Music Performance - full-time BA (Hons) Degree

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UCAS code: W313 Course Type: Degree and university-level Campus: West Durrington Campus Start Date: September 2021 Duration: 3 Years

Why this course?

Students playing instruments

This course equips you with the skills, knowledge and understanding to forge a career as a professional musician. The course begins with standard repertoire and skills, progressing into development of your own personal style. Taught by professional musicians, the course structure allows you to shape your studies to your needs.

Key features 

  • Industry-led course, with an emphasis on employability and entrepreneurship
  • Extensive state-of-the-art recording studios
  • Taught by music industry practitioners
  • Course includes live projects and work placements
  • Professional-standard theatre on campus

Video tour of our facilities

Validated by University of the Arts London (UAL)

This programme is validated by University of the Arts London (UAL). UAL is a leading education provider in the creative arts, ranked second in the world for art and design (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020). They oversee the standards and quality of our curriculum, which enriches your overall learning experience.

See the full list of our creative arts degrees

  • student Views James Petts Music Performance
    The facilities are great and the people I've met are fantastic.

Course requirements

Each application will be assessed individually, including a review of your grades, interview, portfolio/audition and any experience.

Typical entry requirements are below but offers may vary:

  • a relevant A-Level or Level 3 Extended Diploma

In exceptional circumstances, if you do not meet our entry requirements, your application may still be considered if you demonstrate additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

  • related academic or work experience
  • the quality of the personal statement
Audition and interview

You will also be required to audition and interview for this course.

Entry guide

Entry guide for more information about the range of qualifications we accept (including English language requirements for international students).

Interview/audition advice

Your interview process will include the following:

1. A written harmony and theory test (20 minutes)

2. An aural and transcribing test

3. A small piece to sight read on your chosen instrument (notation will be appropriate to instrument)

4. Performance of a self-prepared piece of at least three minutes duration. It is advisable to choose something that you are already familiar with and is within your technical ability.

5. Interview with question and answer session

As a degree applicant, we expect a certain minimum academic standard from you, however the interview process is designed to get an overall view of your skills. Weaknesses in one or two areas will not prevent you from being offered a place on the course.

What to bring to your interview/audition

Guitarists and bass players should have their own instruments including a lead and a pick (if required). Drummers must have their own sticks, and vocalists should warm up prior to the audition. All applicants should also bring a pen, pencil and eraser.

You will also need to bring evidence of your academic written skills; this can be a piece of existing academic work, or a 500 word review of a track of your choice paying particular attention to the musicianship and performance

Regular performances, both in the College and at external gigs, form the backbone of your course, along with study of the music business and developing yourself as a performer. You will be given the framework to complete a significant recorded music portfolio by the end of the course. 

You will have the opportunity to collaborate with other departments on a range of different projects such as providing the music for theatre performances. You can also work on local and national / international festivals, recording sessions and with professional touring bands, as well as providing private tuition. 

Lectures from prominent music  figures, including record labels, publishers, artist managers, music lawyers and performing artists provide key insights into the music industry.

Students will be encouraged to generate and develop their individual pursuits with support from industry experts, working closely with students from Music Business and Music Production as well as art, design and media departments. The course opens up career opportunities through practical multi-skill development, advanced performance, enterprise/career planning, critical thinking, recording, production and musicianship.

Music degrees at the MET

Hear from Programme Lead Mike Pailthorpe and current students about why our music degrees are so unique. 

Year One

  • Standards and Conventions (20 credits)

    Western popular music has developed a canon of standards and conventions, based on the musical language of classical music and incorporating elements from a range of other cultures. This unit aims to develop an awareness of these conventions and their application in our modern technological environment.

  • Artist Development (20 credits)

    This unit will develop your knowledge, confidence and skills in the area of Artist Development, whether you aim to be a performer, a producer, creator, or to promote some or all of the above.

    The unit will include:

    • Songwriting, track creation, composition, arrangement.
    • The music business context: labels, publishers, management, DIY
    • Establishing our creative community
    • Working independently in the creation of new repertoire
    • Collaboration in the creation of new repertoire
    • Team building for artists, producers, performers and managers.
    • Well being and Mental Health for music practitioners
    • Development of a personal voice, musical language
    • Establishing an artist brand
    • Identifying gaps in skills and knowledge and planning effectively to fill those gaps
    • Instrumental technique lessons, Musical direction
    • Performance skills - stage presence, dynamics, timbre, tone, control of sound, interaction with/sensitivity to other performers, professionalism
  • Ideas in Context: Why Music Matters (20 credits)

    This unit consists of lectures, workshops and seminars engaging you with a wide range ideas and theories relevant and applicable to your chosen discipline. The unit will  build on your pre-existing knowledge by : 

    1. Introducing you to scholarly work, creative ideas and critical thinking skills that both lead and enrich your music practice. 
    2. Encouraging you to identify, examine and define the constituent elements of your discipline. You will explore how those elements are constructed.
    3. Promoting formal consideration of the effects of your discipline and practice on the ‘everyday’.
    4. Facilitating and promoting a space for critical debate of foundational texts and fundamental principles of critical thinking in relation to your discipline and practice.

