Music Production Grade 6
The Grade 6 Music Production exam is for candidates who have mastered basic
music production technique and can use creativity to enhance their productions.
Key Features at Grade 6
What you'll learn at Grade 6:
- 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 6 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 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
At Grade 6, 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
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 - Identify industry standard effects
- Music Theory & Harmony - Identify diminished and augmented triads and genre specific drum grooves
- Stylistic Awareness - Identifying specific genres
At Grade 6, 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
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:
- 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 6 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
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.