Alumni feedback: Graduate profiles from past students

The MSc in Acoustics and Music Technology (MSc AMT) programme is designed to allow students to develop both technical knowledge and practical experience of acoustics and musical technology.

Student feedback is highly valued. We use such feedback, together with the latest research and development in the field, to continually update the programme content and keep our courses relevant and engaging.

To get an idea of how some previous students have found the MSc AMT, a range of graduate profiles and feedback from our alumni over the past few years are presented below.

Lucy Connor, MSc AMT alumna, 2023

Acoustic Specialist for RES

I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Strathclyde before going on to study on the MSc Acoustics and Music Technology programme at the University of Edinburgh. The MSc AMT allowed me to apply my mathematical and statistical skills to audio which is something of great interest to me. I learned about technical areas such as digital signal processing, musical instrument synthesis, audio programming and acoustics, as well as letting my creative side explore areas of sound design. My final project was on “Clustering the Playing Regimes of a Simulated Bowed String using Unsupervised Learning”. I completed this with valuable guidance and support from my academic supervisor.

MSc AMT introduced me to a whole range of career opportunities which I never knew existed after graduating from my undergraduate degree.

I am now an acoustic specialist for RES, a renewable energy company. This has given me the opportunity to use my acoustics and audio skills for the greater good and to make a positive impact on the environment. In my new role, I have learned how to undertake noise propagation modelling and background sound surveys for work on projects in renewable technologies such as wind farms, solar farms and battery storage systems. The acoustics group project in the MSc AMT, which involved measuring and assessing an acoustic space, provided a useful foundation of knowledge for performing surveys and analysing data in my new role.

The MSc AMT course was both challenging and rewarding, and, thanks to the support and expertise of the staff and my fellow coursemates, I have been able to successfully begin my acoustics career!

Zhenxian Li, MSc AMT alumnus, 2023

PhD student at INSA Lyon, Lyon, France

Before joined this program, I completed a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Physics at Southeast University in China and worked as an acoustic engineer, focusing on noise and vibration control. I aimed to transition into a field that aligned more with human cognitive experiences.

The remarkable work of the Acoustics and Audio Group at the University of Edinburgh caught my attention. Their extensive research expertise and cutting-edge technology offered comprehensive, high-quality course content. Courses like audio programming and instrument synthesis were entirely new to me, and the guidance provided by the MSc AMT programme made learning these subjects engaging. I completed a creative final project about spatial audio, with guidance from my academic supervisor.

Participation in the MSc AMT programme facilitated collaboration with peers from diverse academic backgrounds, providing invaluable experiences in interdisciplinary cooperation. Professors consistently provided substantial support, fostering both my academic and professional growth.

Thanks to my experiences in the Msc AMT program, I secured a Marie Curie PhD position in the GAP_Noise project at INSA de Lyon. I will research the Global Acoustic Interaction and Psychoacoustic Impact of autonomous vehicles in both interior and exterior noise environments.

Ziyuan Liu, MSc AMT alumna, 2021

PhD student at Charité Universitätsmedizin (University) Berlin, Berlin, Germany

I applied to the Master’s programme in Acoustics and Music Technology when I was in my last semester of Bachelor’s study in acoustics in the physics department of Nanjing University in China. I was unsure about which direction I would like to go deeper in at that time. I felt very fortunate to find this program in acoustics. This program is not only suitable for those who are interested in musical acoustics, but also a perfect opportunity to help you find your future research direction. The best thing is you have a large freedom to take courses, which means you can get into whatever you have interests in in acoustics. Due to the uncertainty of my research direction, I was taking courses in acoustics and signal processing, which I thought would benefit me a lot in my future research. I decided my direction in ultrasound imaging at the second semester, after trying different areas, such as musical acoustics and a previous research internship in ultrasound imaging, with the knowledge accumulated in the past and this wonderful program. Now I am working as a PhD under the supervision of Prof. Kay Raum in quantitative bone ultrasound imaging in Charité Universitätsmedizin (University) Berlin. I really appreciate the knowledge I learnt, the skills I obtained, and the opportunities that UoE brought me. I am also grateful for all the happy time with all the coursemates and professors. Thanks for all the help!

Mac Porter, MSc AMT alumnus, 2019

Senior Acoustics Engineer at Harman

During my time as an undergraduate studying Performing Arts Technology at the University of Michigan, I was very much focused on music production. It wasn’t until after I graduated and was working with a spatial audio startup company that I realised I really wanted to learn more about acoustics and audio signal processing. I didn’t just want to use audio technology, I wanted to make it! After deciding that the best way to do this would be to enroll in a graduate program, I settled on the MSc AMT at Edinburgh because I loved how the curriculum combined rigorous math and physics with musical applications.

The compulsory courses of the program provided a solid theoretical background in acoustics and digital signal processing with a special emphasis on physics-based modeling, essentially allowing students to go through the process of designing and developing advanced algorithms for musical sound synthesis and audio effects. I was also able to take other courses in the math and engineering departments to build on these skills. All of this knowledge was put to use during my final project, where I developed virtual analog models of guitar effects circuits.

