Creative Music Industry

Vocational Qualifications Creative Music Industry

Whether you want to gain employment in the music industry or go into higher education, a Creative Music Industry qualification will give you the professional knowledge and skills needed for a career in music.

With pathways in Performance, Production, Composition, Live Events and Entrepreneurship, you’ll be able to build the most industry relevant qualification on the market.

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Pathway Information

Qualification Overview

“The UK music industry contributes over £5.2 billion to the UK economy with over 190,000 full-time jobs sustained.”
UK Music - Measuring Music 2019 report

RSL Awards is an awarding body specialising in the creative industries, designing qualifications which are relevant and reflective of today’s creative sector.

RSL’s Vocational Qualifications in the Creative Music Industry are designed to be a current reflection of the sector, offering 160+ units in diverse disciplines, suited to the kind of portfolio careers which predominate in the music industry.

For a career in music!

Our Creative Music Industry qualifications have five pathways: Performance, Production, Composition, Live Events and Entrepreneurship. Each pathway is defined by the mandatory content within it, but there are a huge range of optional units on offer enabling centres and learners to tailor their qualification to their main strengths and areas of interest.

Building on our long running, market leading Music Practitioners specifications, RSL has introduced bitesize ‘skills units’ which offer learners the opportunity to get a taste of a wider range of disciplines and develop a broader knowledge of the sector. Units have also been developed in Social Media, Streaming and Online Distribution to reflect developments in the current music industry.

With qualifications at Levels 1-3 ranging from 60-1080 guided learning hours and flexible delivery encouraged, Creative Music Industry is sure to the fit the needs of your institution.

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    Performance Pathway

    Become the ultimate portfolio musician. The Performance pathway will set learners on their way to mastering their instrument and develop their songwriting ability, whilst giving them the tools to plan, promote and command the stage at their own headline show.

    Learners will:

    • Perform effectively on their instrument/voice
    • Rehearse and display musicianship skills
    • Initiate and develop repertoire
    • Rehearse effectively and perform music live
    • Understand contextual issues relating to music style, audience and the music industry
    • Further their understanding of the live performance industry

    Unit example: Performing Music Live

    The aim of this unit is to refine learners’ live performance skills and to develop their capacity to take ownership of the entire performance process. The purpose of this unit is to provide learners with a range of opportunities to refine their performance skills through performance to a live audience. This in turn will enable them to elicit constructive feedback to inform their ongoing development as performers.

    Unit example: Performing as a Session Musician

    This unit aims to develop a learner’s ability to operate effectively as an instrumentalist/vocalist in a range of musical styles and contexts, whilst developing strategies to broaden musical horizons, increase flexibility and promote versatility. The purpose of this unit is to provide learners with opportunities to enhance the development of the skills required to function effectively as a session musician in a range of environments, both live and in the studio and to generate evidence of their doing so.

    Skills Unit Example: Performing Music to Camera

    Musicians today have to entertain and engage their audience in a variety of different contexts to retain their interest and currency. The growth of online video media access means artists must create a distinctive visual aspect to their music in a saturated public domain. This unit aims to develop learners’ abilities to perform convincingly to camera in a directed film. The purpose of this unit is to enhance the development of the skills required to function effectively in future video productions.

    Unit Example: DJ Skills

    A good DJ set is much more than just a selection of songs. Mixing tracks requires creativity and innovation, taking the audience on a journey, with waves of build and release, and the ability to respond to the vibe in the room and improvise around a planned set. The aim of this unit is to refine learners’ DJ skills and to develop their capacity to take ownership of the entire process of performing as a DJ, with their own personal sound and style. The purpose of this unit is to provide learners with a range of opportunities to refine their DJing skills through performance of a live DJ set.

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      Production Pathway

      This pathway could lead to a desk job! In a world where content is king, being able to professionally capture audio and visual at the highest quality whilst creatively treating it for its desired output is paramount. Alternatively, learners might be a beatmaker with a yearning to get their music heard, the Production pathway will help professionalise their practice and hone their skills.

      Learners will demonstrate:

      • Sound recording skills
      • Mixing and mastering skills
      • Sequencing and production skills
      • Video production skills
      • Understanding of contextual issues relating to music production techniques
      • Understanding of the music production industry

      Unit example: Digital Recording and Production

      This unit has aims to develop learners’ skills in effectively planning the recording process and recording instruments and voices, and to develop skills to edit audio samples for future use. The purpose of this unit is to enable learners to record and use source material (instrumentation) as sample patches for future projects. The unit also focuses on the ability to plan and manage the recording process.

