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Congratulations on securing your place at Brunel

We’re looking forward to meeting you - either in person or online - and introducing you to life at Brunel. To help us get started, we’ve put together a short activity and some further information to help you prepare for your course - including a snapshot of the topics you’ll cover and useful resources. If you have any questions please email cbass-tpo-gask@brunel.ac.uk.

Your pre-arrival activity

We’d like you to complete a short activity before you join us. We can discuss your answers in one of your first personal tutor sessions. Your work will not be officially assessed however it will allow your tutor to get to know you better.

Please give some thought to the questions and tasks below, which relate to the modules you will be taking in the first year.

Materials of music

  • How would you define consonance and dissonance? 
  • What is voice leading?

Ways of hearing

  • Select a favourite piece of music. 
  • Identify something unique or compelling in relation to the style/construction of the piece (how it works) – perhaps something about the harmony, the rhythmic style, the overall form. 
  • Identify something about the music which defines the context and culture from which it came.


  • What is a mode? 
  • In what ways might studying composition be useful to someone who doesn’t plan to become a composer?


  • What characterises a great performer? 
  • Choose two performers that inspire you (from any genre) and describe how they relate to the characteristics you chose. 

Studio production

  • Define in simple terms the harmonic series 
  • What are two or three microphone types and how you would use each in a recording session?
  • In your own words, briefly define the role of a music producer.
  • Choose one of the following effects and briefly describe how it works: reverb, flanger, chorus, ring modulation, distortion, multitap delay.
  • What does this mean: “DIY stomp box”?

Professional development

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses as a musician? 
  • What are you most passionate about? 
  • What are you most looking forward to exploring in your three years at University?

We also advise you to take a look at the information below. Completing wider reading and getting familar with what you'll be learning, will help prepare you for academic life at Brunel.

Sample lecture topics

As you progress through your degree, these are the types of questions you’ll be able to answer with confidence:

1. What do you understand by the term ’counterpoint’ and how does it relate to music?

2. What sort of musician do you want to be and how might a study of performers from various genres help you in this goal?

3. Describe two different types of microphone and their typical uses.

4. FMt = A × sin(Ct + [I × sin(Mt)]) What’s in a formula? Turning numbers into sound.

5. The revenge of MIDI: how a silly protocol has (re)conquered the world, and why you should know it.

Reading list