Associate Degree of Music

Do you see yourself on stage in front of thousands?
Producing beats and EDM hits?
Working in a studio producing records? Building and designing your own live events?
Then studying Music as SAE is where you need to be.
SAE Music students
Available at
Adelaide, Brisbane, Byron Bay, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney
FEE Help available
Associate Degree of Music
Domestic Fees

Indicative Total Course Fees*

$45,680 AUD

* The Indicative Total Course Fee reflects the students are charged fees on a per unit basis and the fee for a unit may increase.

FEE-HELP Available
Associate Degree of Music
International Fees

Indicative Total Course Fees*

$53,236 AUD

* The Indicative Total Course Fee reflects the students are charged fees on a per unit basis and the fee for a unit may increase.

4 Trimesters Full Time (Fast Track)

Complete your course faster by studying units over 15 months. (4 trimesters)

Associate Degree of Music
Course Durations
4 Trimesters Full Time (Fast Track)

Complete your course faster by studying units over 15 months. (4 trimesters)

6 Trimesters Full Time

Whilst still classified as a full-time study load, you will complete the units over two years. (6 trimesters)

Part-time option available

If you want to take a little longer, that’s ok too. We’ll help you work out the best study load to suit your needs.

Note: Part-time is not available for international students.

We understand that things can change, so you'll have the flexibility to change your study load throughout your course if you need to.
Start Date(s)
September 2023
Associate Degree of Music
Start Dates
  • September 2023

  • February 2024

  • May 2024

  • September 2023

  • February 2024

  • May 2024

Byron Bay
  • September 2023

  • February 2024

  • May 2024

  • September 2023

  • February 2024

  • May 2024

  • September 2023

  • February 2024

  • May 2024

  • September 2023

  • February 2024

  • May 2024

Entry Requirements
Associate Degree of Music
Domestic Entry Requirements
Domestic students must meet one of the following criteria:
Completion of a Australian Senior Secondary Certificate of Education (QCE, WACE, HSC, SACE, etc) (like your Year 12 certificate or equivalent); OR
Completion of a Diploma level qualification issued under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF); OR
Completion of a Certificate IV level qualification issued under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF); OR
Experience-Based Entry – for applicants who do not meet the requirements of entry criteria above.
More info
Associate Degree of Music
International Entry Requirements
International Entry Requirements
Minimum age requirements
International students seeking admission to SAE must be 18 years of age OR must be turning 18 during their first trimester of studies at SAE.
Academic requirements
Successful completion of secondary school studies (assessed as an equivalent of Australian Year 12 secondary studies). Minimum overall pass is required.
English language requirements
International English Language Testing Sydney (IELTS): An overall score of 6.0 or higher with no individual band lower than 5.5 (only the Academic Test is accepted), OR
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): 73 overall (internet-based test), OR
Pearson Test of English (PTE): Academic score of 46 or higher, OR
Completion of Year 12 English in an Australian secondary school or college or equivalent with a minimum result of “Satisfactory” or equivalent.
More info
Successful completion of an Academic English program with an SAE-approved Australian-based English partner. Please refer to our SAE International Study Pathways for more information.
More info


The Associate Degree of Music, nested within the Bachelor of Music, builds the essential skills for creating a successful career in today’s modern music industry. You’ll learn and apply theoretical knowledge and best practices while accessing studios with cutting-edge equipment.

You’ll gain proficiencies in songwriting, composition, music business and industry, stagecraft, recording techniques and electronic music production and studio music production.

Building on the core skills of a working music professional, the Associate Degree of Music at SAE allows you a unique opportunity to dive deeper into your chosen area of interest by studying three specialisation electives in one of the following four different pathways.

Songwriting and Music Production
For emerging songwriters, music producers and composers. Students will further specialise in songwriting and composition for screen media (films or television) and video games, develop scoring and notation skills and learn advanced studio production techniques, including mixing and mastering.