      Unit Example: Studio Audio Mastering

      Mastering is an essential process in producing a commercially viable musical product. Any professionally released track has almost certainly been through a mastering process. This aim of this unit is to develop learners’ skills in effectively mastering a given piece of music, using a variety of methods and assessing best practice. The purpose of the unit is to use mastering equipment to develop and create two different mastered tracks to two different formats.

      Skills Unit Example: Remixing and Production

      Being a remixer has a number of significant benefits in terms of employment in the music industry and personal development as an artist. Remixing other artists’ music can provide an all-important potential revenue source, which can grow substantially as the remixer’s profile grows. Remixing can also be used as a tool to raise the artist’s profile, which can lead onto opportunities to release their own original music. The remixing process itself helps the learner to develop their compositional, music theory and technical skills. The act of remixing informs the learner’s own music through working with the music of others.

      Unit Example: Digital Synthesis

      An informed knowledge of a variety of digital synthesis techniques, coupled with the ability to select the appropriate one for a given sound design scenario, gives artists the ability to craft specific sounds ‘to order’, allowing them to compose using their ‘mind’s ear’ and reducing the need for trial and error. Having this ability can open up job possibilities in composing for media, sound design and studio production.

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        Composition Pathway

        The Composition pathway allows learners to develop a comprehensive portfolio of work that is informed by a wide range of musical styles. Learners are equipped with a grounding in specific arranging and orchestration techniques for media, and have options to focus on lyrics, general musicianship, and using DAWs to foster creative independence.

        Learners will:

        • Compose and arrange music
        • Initiate and develop repertoire
        • Develop musicianship skills through use of a harmony-based instrument
        • Use recording and sequencing software/hardware
        • Understand contextual issues relating to music style, audience and the music industry

        Unit example: Solo Music Composition

        The aim of this unit is to develop a learner’s own compositional style and identity through the creation of a cohesive body of work. The purpose of this unit is to facilitate the development of a coherent set of original material for performance or recording, reflective of a profound, analytical understanding of the learner’s own musical context.

        Unit Example: Arranging Music (Orchestration)

        This unit aims to develop a sound understanding of the technical and musical aspects of arranging music for large ensembles in a defined musical style, focusing on the use of instrumentation. The unit will provide learners with an opportunity to identify, explore and arrange music through developing their knowledge of instrumentation in arranging music for large ensembles, and combining elements to one single reduction. This will facilitate an awareness of convention and of the potential for creative treatment of the orchestra and instrumentation more broadly.

        Skill Unit Example: Composing Music for Media Destinations

        Music has been a necessary part of multimedia for many years, from advert hooks to TV themes, to films, games and ringtones. The skills to compose music for these applications is a key factor in employment, which is growing as adverts become more ubiquitous and the proliferation of new TV and social media channels and programming increases. Learners can assess and develop the skills needed to create music for media while also learning other skills that relate to the use of technology, editing, sound design, arranging and orchestration.

        Unit Example: Using a Keyboard with a DAW

        This unit aims to develop the student’s knowledge of music theory and application in relation to working with a digital audio workstation (DAW), facilitating the development of music and technology skills needed to increase the efficiency of a learner’s workflow, while developing their ability to construct different musical parts. The purpose of the unit is to help the learner seamlessly be able to create and edit music with a DAW. The learner will benefit from increased music theory and music technology knowledge and good hands-on experience of using them side by side with a DAW.

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          Live Events Pathway

          A live performance only happens because of the dedication of promoters, stage managers, sound engineers, photographers, and many more. Master the craft of hosting live events so your learners can be the stars of the show even when they’re offstage.

          Learners will:

          • Organise and run events
          • Learn about event promotion and management
          • Develop technical stage management and event management skills
          • Work as part of a team
          • Understand contextual issues relating to live events and the music industry
          • Further their understanding of the live events industry

          Unit example: Managing a Music Event

          This unit will develop learners’ ability to stage a musical event or series of musical events (tour). By evaluating the process involved in staging a musical event and applying the required skills to an area of their own interest, learners will develop strategies for event management and promotion in a variety of areas.

          Unit Example: Live Sound Engineering (Front of House)

          The aim of this unit is to provide the learner with a live sound, front of house PA scenario: setting up, sound checking and mixing for live performances at a specific event. The purpose of the unit is to develop learners’ skills in using FOH systems, focusing on the planning, technical aspects, timeframe and communicational skills involved in musical events and performances.

