module specification

LT5056 - Music Appreciation & Creative Methods (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Music Appreciation & Creative Methods
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 150
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
105 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Practical Examination 40%   Video presentation, 15 min. long
Coursework 60%   Written coursework, 2500 words
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester City Wednesday Afternoon

Module summary

Combining aspects of popular music studies and critical/contextual business analysis, the module explores the development of popular music from within a business context, looking at the commercial drivers behind creative enterprise. Popular music genres, youth cultures, music scenes, pioneering artists, classic albums, A&R, the role of independents, and the concept of artist development will all factor in.
Additionally, popular music will be explored in the context of marketable genres, artists and their business role, the development of repertoires and portfolios in a creative business context and the overall economic impact of creative change within the context of cultural/creative practice.
Methods will be analysed with regards to the effectiveness of music talent scouting and promotion, while on the other hand a critical awareness of audience reception will be developed in the context of objectively measurable aspects of creativity such as the psychology of music perception.

Module aims

1. To develop students’ understanding of the evolution of popular music.
2. To give students a firm grasp of the concept of artist development.
3. To familiarise students with the business implications of sounds.
4. To introduce students to the various elements of popular culture.
5. To connect relevant economic concepts in production and consumption of popular culture to the creative dynamics and changes in styles, genres and modes of communication.
6. To understand the analytical tools at students’ disposal, including but not limited to critical theory, semiotics, music psychology and political economy of the creative industries.
7. To understand production properties of music in creative and business contexts

The following skills will also be developed: researching, analysing data, applying knowledge and presenting data, communicating orally and in writing, critical thinking, problem solving and decision making, IT skills, enterprise and commercial awareness.


1. The evolution of commercial genres in popular music.

2. Artist development - a business philosophy

3. Classic albums and pioneering artists

4. Non-UK/non-US repertoire - sounds and sales potential

5. The creative processes behind ‘hit songs’

6. The economic implications of a ‘new sound’

9.   The role of A&R

10. History of recorded sound and the commercial impact of recording technologies

11. The role of independent labels

12. The psychology of music perception and its structural implications

13. Creative aspects of the decision making process in music production and music media

14. The analytical methods used for the understanding of music in socio-economic terms

15. Understanding production techniques in creative and business contexts

Learning and teaching

This module will be delivered as a series of 1.5 hour lectures and 1.5 hour seminars. Weekly lectures will focus on key areas of teaching and learning with a weekly seminar integrated into the lecture subject/content. Seminars will focus on activities both group and individual: communications, problem solving and case study analysis, research skills and applications including the use of digital platforms and learning by doing, presentations. All of this will be connected to key creative and analytical contexts. Where appropriate and possible, guest speakers will be invited to lecture.

Blended learning plays central part in this module: strategies such as formative assessment through online collaboration; summative assessment best practice will continue with the use of mp3 and other digital audio formats for assessment feedback sent by email. Online teaching materials will be used systematically and in conjunction with in-class interaction through lectures and seminar tasks.

Reflective learning will focus on both formative and summative assessment. Students will be required to write reflective accounts regarding any aspect of collaborative work and assessment planning. They will also be invited to reflect on the choice of genre they would be researching for written assessment.

Employability will be enhanced through 1) an in-depth understanding of the key issues at stake in the context of changing and evolving music genres, creative methods and industry practice (syllabus); 2) specific activities geared towards the understanding of key applications of reflection in individual and group work; 3) assessment requirements (formative/summative)

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
1. Identify how commercial drivers relate to the development of popular music

2. Demonstrate a critical analysis of popular genres, classic albums, and pioneering artists

3. Explain the concept of artist development and its business and economic implications

4. Identify the past and present roles of managers, independent labels, and major labels in relation to developing artists

5. Evaluate the A&R process within the creative, business and cultural contexts

6. Investigate and criticise the creative and cultural practice of popular music in economic contexts

Assessment strategy

1. Video presentation: each student will be expected to submit an individual video presentation on a prominent music genre of exactly 15 minutes in duration. The presentation will be submitted on DVDR or CDR formats and would be filmed or contain a PowerPoint presentation with a voiceover. There will be a requirement for musical excerpts of no longer than 30 seconds each so as to illustrate the most notable achievements of the genre. The subject of the presentation must be confirmed with lecturer/tutor. 40%

2. Written coursework: each student will be expected to submit a 2500 word written coursework analysing the music genre approved by the tutor/module leader (see above). The music genre chosen for the video presentation and written report must be of some prominence in the mainstream, i.e. it is supposed to have attained measurable commercial success evidenced in charts, media presence, press clippings etc. The coursework will need to show the critical awareness of: critical analysis of commercial contexts, music genre characteristics – either extra-musical or descriptive of style and production techniques, analysis of decision making processes that led the genre and its protagonists to prominence, cultural and economic impact the genre has – and especially, the reflection on the value of music in general and the genre in particular, to the student’s own perception of cultural capital. 60%


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