Electronic Music Production
Interested in refining your electronic music production skills? From various EDM genres, to Hip Hop and Electronic Pop music, gain a deeper understanding of digital mixing, mastering and sound design, sampling, synthesis and programming and various contexts for music making including live applications.

Music Industry and Business
This one is for students interested in the business side of the industry. From artist and event management, to music exports, legal frameworks and entrepreneurship. Develop a deeper understanding of the dynamic and ever-changing music industry and drive the success of your own business ideas along with key creative collaborators.

Creative Musicianship
Dream of being a working musician? This specialisation is for students interested in pursuing performance as a career. Defining your creative identity and brand, developing stagecraft and further exploring collaborative music making through innovation and improvisation. You’ll also get to explore current and emerging modes of music making through various instruments and technologies.

Your growth and development as a creative practitioner will be assessed through the completion of industry-based projects. As your skills develop and you work on more dynamic projects, you’ll apply your capabilities to cross-discipline projects in audio, film, games and animation.

Girl in studio. Musician recording voice.

Career Outcomes

What jobs will this course lead me into?

  • Studio Composer
  • Music Technician
  • Artist and Repertoire Scout
  • Music and Sound Designer
  • Live Music Performer
  • Studio Musician
  • Songwriter
  • Commercial Music Composer/Producer
  • Music coursemer
  • Music Technician
  • Music Supervisor
  • Music Library Curator
  • Music for film, games and other media

Why study an Associate Degree of Music at SAE?

Person in front of a DJ mixing console and decks.
Learn in world class studio environments Advanced-techniques and strategies to use software adopted by the industry - like Ableton, Pro Tools, and Logic.
Practical, immersive training Learn as you collaborate on real-world projects and briefs. Build a portfolio to share with an employer or first client.
Creative collaboration Create music for games film/screen and for live performances by collaborating with SAE students from other creative areas.
Pathway to a Bachelor qualification Completing two of the three stages of the Bachelor of Music, this course provides an excellent pathway for continued study.

You'll be learning on industry leading equipment and software


What you'll learn

Songwriting strategies Performance and recording technique Music industry and business practices Acoustic and electronic music Music production practice Principles of sound, music and audio technology
We consult closely with industry professionals so you can expect a course that’s highly relevant and equips you with sought-after skills. Some of our partners include:

Course Structure

The Associate Degree of Music has two stages that provide foundational learning and applied skill.
Gradient of music production qualifications
Core Units
Stage 1: Foundational skills development
In Stage I, students will undertake a number of foundational modules which will give students the essential technical skills and knowledge not only relevant to the chosen discipline area but also a second area of interest. Alongside this, students develop an understanding of the creative process, project design and management, core communication practices in academic and industry contexts, ownership, distribution, and copyright in the creative industries. Students will also undertake deliberate practice and weekly rituals including reflective journaling that will assist students in identifying the skills, knowledge, and behaviours required to develop their creative media practice throughout their studies.
Credit points: 10

Thinking about Audio will introduce you to creative and scholarly thinking in your discipline. By examining leading thinkers and movements in your discipline, you will develop an understanding of key practical and transferable skills that will enable you to develop a deeper understanding of the learning process, research, and the nature of creativity and scholarship. This forms an essential foundation for your studies and your future career by fostering your skill as an independent learner and reflective practitioner.
Credit points: 10

This unit will help you develop foundational skills for composing music and lyrics effectively, and effectively and communicating musical concepts in different forms. You will learn to identify, employ and communicate music theory concepts including rhythm, harmony, melody, notation, structure, form, texture and genre, for application in your own creative work. Through iteration, peer review and mentor feedback, students will develop their songwriting skills through the development of several projects culminating in several pieces of music that form the beginnings of a portfolio of works.
Credit points: 10

This unit introduces you to core skills and concepts of electronic music production. You will work on a range of music projects to develop skills in recording, sampling, sequencing and synthesis. You will develop your abilities across contemporary tools and technologies to produce original music in a DAW using a combination of MIDI and audio manipulation. You will also learn how to produce a variety of sounds to satisfy a brief and add effects to enhance the sonic qualities of your productions.
Credit points: 10