Immediately after graduation, I started a new role as an Audio R&D Engineer at Jabra in Copenhagen. The strong foundation provided by AMT allowed me to jump right into developing new features for headphones, and over the course of my three years there, I was able to work on several really exciting projects. Now, I’m back in the US in a new role as a Senior Acoustics Engineer at Harman working on developing systems and tools for automotive audio.

Christina Hardister, MSc AMT alumna, 2017

R&D Audio Engineer, Jabra, Denmark (specialising in digital modelling)

I applied to the MSc program at the University of Edinburgh while in the final semester of my B.S. in Music Engineering at the University of Miami in the US. I am a lifelong musician, and both programs successfully combined my love of music with audio, acoustics, and engineering. The MSc AMT program attracted me because of its focus on musical applications of digital signal processing, and because of the prestige of the University of Edinburgh and the Acoustics and Audio Group, who are well-known in the field of acoustics and audio signal processing.

Each of the core courses offered during the program was relevant to my interests and future career path, and there was a surprising amount of customization that could be done within the curriculum. While many of my colleagues took courses in Speech Processing, I was thrilled to be able to take several courses in Interactive Sound Design, in which I had always been interested but had never had the chance to study. I was also lucky enough to help host the 20th International Conference for Digital Audio Effects (DAFx17) held at the University in 2017. My fellow MSc AMT coursemates shared my love of music, and we were always happy to come together for a study session, jam session, or Christmas dinner. One of the best experiences of the program was meeting these talented audio engineers from all over the world, now lifelong friends.

The skills and knowledge I gained during the MSc AMT program helped me get accepted into the Graduate Program at GN Store Nord in Copenhagen, a two-year development program for recent graduates, where I am currently working in the R&D Audio Engineering department for Jabra doing digital modelling. I‘m forever grateful to the MSc AMT program, and for the support and guidance of my professors in helping me get where I am today.

Chad McKell, MSc AMT alumnus, 2017

R&D Scientist at Applied Research in Acoustics, Washington D.C. Metro Area, USA

DSP Developer at Moog Music, Asheville, NC, USA

Prior to joining the AMT program, I completed a master’s in physics and was working as a software developer for J.P. Morgan in the United States. On the side, I read papers from music technology conferences and acoustics journals. During this research, I was immediately drawn to the work coming out of the Acoustics and Audio Group at the University of Edinburgh, because it demonstrated a rare expertise in physics-based modeling of musical acoustics systems and analog audio circuits. I was thrilled to join the AMT MSc programme in Edinburgh so I could develop specialized skills in this field as well as carry out novel research of my own in vibration-based haptic feedback rendering. My research was partially funded by Lofelt GmbH, a haptic feedback technology company based in Berlin, Germany.

After graduating from Edinburgh, I accepted a position as an R&D Scientist at Applied Research in Acoustics in the Washington D.C. area, where I research sound propagation, reverberation, digital signal processing, and other topics. In addition to my full-time work, I have worked for Moog Music in Asheville, North Carolina, where I have developed real-time audio effects in C++ for their digital line of musical synthesizers. My experience at Edinburgh provided the essential networking and training I needed to make my work and research ambitions a reality. There is no better place I could have attended than the University of Edinburgh to pursue my interests in Acoustics and Music Technology.

Alejandro Delgado, MSc AMT alumnus, 2017

PhD student (fully funded), Queen Mary University of London/Roli, London, UK

The AMT programme is just ideal to get the full picture of how sound works and how to manipulate it. Although I come from a physics background (UAM, Spain), I’ve always loved making music. My year on the MSc AMT programme in (oh so beautiful) Edinburgh got me to both expand my creative toolbox and become a better scientist and even musician.

Once the foundations are in place, specialisation comes naturally here. With the optional courses, you can always find a proportion of scientific and artistic courses that suit you. But the best thing is that, even when it seems that no single course could fully cover your interests, both the Special Project option, and the Final Project, are there to help you explore them with the aid of a excellent supervision.

In my case, I suddenly discovered the field of music information retrieval (MIR) halfway through the course and decided to make it the topic of my projects. Thanks to this, I did a four-month internship in Yamaha’s R&D division in Hamamatsu (Japan) working on the information retrieval of flute timbres. And then, one year later, I moved to London to become part of MIP-Frontiers, a postgraduate programme founded by the European Union seeking to shed light on MIR. This PhD position is hosted by Roli (where I work full-time) and has a secondment in Queen Mary University of London (at C4DM).

Taking the MSc in Acoustics and Music Technology has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. No doubt about it. I spent an awesome time in Edinburgh specialising in what I liked most and meeting fantastic people on the way. I’m very grateful to the Acoustics and Audio Group and sincerely hope that it keeps evolving.

Alessandro Rodriguez Bonvolenta, MSc AMT alumnus, 2017

As a graduate of the Msc in Acoustics and Music Technology, I am a passionate professional in anything to do with acoustics and audio products. Since finishing my course I have been working for an Engineering Consultancy company (Xi Engineering) which specialises in noise and vibration surveys. I therefore spend most of my days taking acoustic measurements and analysing the data as well as creating mathematical models of different acoustic behaviours. This not only takes me to incredibly remote and interesting spaces, but also involves me in international and national ground-breaking projects.

