Creative Production (Music) MA

Reshape your music practice through artistic research

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Overview

Pursue your chosen area of interest, desired specialisation or passion project through an iterative practice-based research approach in our Creative Production (Music) MA. Throughout this intense and rewarding production period filled with substantial creative work, you’ll be fully supported by workshops, guest sessions, seminars, individual mentoring and collaboration with a diverse group of peers.

Widen and deepen your frames of musical and conceptual reference, while exploring your own creative voice and artistic projects. Our seminars and workshops provide a thorough grounding in practice-led research methodology, alongside a wider range of research in sound, music and the arts. 

The one-year (or two-year, part-time) course provides a clear but flexible framework for negotiated and self-directed learning. You’ll be introduced to a tried and tested approach to research that puts artistic production and performance front and centre. We’ll stimulate your curiosity, give you a set of tools with which to explore and develop your personal research ideas and concepts, empowering you to then apply those ideas using our industry-standard facilities.

Join an inspiring community of students from around the world who will act as mentors, peers, collaborators, audience and fellow travellers. With deep critical reflection and input from this truly international community, you’ll get to define or redefine the next chapter of your practice, whilst asking yourself this essential question: What will you use this time to create?

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What is creative production?

Creative production is an intentionally broad term. Within the realm of music, it covers – but isn’t limited to – music production, recording, composition, programming, performance, sound design, improvisation, instrument design, sound art, sound for games, sound for film, field recording, artistic research, critical theory, new media, cross media, or interdisciplinary work. For us, creative production refers more specifically to the iterative process of production and reflection, rather than the outcomes you aim for or mediums you choose to work with. 

Through exploration and innovation, your capabilities as a music producer, sound engineer, electronic music artist, performer, composer or sonic artist will develop and excel, if that is your chosen route. Equally, you can undertake projects with practitioners from other artistic fields to grow your own practice and creative industry profile. You bring your field of interest and your inspiration as a starting point, and we’ll help you develop from there!

“Most importantly, it is what you do with the resources that are given to you that makes each study experience unique. This is a space where [you] have a certain autonomy and can explore [your] creative desires. You're in charge!”
– Pablo Diserens aka Ōtone, music producer and Creative Production (Music) MA alum

Course structure

Module structure – three lines of investigation

During the course, you will complete three modules that we think of as separate investigations. These will be unique to each student, but they tend to follow the structure below:

Proposal

The first part of the course will focus directly on the production of a detailed research proposal, a research contract and a work plan, agreed between you and your supervisor.

Investigation

To begin with, the Investigation module will focus on breadth. This may take the form of a literature review or an overview of an area, discipline or concept that is important to the research. You could also undertake more practical investigations.

Using this broad foundation, you will go into greater depth in two aspects of your research. This can take many forms, but it might mean, for example, concentrating on particular paths of artistic practice, focusing on the development of particular technical skills, or developing an incisive conceptual framework for your work. Think about this as using a set of different lenses through which to view your work. A level of self-reflectiveness, including a relationship between theory and practice, is also expected. 

Final Project

This module is the culmination of your research and learning. You are expected to submit a substantial piece of original work, working with the full breadth and depth of the knowledge, skills and experience you have developed throughout the previous four modules.

Workshop outlines

Rather than a one off event or single class, our workshops continue throughout the semester. They facilitate you revisiting your project from multiple perspectives.

Performance and Creative Technologies

In this practical thread of the programme, you’ll examine new approaches for artistic creation, broadening your knowledge base while investigating the relationship between performance, technology, process and artistic practice. The form of this class is open-ended and tailored to specific student groups, alternating between workshops, performance labs, lectures, group discussions and field trips. Previously, we’ve covered topics such as performance strategies, field recordings and sound walks, spatial sound, audio-visual techniques, sound installation practices, modular synthesis, creative coding and DIY electronics.

