Leeds Arts University

Degree level: Undergraduate

Popular Music Performance

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Course summary

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. 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. Our vibrant community gives you the opportunity to work with creative writers, graphic designers, fine artists, visual communicators, photographers, fashion designers, animators, filmmakers, and creative advertisers. Our degree provides the unique opportunity to build important creative networks and an impressive musical portfolio from the outset of your professional life. Note: We do not accept deferred entry for the BMus (Hons) Popular Music Performance course. 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 be introduced to the fundamental concepts of popular music performance, production and composition, through an engagement with practical music-making. Performance is key, so you will participate in Ensemble Performance Workshops. When combined with stagecraft sessions these will give you the opportunity to perform in a variety of settings including ensembles stage, the recording studio 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 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 further develop and demonstrate a knowledge of the concepts of popular music performance, production and composition through practical music-making. You will respond to briefs which will contribute to a 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

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Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Year 1

Entry requirements

Qualification requirements

Our undergraduate minimum requirements are: - 112 UCAS points from any combination of A Levels/Extended Diploma/Foundation Diploma. One qualification should be in a relevant subject; or - BBC from three A Levels; or - A minimum of one Distinction and two Merits (DMM) from an Extended Diploma or a Merit from a UAL Extended Diploma; or - 112 UCAS points from a recognised Access to Higher Education course specialising in art and design with a minimum of 45 credits at level 3; or - An international equivalent to 112 UCAS points in a subject related to your proposed course of study. Please see our Information by Country pages for more information. All home applicants aged under 21 must have GCSE English at Grade 4/Grade C or above, or English Functional Skills Level 2 at Pass. International applicants must have a minimum IELTS overall score of 5.5, with no individual component below 5.5 (or recognised equivalent). Examples of Work For BMus (Hons) Popular Music Performance you will need: - 112 UCAS points from any combination of A Levels/Diploma/Extended Diploma. One qualification should be in a relevant subject, this may be a Rockschool Level 3 Music Practitioner qualification. - A Level of performing ability equivalent to ABRSM/Rockschool/Trinity Grade 8 - Music theory understanding to Grade 5 level Performing ability and theoretical understanding will be assessed through a practical performance of (1) a set piece relative to a specific instrument or voice and (2) an original song, instrumental composition, or arrangement of an existing song that has been uploaded to a suitable video sharing platform (YouTube, Vimeo or Weibo) for remote review. English You’ll need to have passed GCSE English Language or English Literature at grade C/grade 4 or above, or English Functional Skills Level 2 at Pass. For mature students, an Access to Higher Education qualification in art and design will also be acceptable to demonstrate English language ability. 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. Foundation Diploma If you’re studying an accredited Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, you’ll need a minimum of 112 UCAS tariff points. This is collated from the Foundation Diploma plus your A level or Extended Diploma results. You’ll also need a GCSE grade A*-C/grade 4 or above in English Language, English Literature or equivalent (see above), or English Functional Skills Level 2 at Pass. Extended Diploma You’ll need a minimum of 1 Distinction and 2 Merits (DMM) from an Extended Diploma in a relevant subject or an overall Merit from a UAL Extended Diploma. You’ll also need a GCSE grade A*-C/grade 4 in English Language, English Literature or equivalent (see above), or English Functional Skills Level 2 at Pass. A-levels You’ll need 112 tariff points from your A level studies, typical grades required are BBC. One qualification should be in an art and design or related subject. You’ll also need a GCSE grade A*-C/grade 4 in English Language, English Literature or equivalent (see above), or English Functional Skills Level 2 at Pass. Access to Higher Education You’ll need to have passed a recognised Access to Higher Education course specialising in art and design with a minimum of 45 credits at level 3. A combination of pass, merit and distinction to total 112 tariff points. Scottish Higher Leeds Arts University welcomes applicants with the BTEC/Scottish Higher National Certificate (HNC). Please contact the university to confirm the specific entry requirements for your chosen course.

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Unistats information

Operated by the Office for Students

There is no data available for this course. For further information visit the Discover Uni website.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

England £9250 Year 1
Northern Ireland £9250 Year 1
Scotland £9250 Year 1
Wales £9250 Year 1
EU £16900 Year 1
International £16900 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