Higher National Diploma in Music Production (HND)

Level 6 Edexcel/BTEC Award


Two Years


This two year Higher National Diploma course gives students the opportunity to acquire a wide range of skills in Sound Engineering, Music Production and other aspects of the music industry such as running a music business, understanding the science of sound, legal and health issues. Taught by professionals working in the industry, this course will prepare students for careers in the media, entertainment and music fields. Students will work with performers and musicians in a purpose built industry standard professional recording studio. Editing, mixing and production take place in a state-of-the-art all iMac digital sound production facility. All workstations are equipped with software including Pro Tools and Ableton Live. Read more about our iMac lab facilities. 

Entry Requirements

One of the following:

  • Leaving Certificate (Minimum of H5 in two subjects at Leaving Certificate Higher Level)
  • Full Level 5 QQI Award in Sound Production or equivalent
  • Mature applicants are welcome

Course Modules (Year One)

  • The Music Industry
  • Marketing and Promotion for Musicians
  • Professional Development
  • Applied Sound Principles
  • Recording Technology
  • Creative Software Techniques
  • Applied Music Theory
  • Performance
Module Information

Module Information

Areas of Study – Year 1 (MP1)

There are no Theory Examinations. All assessment is carried out by continious assessment through assignments.

The Music Industry

This unit will introduce students to the structure of the industry, focussing on revenue flows, employment opportunities, business activities and growth potential. Students will analyse income streams of various areas and assess which revenue streams are relevant to their own personal career goals.

This unit serves as an introduction to employment in the music industry, focussing on financial opportunities in the wider context, along with students’ own personal career plans.


Marketing and Promotion for Musicians

This unit provides students with knowledge that will form a ‘toolkit’ of information about freelancing and marketing activities they can use to further their career in the music industry. These ‘tools’ include offline techniques, such as effective networking, as well as online and social media marketing. Students will also be exposed to resources and utilities that will help them to create a professional marketing presence. Students will investigate and research the relative merits of each of these tools, helping them to evaluate the most suitable marketing activities for their area of practice, as they embark on the journey as an industry professional.


Professional Development

In this unit, students will explore the many potential avenues of employment relating to their specialism, building an awareness of how to present themselves to the marketplace and embarking on the journey of professional development.

On completion of this unit, students will have made decisions around their vocation and will demonstrate the level of autonomy needed for success in the music industry.


Applied Music Theory

Musical theory is one of the many tools used in creative music performance. Understanding the principles, techniques and terminology for making music allows us to fully communicate our ideas with listeners and fellow musicians.

At the end of this unit, students will be able to recognise melodic, rhythmic and harmonic elements. They will also be able to replicate these elements both in transcription and on the keyboard or another instrument.


Applied Sound Principles

This unit explores the characteristics and underlying physics of sound waves, wave propagation and how sound is interpreted by human beings. In addition, key concepts of acoustic principles will be analysed and creatively applied, to produce a range of samples and reverb responses that can be used in variety of music and sound design projects.

Topics included in this unit are: the properties of sound waves and the harmonic series, the anatomy of the human ear and how characteristics of sound are perceived, calculating room dimensions and standing waves, creating impulse response samples, and application of impulse response samples.


Recording Technology

The aim of this unit is to provide students with the knowledge of the techniques used by sound engineers and music producers when using technology to record audio sources. While they will learn fundamental recording techniques, they will also learn how to use recording technology in creative ways. Studio setup procedures will be explored as well as the factors that affect the quality that audio is recorded at.

The preproduction processes used by engineers to make the recording process as smooth as possible will also be considered. Studio techniques will be investigated allowing students to explore the recording equipment used by industry professionals, which can further be developed towards live, studio, location and broadcast sound.


Creative Software Techniques

This unit explores the creative possibilities within different DAWs. It assumes a basic level of knowledge but will build on this in areas such as MIDI sequencing and virtual instruments, Audio recording and editing, software synths and ‘mixing within the box’ using software mixers. It will also start to build an awareness of the strengths of certain DAWs in certain areas such as composing, producing, sequencing, audio production and editing and post-production.

Topics included in this unit are MIDI sequencing, Virtual instruments, Audio recording and Editing, Software synths, Mixing in the box, Beat programming and Loop-based sequencing.



This unit encourages the student to investigate all of the aspects involved in staging a musical performance to showcase their skills. A variety of performance areas are covered in this unit including: performance techniques, audience expectations, planning a rehearsal phase, commercial costs, hiring musicians, stage plans, technical specification lists (tech specs), communicating with a venue and promoting an event.

