Course Title: Compose music using electronic media

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2017

Course Code: PERF5086C

Course Title: Compose music using electronic media

School: 345T Media and Communication

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6150 - Advanced Diploma of Music Industry (Sound Production)

Course Contact: Program Administration

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4815

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Timothy Johnston 
Phone: 9925 4815

Nominal Hours: 60

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites


Course Description

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to compose a range of musical pieces using technology-based applications.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

CUAMCP501 Compose music using electronic media


1. Keep up to date with technologies that can be used to compose music

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Research developments in computer software and hardware relevant to music composition

1.2 Analyse recordings of music composed using electronic devices as a way of generating ideas in relation to own music practice

1.3 Identify factors that may impact on incorporation of electronic devices into the composition of planned pieces, in consultation with appropriate people


2. Generate ideas for musical pieces

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Clarify scope of composition brief with appropriate people

2.2 Prepare a plan for completing work in line with the requirements of the brief, and negotiate a contract as required

2.3 Brief other people involved in the composition project as required

2.4 Use features of relevant software and/or electronic devices to generate a range of musical ideas or starting points, and experiment with options for realising them

2.5 Investigate the potential of basic structural elements for achieving the desired effect

2.6 Refine ideas in discussion with appropriate people


3. Create musical pieces

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Use electronic media safely, and apply a range of compositional techniques to organise musical elements into working versions of musical pieces

3.2 Listen to work in progress with appropriate people, and seek feedback on creative and technical aspects of compositions

3.3 Incorporate ideas and suggestions into final compositions

3.4 Attend rehearsals or workshops where compositions are being played, and make adjustments to compositions as required

3.5 Attach copyright notices to compositions

3.6 Present all compositions in required file format by agreed deadline


4. Evaluate own musical compositions

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Identify criteria to provide an effective measure of the success of own compositions

4.2 Compare work against previous compositions to assess development of techniques and ideas

4.3 Discuss strengths and weaknesses of compositions with appropriate people to identify strategies for improving own skills in composing music using electronic media

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit you will be able to compose a range of musical pieces, establishing a high level of proficiency with electronic music equipment and software.

Details of Learning Activities

In class activities may include:
• lectures & lab based practical learning
• peer teaching and class presentations
• group discussion
• online research
• independent project based work
• teacher directed group activities/projects

Out of class activities may include:

• online research
• independent project based work

Teaching Schedule


Class Content


Week 1

Course Outline/Structure - Outline of Assignments and Assessment. Hardware/Software to be utilised 
Basics of synthesis. Overview of synthesis types and building blocks. 
Prac: Virtual Instruments ES1, ES2 - Building Sounds

1, 2, 3

Week 2

Tour of Soft Synth technologies. 
Computer requirements and demands for optimising performance. 
Typical Apps. Synths, samplers, emulators, Vintage equipment.
Prac: ES2 - Building Sounds

1, 2, 3

Week 3

Inter application technologies. Rewire - Reason, Analog Factory 
Comparison of Logic and Pro Tools - audio/ midi plugins. Audio Units/RTAS
Prac: Virtual Instruments Vacuum - Building Sounds Sculpture tutorial - Building Sounds

1, 2, 3

Week 4

Guitar emulators, Guitar amp pro/Eleven/Sans amp
Physical Modeling
Prac: Sculpture tutorial - Building Sounds

1, 2, 3

Week 5

Sampling – Logic EXS, Pro Tools Structure.
Prac: EXS Samplers - Building Sounds

1, 2, 3

Week 6

Ultrabeat/Drum Kit Designer/Boom

Prac: Drum programming

1, 2, 3

Week 7

Assignment 1 - Composition


1, 2, 3, 4

Week 8

Assignment 1 - Composition


1, 2, 3, 4

Week 9

Assignment 1 - Composition 


1, 2, 3, 4

Week 10

Assignment 1 - Assessment



Week 11

 Assignment 2 - Composition


1, 2, 3, 4

Week 12

 Assignment 2 - Composition


 1, 2, 3, 4

Week 13

 Assignment 2 - Composition


 1, 2, 3, 4

Week 14

 Assignment 2 - Assessment



Week 15

 Assignment 2 – Presentation & Review



Week 16

 OSX Core Audio/MIDI config. Midi in studio applications. 
Multiple device setups – MIDI I/O – Demonstration Studio

 1, 2, 3, 4



Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

External firewire/USB hard drive
One pair of high quality closed headphones

Overview of Assessment

Course assessment tasks will include class based practical exercises and project work undertaken in the computer lab for submission.

