Recommended purchases for Music and Music Technology students
Before you start spending money you should remember that all the gear you need to carry out Music and Music Technology coursework at Keele is available on our labs 24/7, throughout the semesters. The studios are accessible very flexibly using the electronic keyfob you will be given. Therefore, you do not need to purchase anything. However, it is true that many of our Music and Music Technology students do buy some gear to be able to work in their room/flat.
What gear specifically for MUSIC students (as opposed to Music Technology)?
Music students will take mainly Music modules plus some Music Technology modules; therefore for Music students is probably best to save money and not buy Music Technology gear, unless you really wish to do so for your own sake or for long term investment. For the Music Composition assignments you may find that a music notation software can be helpful, although many students notate by hand directly on paper. Finale and Sibelius are the two main commercial products of this kind. We have 2 workstations with Sibelius available in The ClockHouse; we provide some technical assistance, but we do not provide training on the use of Sibelius.
Mac or PC?
The number of Music Technology students who choose one of the new Intel Macs is growing steadily year by year. If you can afford it, we would recommend the purchase of an iMac or MacBookPro. At Keele – Music Technology we are moving towards a situation where we will have Intel iMacs installed pretty much in every lab, running mainly Mac applications. Our studios are ‘plug & play’: they are equipped with USB or FireWire audio Interfaces connected to our professional loudspeakers monitors. Therefore, if you wish, you can come to our labs with your laptop and connect it to our audio interfaces and speakers.
What software do we use?
Let's clarify: you shouldn’t come to Keele (or to any other University, for that matter) only to learn or specialise in a particular software application. This is something you can do on your own, spending much less time and money, or attending a training course on the application of your choice. You should come to University to study Music Technology if you want to learn a wealth of techniques, skills, concepts, as well as the theory behind them. This will equip you for a lifetime of professional contexts, which will throw at you new challenges almost on a daily basis! For your information, however, the applications we get students to use at Keele – Music Tech are:
- Adobe Audition for MAC (as a wave editor)
- Apple Final Cut Pro X for Mac (video editing)
- Apple Logic Pro X (audio multi-track recording/mixing and MIDI multi-tracking)
- ArtMatic (animations, only for Mac)
- Max/MSP (visual programming environment for audio/music applications)
- Other applications, depending on circumstances
What gear should Music Technology students buy?
When you 'gear yourself up' for the Music Tech course you should purchase the following items:
- A high capacity external USB hard-disk (250GB or more) which you will use to backup your files, store your audio/video projects, and move files between your computer and our lab workstations.
- A USB pen-drive (the higher capacity, the better) which you will use for file transfers between your computer and our lab workstations.
- A pair of studio-quality closed headphones from a reputable brand which you can use in our labs and at home. Get in touch with our technicians if you need further advice on headphones purchase. We have a few pairs of high-quality headphones which you can borrow and use strictly within our labs, if/when you find yourself without your set at hand.