Course Title: Compose music using electronic media

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2015

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 & 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

Week    Class 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 - Building Sounds
1, 2, 3
Week 2Tour 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 3Inter 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 4Guitar emulators, Guitar amp pro/Eleven/Sans amp
Physical Modeling
Prac: Sculpture tutorial - Building Sounds
1, 2, 3
Week 5Sampling – 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 9Assignment 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

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 assessment to a satisfactory standard.
You will receive feedback on all assessment and where indicated, you will receive a grade. Graded assessment tasks are equally weighted and will determine your final result for this course.

For further information on the assessments and grading criteria, please refer to the course Blackboard site.
You will be assessed using the following methods:

Non Graded Assessment
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 ES2. 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

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

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 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:

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

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. Non-attendance may seriously jeopardise the chances of success in a course. Clearly, non-attendance at an assessment will result in failure of that assessment. Where visa conditions apply, attendance is compulsory.

Cover Sheet for Submissions
You must complete a submission cover sheet for every piece of submitted work. This signed sheet acknowledges that you are aware of the plagiarism implications.

Credit Transfer and Recognition of Prior Learning (web link)
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a process through which people can gain entry to, or credit in, recognised courses based on competencies gained. The competencies may have been gained through experience in the workplace, in voluntary work, in social or domestic activities or through informal or formal training or other life experiences. Recognition of Current Competency (RCC) applies if a student has previously successfully completed the requirements of a unit of competency or module and is now required to be reassessed to ensure that the competency has been maintained.

Assessment and Feedback (web link)
You will receive verbal feedback during scheduled class times, and written feedback from teachers on your work . Where appropriate, this feedback will also include suggestions on how you can proceed to the next stage of developing your projects.

Student Progress (web link)
Monitoring academic progress is an important enabling and proactive strategy to assist you to achieve your learning potential.

Special consideration for Late Submission (web link)
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. You can apply in writing for up to a week’s extension from your course teacher. If you need a longer extension, you will need to apply for special consideration.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism (web link)
RMIT University has a strict policy on plagiarism and academic integrity. Please refer to the website for more information on this policy go to Academic Integrity

Course Overview: Access Course Overview