Music Production Grade 7
The Grade 7 Music Production exam is for candidates who are competent in music
production technique, and are capable of overcoming challenging situations.
Key Features at Grade 7
What you'll learn at Grade 7:
- Music Production Theory
- Listening Skills
- Practical Skills
How the exam is assessed
Candidates are required to complete a written exam, a listening test and two practical tasks.These are
designed to explore theoretical knowledge of the subject and practical skills using a Digital Audio
Workstation. The Grade 7 exam is divided into 3 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 7 the theory content covered will include subject areas such as working around
equipment faults, format incompatibility, connectivity faults, software optimisation, latency,
phase, stereo width, groove / quantisation, signal noise and studio monitoring.
At Grade 7, candidates will be expected to:
- Explain how to overcome technical challenges, such as faulty cables, faulty microphones
- Explain how to overcome format incompatibility, such as transferring projects between different Digital Audio Workstations using OMFs
- Explain how to find a fault in chain of devices, such as a drop in level, low frequency hum
- Explain how to optimise operating systems for audio work
- Explain latency and how to overcome it
- Explain phase issues and how to overcome them
- Explain how to add stereo width, using techniques such as the HAAS effect, dedicated plugins, manual use of delays and phase effects
- Explain quantisation and groove templates
- Explain how to minimise noise, through matching level and impedance
- Explain studio monitor designs, and how to set monitor speakers for optimum listening experience
Section 2 - Listening test
The listening test will present candidates with questions relating to sonic
fidelity, music theory and harmony and stylistic awareness. Audio files will be presented to
the candidates and questions will relate specifically to the relevant audio file. This will assess
the candidate’s ability to hear and interpret:
- Sonic Fidelity - Identifying stereo phase issues on instrument and full mix recordings
- Music Theory & Harmony - Identifying harmonic & melodic minor scales, son and rumba clave
- Stylistic Awareness - Identifying specific genres
At Grade 7, candidates will be expected to:
- Identify phase issues in a recording
- Identify phase issues within a mix
- Identify harmonic and melodic minor scales
- Identify Son and Rumba Claves (3:2 & 2:3)
- Introducing modern electronic music genres Drum & Bass and Techno
Candidates are advised to practice these techniques using the mock assessment files
available from your secure area.
Section 3 - Practical assessment
The Practical Assessment is divided into two sections as detailed below:
- Technical Skills - The candidate will be asked to complete a series of specified tasks, which must be completed using a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). At Grade 7 the task will centre around correcting the timing in a performance
Professional Scenario - The candidate will be presented with a situation, and must choose and implement appropriate technique to resolve the scenario. At Grade 7 the candidate may choose to specialise in Music Production, Electronic Music Production or Sound for Media.
- Music Production: - The scenario will focus on creating a harmony to a vocal performance from a range of software techniques
- Electronic Music Production: - The scenario will require a drum break to be edited and retimed to a new tempo
- Sound for Media: - The scenario will require the candidate to create a sonic solution to an animated logo
The completed session files must be appropriately named, saved and shared with your
examiner as instructed, including all associated audio files. It is vital that candidates are able
to accurately save their work as failure to do so will result in an unclassified mark.
The exam lasts 180 minutes.
On your exam day, you must bring:
- 1 x closed headphones with a ¼ inch jack *
- A hard copy of your Music Production syllabus book or your proof of digital purchase
Info: * Candidates without their own headphones will be unable to sit the exam.
Your exam centre will provide:
- 1 x computer; running either of the latest two versions of Cubase, Pro Tools, Logic, Ableton Live or GarageBand
- 1 x midi controller keyboard – minimum 4 octaves, including a sustain pedal and pitch wheel
Info: GarageBand, Cubase Elements and Cubase LE are only suitable for grades 1 to 5.