Thanks to the AMT MSc course I was able to develop my academic background to this field of science due to the high academic level of staff involved, as well as state of the art technology and facilities, which include an anechoic chamber and reverberation room as well as multiple rehearsal and laboratory spaces. The reputation of Edinburgh University and of the members of the Acoustics and Audio group makes it a prestigious place to study within the field of Acoustics and is a must stop for well known acousticians, scientists, musicians, and so on. This creates a series of incredible seminars which enriched my experience and knowledge through the year and provide an extra value to the course.

Chris Buchanan, MSc AMT alumnus, 2016

Audio Development Engineer at CereProc

Audio DSP Engineer at Signum Audio

After 3 years as a processing geophysicist in the oil & gas industry, a sudden downturn in work availability was the swift kick I needed to pursue what I really wanted to get into all along, which was digital audio. This was back in 2015, and applying for the MSc Acoustics & Music Technology at the University of Edinburgh was honestly one the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Having previously graduated from the same university in Mathematics, and with a healthy enthusiasm for music and audio production, it was the perfect match. The course’s core programme of DSP, physics, and applied mathematics complemented more creative outlets (such as sound design) really well. I absorbed as much as I possibly could to prepare for a career in audio DSP development and design.

Foivos Gkouva, MSc AMT alumnus, 2016

I joined the AMT in September 2015 after having obtained an M.Eng. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens, seeking to combine my technical expertise with my love for music and audio. Looking back to it, this was certainly a great choice since the programme offered me a very solid theoretical grounding on acoustics and audio signal processing as well as many opportunities to apply this knowledge in directions I felt interested me the most. It provided me with several insights on existing theory, software tools and audio engineering processes and motivated me to further investigate them in projects of my choosing: audio effects design, sound synthesis techniques, physical modelling applications, constructing DIY electroacoustic instruments etc.

It was definitely a very intense and challenging year, but its rewards have been invaluable: The M.Sc. allowed me to get my first audio job, working as an Audio Developer for about 2 years, and then proceed to obtain my current position as an Audio DSP Engineer. I am currently designing and implementing audio algorithms for professional and consumer headphones and none of all this would have been possible without that amazing first year in Edinburgh. This is why I am truly grateful to all the staff, with whom I was always able to communicate and cooperate seamlessly but also to my classmates and other AMT alumni with whom I managed to build a great sense of comradery and mutual support.

Daniel Wolff, MSc AMT alumnus, 2016

Coming from a background in physics and music, I found the MSc to be a particularly good fit. I enjoyed the study of signal processing in a musical context – learning about digital filters while coding a clarinet simulation is more interesting than a textbook-based approach. The dissertation stage was really valuable too, where I immersed myself in numerical string synthesis for several months, and came out with a thesis and some sounds that I was really proud of.

There are also a real breadth of non-core courses available that, chosen carefully, provide great opportunities to enhance your skillset. I am currently working as an engineer at MQA Limited, a company delivering an end-to-end solution for transporting the music of the studio to listeners’ ears in the highest quality, where some of my work involves filter design and measurement. I am grateful to my coursemates for giving me new perspectives on the rich fields of acoustics and music technology from around the world, and to Mike and Stefan!

Sneha Raman, MSc AMT alumna, 2016

PhD student in signal processing for enriching disordered speech (EU ITN project ENRICH), AHOLAB, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Spain

I completed my undergraduate degree in engineering (Information Technology) in 2013 after which I worked at a software company for about a year. I needed a career shift and because of my interest in music and programming, I saw acoustics and music technology as an ideal career possibility.

The AMT program at Edinburgh was a programme tailor-made for me, as it had the right amount of technological and creative balance. It allowed me to use and sharpen my technological and programming skills and generate results that were creatively satisfying. What I loved the most is the diversity of courses offered and the collaborations with other programmes such as sound design, music composition and speech and language processing. This really broadened my approach towards problem solving.

I developed a keen interest in speech signal processing in the second semester. My final project was about using speech signal processing to detect and monitor Parkinson’s Disease. This final project also led me to choose the PhD I am doing now which is titled “Enriching Disordered Speech”. In the PhD we aim to devise algorithms to make disordered speech more intelligible and develop systems and devices that can be used by people with speech disorders.

The three month final project that I had at the end of the MSc was the most intense and valuable. The guidance and support from my supervisor and his openness to ideas provided me with a great platform to conduct my project, and it has surely paved the way for my current and future research ventures.

The class had students from a diverse range of backgrounds, interests, skill sets, career goals and geographies, and the collaboration and sharing of ideas amongst us surely enhanced the learning experience.

Edinburgh is such a lovely city. There are so many activities and groups that you can be part of be it sport, artistic or cultural to keep you constantly engaged. It would not be an overstatement to say that it was the best year of my life.

Nathaniel Fletcher, MSc AMT alumnus, 2016

Acoustic consultant, AKRF Inc, New York City, USA

I came into acoustics from a previous career as a professional conductor, singer and music teacher in the Philadelphia area of the USA. Wanting to explore other career possibilities outside of teaching music, I took an aptitude test to determine what career options best suited my innate abilities. Although acoustics was one field among several that the test administrator recommended based on my aptitudes, I was immediately and uniquely captivated with the idea of pursuing a career in acoustics. Having a non-technical degree in music, I took some extensive time off from teaching to study physics and maths in preparation for the AMT course. After completing the AMT course, I took an internship with Metropolitan Acoustics, and I am now an acoustic consultant with AKRF Inc., an engineering and environmental consulting firm in New York City.