On successful completion of this unit, a student will be able to plan, promote and execute a successful showcase that meets the expectations of their audience.

Course Modules (Year Two)

  • Creative Research Project
  • Advanced Music Production
  • Advanced Sound Engineering
  • Advanced Composing using Technology
  • Creative Portfolio
  • Music and Brands
  • Artist and Repetoire
Course Modules (Year Two)

Course Modules (Year Two)


Areas of Study – Year 2 (MP2)

There are no Theory Examinations. All assessment is carried out by continious assessment through assignments.

Advanced Sound Engineering

Produce recordings to professional standards by developing your practical and theoretical skills. You will select an artist or band and work with them over the course of the year to produce two high-quality music tracks – both a live recording and a studio-based track.


Advanced Composition Using Technology

Learn more about the music composition, production and audio features made available by modern computers. Develop a high standard of competency in Ableton Live.


Advanced Music Production

Explore the finer points of music production, with a focus on greater control and manipulation of material throughout the creative process. Advanced techniques for the manipulation of audio and MIDI are explored, as well as mixing, mastering and workflow. Develop an advanced level of ability across a range of connected fields providing a platform for progression into the creative industries.


Creative Research Project

This unit is designed to make you confident in the use of research techniques and methods. It addresses the elements that make up formal research including preparing a proposal, choosing methodologies, carrying out the research itself and presenting your findings. These skills are essential for academic progression.


Music and Brands

The aim of this unit is to develop an understanding of the relationship between the music business and brands. In today’s music industry this relationship can open up new revenue streams to musicians and artists. By the end of the unit, you will have learned how brands and the music business can form mutually beneficial partnerships and you’ll understand how to pitch ideas to brands from a music business position.


Creative Portfolio

This unit provides an opportunity for you to create a unique portfolio of work which will act as your industry calling card. Not only will you be helped to build a portfolio, you’ll also get an opportunity to showcase your work to an industry panel.


Artist and Reptoire

You’ll learn how the work of Artist and Repertoire (A&R) has helped both major and independent labels to create their own identities. You’ll have the opportunity to explore the relationship between artist and label by playing the role of A&R yourself. You’ll get hands-on experience in the development of an artist and the processes involved in getting a product ready for market. By the end of the unit, you’ll construct a campaign and organise a release on DFEi’s own record label.


  • Edexcel/BTEC Award: Higher National Certificate in Music Production or Higher National Diploma in Music Production

Special Features

Second year students run a music enterprise managing their own label. They record original music and take charge of all aspects of the project, from recording and production, to running live events, design and marketing.

Progression Opportunities

While the HND course has a strong practical element, students are also armed with the academic expertise and qualifications required to gain advanced entry into degree programmes both here in Ireland and in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the HND will usually require just one more year in a UK University to gain their degree.

Progression Examples

BA in Creative Music Production

Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art Design and Technology

BA in Music Production

Pulse College Dublin

One Year Top up Degrees

BSc in Creative Industries Popular Music Technology (PH10)

University of South Wales

Advanced Entry Links into 2nd or 3rd Year of Degree Programmes

BA in Creative Music Technologies (4F74)

University of South Wales

BSc in Music Technology (J931)

University of South Wales Trinity Saint David

Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Music Technology Advanced Entry into 2nd Year

Institute of Technology Tralee

Career Paths

Opportunities exist throughout the music industry and beyond: TV and radio, live sound, theatre, recording studios, music marketing and management.

Thank You

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Rachel Johnston

2018 Graduate. Employed in DLR's Grainstore as resident sound engineer.

I started off on the Sound Engineering course in DFEi and then I progressed in to Music Production. It’s a very  “hands on” course.  So you get time working in the…

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Rachel Johnston

2018 Graduate. Employed in DLR's Grainstore as resident sound engineer.

I started off on the Sound Engineering course in DFEi and then I progressed in to Music Production. It’s a very  “hands on” course.  So you get time working in the studio. It is less about the academic side and more about putting your hands to the test. You get a chance to see how a label works and how the industry works. We made an album in DFEi and we brought events outside the college to venues like Grand Social and The Underground. We learned how to promote the event and put our technical skills into practice.

 I am delighted to be working as the Sound Engineer in the Grainstore.  (DLR’s  Youth Arts Facility)  I may return to study in the future but for the moment I am getting great experience and enjoying the job.

Course Coordinator

Patrick Wall

Patrick Wall

Thank You

we will be in touch shortly