Contexts of Listening

Our Concepts of Listening sessions take on the historical, cultural and theoretical contexts of listening and their impact on our creative practices. The sessions aim to map the personal and artistic landscapes of creative production through encounters with thinkers like Pauline Oliveros, George Lewis, Jacques Derrida, Walter Benjamin, Rosi Braidotti, Roland Barthes, Nina Eidsheim, George Lipsitz, Isabella van Elferen, Jacques Attali, Judith Butler, Mark Fisher, Pierre Schaeffer, Suzanne Cusick and many others. It traces the roots of the contemporary posthuman condition through music, philosophy, artistic research, critical theories and media culture, while exploring emergent artistic responses. The sessions are centred on opening out new modes of thinking around creative practice and the role of the practitioner, while facilitating new methodologies and approaches.

Supervision

Both one-to-one and group meetings with your supervisor are an essential part of the course. The individual meetings will serve to support successful research, whereas the group sessions will serve as forums for project development, production management, engaging in critical peer feedback rounds, industry-focused seminars and guest lectures. 

Guest Artists

Presentations from guest artists have included Nicolas Collins (composer, improviser, master hacker), Sabine Vogel (flute, electronics, composer, installation), Insa Langhorst (filmmaker, visual anthropologist), Bob Ostertag (synthesist, composer, improviser, theorist, activist), Kaffe Matthews (electroacoustic composer, sound artist), Sanja Starvic (live visual improviser), Marta Zapparoli (experimental sound artist, researcher), Kazuhisa Uchihashi (guitar and daxofone virtuoso)

Is this programme for me?

You’ll find this course suitable if you’re interested in:

  • Diving deeply into your own individual practice, creative concepts and/or musical ideas.
  • Strengthening and refining your creative vision and approach.
  • Deepening the relationship with your work within and beyond your own parameters.
  • Establishing your own distinct approach to creative production with research.
  • Expanding your understanding of other creative pathways.
  • Navigating between different aspects of musical inquiry and concepts.
  • Engaging in independent practice-led research.
  • Developing new and innovative production techniques.
  • Receiving mentorship from field and industry experts.
  • Realising the full potential of your creative work.
  • Joining a progressive learning community, supported by a dedicated team of experienced facilitators.
  • Living and working in Berlin, one of the most exciting cities on the planet for music makers.
  • Collaborating with an artistic community of like-minded people from over 75 different countries.

Our MA students have come from various backgrounds, including songwriting, house, techno, folk, jazz, composition for dance choreography, experimental and electroacoustic music and free improvisation.

Previous student projects include themes such as field recording and hydraulic sounds, artificial intelligence, human voice and spirituality, hauntology, Janet Jackson, the roles of electronics and sampling in popular music, semiotics, free improvisation and song forms, interactive delay network installation, culture jamming and 4D multichannel composition using the internationally unique Monom system based at the Funkhaus.

If you'd like to receive a final project portfolio from a recently graduated MA student, please contact our Admissions team and we'll be happy to share the document with you for reference. 

What is an MA project proposal and what should it contain?

As part of the application process, we ask that you submit a project proposal. This proposal is the starting point for a project you’d like to complete whilst studying for the MA. Before you begin, we strongly advise that you get an initial overview of artistic research and practice-based research. Click on the button for definitions and discussions to get you started.

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Your technological playground

Get hands-on access to industry-standard facilities and tons of bookable gear

“My favourite part of learning here was the access to the incredible studios. It helped uncover my creativity and explore different aspects of my musical and artistic journey.”

– Sofi Paez, pianist and Creative Production (Music) MA alumna

An international learning community

Our international creative campus is located at the historic Funkhaus in Berlin – it’s hard to imagine a better location for creative endeavour and learning! Through the lens of an international cohort of students, we aim to promote and support the exchange and debate of philosophical, political, social and ethical issues from a range of different cultures and backgrounds. 

Our engaged postgraduate community is then well-placed to spearhead these conversations and create work that addresses the challenges of a multicultural but ever more connected world – to see our shared human concerns, whilst celebrating our diversity and our mutually enriching differences.

