Electronic Music Production & Performance BA (Hons) / HE Certificate

Become a pioneer in the world of electronic music production

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Overview

Become a pioneer in the world of electronic music production with our project-based curriculum, in which experimentation and risk-taking are key to your success. With ‘hands-on’ practical workshops alongside projects designed to develop your critical thinking and creative innovation, we’ll guide you through essential electronic music production techniques and raise your performance skills to new levels.

Through relentless practice, you’ll create a bridge between the ideas in your head and a real world audience as you gain the tools and techniques for creating, mixing and presenting your own music. You’ll develop a portfolio specific to your own vision as a producer, performer, sonic artist or sound designer. 

From our full range of DAWs, hardware synthesisers, sequencers and drum machines to audio programming languages, we’ll teach you how to begin by focusing on understanding the tool and the main features of its design. Then, break out of the box as you reimagine, reverse-engineer and redesign the way the technology works to serve your very own electronic music and audio vision. 

You can study this programme either as a full three-year BA degree or the first year only as a one-year HE Certificate.

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Develop your artistic voice while expanding your creative horizons

The diversity of style, genre and experimentation in electronic music has had an immeasurable influence in today's musical landscape. But with such a fantastic range of potential paths towards finding your artistic voice, how do you uncover your own? We’ll explore how different frameworks can allow freedom for this voice to blossom. 

Our workshops give you space to deepen your understanding of your work and its place within the electronic music landscape, as well as find a purpose behind the tools and technology you choose to use. Our ‘hands-on’ approach will get you up close and personal with both the instruments and the ideas that will unlock your potential in the music industry and beyond. 

And where better to explore your musical identity than in Berlin? As a city that has long been at the global vanguard of electronic music, Berlin now has one of the most diverse, influential and prolific electronic music scenes in the world. The community both at Funkhaus and in the city will play a major part in developing your own story. So be prepared to put your ideas to work immediately with real-world projects. From the smallest experimental venues to the largest clubs and concert halls, our programme allows you to take advantage of every opportunity and discover what you want to contribute to the world.

“The school has contributed enormously to my creative growth. Nothing is better than being able to spend three years on your craft and nothing but that.”

– Rowan Edwards aka Gozi, pop artist and EMP alumnus

Course structure

Year 1 (HE Certificate)

Explore the practical principles of creating and performing electronic music along with studio recording practice, sequencing, synthesis and sampling, composition and arrangement, mixing and sound design. Discover and explore a wealth of electronic music styles and gain the skills and techniques required to create and finalise your own electronic music work.

The course content in your first year will focus on: 

  • Developing your unique artistic voice and portfolio.
  • Recording, mixing, finalising and performing your own tracks.
  • The essentials of recording and studio components.
  • Getting comfortable with a variety of analogue and digital electronic music instruments.
  • Familiarising you with different hardware and software tools.
  • Building a collection of original sounds and sound design hacks.
  • Gaining insight into electronic music culture, business and entrepreneurship.

If you choose to enrol for our HE Certificate, you will take just the first year of this programme as a standalone qualification. The one-year HE Certificate course is the same as the first year of the BA programme and you'll be learning alongside the BA students throughout the year. You have the option of progressing into the second year of our BA programme after successfully completing the HE Certificate, subject to results and availability of places.

Workshops

Electronic Music Studio Skills, Sound Design and Mixing Principles

Develop your technical understanding of electronic sound and music creation. Some sessions will explore the modern recording studio, including microphones, signal flow, DAWs, recording and processing techniques. Others will focus on contextual and technical review of synthesis and sampling techniques along with principles for mixing your musical projects. 

Sequencing, Synthesis and Sampling, Audio Production, Performance and Sound & Media

Start with an overview of a range of electronic music tools and how they are used. Then build upon those skills, progressing from making musical elements to entire pieces with electronic instruments. The final link in the chain is to learn techniques for performing on stage with your chosen instruments. At the same time, you will discover various methods to incorporate an audiovisual narrative in your musical work.

Music and Culture, Composition and Arrangement, Building an Artist / Producer Profile and Music Industry

Learn to look at music and its relationship with the wider cultural context through a critical lens, fostering both an inward reflection and a perspective on the landscape around you. Discover essential compositional tools for advanced music creation that connect traditional music theory with music technology. Craft an artistic identity relevant to you and your music, then connect it with a wider audience.