This unit introduces you to core skills and concepts of studio and analogue music production. Across a range of projects, you will develop skills around microphone techniques, analogue signal flow and engineering techniques, recording and mixing. You will develop your abilities across contemporary tools and technologies to produce original music in a DAW using studio production techniques. You will also learn how to produce a variety of sounds to satisfy a brief and add effects to enhance the sonic qualities of your productions.
Credit points: 10

This unit will introduce you to the mindset and skillset of the creative entrepreneur, and transform your approach to problem-solving. You will analyse historical and contemporary models of leadership and best practice in entrepreneurship, and use tools for project design that include ideation, problem framing, and pitching. The skills in this unit will assist you in developing your creative thinking, exploration, and experimentation methods, allowing you to experiment with project design and content for creative media.
Credit points: 10

The music industry is a complex and multifaceted creative marketplace. An understanding of the fundamental operations of the business side of the music industry is essential for budding artists, managers or entrepreneurs to be able to forge a successful career.

In this unit you will be introduced to the global music business and discover the roles and responsibilities of practitioners, the networks available and the business opportunities that exist. You will also study the trends within technology and media that has an impact on the industry. Finally, you will plan for your future career by identifying career aspirations, targeting goals and developing a professional development plan.
Credit points: 10

Understanding musical genres is a core skill for successful songwriters and music producers. This module builds on your knowledge of music with a focus on musical genres and styles, genre structure, texture, melody, harmony, and rhythm, as well as aspects of history and social connections.

Knowledge of musical genres is developed through a broad range of activities and projects incorporating analytical listening, transcription, group performance and composition within the specific genres.
Credit points: 10

In Music Studio 1 you will learn the professional application of a range of songwriting and music production techniques. This includes working with other producers, writers, performers and external musicians to produce a recording, contributing to a sample library, remixing an existing track and working to a commercial client brief. These activities will require you to be adaptive, respond to challenges, solve problems, be self-directed and successfully communicate with others. Through working in these applied contexts, you will deepen your knowledge of songwriting and music production, so that you can respond creatively to a fast-turnaround brief.
Stage 2: Interdisciplinary projects, media and cultural studies
In Stage II we show students how their work contributes to and interacts with broader culture and media practice through common modules and studio modules. This knowledge will enable students to work with a variety of other disciplines and artists and expand their potential on the global stage. Within Stage II, students will work closely with facilitators to identify key learning outcomes needed to complete modules. Deliberate and reflective practice assist students through their studio modules, playing an active reflection role throughout the learning journey. Student projects within Stage II are reflective of real-world scenarios, containing real-world dilemmas - societal issues that require solutions; authentic audiences -simulating professional practice and constraints- understanding how a range of constraints can impact projects within professional practice. Students complete a number of real-world projects with students in their chosen major discipline, the Creative Industries student group, and wider disciplines at SAE. At the end of each studio module, facilitators will arrange exhibitions either internal or public-facing for students to showcase work. Stage II includes options for students to take 2 discipline specific studio units, or 1 discipline studio unit and a Creative Industries studio, focused on industry led interdisciplinary practice.
Credit points: 10

In CIM210 you will be working on interdisciplinary projects that relate to some of the most important concepts in contemporary media production. You will learn practical and analytical skills in order to help you develop your creative powers and meet briefs that take you out of your comfort zone. You will need to bring all of the skills you have learned so far: technical skills, research skills, communication skills and a growth mindset, and be prepared to encounter new concepts and new ways of working.
Credit points: 10

Media and culture are not simply entertainment, but something that affects the “real world”, our everyday lives, and our worldviews. As such, we will not ask whether media accurately reflect the real world but instead ask how media shape, reinforce, and challenge power structures that influence our understanding of the world and ourselves. This unit takes a ‘critical theory’ approach to analyze media and culture. In this unit, you will explore media texts, contexts and meaning, society and subjectivity, pop culture aesthetics, and critical cultural discourses that inform creative media practices.

