RSL Music Production – Intermediate (Grades 4, 5 & 6)

The PSL Academy Music Production Intermediate Course consists of RSL Music Production Grades 4 to 6.

  • The course is taught over 12 weeks of two hour sessions. It involves two mid-course assessments for Grades 4 and 5, candidates then sit the RSL Grade 6 examination.
  • The cost of the course is split into an initial deposit of £60 followed by £26 per session.
  • Alternatively, you can pay the cost of the whole course up front for the discounted price of £349.
  • All course books are included as is the RSL Grade 6 examination fee.
  • The entry requirement for this course is to have passed RSL Grade 3 OR to pass our in-house pre-course assessment (there is a small charge for this).

Passing RSL Grade 6 provides an internationally recognised qualification which earns UCAS points and provides a significant step towards further education and future employment.

RSL Grade 6 Accredited Qualification

NOTE: Grade 4 and 5 are assessed via internal testing. If you wish to sit the RSL exams for these an additional charge will apply.

The Grade 4 exam is divided into three:

Section 1 – Theoretical written exam

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

  • Music Production Terminology
  • Sound & Audio Fundamentals

At Grade 4 the theory content covered will include subject areas such as describing equipment controls, surround formats, wireless connectivity, backing up files, plugin concepts, stereo microphone techniques, nonlinear editing, software instruments, sidechaining and sound propagation.

Candidates will be expected to:

  • Describe the the controls on studio equipment, such as threshold, ratio, attack, release, hold, on compressors, gates and expanders
  • Describe sound formats such as mono, stereo, 2.1, 5.1, 7.1, quadraphonic
  • Describe the importance of file management and backing up
  • Describe plugins, what they are or, their advantages and formats
  • Describe stereo microphone techniques, such as XY, AB, MS
  • Describe linear and nonlinear editing, destructive and non-destructive editing
  • Describe software instruments, their purpose, formats and common uses such as synths, samplers and real instrument emulation
  • Describe production techniques such as sidechaining, de-essing, including both dedicated plug-ins / devices, and using standard equipment to achieve the same result
  • Describe basic acoustic concepts, such as how sound travels through air / solids, sound waves, compression / rarefaction

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 to assess their ability to hear and interpret:

  • Sonic Fidelity – Identifying use of compression on instruments and mixes
  • Music Theory & Harmony – Identifying semi tones and tones and compound time signatures
  • Stylistic Awareness – Identifying specific genres

Candidates will be expected to:

  • Identify the difference between compressed and uncompressed audio recordings
  • Identify the difference between compressed and uncompressed mixes
  • Identify when a compressor is being controlled by a sidechain
  • Identify semi tones (chromaticism) and whole tones
  • Identify compound time signatures: 6/8 and 12/8
  • Identify common western music genres from a choice of two: Country and Funk

Section 3 – Practical assessment

This is divided into two sections:

  • Technical Skills: A series of specified tasks, which must be completed using a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). At Grade 4 the task will centre around use of equalisation (EQ) for corrective / creative purposes.
  • Professional Scenario: The candidate musts choose and implement appropriate technique to resolve a scenario. The scenario will require candidates to remove unwanted noise from a recording using appropriate techniques, such as manual editing, gating, crossfades.
The Grade 5 exam is divided into three sections:

Section 1 – Theoretical written exam

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

  • Music Production Terminology
  • Sound & Audio Fundamentals

At Grade 5, candidates will be expected to:

  • Outline functions of studio equipment, such as routing, buses, auxiliaries, inserts, patchbays
  • Outline the Compact disc format and its associated standards, such as bit depth, sample rate, history, data and audio capacities
  • Outline studio connectivity in the studio, including the function of the patchbay, normalisation, open / closed connections and hard wiring
  • Outline computer networking technology, such as LAN, WAN, Ethernet, network standards, Wifi standards
  • Outline routing techniques within a Digital Audio Workstation
  • Outline multimicrophone techniques, such as recording kick drums, snares, tom toms, hi-hats, overheads and ambience
  • Outline multitrack recording, its advantages, disadvantages, history and limitations
  • Outline MIDI technologies, such as controller keyboards, MIDI pickups, electronic drum triggers
  • Outline Analogue to digital conversion theory, such as Pulse Code Modulation, bit depths, sample rates, aliasing, jitter
  • Outline acoustic concepts, such as constructive interference, standing waves