“I think sometimes we engage in art in a very individualistic way, but discovering how this MA creates a sense of community… it has been a superb experience” 

– Alexei Galar, composer, sound designer and Creative Production (Music) MA alumnus

Our tutors are industry-acclaimed experts in their field, with a passion for passing on their knowledge to others. 

Progression

Career opportunities

The programme is directed towards helping you bring new expertise and modes of thought to your choice of project. There is no single career pathway that the programme prepares you for. That said, in recent years, some graduates have taken their mixing and mastering business to the next level, created a music label and begun a new career combining food and music as a direct result of their MA project.

Building success

However you measure it and whatever artistic realm you are working in, most creatives would like to achieve success with their creative endeavour. There are many types of success an individual may want to achieve, from successful completion of an artistic exploration all the way through to financial security and a global audience. 

There are many skills required to develop these dreams into real and practical futures. Our optional Self-Development & Creative Leadership course is the ‘rocket fuel’ which will provide you with the frameworks, the focus and the drive to help realise your future.

Gain an understanding of how to take decisive action and communicate powerfully with others, and take an honest look at how you limit yourself. Develop the leadership skills needed to complete your creative project, bring your work into the external world and attract an audience to share, appreciate and follow your work. 

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“The programme gave me the creative space to pinpoint the direction I wanted for my artistic career. Richard Scott was very good at gently introducing ideas that I could make my own. I started the MA thinking that I knew what I wanted to do already but quickly found that new ideas created new possibilities.” 

– VIBKO, electronic musician and Creative Production (Music) MA alumnus

Admissions

Entry requirements

Applicants will be asked to provide: personal and educational information, documentation of their education experience, a detailed project proposal, sample of research/academic writing and a portfolio. Visit our How To Apply page for more detail.

MINIMUM ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

- Standard entry: Bachelor degree in a relevant discipline, with an Honours grade (e.g. 2:1 in the UK university system).

- Non-standard entry: We recognise that not all education happens in the classroom and it may be possible to admit you through a non-standard access route. If you do not possess the required formal qualification, but have acquired relevant professional or life experience, please contact our Admissions team.
- Language: The language of instruction in all our courses is English and applicants must demonstrate a level equal to IELTS 6. We do not ask for official exam results, but we will assess the standard of English in your application and support materials.

For more information, please contact our Admissions team and we’d be happy to discuss your opportunities to come study with us.

Admissions FAQs
Course dates and application deadlines

Course start: mid-September 2024

Application deadlines
Applications for entry to our courses in 2024 will open on Friday 1 December 2023.

Our application deadlines for entry to our courses in 2024 are as follows:

  • Deadline for applicants requiring student visa: Friday 29 March 2024
  • Priority deadline: Friday 5 April 2024
  • Final deadline: Friday 31 May 2024
  • Late applications: From June 2024 onwards

All international students requiring a visa to study in Germany should apply by Friday 29 March 2024.

If you do not need a student visa, we strongly recommend that you apply by our priority deadline (5 April 2024) for your best chances of securing a spot on your chosen course. 

We only accept late applications from those who do not need a student visa. If the course is full, you will be added to a waiting list. 

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Tuition fees (2024 entry)

We offer two ways to pay:

1-year Full-time

  • Single Payment Option
    Enrolment Fee* €895 + Tuition Fee €11,855 = €12,750 
  • Instalment Payment Option
    Enrolment Fee* €895 + 10 instalments x €1,285.50 = €13,750 

2-years Part-time

  • Single Payment Option
    Annual Enrolment Fee* €895 + Annual Tuition Fee €7,055 = €7,950 per year 
  • Instalment Payment Option
    Annual Enrolment Fee* €895 + 10 instalments x €805.50 = €8,950 per year

* Note- Enrolment fee is non-refundable. It is due every year as part of the total annual fee.

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Open days, Q&As and taster workshops

Get a feel for Catalyst and our courses at a range of both online and in-person events. Join us at a Virtual Open Day or an Open Day at our campus in Berlin, chat to our programme leads at Meet The Tutor, or try a taster workshop. 

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