          Skills Unit Example: Music Stage Management

          Music stage management is an area of the music industry that requires a lot of hard work and management of a variety of people. There are a number of different skills involved (such as planning, communication and responding to unforeseen circumstances), so it is important that a stage manager is alert to their surroundings at all times. This unit will give learners the opportunity to find out what is involved in stage-managing a music event and what affects the success of that event. This aims of this unit are to foster an understanding of how to manage liability at a music event and understand the legal requirements of managing a safe event, in order that the chain of responsibility for health and safety at an event is clearly defined and upheld.

          Unit Example: Live Streaming

          The popularity of live streaming has grown steadily in recent years, and it increased exponentially in the early months of 2020 — with services like Twitch seeing people watch over 1 billion hours of content in a single month. This event will develop learners’ ability to create content and stream it live to an audience. Learners will evaluate their product and establish its place in the market — selecting appropriate streaming platforms and media channels, creating original content, and promoting their live stream to its target audience. Learners will also develop skills in communicating with an audience in real time.

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            Entrepreneurship Pathway

            Releases and tours don’t just happen overnight. Our Entrepreneurship pathway enables learners to become the next generation of innovators by giving them a grounding in all aspects of the music business and preparing them to pursue a career that rewards creativity and business know-how with impressive results.

            Learners will demonstrate:

            • Sound business and financial skills
            • Marketing skills
            • Understanding of contracts and copyright
            • Freelance practice
            • Understanding of contextual issues relating to the music business and the wider music industry
            • Further their understanding of the music industry

            Unit example: Setting up a Music Business

            This unit will identify the key entrepreneurial skills required for a music business startup and how to communicate a new business proposition. Through a comparative skills analysis, learners will establish whether they have the necessary abilities to run their own business and where their personal strengths and weaknesses are. They will identify a market opportunity for a new business and research and evidence a business case to demonstrate its viability.

            Unit Example: Royalties and Music

            This unit aims to develop learners’ understanding of revenue streams within the UK music industry by focusing on generating income from royalties. The purpose of the unit is to provide opportunities to explore the mechanisms for the collection and distribution of royalties, the main organisations involved in this area of the music industry and how this knowledge may be applied to generating income from learners’ own musical activity.

            Example Skills Unit: Creating a Social Media (Content) Strategy

            For an artist, having a social media strategy is an essential way for them to connect with their existing fanbase, and to reach new audiences. An understanding of what makes social media content effective for different audiences and destinations is a vital tool for the modern musician, whatever their specialism. This unit aims to build on previous learning by analysing how original and pre existing content may be used and/or repurposed to create new and exciting ways to engage with potential audiences by way of promoting brands, products or services.

            Unit Example: Music Publishing

            This unit aims to develop learners’ understanding of the publishing process and its use and application within the UK music industry. The purpose of the unit is to provide opportunities for learners to explore their own potential to exploit their output as writers in the future. An understanding of how copyright of original works can be exploited to create revenue, with an understanding of the diversity of the marketplace in publishing music and the different organisations and companies involved in the process, will combine to inform artistic and commercial decision making.

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              Progression and Support

              Learners completing these industry relevant qualifications may go on to further study in Higher Education, there are hundreds of music and associated degree courses available across the UK including 14 Commercial Music degrees, 271 Popular Music and Music Degree programmes and 20 Live Event courses.

              Those completing a Level 3 Creative Music Industry qualification may also be able to access apprenticeships such as ‘Live Event Technician’, ‘Live Event Rigger’ or ‘Creative Industries Production Manager’.

              Learners may also be able to enter directly in to one or more employment opportunities within the industry such as junior roles in booking agencies, promotion companies, labels, venues or retail, or as an artist, session musician or songwriter.

              RSL’s Creative Music Industry qualifications are the latest addition to our suite of technical qualifications covering the contemporary creative industries.

              There are similarities in the structure and format of these qualifications and our qualifications Performing Arts or Creative Digital Media, and there is a natural linkage in that all the qualifications encourage collegiate working across disparate subjects. However, the Creative Music Industry qualifications are unique in their focus on diverse aspects of the current music industry from performance and songwriting through to marketing, promotion and production.

              Prospective learners seeking to gain knowledge and skills in the Creative Music Industry sector through undertaking an RSL qualification could also consider an apprenticeship, traineeship or an alternative qualification when deciding on their pathway into the industry.

              Amongst others, RSL’s Creative Music Industry qualifications were designed with input from a range of individuals with considerable experience in diverse areas of the music industry including positions such as artist manager, label owner, producer, performer, educator, studio engineer and company director.

              Education institutions contributing to and supporting these qualifications include BIMM, Access Creative College, MAS Records (Kidderminster College), SEMM.

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