Dear Martin, This letter has been written to provide constructive criticism about the course and to express the disappointment students have experienced this year and concerns regarding next year. It is representative of the views of many first year Music and Audio Technology students. We would welcome the opportunity to meet with you in order to discuss the points in this letter. Please understand that we have taken the extraordinary step of writing to you formally about our concerns because we care about the course and want to do all that we can to ensure that it can be improved for Year 2. The content of this letter is an approximate summary of discussions surrounding the course between many students toward the end of Term 2. Some felt that the content of the first term AVP lectures was at times confusing and unstructured. Many students felt that Tom Davies delivered lectures very well, however were concerned that being employed on a part time basis impacted on the level of support available e.g. revision lab sessions & availability to feedback on assignments. Students felt that Studio Techniques lectures were informative and well delivered, including the interactive studio sessions toward the end of term 2. However, many Students were extremely concerned about the quality of delivery of the Studio Techniques lab sessions and concerns were raised as to the suitability of the delivering staff member to the task. Students, especially females, have expressed concern that the security cameras in the studios do not appear to be in use and it is felt that this has impacted on the condition of the studios and their availability for use. There have also been comments regarding the booking system and issues surrounding this e.g. no keys left, microphones not left etc. Students also questioned the lack of good quality guitar/bass amps and a drum kit. Serious concerns were raised over the delivery of SMMF Lectures and Labs in term 2. It was also felt that more support was needed in order for students to achieve well in SMMF Assignment 2. Comments were made regarding Chris Brownâ€™s attendance and attitude during Software Programming lab sessions including the fact that he was often on the phone or out the room. There was also concern regarding the consistency of marking between the two staff members marking the presentations of assignment 2. Change and Opportunity was delivered vastly differently during terms 1 & 2 and it is generally agreed that the delivery in the second term added a contemporary, contextual relevance that was clearly missing during term 1. The lecturer during Term 2 also demonstrated an interest in the welfare of students and showed interest in their progress on the course as a whole, something that had not been addressed in any other way. There is a concern that pastoral support has been inadequate. Many students find it tough coping with University life, on top of having moved away for the first time. Many students would appreciate an allocation of time purely for discussing any pastoral issues and their progress on the course as a whole with a member of staff. It is also thought that this may allow any problems or causes for concern regarding the course to be dealt with more effectively enabling more successful progress on the course. MDAN was generally praised as having been very well delivered and supported. This is reflected in the confidence MAT students have expressed about their imminent exam results.
Students have generally felt that marking schemes have been inconsistent and vague. It has also been said that feedback is too brief and often very difficult to actually read! Another observation is that there has been very little music related content to the course, only one of the assignments this year required composition, for instance SMMF Assignment 1 was only worth 10% of the overall marks available for the module. It has also been suggested that it would be beneficial to everyone on the Music and Audio Technology course to receive more than basic music theory tuition. Other suggestions included adding content for basic electronics or the inclusion of a live sound module as these would be beneficial for any future career prospects. The largest concern among students is regarding Year 2 and which lecturers will be taking particular lectures/labs and whether they are specialised in this area. MAT students want the second year to focus on audio, as many of this year students feel they have not learnt what they expected and that the weighting has been skewed away from music, rather than toward it.