music technology course is most popular with international students from:  

Concert Hall - Copyright Hufton +Crow

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s £57 million music building opened in September 2017, and is located on Birmingham City University’s City Centre Campus in the Eastside ‘learning quarter’ of the city.

This brand new music facility include five public performance venues – a 500 seat Concert Hall, 150 seat Recital Hall, Organ Studio, Eastside Jazz Club and the experimental black box performance venue known as The Lab. As well as these stunning performance venues, we have nearly 100 practice spaces; including 70 small practice rooms and larger ensemble rooms and workshops.

Our new home is the first conservatoire built in the digital age, and as such it has been vital to ensure that the technical infrastructure installed is on par with any advanced commercial facility. We have seven recording studios, a mastering suite, a distance learning hub, and all of our performance venues feature high specification audio-visual equipment that enables interconnectivity and advanced functionality throughout the building.

These impressive modern facilities guarantee that we are excel in our unique dual purpose of providing the highest standard of music education deserved by our students, as well as meeting our role as a concert and performance venue for the people of Birmingham; taking our place in the vibrant cultural landscape of the UK’s second city.

Simon Hall

Head of Music Technology

Simon's musical interests are wide-ranging, which is reflected in his variety of work. He is an active composer, producer, recording engineer and bass trombone player as well as educator.

He has worked across a range of genres in a range of capacities, with artists as diverse as Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Boulez, Louis Andriessen and Heiner Goebbels to Johnny Mathis, Barry Manilow and Jamelia; and organisations ranging from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and the BBC Big Band, to the Royal Shakespeare Company and Birmingham ElectroAcoustic Sound Theatre.

Read Simon's full profile

Luan Shaw

Associate Professor; Director of Postgraduate Studies

Luan is Director of Postgraduate Studies and Head of Pedagogy at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire where she has taught since 2011. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and was made an Honorary Member of RBC in 2001. She is passionate about helping students to build their portfolio careers and having recently completed research in this area via the MEd in Academic Practice at Birmingham City University, her doctoral research also focuses on facilitating the transition from student to professional through instrumental teacher education in conservatoires. 

An alumna of RBC, Luan became a member of the European Union Youth Orchestra and recipient of the Worshipful Company of Musicians Silver Medal soon after graduating in 1994. She freelanced with the CBSO and other UK orchestras for over 20 years and played principal clarinet for numerous Longborough Festival Opera productions including Wagner’s Ring Cycle. As a chamber musician, Luan has performed throughout the UK, on BBC Radio and at the Banff International Festival, and her research on Members’ Roles in Wind Quintets was published shortly after completing an MA in 'Psychology for Musicians' at the University of Sheffield.