On the AMT course, we methodically explored the maths and physics of sound propagation, an essential foundation for any acoustics-related career. The independent study option, which was tailored towards my interest in architectural acoustics consulting, was a stimulating way of incorporating practical experience within an academically rigorous setting. The most gratifying and my favorite portion of the course, however, was the final research and writing of the dissertation, where the Acoustics and Audio Group provides a tremendous resource and depth of experience and breadth of research interests to challenge and encourage you wherever your interests within acoustics take you.

Cecilia Casarini, MSc AMT alumna, 2016

PhD student in Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde

I joined the AMT in September 2015 having an Undergraduate Degree from Reggio Emilia Music Conservatory in Italy and a Master Degree in Piano Performance from Lemmens Instituut in Belgium. During my Undergraduate Degree I also followed a few courses from the Department of Mathematics at the University of Parma, and I spent the months before the beginning of the AMT reviewing and freshening up my Math and Physics knowledge.

The MSc was surely intense, but it was definitely worth it and looking back it is amazing to see how much was covered in just one year! In the core modules we were offered the right mix of theoretical knowledge and practical experience in Acoustics and DSP. Furthermore, one year of weekly assignments and tutorials gave us that kind of confidence with Matlab that you can only achieve with daily practise. What I also liked about the AMT was that we had the opportunity to choose electives from other departments. Personally, I enjoyed courses in Speech Synthesis and Automatic Speech recognition, which are strictly linked to Acoustics and Hearing and gave me the chance to learn Python. During my final project I studied the phenomenon of otoacoustic emissions. I coded up a time domain physical model of the cochlea, and constructed a measurement system using LabVIEW and a some specialist hardware that allowed me to measure the emissions from my own ear. The responsibility we had in choosing our own final projects and the knowledge I gained by both running physical simulations and experiments in the lab have all turned out to be really useful skills for my current research.

I am now pursuing a PhD in Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. In particular, I am part of the Bioacoustics group within the Centre for Ultrasonic Engineering, where I investigate 3D printed acoustic metamaterials for hearing aids and other audio applications. The AMT gave me the confidence and competences to apply for a PhD and I am really grateful to the professors and the researchers that were always available to help and willing to give us advice. Of course, the AMT was also an occasion to make great friends and to enjoy the beautiful landscapes of Scotland!

Konstantinos Tsiplakos, MSc AMT alumnus, 2015

Acoustic engineer, Vanguardia Acoustics, London, UK

I completed my BSc in Physics from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in 2013. Around the same time, I concluded over two decades of music studies with a degree in Piano and Classical Music from Panarmonio Conservatoire in Athens. I was looking for a postgraduate program that combined my passion for science with my love for music. The AMT program was exactly what I was looking for and in fact AMT was the only program I applied to overseas.

I first visited Edinburgh back in 2005 and I remembered a unique and beautiful city with great architecture, rich cultural background and friendly people and the idea to study there was exciting.

The curriculum was diverse, as we had a few core courses and a range of optional modules to choose from, where you could explore your creative side with Electroacoustic Composition, dwell into the world of Speech Synthesis or test your experimental skills by working in your own Acoustics project. I particularly enjoyed Musical Acoustics, and understanding the physics behind each instrument only served to enhance my appreciation of music.

After my graduation, I had the options to either continue in research or move to industry. I decided the latter and just two months after graduation, even before the actual ceremony, I started working as an acoustic consultant in Vanguardia, an independent UK company that specialises in providing acoustic consultancy, unique designs and solutions for the sports, music, entertainment and environment industries.

My time in Edinburgh provided me with essential skills and knowledge on acoustics that I use at my work as a consultant but perhaps of equal importance is the fact that in the AMT program I produced the best work of my academic career. The courses were interesting, but challenging and the high academic level of the University of Edinburgh is known for along with the helpful environment created by the course tutors made me work harder and reach my true potential.  I’m particularly proud of the final dissertation, a sound synthesis algorithm for guitar written in Matlab, a programming language I had no experience with less than a year before. This welcome boost in confidence is essential in any professional environment.

A big thanks to Mike, Stefan, Clive, Murray and the amazing PhD’s for an exciting year.

Lewis Stonehouse, MSc AMT alumnus, 2014

Senior Acoustic Consultant (Hann Tucker Associates)

I came into the Acoustics and Music Technology MSc from a fairly creatively focussed Music Technology undergraduate degree. I found the course both challenging and interesting, and it pushed me to develop my technical skills and understanding. It also formally introduced me to the field of acoustics, which had previously seemed something of a dark art.

During the course I enjoyed the variety between theoretical and practical modules, along with the freedom to explore other academic avenues (in my case sound design) beyond the prescribed syllabus. Mike, Stefan, Murray and Clive were all great mentors and phenomenally knowledgeable (and always happy to go beyond the call of duty).

I had a wonderful time living in Edinburgh, it’s truly a beautiful and exciting city with all manner of ways to get lost.

I graduated from the Acoustics and Music Technology MSc back in 2014 and now work as an Acoustic Consultant for Hann Tucker Associates in Manchester. I specialise in architectural/building acoustics, assisting architects, mechanical engineers, structural engineers etc. developing design specifications on various projects including studios and concert halls.

