Course Title: Compose music using electronic media

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2013

Course Code: VART6069C

Course Title: Compose music using electronic media

School: 345T Media and Communication

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6104 - Advanced Diploma of Sound Production

Course Contact : Program Administration

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4815

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


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:

2.1 Clarify scope of composition brief with appropriate personnel
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 Discuss options with appropriate personnel and refine ideas as required


3Create musical pieces

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Use electronic media to 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 personnel and seek feedback on how well compositions meet creative and technical requirements
3.3 Incorporate ideas and suggestions into final compositions
3.4 As required, attend rehearsals or performance workshops where compositions are being played and make any necessary adjustments to compositions
3.5 Present all compositions in required file format by agreed


4Evaluate 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 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

WeekClass ContentElements
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
2Inter application technologies. Rewire - Reason, Analog Factory
Comparison of Logic and Pro Tools - audio/ midi plugins. Audio Units/RTAS
Prac: Sculpture tutorial - Building Sounds
3Tour of Soft Synth technologies.
Computer requirements and demands for optimising performance.
Typical Apps. Vintage equipment, Synths, guitar emulators, vocoders.
Prac: EXS Samplers - Building Sounds
4OSX Core Audio/MIDI config. Midi in studio applications.
Multiple device setups – MIDI I/O – Demonstration Studio 2
Prac: Guitar amp pro/ Eleven/ Sans amp
Prac: Assignment 1 - Composition
5Prac: Assignment 1 - Composition1.1,1.3
6Assessment Assignment 1.
Prac: Assignment 1 - Composition
7Prac: Assignment 2 - Composition1.1,1.3
8Prac: Assignment 2 - Composition1.1,1.3
9Presentation/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.

Overview of Assessment

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

Assessment Tasks

Assessment tasks in this course are either formative or summative. Formative tasks provide the basis for ongoing feedback and can be considered as essential building blocks for the more substantial summative assessment tasks. Summative assessment tasks in this unit are graded.

For further information on the assessments and grading criteria, please refer to the course Blackboard site.

To demonstrate competency in this course, you will need to complete each one of the following pieces of assessment to a satisfactory standard. You will receive feedback on all assessments and a grade for the summative assessment.

You will be assessed using the following methods:

Formative 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. Building Sounds with Vacuum – design your own custom sound using Logic virtual synth ES2. Due Week 2
4. Programming with Ultrabeat – design your own custom loop using Logics Ultrabeat. Due Week 3
5. Programming with Boom – design your own custom loop using ProTools virtual instrument Boom. Due Week 4

Summative Assessment
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

For further details on the assessments and information on the grading system and criteria used, please refer to the course blackboard site.

Grades used in this course are as follows:

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

Other Information

The major learning experience involves studio based exercises, demonstration and production. It is strongly advised that students attend all sessions in order to engage in the required learning activities, ensuring the maximum opportunity to gain the competency.

Cover Sheet for Submissions
All students must complete a submission cover sheet for each piece of submitted work.

Plagiarism - RMIT has a strict policy on plagiarism. For more information on this policy go to Academic Integrity

All students have access to the myRMIT copyright shell. The myRMIT copyright shell contains information on copyright, plus also examples on how to use copyright works as part of your projects and assignments.

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:

Student Progress Committee
This committee promotes the early identification of students who are not achieving acceptable academic performance. The committee provides identified students with assistance and seeks to ensure such students are aware of the range of support services available to them at the University. Student Progress Committee (SPC)

Student Feedback
Students are offered opportunities to provide feedback through a variety of mechanisms including online surveys conducted at the end of each course or semester, student complaints and Student Staff Consultative Committees

Course Overview: Access Course Overview