Drawing on a range of creative content and analytical frameworks, you will be encouraged to develop ways of thinking about media and culture that demonstrate a broad awareness of aesthetic principles and stylistic trends; subjectivity, agency, ethics, and relations of power; contexts, disciplines and discursive formations. In support of this exploration, you will produce a range of media artifacts that explore and contextualize the relationship of media to culture through individual analysis, collaborative and interdisciplinary creative practice, and critical reflection.

Credit points: 10

Using social media and digital content effectively is crucial for creative media professionals. In this unit you will develop an understanding of what constitutes social media, the activities that it consists of and how creators and audiences connect, collaborate, create, and share content. You will link this understanding with concepts of digital marketing, formulating strategies for social campaigns with a range of content across platforms. These skills will assist you to determine how social media can be utilised in your professional practice
Credit points: 10

With your facilitator acting as your project manager, mentor and colleague, this studio module will further develop your songwriting and music production skills through a variety of creative projects. Topic areas will include writing for visual and multimedia, music for advertising, writing to a brief, mixing and delivery, critical listening and aural and music skills. You will apply your new skills in a variety of contexts in projects that may include writing music for screen media, topline writing, remixing and reharmonising existing works, music for advertisements and sonic branding.

Responding to briefs in collaboration with your peers, you will work towards established project milestones in your songwriting and music production projects. You will adhere to a planned schedule and demonstrate professional practice throughout the trimester. This process includes focus on the creative, technical and managerial aspects required for a completed music project. You will also have the opportunity to contribute your songwriting and music production skills to an interdisciplinary project, collaborating with students from another discipline. Your finished work will be exhibited in an authentic context.
Credit points: 10

Musicians engage with their communities in a variety of ways. Often engaging with the community in a holistic, 360-degree fashion is essential to carving out a niche within the industry and developing a long and successful career. Musicians themselves exist within a community including audiences, business partners and other stakeholders, and the community as a whole.
This unit builds on previous studio units in developing your awareness and understanding of the practicing musicians place in, and effect on, the larger community.
Your Choice of Discipline Electives 1
Your Choice of Discipline Electives 2
Your Choice of Discipline Electives 3
Electronic Music Production Electives
Credit points: 10

Using electronic tools and workflows to produce music is common practice amongst music producers. Music listeners are also better informed and discerning when it comes to consuming music and engage with music via digital and electronic means. As a music producer, your understanding of music technology and electronic music production methods will be vital in order to stand out from the ever-increasing crowd of music artists. A keen understanding of the history of electronic music and genre is also highly valued in today’s marketplace.

You will gain a practical and theoretical understanding of how music is produced in terms of technology and techniques. Additionally, you will learn to analyse songs in order to understand the genre and subgenre of the music to be able to break it down into elements of music and sound design to then produce music of that genre or subgenre.
Credit points: 10

Music producers commonly employ digital mixing and mastering technologies in today’s music production industry. Gaining a solid understanding of digital mixing and mastering techniques is essential knowledge for music producers and artists of all genres. This unit will introduce students to concepts going beyond basic EQ and dynamics, into complex effects chains and modern and cutting-edge mixing and mastering technologies.

From developing mixing workflows and techniques to build professional sounding mixes, to delivering master mixes that translate when listening through a variety of devices, speakers and environments this unit unpacks the toolkit of the modern music mixer and mastering engineer. Additionally, you will be presented with methods for analysing mixing and mastering techniques used for a range of genres and music consumption platforms.
Credit points: 10

This unit develops technical and creative skills for music technology in live performance. Underpinned with theoretical knowledge, students will conduct investigations, review live performances of professionals and engage in discussions relating to music technology. Practical activities throughout this unit will focus on engaging with music composition, sound design and technology to creative live performances. Additionally, this unit will explore emerging trends and technology to help keep up with rapid advances in technology. Through practicing performances and receiving feedback, students will build their experience and learn practical skills and techniques for live performance with technology.
Credit points: 10

Electronic Dance Music (EDM) is one of the dominant music genres in today’s marketplace. EDM encompasses an entire industry based around music composition, music production, live performance, multimedia and other business ventures.

