RSL Music Production – Foundation (Grades 1, 2 & 3)

The PSL Academy Music Production Foundation Course consists of RSL Music Production Grades 1 to 3

  • The course is taught over 12 weeks of two hour sessions. It involves two mid-course assessments for Grades 1 and 2, candidates then sit the RSL Grade 3 examination.
  • The cost of the course is split into an initial deposit of £60 followed by £22 per session.
  • Alternatively, you can pay the cost of the whole course up front for the discounted price of £299.
  • All course books are included as is the RSL Grade 3 examination fee.

Passing RSL Grade 3 provides an internationally recognised qualification which is the foundation towards further education and future employment.

RSL Music Production Grade 3 Accredited Qualification

NOTE: Grades 1 and 2 are assessed via internal testing. If you wish to sit the RSL exams for these an additional charge will apply.

Grade 1 is divided into three:

Section 1 – Theoretical written assessment

This will assess the candidate’s knowledge and understanding of :

  • Music Production Terminology
  • Sound & Audio Fundamentals

At Grade 1 the theory content covered will include subject areas such as identifying studio hardware, physical audio formats, analogue connectivity, computer & digital technology, DAW basics, microphones, MIDI basics, basic audio technology and the fundamentals of mono & stereo sound.

At Grade 1 candidates will be expected to:

  • Identify images of studio equipment such as mixing desks, microphones, DAWs, drum kits, cables
  • Identify images of physical formats such as CD, vinyl, tape, Minidisc, DAT
  • Identify images of analogue connections such as Jack, XLR, Phono / RCA, DIN, Speakon
  • Identify images of computer peripherals such as Audio Interfaces, MIDI keyboards, computer mouse, computer keyboard, computer monitor
  • Identify images of the different DAWs, including Logic, Ableton, Pro Tools, Cubase, FL Studio
  • Identify images of popular microphone models, such as Shure SM58, Shure SM57, AKG D112, Neumann U87, AKG C451
  • Identify images of specific DAW workspaces, such as arrange window, mix window, sample editor, plugins, software instruments
  • Identify the function of music production technology from an image, such as channel faders, pan, mute, routing, headphone volume
  • Briefly describe sound and acoustic terms, such as mono, stereo, surround, high fidelity, units of sound level (db)

Section 2 – Listening test

Candidates will need to listen to audio files and answer questions relating to sonic fidelity, music theory and harmony and stylistic awareness.  This will assess their ability to hear and interpret:

  • Sonic Fidelity: Identifying instruments in isolation and within a mix
  • Music Theory & Harmony: Identifying relative pitch and basic note lengths
  • Stylistic Awareness: Identifying specific genres

At Grade 1 candidates will be expected to:

  • Identify instruments in isolation: Electric Guitar, Electric Bass, Acoustic Drums, Piano
  • Identify a specific instrument within a mix from those listed above eg name the instrument playing the melody
  • Identify when an instrument is missing from one version of a mix
  • Identify consecutive notes as either higher or lower in pitch
  • Identify basic note lengths: whole notes, half notes, quarter notes and eighth notes
  • Identify common western music genres from a choice of two: Pop and Rock

Section 3 – Practical assessment

This divided into two:

  • Technical Skills: A series of specified tasks, which must be completed using a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), centred around session creation and basic inputting of notes using a software instrument.
  • Professional Scenario: The candidate will be presented with a situation, and must choose and implement appropriate technique to resolve the scenario. The scenario will require candidates to import a backing track into their DAW, record a melody, and bounce the resulting mix to a new stereo audio file.
Grade 2 is divided into three:

Section 1 – Theoretical written assessment

This will assess the candidate’s knowledge and understanding of the following:

  • Music Production Terminology
  • Sound & Audio Fundamentals

At Grade 2 the theory content covered will include subject areas such as identifying studio hardware, digital file formats, digital connectivity, software components, DAW concepts & capabilities, microphones, non-linear editing concepts, EQ controls, hearing physiology.

