Course Title: Compose music using electronic media

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2011

Course Code: VART6069C

Course Title: Compose music using electronic media

School: 345T Media and Communication

Campus: City Campus

Program: C5198 - Diploma of Creative Industries

Course Contact : Program Administration - Adam Lovell

Course Contact Phone: 03 9925 4976

Course Contact

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Teacher: Tim Johnston
Phone: 03 9925 4325

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

There are no pre-requisites or co-requisites for this unit

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:

CUSMCP501A Compose music using electronic media


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

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Undertake research to keep abreast of developments in computer software and hardware relevant to music composition
1.2 Listen to recordings of music composed using electronic devices as a way of generating ideas in relation to own music practice
1.3 In consultation with appropriate personnel, identify factors that may have an impact on how electronic devices can be incorporated into the composition of planned pieces


2Generate ideas for musical pieces

Performance Criteria:

2.1Clarify scope of composition brief with appropriate personnel
2.2Prepare a plan for completing work in line with the requirements of the brief and negotiate a contract as required
2.3Brief other people involved in the composition project as required
2.4Use 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
2.5Investigate the potential of basic structural elements for achieving the desired effect
2.6Discuss options with appropriate personnel and refine ideas as required


3Create musical pieces

Performance Criteria:

3.1Use electronic media to apply a range of compositional techniques to organise musical elements into working versions of musical pieces
3.2Listen to work in progress with appropriate personnel and seek feedback on how well compositions meet creative and technical requirements
3.3Incorporate ideas and suggestions into final compositions
3.4As required, attend rehearsals or performance workshops where compositions are being played and make any necessary adjustments to compositions
3.5Present all compositions in required file format by agreed


4Evaluate own musical compositions

Performance Criteria:

4.1Identify criteria to provide an effective measure of the success of own compositions
4.2Compare work against previous compositions to assess development of techniques and ideas
4.3Discuss strengths and weaknesses of compositions with appropriate personnel and 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
• 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

Please note: While your teacher will cover all the material in this schedule, the weekly order is subject to change depending on class needs and availability of speakers and resources.

WeekClass ContentElements
Week 1Course 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, Vacuum - Building Sounds
 Week 2 Inter application technologies. Rewire - Reason, Analog Factory
Comparison of Logic and Pro Tools - audio/ midi plugins. Audio Units/RTAS
Prac: Sculpture tutorial - Building Sounds
 Week 3 Tour of Soft Synth technologies.
Computer requirements and demands for optimising performance.
Typical Apps. Vintage equipment, Synths, guitar emulators, vocoders.
Prac: EXS Samplers - Building Sounds
 Week 4 OSX Core Audio/MIDI config. Midi in studio applications.
Multiple device setups – MIDI I/O – Demonstration Studio 3
Prac: Guitar amp pro/ Eleven/ Sans amp
Prac: Assignment 1 - Composition
 Week 5 Prac: Assignment 1 - Composition 1.1,1.3
 Week 6 Assessment Assignment 1.
Prac: Assignment 2 - Composition
 Week 7 Prac: Assignment 2 - Composition 1.1,1.3
 Week 8 Prac: Assignment 2 - Composition 1.1,1.3
 Week 9 Presentation/Assessment Assignment 2.

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

A set of web based resource links are provided below for this course.
Resource Links:


You are advised to look at the course Blackboard site for ongoing updated information. Students are expected to make full use of the Library facilities.

Other Resources

External firewire/USB hard drive
1 pair of high quality 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 pieces of assessment to a satisfactory standard. You will receive feedback on all assessment.


1. Building sounds with ES2 – design your own custom sound using Logic virtual synth ES2. Due Week 1

2. Building sounds with Sculpture – design your own custom sound using Logic virtual synth Sculpture. Due Week 2

3. Mapping Samples with EXS – map your own performance preset using a variety of samples within Logic EXS. Due Week 3

4. Programming with Ultrabeat – design your own custom loop using Logics Ultrabeat. Due Week 4

5. Programming with Boom – design your own custom loop using ProTools virtual instrument Boom. Due Week 4

6. Building Sounds with Vacuum – design your own custom sound using Logic virtual synth ES2. Due Week 5

TWO completed compositions, each worth 50% of final grade.

7. Practical Assignment 1- Logic Composition – Use previously designed custom instruments in a three minute composition. Due Week 6

8. Practical Assignment 2 - Pro Tools Composition /Remix – Use provided samples/loops as a building block to create a three minute compostion/remix. Due Week 8

The details on these assessments and the grading criteria for this competency can be found on the course blackboard site.

Grades used in this unit are as follows:

80 – 100% HD High Distinction
70 – 79% DI Distinction
60 – 69% CR Credit
50 – 59% PA Pass
Under 50% NN Fail

Assessment Matrix

The assessment matrix demonstrates alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant Unit of Competency. These are available through the course contact in Program administration

Other Information

Special consideration Policy (Late Submission)
All assessment tasks are required to be completed to a satisfactory level. If you are unable to complete any piece of assessment by the due date, you will need to apply for an extension.
Please refer to the following URL for extensions and special consideration:;ID=qkssnx1c5r0y;STATUS=A;PAGE_AUTHOR=Andrea%20Syers;SECTION=1;

Course Overview: Access Course Overview