EDM is a common production request of external collaborators and an understanding of the genres and the various techniques used to create the music is essential to a modern electronic music producer and composer.

In this unit students will engage with a deep dive into the history and development of electronic dance music, and study contemporary EDM music genres and conventions. Through this analysis students will discover the production tools and techniques that are unique to EDM genre production. Advanced techniques in sampling, synthesis, sound design and sonic manipulation will be developed.
Songwriting And Music Production Electives
Credit points: 10

Music composers and songwriters work across various mediums and collaborate with producers of different media backgrounds. Visual and screen media include feature films, short films, advertisements, social media content and web video amongst many others. Writing to develop and reinforce the content of screen media is a valuable skill set for the working songwriter, composer and music producer.

This unit explores the history and development of screen media composition. Through the study of a variety of works, students will better understand the role of the composer and producer in developing music for screen and visual media. Students will work with interdisciplinary collaborators and write and produce music for a variety of media outcomes.
Credit points: 10

Music producers are often required to engineer, produce, record, edit and mix their productions in a variety of studios. From small privately owned suites through to large commercial studios, music producers must have a deep understanding of analogue and digital signal processing and workflow, recording and editing techniques. Creative application of the analogue and digital domains is often the sonic signature of music producers and these skills are as much a technical skill as an artform.
Music producers are also a varied bunch of practitioners and no two are alike. Various styles of production and producers have emerged over the past several decades and understanding the different approaches is beneficial to the modern music producer.
This unit builds on the skills and knowledge developed in Studio Production Methods and further develops the technical and artistic skills of the studio-based music producer.
Credit points: 10

Composing music for games not only involves music composition and production, but also knowledge of game audio workflows. Additionally, composing and producing music for games differs from composing for other screen media like film and TV. Music in games is driven by interactions and the music and audio in a game responds game respond to the player and interactions. This unit will introduce fundamental techniques and processes to compose music for games from conceptualising, iteration, and implementation. Game engines will be introduced in this unit for you to gain an understanding how music and audio is integrated into games and to consider the technical aspects of music for games.
Credit points: 10

Music has the potential to create deep emotional connection with an audience. Songwriters can create narratives without the need for additional media. Songwriters employ a range of tools and techniques to tell their story. Through carefully constructed musical choices, involving rhythm, harmony and melody songwriters can affect intentional audience responses. Songwriters also employ complex lyric techniques to evoke deeper meanings and audience connections.
In this unit students will further develop their songwriting craft through a careful exploration of historical works and the development of the craft of songwriting and the development of your own unique approach to the craft.
Music Industry and Business Electives
Credit points: 10

Music events are the backbone of the music industry. From live performances, festivals, installations and range of other in person or virtual events these are a huge driver of innovation within the field as well as a key component of the business and money-making potential of the industry., Events are complex and often involve a myriad of stakeholders and partnerships. Understanding the process involved in successfully planning and implementing an event is a valuable skill.

This unit will cover the fundamentals of managing and planning events and the various contracts, legal frameworks and insurances applicable. There is a focus on ethics and safety and student will discover the various financial and insurance responsibilities of an event organiser. Students will conceptualise, research, plan and implement an event of their own design in collaboration with others.
Credit points: 10

Managing an artist's career is a large responsibility and often the difference between a successful music career and one that does not reach its full potential. Artist’s managers are the conduit between an artist and their business relationships and they are responsible for identifying and leveraging opportunities., In this unit you will build on previous units' understanding of leadership and industry and target the specific soft and hard skills of the music industry and artist managers.
You will analyse the roles and responsibilities of the artist manager within the global music industry and the various ethics, business responsibilities and

You will also develop a portfolio of artist management documentation that will prepare you for entering into representative relationships with artists and business.
Credit points: 10

The music industry is a complex and multifaceted creative marketplace. An understanding of the fundamental operations of the legal and business side of the music industry is essential for budding artists, managers or entrepreneurs to be able to forge a successful career. Understanding the legal frameworks relevant to monetising music is essential as is building a solid foundation of the common business principles and cultures.