I have no doubt that the course prepared me for my career, giving me the confidence in my technical knowledge and ability that I required, and made me infinitely more desirable to prospective employers.

Robbie Christie, MSc AMT alumnus, 2014

Acoustic engineer, WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff

flippinchickenAfter completing a BSc degree in Music Technology at the University of York, I looked to further my studies within the field and saw a great opportunity with the Acoustics Group at Edinburgh. I felt that the course would be right for me due to the combination of music technology and DSP- much like what I had studied for my undergraduate degree only with a stronger focus on Acoustics.

Upon starting the MSc in Acoustics and Music Technology I found that the modules were stimulating, challenging and coincided with my interests regarding the more technical aspects of music technology. The course provided a great deal of freedom with regards to the option modules, allowing students to enrol on modules based in music, maths, physics or any other department, as long as the reason for doing so was justifiable. Weeks after completing the course I started work as a Graduate Consultant within the Acoustics, Noise and Vibration sector of an international management and consultancy provider. I can categorically say that the MSc helped develop my technical knowledge and writing skills to a level that made me far more employable. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Edinburgh and would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in acoustics, music technology and digital signal processing.

Good luck to any future applicants and many thanks to Mike, Stefan and all the PhD students who helped along the way!

Nuria Bonet Filella, MSc AMT alumna, 2014

PhD student in sonification of physical phenomena, University of Plymouth, UK

I completed an undergraduate degree in Music in 2012 and a masters degree in Electroacoustic Composition in 2013, both at the University of Manchester. I was very interested in science and technology as a means of approaching music composition but my classical musical background had allowed for little interaction with topics such as these. I decided to join the AMT MSc as both a challenge and a chance to learn a completely new aspect to music related sciences.

Because of my background, I had to freshen up my maths and physics to complete the tasks given; a challenge only matched by the sense of achievement when completing them. My dissertation on brass instruments gave me a fascinating insight into the acoustics of instruments that I had been using for years, which I think will influence my future work as a composer. The highlight of my year was probably choosing the module on Organology of Wind and Percussion Instruments which is a hands-on module on the study of instruments, which takes place at the University’s stunning instrument collections.

The degree has given me new interests, as I intend to pursue my research interests in organology. It has given me a new set of skills which open up a fascinating amount of possibilities for my work as composer. Finally, it gave me the confidence to apply to a PhD. I am now doing a PhD with Eduardo Miranda at ICCMR at the University of Plymouth on the sonification of physical phenomena such as dark matter.

Fabian Esqueda, MSc AMT alumnus, 2013

PhD student in audio signal processing, Aalto University, Finland

I moved to the UK in October 2009 to pursue a degree in Electronics and Music Technology at the University of York. During the final year of my undergraduate studies I became very interested in digital synthesis and audio effects, so after graduation I was eager to carry on with these newly found research interests and decided to join the AMT MSc programme at the University of Edinburgh.

Since day one, the course lived up to my expectations. It delivered a solid foundation in the topics of acoustics and signal processing, particularly in a musical context. The coursework, while challenging, was also very rewarding and interesting. I particularly enjoyed being able to study the underlying theory and implementation techniques behind some of my favourite audio effects and classic synthesiser sounds. Another key aspect of my time in Edinburgh was the people I met there. Both staff members and classmates were always there to support and motivate me throughout my studies.

The AMT course also allows students to experiment and showcase their creativity by engaging in projects of their own choosing. As part of my final MSc project, I decided to research the topic of virtual analogue modelling. I first became interested in the subject following a lecture by Prof. Vesa Välimäki, organised as part of the MusICA seminar series. After completing my degree I was offered a place at Aalto University in Finland, where I’m currently doing a PhD under Prof. Välimäki’s supervision. This would not have been possible without the skills I developed during the AMT program and the constant support of its staff.

Charlotte Desvages, MSc AMT alumna, 2013

PhD student in acoustics, Acoustics and Audio Group, University of Edinburgh, UK

I travelled from France to Edinburgh to join the AMT MSc in September 2012, having just finished an undergraduate degree in Physics. A keen interest in music, sound, and understanding how things work in general got me looking into acoustics, and the courses in Edinburgh seemed particularly attractive, as was the prospect of moving abroad for a degree.

The course is very hands-on; theoretical lectures ensure that you get a solid knowledge base, and very soon you are ready to go and do something with it. The assessment is based on projects, to be undertaken both on your own and within groups. The core courses in Acoustics and Digital Signal Processing lead to the understanding and coding of many virtual instruments and audio effects, with a strong emphasis on going the extra mile to achieve high level synthesis. I also undertook some courses in Sound Design, which gave me practical skills in sound recording, editing and mixing, applied to the moving picture. I also carried out a small experimental project on violins during second term, which was a great introduction to my bigger final project, which concerned bowed string sound synthesis.

The courses are taught by experts in the field, and the staff are very open, available, and always interested in discussing problems, projects, or new ideas, as are the numerous visiting researchers that come to Edinburgh throughout the year.