Development

Create a link between the general ideas discussed in other workshops and your independent musical endeavours. Through one-to-one and group sessions, this workshop focuses specifically on students’ work and helps students apply the knowledge they gain in other workshops to their own music and professional development. 

Year 2 (BA)

In Year 2, you’ll deepen your experience in electronic music as you build on the foundational knowledge gained in Year 1. Refine your newly acquired skills and build your own creative toolkit. Develop creative practical skills for public presentation, music programming, mastering, audio production for media, composition and arrangement, mixing, and sound design.

The course content in your second year will focus on: 

  • Training in mixing and mastering to finalise your recordings.
  • Learning advanced synthesis and electronic sound manipulation techniques.
  • Gathering comprehensive knowledge of music production hardware and software.
  • Imagining, designing and building your own soft- and hardware instruments.
  • Working on tools and approaches for public presentation.
  • Developing finely honed listening skills.

Workshops

Creative Programming, Sound Design II, Composition and Arrangement II, Instrument & Interface Design and Performance II

Dive deeper into the theory and practice of electronic music creation through understanding more advanced and elaborate electronic sound creation practices. You’ll learn how to programme your own electronic music tools and feedback the newly discovered ideas into the composition of your own music. You’ll dream up new instruments, design your own physical interfacing for them and finally plan and carry out your own musical performance.  

Mixing Practice & Mastering and Critical Listening

Learn to prepare your music for publication or public performance. Learn the tools and techniques in a comprehensive exploration of mixing approaches and strategies. Workshops include study and practice using analogue mixing desks, refined listening practices and advanced signal paths. You’ll then hone your critical and analytical listening skills, delving into both the technical and creative facets of audio mastering.

Post Studio and Entrepreneurship

Dig into the nuance of your practice to form a detailed overview of the possible meanings your music might have in the current moment. Use this to inform potential roles you could occupy within an ever-evolving music industry.  You’ll learn how the context and framing of your music influences how it is received within social and political spheres. Learn to set the tone for your musical work and shape others' perception of your work and practice. You’ll explore the variety of occupations and professional routes available to you.

Ethnomusicology

This workshop aims to connect popular electronic music and dance-floor culture and musical vocabulary with other conceptual ideas in electronic music, contemporary music and ethnomusicology. 

Development

Focus on your own work and apply the knowledge gained in other workshops to your own music and professional development. You will first discover and develop a clearly-defined musical identity for yourself and the contribution you wish to make to your own musical community. Through discussion, musical exchange and peer-feedback, you’ll investigate what you want to say and how that might be received. Then plan, create and publicly perform a musical project that embodies this musical identity.

Year 3 (BA)

Consolidate your creative practice. Bring clarity and depth to your artistic voice and present it to the world. Produce your own creative projects, from conceptualisation to public release. Actively collaborate with like-minded individuals. Establish a professional framework and launch yourself in the music scene through projects that prepare you for the industry and your chosen path within it.

The course content in your third year will focus on: 

  • Managing your own creative projects from conceptualisation to realisation.
  • Fine-tuning and defining your focus and approach to your creative work.
  • Presenting your work to the public and establish yourself within the industry in Berlin and beyond.
  • Providing creative input to others’ work (sound design, tracks, composition, etc).
  • Discovering and developing new and innovative music production methods.

Major Project

The module descriptions below provide a starting point for how your major project will look and feel. However, the full picture is entirely reliant on your individual choices, made as a result of your time with us. Your major project is covered by the following modules:

PUSH1: Frame

Produce and refine a proposal for your major project. Utilising skills and knowledge you’ve already acquired, set new challenges you don't yet know how to overcome. Be bold, be ambitious and take risks. Become a specialist in the area you are working in, whilst producing a tangible outcome in a medium you can share with the world.

PUSH2: Invent

An intensive production period working on practical and artistic research, exploration, production, refinement and completion of your project. Overcome inevitable roadblocks and issues along the way in order to complete a finished artefact. This module includes weekly critique and feedback sessions to support your journey.

