Module code: TON1030

Module Overview

Interacting with the technical understanding of audio engineering and recording techniques gained from module TON1028, this module introduces and develops critical listening skills that are essential in your career as a Tonmeister.

In high-quality studio listening sessions and class-based seminars, a number of qualified and experienced teachers will lead you through an expansion of your practical listening skills in both technical and musical aspects of what is expected from a Tonmeister. 

You will not only be given guidance on what to listen for, spotting what is appropriate or inappropriate musically and technically, but you will also discover many of the extra skills needed to convince potential clients of your worth as a Tonmeister, whether you are working in a technical or musical/production realm.

You will be given opportunities to reinforce some of the signal flow and microphone knowledge presented in other Tonmeister modules, and to encounter a wide range of recordings, repertoire, musical styles and technical recording attributes.

Your ability to listen musically, and with discernment, will be developed through an on-line aural test programme, considered to be the best of its type, and to which you will have free access on any viable computing device including personal mobile phones and laptops. Your achievements in this will be monitored, and your best results will contribute to your module mark. There is also an end-of-year listening test in which very few of the answers are 'correct': instead, you will share your thought processes.

Module provider

Music and Media

Module Leader

WARBURTON John (Music & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 12

Independent Learning Hours: 80

Lecture Hours: 1

Seminar Hours: 30

Guided Learning: 25

Captured Content: 2

Module Availability

Year long

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

TON1028 Audio Engineering and Recording Techniques 1

Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Equalisation and frequency content

  • Compression and limiting

  • Reverb and mixing perspective

  • Stereo imaging and spatial audio

  • Noise, distortion and interference

  • Orchestral recordings and repertoire

  • Piano and chamber recordings and repertoire

  • Singer and choral recordings and repertoire

  • Musical theatre/big band and singer and repertoire

  • Jazz/folk/world music recordings and repertoire

  • Pop/rock recordings and repertoire 1960s to present

  • Music for film

  • Practical microphone rigging skills

  • Practical signal paths in studios 1 and 2

  • Practical basic stereo microphone techniques on piano

  • Practical microphone placement for drums and voice/guitar duo

  • Practical basic pop mixing

  • Practical basic classical editing and production

  • Development of critical aural skills for music production

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Practical based assessment Continuous assessment (musical aural training) 35
Practical based assessment Continuous assessment (technical ear training) 35
Practical based assessment Listening assessment 30

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

In assessment for this module, you will be allowed to work at your own level, provided that there is a gradual increase in the difficulty of tests that you are attempting, both aural (for music) and technical. The tutoring team monitors this for the sole purpose of offering regular, guided help where necessary.

Therefore, the listening software will enable you to identify with increasing accuracy a range of common audio faults and features, to support your practical recording skills at levels HE5 and HE6 (examination).

These developments should also enable to you complete coursework items 1 and 2 in an achievable and timely manner.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Coursework – two blocks of continuous assessment using aural training software (addressing learning outcome 8) and technical ear training software (addressing learning outcomes 1 to 7); and

  • Listening assessment – aural and written assessment (addressing learning outcomes 8, 9 and 10).

Formative assessment:

Formative feedback from a member of staff will be given during all practical studio sessions where students will have opportunities to practice rigging microphones and explore basic techniques (addresses learning outcomes 11 to 13).

Class tests during the module will be used to give formative feedback on the student's existing skills and progress. Formative feedback will be given on the student’s use of the aural and technical ear training software packages at the end of the first semester.

Module aims

  • To develop your technical listening skills. This supports your practical recording work in HE5 Recording Techniques and HE6 Portfolio of Recordings.
  • To develop your awareness of microphone techniques and signal flow. This supports your practical recording work in HE5 Recording Techniques and HE6 Portfolio of Recordings.
  • To develop your awareness of a broad and international range of music and recording styles, and how they are used to enhance a wide variety of musical repertoire. This prepares you for HE5 Recording Techniques and HE6 Portfolio of Recordings.
  • To develop your aural skills in music. This supports your music production work in preparation for HE5 Recording Techniques, HE5 Production and Score Studies and HE6 Portfolio of Recordings.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Aurally identify analogue and digital distortion and its possible source KCP
002 Aurally identify analogue and digital noise and interference and its possible source KCP
003 Aurally identify problems in the frequency domain, the frequency range involved and the possible source(s) KCP
004 Aurally identify compression flaws such as pumping and breathing and identify the probable cause KCP
005 Aurally identify reverb characteristics such as pre-delay, prominent early reflections, reverb time, reverb tonal quality KCP
006 Suggest suitable reverb choices in terms of characteristics and balance depending on musical genre KC
007 Aurally identify problems and features of stereo and spatial imaging such as image width, stability, focus, panning, depth and perspective KCP
008 Aurally identify musical features such as melodic and harmonic intervals, rhythmic values and chord progressions KCP
009 Identify the common musical characteristics of a wide range of musical genres through classical western music, musical theatre, jazz, folk and pop KCPT
010 Identify the important elements of common recording styles that have evolved to enhance the musical impact of a wide range of musical genres KCP
011 Correctly handle and rig microphones and cables so that they are safe P
012 Correctly rig a pair microphones to produce a useful stereo signal KP
013 Correctly use an aux send and returns to make use of an external reverb unit KP

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

Your sessions are designed to develop your practical listening skills, your knowledge of technical and musical judgement, and your listening experience across a very wide range of repertoire and recording styles.

Your critical listening skills will be introduced in weekly, hour-long listening sessions in the environment of a studio control room. For this, you will join a group of approximately 15 which will allow for plenty of discussion and interaction with the session leaders.

The development of musical aural skills and technical ear training will be supported by regular use of software packages outside the weekly sessions, made freely available to you to enjoy in your own time.

Guided listening playlists will be provided to support the development of wider listening experience and repertoire knowledge. Lecturers welcome additional suggestions, and will gladly comment further on listening examples in tutorials.

Practical studio skills will be explored over 6 sessions in groups of 7/8.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Regular listening sessions

  • Regular monitored use of aural software and technical ear training software which forms part of the assessment

  • Guided repertoire listening

  • Practical studio sessions

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: TON1030

Other information

Throughout this module, you will be guided in the following broad skillsets:

  • Digital Capabilities. Your access for off-site listening is entirely digital. Through experimentation with the teaching material, you will discover methods of incorporating supplied multimedia examples in your own, personal and private, learning collections of media.
  • Global and Cultural Capabilities. Your critical listening skills to sound, in terms of both your technical and musical judgement, form a very important link to your understanding of highly developed culture. Your digital skills will globally valuable, and your encounters with many cultural expressions will help you gain the respect of other musicians and engineers. In music listening, the lecturers leading your sessions often relate musical styles to developments in world culture, particularly the continuous search for justice and equity, so often expressed in music.
  • Employability. A fundamental skill of a Tonmeister is their ability to listen critically. This is the prime aim of the module. You are also encouraged to contribute novel approaches to technical questions and evaluations from your listening.
  • Resourcefulness and Resilience. Many of the examples you will listen to are accompanied by the lecturers' own experiences of how problems were overcome and solutions produced. Your own thoughtfulness, to produce your own solutions or explanations, is positively welcomed in the sessions.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister) BSc (Hons)(CORE) Year-long Core Each unit of assessment must be passed at 40% to pass the module
Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister) BMus (Hons)(CORE) Year-long Core Each unit of assessment must be passed at 40% to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2025/6 academic year.