Become a pioneer in the world of electronic music production and performance. Future proof your passion and harness the power of technology to catapult your sonic vision onto a whole new trajectory.
Our project based degree course fuses challenging real-life scenarios and ‘hands on’ practical workshops with radical thinking, intellectual provocation and game changing concepts. Master the tools and creative techniques required to compose, record, produce, master and perform your own electronic music. Build an artist/producer profile as you cultivate the human attributes required to pursue a rewarding and successful career in electronic music production and performance.
Whether working with a digital audio workstation, a hardware sequencer, an analogue synthesiser or a drum machine begin by focussing on understanding their designers intent. Then break out of the box as you re-imagine, reverse engineer and redesign the very way the technology works to serve your very own electronic music and audio vision.
Degree course structure
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.
- Develop your unique artistic voice and portfolio
- Record, mix, finalise and perform your own tracks
- Learn the essentials of recording and studio components
- Learn a variety of analogue and digital electronic music instruments
- Familiarise yourself with different hardware and software tools
- Build a collection of original sounds and sound design hacks
- Gain insight into electronic music culture, business and entrepreneurship
Recording for Electronic Music
Focus on the fundamental concepts and practical techniques required to operate in a professional recording studio environment. Explore various recording techniques and apply them in practical, real world projects, focusing on microphones, pre amps, signal flow and workflow.
Focus on the practical audio production skills required for electronic music creation using digital audio workstations (Ableton) to compose, arrange, and produce original pieces.
Sequencing, Synthesis and Sampling
Gain a practical understanding of a range of common synthesis, sampling, and sequencing tools. Experiment with subtractive, additive, FM/AM, wavetable and modular synthesis types along with a range of sampler features utilising both traditional and experimental sequencing tools and techniques.
Composition and Arrangement
Explore and demystify the most important concepts, frameworks, theoretical tools and historic trends which have shaped electronic music into the diverse and rich ecosystem it has become.
Music and Culture
Develop important analytical skills for discussing music and communicating complex musical ideas. Learn to formulate your opinions and enhance your understanding of the impact of electronic music on the wider cultural landscape through engaged research and discovery.
Explore the major tools, issues, and concepts surrounding contemporary electronic music performance. Develop practical tools and explore important performance-based subjects such as improvisation, collaboration, cross-disciplinary practice, and critique.
Develop core skills in contemporary mixing practice and the toolset required to support it from mix structure through to developing an awareness of spectral, dynamic and spatial elements.
Sculpt and craft sound using a range of electronic and acoustic instruments and tools. Overview the important developments of this field of work and create a range of otherworldly sounds!
Sound and Media
Create music, sound, foley and ADR in combination with visual content. Explore and analyse practices found in film, media, gaming, and the web in order to design your own unique approach to narrative construction.
Building an Artist / Producer Profile
Recognising and developing how you speak to the world is an integral part of the creative music industry. Develop and refine your own artistic identity in a way which enhances your musical values, your visual aesthetic and your public persona. Transform your ability to connect with a wider audience.
Situate yourself within the multiple commercial contexts of the contemporary music industry. From communication and marketing technique through to copyright and intellectual property rights, develop the knowledge which empowers you to overcome hurdles and to take full advantage of arising opportunities.
Year 1 goes wide, covering the foundations of electronic music production. Year 2 goes deep as you build on the foundational knowledge of Year 1. Refine and hone your newly acquired skills. Grow 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.
- Become completely comfortable around recording and advanced studio components
- Learn advanced synthesis & electronic sound manipulation techniques
- Gather comprehensive knowledge of music production hardware and software
- Learn creative production techniques and electronic instrument design hacks
- Work on tools and approaches for public presentation and repertoire.
- Develop finely honed listening skills
Design and develop personal software tools for music creation and production with this introduction to the fundamental principles of applied creative programming within Max/MSP and Max4Live.
Sound Design II
A practical and theoretical exploration of electronic sound design, synthesis and sampling techniques since the mid-1980s. Workshops focus on digital audio design, techniques and generation methods with a varied repertoire illustrating the influence that technology and culture have on each other’s development.
Composition and Arrangement II
A practical exploration of prominent 20th century composition and arrangement frameworks that are strongly rooted in electronic music theory, practice and technology. The work in this workshop is based around the creation of musical pieces, group critique and personal reflection.
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.
A deeper exploration of essential mixing techniques, approaches, tools and strategies including analogue mixing desks, listening practices and advanced signal paths. Explore how to orchestrate musical ingredients to convey a clear message and an emotional charge.
Critical Listening and Mastering
Develop critical and analytical listening skills for musicians, audio engineers and producers, through the technical and creative aspects of mastering audio. Explore tools and techniques to attain a well balanced finished product.
An introduction to the opportunities for progression that enable artists and practitioners to expand their range of activities and support themselves financially. Students are encouraged to engage in roles in the music industry community taking into account their own needs, desires and future plans
A follow on from the Year 1 performance workshop. Students will engage with extended methods of public presentation beyond the orthodox concert experience - defining unique performance setups, installation work and interactivity.
Instrument and interface design
Develop unique custom instruments tailored for our specific needs through an exploration of the musical instrument, the importance of interface and playability and our creative interaction with music technologies.
Focus on your own work and apply the knowledge gained in other workshops to your own music and professional development. Discover and develop a clearly defined musical identity for yourself and the contribution you wish to make to your own musical community.