My two “big” projects during the MSc, with the support offered by the teaching staff, led me to successfully apply for a PhD position in the Acoustics and Audio Group at Edinburgh, fully funded by an Edinburgh College of Art scholarship. I’m currently working on physical modeling sound synthesis for bowed string instruments, within the NeSS project.

Michael McLoughlin, MSc AMT alumnus, 2013

PhD student in artificial intelligence methods to determine the cultural evolution of Humpback Whale song, University of Plymouth

Prior to my arrival on the AMT course at Edinburgh, I completed my undergraduate in Music Technology at Queen’s University Belfast. This meant that I had quite a different background to my colleagues who mainly had computer science and Physics degrees. This, at first intimated me due to the technical nature of the course, but the support from the tutors ensured I was never overwhelmed.

The work, while challenging, was also immensely fun. The course is very hands on, meaning that by the time you’ve finished the second semester, you’ve coded at least eight different physical models and audio effects. The summer project also encourages students to dive into topics that aren’t covered in the taught modules. This gave me the chance to work with ambisonic and binaural technologies.

Another great aspect of the course is the wide variety of topics you’re introduced to. As well as the topics covered in the taught modules, we were exposed to research outside our focus through the MusICA seminar series. This dealt with areas such as medical acoustics, music informatics and parallel computing of audio.

The skills I developed on the AMT course are essential to my PhD with the Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research (ICCMR) at Plymouth University. I am currently working towards developing a computational agent based model to study the cultural evolution of Humpback whale song. The AMT course guaranteed that I was equipped with the skills that are essential to my current research.

Stephen Oxnard, MSc AMT alumnus, 2012

Lecturer in Audio, Anglia Ruskin University, UK

My first venture into the subject of acoustics took place during undergraduate studies in Electronics with Music Technology Systems at the University of York. I took part in a project that sought to sonically revive a 14th century Abbey using virtual acoustic modelling techniques. I found my experience of this field of research both challenging and stimulating and I was keen to investigate it further.

The AMT course at Edinburgh provided a perfect opportunity to learn the underlying principles and practices of acoustics from renowned experts in the field. Throughout the course, fundamental theory could be applied in practise in various contexts including physical modelling, sound design and digital media ensuring that a very high level of understanding was attainable. What I found particularly excellent about this course was that the discovery and development of new ideas was not only supported, but actively encouraged at every stage of the year.

The high standard of teaching and the sharing of knowledge between staff and students will see that you gain as much experience in acoustics and music technology as is feasible in your time here.

Upon completion of the course, I found that I was in a great position to further my studies into aspects of virtual acoustics that I was exposed to during the MSc. To this end I am currently undertaking a PhD in the Audio Lab at the University of York.

Abesh Thakur, MSc AMT alumnus, 2012

Product Manager, Oculus/Facebook 360 Virtual Reality Platform, Melo Park, USA

I came to the AMT MSc program from India, where I had completed my undergraduate degree in Electronics and Communication engineering and worked as a Mainframe developer in a leading IT company. But I needed a career shift, and while applying for a Master’s degree, the AMT course modules looked great! Little did I know that apart from technical knowledge, doing this course would also open my eyes to the infinite possibilities presented by doing a degree abroad.

I can happily say that though the course was really intense, with assignments lined up every week, it prepares one for the opportunities ahead and keeps one on one’s toes all the time. In the second semester I was introduced to the idea of Binaural sound and HRTF’s, which really took my fancy and my final year project was to develop a mobile application for 3D sound localization.

The course has absolutely amazing professors and are very open to discussing academical as well as post study options and opportunities. I am currently now the co-founder of a startup company specializing in Audio Augmented Reality applications for mobile platforms, and I can say that this feels just like another assignment, considering the detailed structure of the course and the way it was taught to us. Thank God I had taken the decision to come thousands of miles away from home to do this course!

Toby Carpenter, MSc AMT alumnus, 2012

Before undertaking the AMT course I obtained a BEng in Electronic Engineering from the University of Leeds, which provided me with a very useful, albeit very general skill set. I feel now that I am far more knowledgeable than I was at the start of the MSc, and that I have gained many highly sought after skills, not least a high proficiency in MATLAB.

The taught part of the MSc program was invaluable to me; I learned an awful lot, especially in the Musical Applications of Fourier Analysis and Physical Modelling of Musical Instruments modules.

The great thing about the taught modules in the course is that you will learn a great deal about the science and mathematics of acoustics and music technology, AND, you’ll have fun doing it!

Aside from the actual classes the whole experience was really great; I got on very well with everyone in the class as well as with the teaching staff, who are excellent and treat the students more like colleagues than pupils. The camaraderie between everybody really sparks enthusiasm to work hard and come with new and exciting things.

I have just got my dream job working as a vst plugin developer for the virtual analogue specialist Arturia. I am absolutely certain that I could not have done this without having completed the AMT program. It was brilliant, and you should do it!

Benoit Alary, MSc AMT alumnus, 2011

Software Developer R&D – Acoustics Specialist – Audiokinetic // PhD candidate in audio signal processing, Aalto University, Finland

I went into the Masters following a few years in the video game industry where I specialized in audio technologies development. Having a BSc in computer sciences, but no formal training in audio, I quickly realized that further studies would be crucial to carry out work in this field I had become passionate for.

