Leeds Arts University

Degree level: Undergraduate

Popular Music Performance

Course options

Make sure you check on the university, college or conservatoire website for any updates about course changes as a result of COVID-19.

Course summary

TEF Silver

Leeds Arts University has opted into the TEF and received a Silver award.

Find out more about the TEF.

On this course we see no boundaries between performance, production and composition. We look for creative and versatile musicians who wish to develop their performance, production and technical skills to a professional level in order to prepare for a career in the contemporary music industries. We recruit musicians to the following principal studies: vocals, keyboard, guitar, bass guitar and drum kit. You will study in a creative environment that fosters collaborative opportunities with students across a range of disciplines, and have access to our bespoke music facilities. Our course nurtures and develops musicians to have the confidence to create original music. Performance, production and composition are integral to our approach whilst providing you with a clear understanding of the business of music and the structure of the music industries. Our experienced tutors and visiting industry professionals will support and stimulate the development of technical skills necessary to thrive as a working musician in the 21st century creative world. On graduation students will have the choice of a wide range of career options. This dynamic course develops your musicianship through specialist 1:1 vocal/instrumental tuition, a range of band performances and learning from experienced visiting musicians with a range of styles. Most distinctively the University’s vibrant creative community gives you the opportunity to work with creative writers, graphic designers, fine artists, visual communicators, photographers, fashion designers, animators, filmmakers, and creative advertisers as part of our world-facing specialist arts university. As a working musician you’ll come into contact with other creative artists during your career and our degree provides the unique opportunity to build important creative networks and an impressive musical portfolio from the outset of your professional life. We are proud to be academic sponsors of The Ivors Academy, the independent professional body for songwriters and composers in the UK.

Course details


Year One — You’ll develop a sound knowledge of the fundamental concepts of popular music performance, production and composition, through an engagement with practical music-making. Live performance is key, so you will participate in Ensemble Performance Workshops. When combined with stagecraft sessions these will give you the opportunity to perform on stage and in the recording studio in various ensembles and as an individual, whilst receiving expert guidance from experienced teaching staff. You will learn instrumental and performance techniques through specialised 1:1 tuition and dynamic ensemble groupings. This will allow you to refine and enhance your approach with the aim of achieving a high level of musical fluency. In addition to the development of your instrumental/vocal skills and the stimulation of your creativity and musical curiosity, the course also uniquely integrates the study of song-writing, arranging, stagecraft, music production and entrepreneurial activity. Year Two — You will continue to develop and demonstrate a sound knowledge of the concepts of popular music performance, production and composition through practical music-making. You will respond to briefs which will contribute to an extensive portfolio of song-writing, performances, recordings, and visual material, which will provide evidence of your musical confidence, ability and originality. You will explore professional artist development and address the real-world structure of the professional music industries such as contracts, rights, finances, planning, professional presentation and networking. You’ll explore the position of popular music in society, connecting musicians to distinctive and ground-breaking events in context and ongoing developments within the field. You will continue to receive specialist 1:1 vocal/instrumental tuition and hone your performance skills through ensemble workshops. Year Three — You will undertake a musically-focused project which embodies your own popular music performance, production, and composition practice and business ambitions. Further supported with specialist 1:1 vocal/instrumental tuition, you will be expected to establish your own critical position with consideration of the relation between your music and relevant external contexts. You will further develop your professional identity, and identify the intended audience for your performance as you implement analytical techniques and problem-solving skills that can be applied in many types of employment. You will be expected to evaluate evidence, arguments and assumptions, in order to reach sound judgements and to communicate these effectively and with clear evidence of your musical creativity, individuality, and originality. Holders of the BMus (Hons) Popular Music Performance will be able to demonstrate qualities needed for employment in situations requiring the application of personal responsibility, flexibility, and decision-making in complex professional, musical and creative environments.

How to apply

Application deadlines

If your application is completed by the following date, it’s guaranteed to be considered:

15 January

*If you apply after this deadline, universities or colleges don’t have to consider your application if they’ve filled their spaces, so the sooner you apply, the better!

Application codes

You will need these codes when you add a choice to your application.

Course codeW315
Institution code L28
Campus nameMain Site
Campus code-

Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Year 1

Entry requirements

Qualification requirements

QualificationOfferFurther information

Applicants must achieve by enrolment: • Passes at GCE A level, or a Rockschool Level 3 Music Practitioner qualification, or a National Diploma in a music-related subject with a minimum of 112 UCAS tariff points • GCSE English at grade C/grade 4 or above, or English Functional Skills Level 2 at Pass • To demonstrate a good working understanding of music theory and attain a Grade 5 Music Theory qualification by enrolment. Music theory skills will be tested at audition and depending on the outcome, the requirement for a formal Grade 5 Music Theory qualification may be waived • Pass a Leeds Arts University audition in the year prior to entry demonstrating a high level of performing ability – equivalent to ABRSM/Rockschool/Trinity Grade 8. Applicants do not need to hold a Grade 8 certificate, but will be expected to demonstrate energy and presence in performance to this level. For mature students who are unable to provide formal evidence of an appropriate standard of English, the University may request completion of its own English proficiency test.

Please click the following link to find out more about qualification requirements for this course


Additional entry requirements



Fees and funding

Tuition fees

EU £9250 Year 1
England £9250 Year 1
Northern Ireland £9250 Year 1
Scotland £9250 Year 1
Wales £9250 Year 1
International £16700 Year 1

Additional fee information

No additional fees or cost information has been supplied for this course, please contact the provider directly.
Popular Music Performance at Leeds Arts University - UCAS