At Grade 2, candidates will be expected to:

  • Identify studio equipment from descriptions, such as mixing desks, computers, microphones, patchbays, outboard effects
  • Identify file formats from their suffix, such as Waveform, Audio Interchange File Format, Mpeg2 layer 3, Logic Pro, Pro Tools
  • Identify connections such as Phono / RCA, XLR, ADAT lightpipe, USB, 5 pin DIN
  • Identify software and functions, such as operating systems, system preferences, Apple App store, Apple Mac Finder
  • Identify the purpose of a DAW
  • Identify types of microphone, such as Dynamic, Condenser, Valve, Ribbon
  • Identify appropriate purposes for types of microphone, such as for gig vocals, kick drums, and appropriate use of phantom power
  • Identify the different types of DAW track, such as Audio Track, Instrument Track, MIDI Track, Auxiliary Track, Automation
  • Identify basic editing functions such as cut, copy, paste, delete, duplicate
  • Identify both natural and electrical sound sources and receptors, including the meaning of the word ‘Transducer’

Section 2 – Listening test

Candidates will need to listen to audio files and answer questions relating to sonic fidelity, music theory and harmony and stylistic awareness.  This will assess their ability to hear and interpret:

  • Sonic Fidelity: Identifying timing and tuning flaws in a performance
  • Music Theory & Harmony: Identifying major and minor triads and basic time signatures
  • Stylistic Awareness: Identifying specific genres

At Grade 2, candidates will be expected to:

  • Identify which instrument within a mix is out of tune with the other musicians
  • Identify which instrument within a mix is out of time with the other musicians
  • Identify out of time drum loops
  • Identify major and minor triads
  • Identify basic time signatures: 4/4 & 3/4
  • Identify common western music genres from a choice of two: Blues and Metal

Section 3 – Practical assessment

The practical assessment is divided into two:

  • Technical Skills: A series of specified tasks using a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), centred around MIDI programming using software instruments and basic mix technique.
  • Professional Scenario: The candidate will be presented with a situation, and must choose and implement appropriate technique to resolve the scenario. The scenario will require candidates to rearrange provided audio and MIDI loops.
Grade 3 is divided into three sections:

Section 1 – Theoretical written exam

This will assess the candidate’s knowledge and understanding of the following two sections:

  • Music Production Terminology
  • Sound & Audio Fundamentals

At Grade 3 the theory content covered will include subject areas such as interpreting the functions of studio hardware, digital protocols, analogue connectivity, computer memory and storage, microphones, using loops, the MIDI protocol, dynamic processing and frequency.

At Grade 3, candidates will be expected to:

  • Interpret functions of a mixing desk, such as gain, EQ, auxiliaries, faders, pan
  • Interpret and identify digital transfer protocols, including their relative data transfer rates, including USB, Thunderbolt, MADI, SPDIF, ADAT
  • Interpet analogue connections and their purpose, such as XLR, ¼” Jack, Mini Jack, Phono/RCA, DSub
  • Interpet the purpose and advantages of computer systems, such as RAM, Hard Disks, Solid State Drives, including choosing the appropriate option in relation to data transfer rates
  • Interpret appropriate use for DW functions, such as templates, markers, bounce, piano roll / MIDI editors, quantise
  • Briefly explain what a microphone is for and how it works
  • Briefly explain the creation, use and advantages of audio loops
  • Understand MIDI, including what the acronym stands for, what it is, how it works from a user perspective
  • Interpret and briefly explain audio technology, such as compression, limiting, gating, expanding
  • Understand frequency, including its units of measurement, the difference between Hz and kHz, human hearing range
  • Understand the responsibilities of music industry roles, such as producer, sound engineer, promoter, artist manager
  • Explain effective time management, such as session planning

Section 2 – Listening test

Candidates will need to listen to audio files and answer questions relating to sonic fidelity, and one relating to music theory and harmony.

At Grade 3 the sonic fidelity test will focus on distinguishing mono and stereo recordings, and the music theory & harmony component will focus on identifying major and minor chords.

At Grade 3, candidates will be expected to:

  • Identify the difference between Mono and Stereo recordings
  • Identify the difference between Mono and Stereo mixes

Section 3 – Practical assessment

The practical assessment is divided into two sections:

  • Technical Skills: A series of specified tasks, which must be completed using a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), centred around creating audio loops from provided material
  • Professional Scenario: The candidate will be presented with a situation, and must choose and implement appropriate technique to resolve the scenario. At Grade 3 the scenario will require candidates to programme a simple backing track using a set chord structure. Therefore candidates must be confident in creating chords in the key of C Major and G Major.

We welcome your call to discuss this course further or if you need help in deciding which one is for you, phone us on +44(0)1256 781000 or you can email us at info@pslacademy.co.uk.

Register your interest now!