More specifically, the MSc program at Edinburgh University really stood out to me. Having a relevant acoustics and signal processing curriculum, along with an interesting emphasis on physical modelling sound synthesis, the program provides a strong scientific basis. It can also be tailored to accommodate a variety of backgrounds and interests, which includes practical courses in sound design and graduate classes in computer sciences. These are all reasons that convinced me to embark in the Masters and why it exceeded my expectations. Since graduation, I’ve been working for one of the leading audio technology companies in the video game industry.

It’s an exciting time for audio technologies, with emerging computing capabilities and interfaces opening new realms of possibilities for interactive sounds like never before.

Michele Ducceschi, MSc AMT alumnus, 2010

Newton International Fellow, Acoustics and Audio Group, University of Edinburgh, UK

I joined the MSc program in the October of 2009. At that time I had a degree in physics course with little or no experience in musical acoustics, thus I did not really know what to expect from a course entirely devoted to it.

Just before the start of classes, I had a brief meeting with the program director. I remember finding myself at great ease, talking about how my previously acquired experience in physics could actually come into play in the realm of physical modeling. This was possibly the very first time that I realised that my knowledge was actually worth something more than solving equations on paper. And indeed the whole course was very much about doing stuff, not just merely sitting down in a classroom taking notes on abstract topics.

Besides, everyone on my course came from a different background: computer scientists, musicians, engineers. This allowed us to learn in an extremely lively and stimulating ambiance, where we exchanged ideas and opinions in long and fruitful conversations.

I took classes of all sorts: some were more ‘science based’, like acoustics, signal processing, or MATLAB programming; while some others were more ‘artisitic’, like sound design and digital media. Many times we were asked to work on projects rather than writing exams, and I personally liked this way of learning. And then, of course, I spent a lot of time developing my final project, which in my case was related to physical modeling of plate vibrations.

In the end, supported by a renewed motivation, I decided to move on to a PhD course, and surprisingly enough I was accepted on the doctoral program at Ecole Polytechnique in Paris. I am now working at ENSTA under the supervision of Cyril Touze, dealing with nonlinear aspects of gongs and cymbals.

Doing the Masters was absolutely one of the best experiences in my student career.

Craig Webb, MSc AMT alumnus, 2010

The MSc course gave me the opportunity to study sound and digital audio in a highly creative, research-driven environment. The taught courses cover a wide range of topics, from the mathematical background of acoustics and sound synthesis, to audio programming and musical performance.

The best part of the course is the people you get to work with. There’s an emphasis on collaborating with fellow students, and the summer project allows you to work with world-class researchers in acoustics, physical modelling and computational science.

The MSc gave me a great starting point for my PhD research, which I’m carrying out at Edinburgh, into accelerated 3D virtual acoustics.

Alan Archer-Boyd, MSc AMT alumnus, 2009

Postdoctoral researcher, Hearing Research Centre, University of Cambridge, UK

I received a BSc in Physics from the University of Edinburgh in 2008, and graduated from the MSc in Acoustics and Music Technology in 2009. After a short period working as an acoustic consultant, in 2010 I began an electrical engineering PhD. This is jointly run between the University of Strathclyde and the Medical Research Council Institute of Hearing Research in Glasgow. My research topic is the psychoacoustics of hearing-impairment and hearing-aid signal processing.

Almost everything I learned during the AMT Master’s course has been of use to me in my subsequent work. Before studying the course, I had no experience of MATLAB programming, a program I now use every day in my research. Many of the MATLAB assignments I completed during the course were used as the basis for my initial experiments during my PhD. The courses in sound design also taught me practical techniques in sound recording and fostered a fast and efficient approach to learning how to use new hardware and software tools, both of which have been useful during my PhD and science communication work. The Master’s provides a wide knowledge base across audio and acoustics, which has given me alternative perspectives from which to view my current work in psychoacoustics and hearing-aid signal processing.

Christian Baker, MSc AMT alumnus, 2009

Research Scientist in Ultrasonics, National Physical Laboratory (NPL), UK

bakerAfter graduating from a BSc in Acoustics at the University of Southampton, I applied to the Acoustics and Music Technology MSc to learn more about the digital signal processing and modelling side of acoustics. The course was organised so that as well as learning the maths and theory behind the DSP and modelling techniques, the modules required me to apply what I’d learnt to the development of musical effects and physical models in MATLAB, which really helped with my understanding of the theory, and was great fun too. I chose an MSc project that allowed me to continue this – investigating the suitability of finite difference modelling as a technique for real-time musical synthesis.

After completing the MSc in 2009, I started work as a Research Scientist in Ultrasonics at the National Physical Laboratory in London, where I work on a number of projects investigating novel technologies for medical ultrasound. I use theory and programming skills I learnt during my degrees every day, whether it’s developing MATLAB software to control measurement systems and analyse data, or using finite difference modelling packages to simulate ultrasound propagation through tissue.

Adam Hill, MSc AMT alumnus, 2008

Lecturer in Audio Engineering, University of Derby, UK

I was a member of the 2007/08 group of students on the MSc program, having come from the US with a background in electrical engineering and professional experience in the live sound industry.

The MSc introduced me to an incredibly wide range of subjects which were all put to good use on a number of enjoyable projects including the design of a virtual DJ setup using two Nintendo Wii remotes and an investigation into voice coil heating effects on loudspeaker performance (summer research project).