Assessment Tasks

To demonstrate competency in this course you will need to complete the following assessment to a satisfactory standard.
You will receive feedback on all assessment and where indicated, you will receive a grade. Graded assessment tasks are assessed through the relevant marking rubric, located in the relevant Assessment Tool.


Assessment Tasks (ungraded)
1. Building sounds with ES2 – design your own custom sound using Logic virtual synth ES2. Due Week 2
2. Building sounds with Vacuum – design your own custom sound using Pro Toolsl synth Vacuum. Due Week 3
3. Building Sounds with Sculpture– design your own custom sound using Logic virtual synth Sculpture. Due Week 4
4. Programming with EXS Sampler – design your own custom instrument/loop using Logics EXS Sampler. Due Week 5
5. Programming with Ultrabeat/Drum Kit Designer/Boom – design your own custom loop using virtual drum instruments. Due Week 6  

Assessment Task (Graded) 

6. Assignment 1- Logic Composition – Use custom designed virtual instruments from class pracs in a three minute composition. Due Week 10

7. Assignment 2 - Pro Tools Composition /Remix – Use provided samples/loops as a building block to create a three minute compostion/remix. Due Week 14


For further information on the grading system and criteria used, please refer to the course blackboard site.
Grades which apply to courses delivered in accordance with competency-based assessment, but which also use graded assessment:

CHD - Competent with High Distinction
CDI - Competent with Distinction
CC - Competent with Credit
CAG - Competency Achieved - Graded
NYC - Not Yet Competent
DNS - Did Not Submit for Assessment

Assessment Matrix

The assessment matrix demonstrates alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant unit of competency. These matrices are available through Program Administration.

Other Information

Please refer to the RMIT student page for extensive information about study support, assessment, extensions, appeals and a range of other matters:

Cover Sheet for Submissions:

You must complete and sign a submission cover sheet for every piece of submitted work, including online submissions.


Your learning experience will involve class-based teaching, discussion, demonstration and practical exercises

It is strongly advised that you attend all timetabled sessions. This will allow you to engage in the required learning activities, ensuring you the maximum opportunity to complete this course successfully.

Assessment Feedback:

You will receive spoken and written feedback on all your work.  Where relevant, this feedback will also include suggestions on how you can proceed to the next stage of developing your projects.

Student Progress:

Monitoring academic progress is an important enabling and proactive strategy designed to assist you in achieving your learning potential.

Adjustments to Assessment (eg. applying for an extension of time):

If you are unable to complete any piece of assessment satisfactorily by the due date, you can choose to apply for an adjustment to your assessment. RMIT University offers a range of adjustments designed to support you in your studies, including an extension of time to complete the assessment.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism:

RMIT University has a strict policy on plagiarism and academic integrity. Please refer to the website for more information on this policy.

Credit Transfer and Recognition of Prior Learning:

Credit transfer is the recognition of previously completed formal learning (an officially accredited qualification).

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is an assessment process that allows you to demonstrate competence using the skills you have gained through experience in the workplace, voluntary work, informal or formal training or other life experiences.

Recognition of Current Competency (RCC) RCC applies only if you have previously successfully demonstrated competence in a unit of competency, and now require to be reassessed to ensure that the competence is being maintained.

Please speak to your teacher if you wish to discuss applying for Credit Transfer, RPL, or RCC for the unit(s) of competency addressed in this course.


Course Overview: Access Course Overview