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Free Online Course On Critical Listening For Studio Production

Queen’s University Belfast has developed Massive Open Online Course, ‘Critical Listening for Studio Production’ that is available for free on FutureLearn. This 7-week technical ear training programme course is aimed at students who would like to learn and improve critical listening in a music studio context.

In this free online course, students will learn about tools for developing and refining the critical listening skills relevant to contemporary sound engineering and will be of interest to musicians, sound enthusiasts and experienced sound engineers alike. The course will start from 5th October 2015.

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Course At A Glance

Length: 7 weeks
Effort:   3 hours/week
Subject: Critical Listening for Studio Production
Institution:  Queen’s University Belfast & FutureLearn
Languages: English
Price:  Free
Certificate Available: Yes
Session:  Starts on October 5, 2015

Providers Details

The Queen’s University Belfast is offering the course via renowned online platform FutureLearn. Queen’s University Belfast is a member of the Russell Group of 24 leading UK research-intensive universities. Four prestigious Times Higher Education (THE) Awards further recognise the University’s contribution to society.

FutureLearn offers a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. This online platform provides online courses from the world’s best universities.

About This Course

There are many qualities required to be a skilled sound engineer: the theoretical knowledge of sound and audio, the technical mastery of studio hardware and software, and diplomatic people skills, for example. But perhaps the most obvious (and often overlooked) quality required of all sound engineers is the ability to listen.

Sound engineers must constantly evaluate the sound quality of individual sound sources in a mix and evaluate how these sound sources interrelate with one another. The ability to listen critically and make these judgements is a skill that must be learnt through trial and error and repeated practice.

Why Take This Course?

This is a free online course. No prior knowledge is assumed, but an interest in music and/or audio would be beneficial.

This MOOC will be offered with Video Transcripts. Applicants can get a personalized, digital and printed certificate. The course helps to improve critical listening in a music studio context.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course you will have a thorough understanding of the workflow involved when mixing a multitrack recording and will have developed the critical listening skills necessary to make informed judgements regarding individual and overall sound quality.


-Chris Corrigan

Chris is a lecturer in audio engineering at the Sonic Arts Research Centre, Queen’s University Belfast.

Course Format

The course begins by examining the nature of sound and how properties of sound (frequency, amplitude and sound intensity, for example) are expressed.

The relationship between these physical properties and the more subjective characteristics of music such as pitch, loudness, dynamic range and timbre is then examined.

The remainder of the course focuses on the signal processing techniques commonly used by sound engineers when mixing multitrack recordings – for example, equalisation, compression and reverberation.


-No prior knowledge is assumed, but an interest in music and/or audio would be beneficial.

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