Field recording and Soundscape Composition (online)

This 10-week online course begins on Wednesday 24th April 2024. 7.30 – 9.30pm, UK time.
To book contact

Sound devices MixPri and headphones on a wall with a verdant background, showing field recording in action.

This course is a natural progression for those of you who have already taken my Introduction to Field Recording and the Soundscape short course. However, the course is self-contained and suitable for anyone with previous experience of field recording and digital audio software.

Through a mixture of lectures, demonstrations, group workshop sessions, discussions and student field trips, this unique 10-week course aims to improve your knowledge of field recording equipment and techniques.

We’ll also look at relevant areas of home/studio recording (for objects, instruments and voice recording) and explore Foley and special effects. There will be sessions on using a digital audio workstation and a range of other digital tools (for noise reduction and sound proceeding and composition) and also an introduction to analogue processes using tape, record decks and hardware effects. I also do a session on multi-channel sound.

During the course I encourage participants to develop and share audio work and discuss their own practices and needs.

Course structure

  • Week 1 – Field recording – basics and extended techniques
  • Week 2 – Hidden sounds – using contact mics, coil mics. hydrophones and ultrasound detectors
  • Week 3 – Recording in the studio & preparation for field trip
  • Week 4 – Field trip de-brief, group listening to recordings
  • Week 5 – Digital processes #1 (The digital audio workstation – Pro Tools overview)
  • Week 6 – Digital processes #2 (alternative software)
  • Week 7 – Analogue processes
  • Week 8 – Compositional strategies
  • Week 9 – Sound installation practices and multichannel sound
  • Week 10 – Group Listening and Feedback

Learning outcomes

  • An advanced understanding of field recording techniques and equipment
  • Transferrable skills that can be used in a number of different contexts, including sound art and fine art, as well as documentary film and radio production
  • A good working knowledge of digital audio software and an informed understanding of the various options available
  • An understanding of to use a range of microphones in the studio or on location to record instruments and objects
  • A well-developed understanding of the current and historical contexts of phonography
  • The theoretical, contextual and practical skills to help you develop ideas, make great sounding recordings and progress your practice
  • New, critical awareness of listening, recording, and composing soundscapes.

Technical requirements

While the baseline technical requirement for taking this course is a computer and a recording device (mobile phone or other) you will, ideally, need either a decent set of computer monitor speakers or good headphones. Students may use any digital audio software of their choosing, but demonstrations will be done using Avid Pro Tools.

Avid currently offers a free 30-day trial and here is a free version, Pro Tool Intro, you can download. You will also be introduced to a raft of alternative software (freeware, wherever possible) for sound processing and treatments.   

Weekly sessions will be held over Zoom.

Fees and discounts


10% discount for full-time students, unwaged (proof of status required) and for people who have already taken my Introduction to Field Recording and the Soundscape short course. Sorry, but only one discount can be applied.

All students undertaking a 10-week online course get a 10% discount on my in-person one day London field trip sessions (£270 – normally £300) where I provide a fully range of equipment to try out.

Further information and booking details

The next course begins on Wednesday 24th April 2024. 7.30 – 9.30pm, UK time.
Please contact me directly if you have any questions and to book a place.

Terms and conditions

Payment in advance by bank transfer of PayPal to secure a place, not later than 24 hours before the start date. Please note I will need a minimum of 5 students to run a course. If a course has failed to recruit the required number of students 24 hours before the start time I will offer the choice between a full refund or a transfer to the next run of the course in September. Apologies, but in the event of course cancellation I will not be able to reimburse any other costs you may have incurred. Once the course has 5 participants I will keep booking open right up to the start of the course. The maximum class size will be 20.  Students can cancel a place up to 24 hours in advance of the course start – full fee refunded. After this, 50% fee charged. Alternatively, I’m happy to transfer you to the next run of the course.

Tutor information

This course is taught by Dr. Marcus Leadley, a sound artist, composer, curator and academic whose work explores the relationship between sound and place. He is the Head of Studio at the Electronic Music Studios, Goldsmiths, University of London.   He holds an MMus in Studio Based Composition and a PhD in Sonic Arts. The title of his PhD thesis is In Situ Listening: Soundscape, Site and Transphonia.  Dr Leadley is an experienced field recordist and his current research interests include phonography, soundscape composition and acoustic ecology.


“I’ve really enjoyed the Field Recording and Soundscape Composition short course at Goldsmiths, largely due to the fascinating subject matter, and Marcus’ excellent teaching style and huge knowledge of the subject. Despite working as a professional AV Engineer for the entirety of my adult life, Marcus has introduced me to a wealth of information on topics that I was previously unfamiliar with.”

Oliver Phillips, Spring 2021

“The field recording and soundscape composition course led by Marcus Leadley has been incredibly rich, interesting and useful to helping me develop as a sound designer. The wide-ranging nature of what’s covered alongside the ability to share our work in the group has created very supportive and fertile ground for learning the basics, the more advanced technical stuff, and encouraging us to experiment.”

Holly Fisher, Spring 2021

“I have been attending Field Recording: Soundscape Composition short course taught by Marcus, having attended his Field Recording and the Soundscape course in the autumn. Marcus brings a wealth of lived experience of his subject matter as well as academic rigour and theory to his lectures. His enthusiasm for sound recording, composition and art is contagious; his preparation is thoughtful and thorough. I’ve really enjoyed the sessions immensely and Marcus has provided resources which will support my development well after the course ends.”

John Tranter

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