Consolidate your creative practical skills. Define 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 with empowering personalised projects that prepare you for the real world and your chosen path.
Establish and own your own distinct and creative approach to electronic music production
- Manage your own creative projects from conceptualisation to realisation
- Fine-tune and define your focus and approach to your creative work
- Present your work to the public and establish yourself within the industry in Berlin and beyond
- Provide creative input to other’s work (sound design, tracks, composition, etc)
- Discover and develop new and innovative music production methodologies
- Achieve an internationally recognised BA Hons degree in Electronic Music Production & Performance
Projects & Modules
Your major project is covered by the following modules. The module descriptions provide a starting place for how this project will look and feel however the full picture is entirely reliant on the individual choices you will make as a result of your time with us.
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, whilst producing a tangible outcome in a medium you can share with the world.
An intensive production period working on practical research, exploration, production, refinement and completion of your project. Overcome inevitable roadblocks and issues along the way in order to complete a finished artifact and receive weekly critique and feedback sessions to support your journey.
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.
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/skill for an external client or collaborator. Document and reflect on the process in relation to professionality, communication, self-development, standards and expectations. Engage in real life collaboration, networking, client acquisition, communication & 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/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.
Push the envelope...together
We’ll help you push your ideas and techniques to the edge of what’s possible. The opportunities are endless, from putting your own personal spin on tried and tested production techniques in a specific genre through to custom designed plugins and control interfaces.
None of this exploration and experimentation happens in an isolated vacuum. Inspiration comes not just from new tools and techniques but more powerfully from the people you’re learning them with. Be part of a thriving international creative community here in the heart of the most exciting city for our chosen craft: Berlin, a city synonymous with the defiant and groundbreaking sound of electronic music and experimental sonic art.
Work alongside our exceptional group of world class forward thinking tutors and develop your own approach to not just production, but the very way we engage with music. Reveal the artist inside and add your voice to the future of electronic music.
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 course in self-development and leadership is the ‘rocket fuel’ which will provide you with the frameworks, the focus and the drive to help realise your future.
Self development to better understand how to take decisive action, to communicate powerfully with others and take an honest look at how you limit yourself. Leadership to complete your creative project, to bring your work into the external world and to attract an audience to share, appreciate and follow your work.
The employment model in the music industry has transformed over the last 25 years. Roles with permanent contracts do still exist but it is much more likely that you will work either as a freelancer or as part of a small startup on your way to professional creative autonomy.
The music industry never ceases to evolve and reinvent itself. We aim to provide you with an education that enables you to either be a change maker or to be capable of adapting and staying at the forefront of this change.
Here are some areas you may find yourself working in:-
Audio production, remix engineering, contemporary DJ performances, recording artist, performance artist, audio creation for events and brands, creative advertising, sample packs for labels and other artists, sounds installations, programmer, sound and music for games and film, interdisciplinary arts projects, working in related fields such as record labels, publishers, artist management companies to name but a few.
Our UK and Berlin centres have graduates working across the music industry from Abbey Road Recording Studios to the Glastonbury Festival and everything in between.
Our degree tutors are industry experienced with a passion for passing on their knowledge to others. Here are a few of the experienced and friendly tutors that will be supporting you throughout your learning process.
In the end it doesn’t matter what we say or do. What matters is the work of our students. Have a listen, leave some comments and decide for yourselves.
Academic qualifications equivalent to ‘A’ level, Baccalaureate or Abitur are normally required to enter our Electronic Music Production & Performance degree programme. These may be waived if students are able to provide proof of capability via a portfolio of work. More details can be found here.
For those students who have the capability but no proof of appropriate qualifications or portfolio we have also designed a new accelerated access course (primer workshops) which runs as part of our short course programme.
The most important prerequisite for attending any course at Catalyst is that you must be passionate about building and developing your skills as a practising electronic music artist, producer or performer.
For more information please contact a member of the team. We love to chat!
Course dates and application deadline
We offer two ways to pay:
- a single payment
- a payment plan with 10 instalments
If you decide to enrol in both a short and long course with us, you will receive a discount of 500€ on the total tuition.
How to apply
Our admissions team has prepared a handy little map of your journey to studenthood with us. Take a look and be in touch if you have any questions.
Open days and taster workshops
Get a feel for our school from the comfort of your home with our Virtual Open Days and skill-focussed Taster Workshops.
Hosted by our team and students, these online events will give you a sense of what it's like to come and study with us in Berlin.
We look forward to meeting you online soon!
Primer Workshop - Access Programme
For those wishing to join our main music courses, but lacking either practical experience in music production or the formal education requirements to apply through standard entry, we offer an additional short primer workshop to run alongside any 4 week summer short course.
EMP HE Certificate
Spend a year accelerating your creative skills in the fast paced, pulsating world of electronic music production and performance.
Electronic Music Production
A launch pad for aspiring electronic music producers and composers. Spend 4 weeks building your confidence in the subject area.
Advanced Sound Design
A 4 week course created with the artist/producer in mind. You have a grasp of the fundamentals but need to develop a new sonic identity, explore new frontiers or push your work to the next level.
Creative Production MA Masters Degree
Celebrate, explore, develop, innovate and magnify your capabilities as a music producer, a sound engineer, a practising electronic music artist, a performer, a composer or a sonic artist