Section 2 – Listening test

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

  • Sonic Fidelity – Identifying resonant frequencies
  • Music Theory & Harmony – Identifying seventh chords and swung rhythms
  • Stylistic Awareness – Identifying specific genres

Candidates will be expected to:

  • Identify the frequency range that has been boosted in a provided recording
  • Identify the frequency range that has been boosted in a provided mix
  • Identify the frequency range of a sine wave
  • Identify Maj7, Dom7 and Min7 chords
  • Identify swung rhythms in 4/4
  • Identify common western music genres from a choice of two: Jazz and Hip-Hop

Section 3 – Practical assessment

This is divided into two:

  • Technical Skills: A series of specified tasks, which must be completed using a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). At Grade 5 the task will centre around session management and organisation, such as creating, naming and colour coding tracks, creating markers, session file management
  • Professional Scenario: The candidate must choose and implement appropriate technique to resolve a scenario. At Grade 5 the scenario will require candidates to add musical layers to material using software instruments. Candidates are encouraged to practice listening to and duplicating melodies.
The Grade 6 exam is divided into three sections:

Section 1 – Theoretical written exam

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

  • Music Production Terminology
  • Sound & Audio Fundamentals

At Grade 6 the theory content covered will include subject areas such as creative uses for studio hardware, lossy audio formats, balanced audio, cloud storage, plugins, multi microphone technique, automation, basic software synthesis, dynamic range and sound isolation.

Candidates will be expected to:

  • Explain how to use studio equipment for creative purposes, such as adding reverberation, creating a pumping sound with a compressor, ducking
  • Explain the terms ‘lossy’ and lossless audio formats, naming examples of each
  • Explain balanced audio, it’s purpose, advantages, technology
  • Explain cloud storage, it’s purpose, advantages, disadvantages
  • Explain creative uses of specified plug-ins, such as EQ, reverb, delay, compressors, gates, pitch correction
  • Explain stereo ambient microphone techniques, such as enhancing drum recordings, specifying appropriate technique
  • Explain automation, it’s purpose, advantages, and techniques
  • Explain the basics of sound synthesis, such as oscillators, low frequency oscillators, envelopes, amplifiers
  • Explain dynamic range, headroom and signal to noise ratio

Section 2 – Listening test

Candidates will listen to audio files and answer questions relating to sonic fidelity, music theory and harmony and stylistic awareness to assess the candidate’s ability to hear and interpret:

  • Sonic Fidelity – Identify industry standard effects
  • Music Theory & Harmony – Identify diminished and augmented triads and genre specific drum grooves
  • Stylistic Awareness – Identifying specific genres

Candidates will be expected to:

  • Identify the difference between spatial effects: Reverb and Delay
  • Identify the difference between phase effects: Chorus and Flanger
  • Identify multiple effects stacked on one sound
  • Identify diminished and augmented triads
  • Identify genre by solo drum grooves alone
  • Introducing modern electronic music genres House and Modern R’n’B

Section 3 – Practical assessment

This is divided into two sections:

  • Technical Skills – The candidate will be asked to complete a series of specified tasks, which must be completed using a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). The task will centre around adding effects using buses and auxiliaries.
  • Professional Scenario – The candidate will be presented with a situation, and must choose and implement appropriate technique to resolve the scenario. At Grade 6 the candidate may choose to specialise in Music Production, Electronic Music Production or Sound for Media.
    • Music Production: – The scenario will require the use of automation to fix an uneven vocal recording
    • Electronic Music Production: – The scenario will require the creation of an original synth patch that works with the provided drum groove
    • Sound for Media: – The scenario will require the candidate to create a suitable sonic or musical atmosphere to the provided image

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!