PUSH3: Launch

Develop and employ an appropriate strategy for getting your work out into the world. We want your project to connect with people in a way that is meaningful for you and that sets potential creative and practical foundations for your life after Catalyst.

Minor Project

Alongside your major project, you’ll have a choice to make between two minor projects (PUSH4 or PUSH5) which will complete your honours year. 

PUSH4: Process (Option A)

Define, develop and provide a service or skill for an external client or collaborator. Document and reflect on the process in relation to professionalism, communication, self-development, standards and expectations. Engage in real-life collaboration, networking, client acquisition, communication and negotiation to further your own professional growth. Thought of in another way, imagine your work life starts now. What do you need to start out in a profession of your choice as a creative professional?

PUSH5: Dissertation (Option B)

A large-scale research and investigation project culminating in a 10,000-word (+/-10%) written thesis. Define a topic or area that you’re passionate about and explore it with as much depth as possible, demonstrating an ability to understand the ideas of others, form your own ideas and opinions and present them coherently in a long-form essay.

Your technological playground

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

“The EMP programme is a great option for people looking to develop and define a strong musical direction or identity. You can explore a huge variety of creative possibilities through access to facilities, teachers and the community that forms within classmates.”

– Dario Peris aka Promise, producer and EMP alumnus

Is this programme for you?

You should be interested in some or all of the following:

  • Establishing your own distinct creative approach to electronic music production, developing new and innovative techniques for yourself.
  • Developing your artistic persona and portfolio.
  • Transforming yourself from a DJ into a producer.
  • Recording, releasing and/or performing your own electronic music.
  • Making your first step towards a career in the music industry and building upon entrepreneurial expertise.
  • Programming and playing a variety of electronic instruments.
  • Designing and creating your own sounds and effects.
  • Honing your listening skills.
  • Learning by doing and gaining hands-on experience applicable to real-life work.
  • Joining a progressive learning community supported by a dedicated team of experienced facilitators.
  • Living and working in Berlin, the most exciting city on the planet for music makers.
  • Collaborating with a community of like-minded people from over 75 different countries.

Progression

Career opportunities

The employment model in the music industry has transformed over the last 25 years. Roles within the music industry are diverse and varied. We aim to provide you with an education that enables you to either be a change maker or to adapt and stay at the forefront of this change.

Potential career paths include specialising in audio production, remix engineering or contemporary music performance. You could create audio for events and brands, or within the advertising industry. Working with software to produce sample packs for labels and other artists or sound installation will also certainly be a route available to you. You could produce sound and music for games, film or interdisciplinary arts projects. Or you may choose to investigate what’s under the hood and specialise in programming or the construction of instruments – both hardware and software. You may opt to explore the business side of the music industry, either founding your own or working with existing record labels, publishers or artist management companies. 

Self-development and creative leadership

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

“It’s just really cool how music students and film students get to collaborate on a project. You introduce an idea and someone makes it even better… And I think that’s kind of the art form we’re creating here: collaboration."

Alissa Janine, singer, songwriter, producer and EMP student

Admissions

Entry requirements

All applicants will be asked to provide: personal and educational information, documentation of their education experience, a portfolio and a personal introduction (which can be submitted as a written statement of motivation or a video/audio clip). Visit our How To Apply page for more detail.

MINIMUM ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

- Standard entry: graduation from high school at a level which would normally permit entry to university in the country where it was gained. This would be A-Levels in the UK and the Abitur in Germany, for example.

- 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.

If neither of the two categories above describe your situation, you'll most likely need to complete a short course to gain access to our 1 and 3-year HE degree courses.

- 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 FAQ
Course dates and application deadlines

Course start: mid-September 2024

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 2 ways to pay:

  • Single Payment Option:
    Enrolment Fee* €895 + Tuition Fee €10,855 = €11,750 per year**
  • Instalment Payment Option:
    Enrolment Fee* €895 + 10 instalments x €1,185.50 = €12,750 per year**

* Note- Enrolment fee is non-refundable. It is due every year as part of the total annual fee.
** BA degree = 3 years x total annual fee.

If you decide to enrol in both a 4-week short course and HE degree course (1 or 3-years long) with us, you will receive a discount of 500€ on the total tuition.

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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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Student work

In the end, it's our students’ work that counts. Listen to our Catalyst cassette series:

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