The program never seemed overly-demanding, which is in large part due to the high quality of teaching and the practical nature of the coursework. Looking back, it is amazing how much we covered in just one year! The MSc prepared me extremely well for PhD research at the University of Essex, as I found myself regularly referring back to the MSc lecture notes and Matlab programming assignments.

I completed my PhD in early 2012 and am now a lecturer in electronics and sound at the University of Derby. Examples of my research and publications can be found on my website (

Julian Parker, MSc AMT alumnus, 2008

Senior DSP Developer at Native Instruments, Berlin, Germany

The AMT program is unique in that it offers you both a rigorous grounding in the technical and scientific subjects underlying musical acoustics and music technology, and opportunities to apply those skills in artistically focussed projects. This is a rare and inspiring possibility if your interests and aptitudes lie in both areas.

The Acoustics and Audio Group who host the program are a fantastic resource, as they are full of world-class researchers in the field. As a result, the quality of teaching and the support available for researchprojects is phenomenal.

After completing the AMT MSc, I studied for a doctorate at Aalto University in Finland, published papers in international journals and conferences, and developed DSP for commercial music technology products at Native Instruments. None of these things would have been possible without the foundation provided by my studies at Edinburgh.

AMT and the Acoustics and Audio Group are a fantastic community, and one that you belong to not just during your studies but in the years afterwards. I’ve been privileged to work with many alumni, both as research collaborators and as colleagues in industry. The year studying in Edinburgh was really just the start!

Eleftheria Mylona, MSc AMT alumna, 2007

Postdoctoral Researcher, Institute for Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications and Remote Sensing (IAASARS), University of Athens, Greece

I received the B.Sc. degree in Applied Mathematical and Physical Sciences in 2006 from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece and the M.Sc. degree in Acoustics and Music Technology in 2007 from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. I am currently working toward the Ph.D. degree in Image Analysis at the University of Athens, Greece. I have co-authored 9 research articles published in international journals and conferences. (

During the AMT program, I had the opportunity to meliorate my technical skills in MATLAB programming during the Digital Signal Processing course and was later able to develop novel models in the context of my Ph.D research. Throughout the Acoustics course, I had the chance to visit some of the most famous concert halls in Scotland and experience the physics of sound combined with fine architecture. I was also given the chance to be a member of a brilliant and talented team who designed an interactive installation in one of these concert halls under the Creative Sound Design course.

I would like to express my gratitude to my amazing professors who always treated me as a colleague, were always available and eager to share their knowledge and inspired me through our fruitful conversations. I was also lucky to collaborate with students from all over the world who broadened my way of thinking. I am still in touch with my most dear Scottish friends, whose accent was not a problem at all!

What an amazing year!

Paul Scullion, MSc AMT alumnus, 2007

Research and Development Engineer, Kaiam Corporation

I completed my BSc in Laser Physics and Optoelectronics in 2006 from Strathclyde University in Glasgow, and was undecided about exactly where I wanted to apply my interests and focus next. Coming from a musical background, as both my parents were professional musicians, I always had an interest in the cross-disciplinary nature of science and the arts and after learning about this new MSc in Acoustics and Music Technology I was instantly taken in.190316_5039828090_3775_n

From the outset, i immediately felt the course structure and teaching methods to be of a very high standard and also felt that each individual topic was being taught by distinguished academics who inspired me to want to learn more than the basic syllabus. For example, I had little or no experience in using MATLAB or LABView but classes in Physics-based Modelling of Music Instruments, Fourier Analysis and Digital Signal Processing, along with my final MSc thesis project, enabled me to develop skills and a broad-based understanding of these tools which I have gone on to use, sometimes on a daily basis, in my career since graduation. There was also the opportunity to carry out site-based project work within some of Edinburgh’s most historic concert halls, which I found exciting.

Since graduating in 2007, I have gone on to work for a number of technology and engineering companies utilising my skills in Acoustics obtained during the AMT MSc course. Previously, I worked for an engineering consultancy who specialised in the area of acoustics and vibration problems for oil and gas pipelines and soon I will be moving to another organisation where I will be working in the area of underwater acoustics. I believe these opportunities were made possible thanks to the the high-quality teaching and learning experiences attained from this course.

Nathan Merchant, MSc AMT alumnus, 2007

Lead Scientist, Noise and Bioacoustics Team, Cefas, UK

I decided to enrol in the AMT program after my BSc in Physics as it offered a great opportunity to combine physics-based study of the science of sound with more creative elements such as sound design and technologies for musical performance.

NDM_webphotoThe range of activities you can get involved in as part of the MSc is diverse, and projects which bring together students from different disciplines are very rewarding and a real strength of the program.

The broad scope of the program means it can be used as a launch pad into all sorts of acoustics-related careers. Following my MSc at Edinburgh, I decided to specialise in underwater acoustics, and am now in the final year of my PhD studying the impact of human-generated underwater noise on marine life at the University of Bath. This work has taken me to international conferences, at-sea field work and publications in prestigious journals such as the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. I am still drawing on the knowledge base gained during the AMT program, be it frequency weighting of noise levels for impact assessment or sound and video editing for presentations, and would recommend it to anyone with similar interests and an open mind.