In this unit you will study legal frameworks common within the music industry and the business dealings that form the backbone of the marketplace. You will develop a series of documents you can apply to your real-world practice and gain a basic understanding of the financial management of small businesses.
Credit points: 10

This unit aims to expose students to the fundamental principles of music industry marketing, promotions and publicity. It will introduce the ‘tools-of-the-trade’ in a way that is pertinent to emerging music industry entrepreneurs and practitioners. A variety of marketing strategies are examined, including target marketing, branding, product design and packaging, promotion, pricing and distribution. The importance of market research and feasibility studies as a basis for developing effective marketing strategies is discussed. Common strategies for marketing a variety of multimedia are critically examined and integrated marketing strategies are developed. By the end of the module, students will be expected to distinguish a range of marketing options and to be in a position to make critical business choices, develop a marketing plan and produce a series of proof-of-concept marketing materials.
Creative Musicianship Electives
Credit points: 10

This unit introduces you to stagecraft, production design and the technology used in live-sound production. Performing music artists often play a leading role in designing and executing live performances. From how to work a crowd, to setlist design, and the various performative access of live shows, developing these skills become a key point of difference between artists. Additionally, live sound experience skills and knowledge developed through this unit can open up regular, well-paid work within the music and audio industry. Designing and producing a live performance plays an important role in engaging audiences and creating entertaining experiences. Visuals, costumes, props, lighting and stage design can all contribute to successful music performances and developing these skills in addition to technical audio skills will provide you with a broader range of professional skills.
Credit points: 10

This unit focuses on the development of individual artistic identity and vision. Audiences identify with artists on deep, emotional levels and the reasons for this connection are varied and often audience specific. Some people identify with authenticity, others with affectation. Defining your target and audience and developing your approach to your craft will go a long way to building a strong and connected fanbase.
Credit points: 10

This unit encourages and facilitates development of creative musicianship through improvisation and innovation. Practising technical instrumentation or vocalization as an individual will also foster the development of musicianship for a variety of musical contexts. You will also develop a practical understanding of how musical concepts apply to music improvisation and how you interact with other musicians. Additionally, your skills will develop in hearing and understanding rhythm, chords, scales and harmony.
Credit points: 10

Your portfolio plays a vital role in communicating your brand and showcasing your personal music practice. Presenting yourself or your group in a professional way in addition to an accurate profile that is authentic is crucial. In order for fans, patrons, venues, other bands/artists, promotors, record labels and employers to see who you are and your talents, your portfolio must be refined through feedback and development. Your portfolio is not just about how good your music is, it’s also about how authentic your photos and bio are. Additionally, putting forward any reviews, references, ratings of feedback can also be a great help but these may need to be accumulated over time.
CRICOS Course Codes
113149F (4 TRIMESTERS) 113150B (6 TRIMESTERS)
Australian Qualification Framework


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We carefully design and deliver all our units to help you develop the knowledge you need to be successful in your chosen field of study. Courses and course units at SAE follow best practice teaching and learning.

Gradient of music production qualifications

Easy transition into the Bachelor of Music

SAE Diploma, Associate and Bachelor Degrees are structured in an integrated course framework.

This means that when you complete an SAE Associate Degree of Music you will be awarded the maximum credit points available, providing you with the opportunity to seamlessly transition into the higher level Bachelor degree qualification if you choose to do so.


SAE may recognise your prior learning and may grant credit towards satisfying the requirements for a higher-level program. This is applied where previous learning is considered equivalent to the content and learning outcomes prescribed for units within the program.
For full details, please refer to SAE's policy on recognition of prior learning and credit transfers.
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