    Ultimately, this unit encourages you to critically reflect on the desired effect of your practice.

  • Tools and Techniques (20 credits)

    This unit will build on your knowledge of standards and conventions, identifying specific tools and techniques that will help you to realise your music in a variety of contemporary contexts. You will also investigate various methods of communicating your ideas to other musicians and your target audience.

  • Context and Application (20 credits)

    This unit will introduce you to more advanced techniques of composition and arrangement, examining more complex arrangements and different combinations of instruments or voices. Analysis of various subgenres will highlight specific elements that define each style, encouraging greater attention to detail in your own work.

  • Music Project (20 credits)

    This unit will provide you with the necessary skills to operate effectively  in existing professional and public contexts and to proactively seek opportunities to identify and define future applications or locations for your emerging practice. The Project provides the opportunity for you to work with peers, engage in a community of practice and consider your own and others’ disciplines.

    You will connect with others to expand your opportunities to present and create challenging and ambitious music, events, products, commercial ventures and propositions; with the view to establishing an agile, sustainable and informed practice that may contribute to cultural or commercial culture.

Year Two

  • Advanced Arranging (20 credits)

    This unit is designed to develop techniques of arranging and orchestration in a rock/pop/jazz environment. You will build on the basic arranging techniques studied at Level 4, introducing more complex harmony and instrumentation. The unit will also investigate more advanced western popular music styles, such as orchestrated pop and jazz.

  • Improvisation (20 credits)

    This unit is designed to develop techniques of improvisation. You will investigate a range of approaches to improvisation across a broad spectrum of social, historical and geographical cultures, as well as more familiar jazz/R&B styles. The unit will examine the relationship between chords and scale/melody, rhythmic phrasing and more oblique approaches to improvisation.

  • Ideas in context: Musicking (20 credits)

    This unit encourages you to situate yourself within your practice. The unit asks questions about what we, as practitioners - as well as ‘beings’ in the world - bring to our respective disciplines and to the texts we perform, prosume and market to an audience. You are encouraged to attune your listening, thinking, reading and writing skills so that a range of subjects can be thoughtfully debated.

  • Individual Project (40 credits)

    The Individual Project is your opportunity to engage in a sustained project that aims to allow your personal voice, ambitions and intentions in Music to emerge. You may demonstrate advanced musical technique with a high level of critical analysis.

Year Three

  • Collective Practice (40 credits)

    Collective Practice provides the creative and practical space for you to develop and present refined, professional musical and commercial outcomes. Collaborative working provides an initial setting for you to engage in professional practice with peers or external networks, producing outcomes such as events, music releases, films, games, programmes, performance, festivals.

  • Music Dissertation (20 credits)

    The dissertation is an investigation and critical discourse on your negotiated choice of a topic relevant to your course of study. Your dissertation on your chosen topic is assessed on submission of a written document or an oral presentation.

  • Professional Practice (20 credits)

    Professional Practice is an opportunity to plan and prepare for progression from the course onto next steps, whether those be on to further study, to employment, self-employment, founding a business, or combination of all or any of the above as appropriate to your development and ambitions

    This unit will provide a range of different experiences, depending on the nature of your professional aims. Many students engage very successfully with local and national and virtual global events that support the production of new music and professional networks.

  • Personal Voice (40 credits)

    This unit allows you to explore the development of your own individual style, through analysis of your influences, identification of specific techniques or approaches that you are applying to your own work and the practical demonstration of that application in a live or recorded performance.

Contact time and study hours

A full-time student can expect to have around 2 days of timetabled teaching contact per week. You will have approximately 40 hours of timetabled teaching contact for each 20 credit module. This is supported by independent self-guided study.

Teaching and assessment methods

We use a variety of teaching methods, including:

  • practical workshops
  • discussions
  • groupwork
  • lectures/seminars
  • tutorials
  • self-directed study

Assessment methods vary between units but could include:

  • recordings
  • performances
  • project work
  • portfolios
  • dissertation
  • presentations
  • written assignments

Potential careers

  • Session work (recording and/or live performance)
  • Recording and publishing original creative material
  • Media composition
  • Teaching (peripatetic instrumental tuition and/or classroom teaching)
  • Music business and event management

See some of our recent music department alumni success stories (PDF) >

Additional costs

Additional costs may arise as a result of materials and/or compulsory field trips connected with your course. We estimate that these costs could be between £100 and £500, but this amount may vary depending upon the range of materials and techniques which you may wish to adopt. You may also choose to go on other field trips or research visits and the costs of these could be between £50 and £150.

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Fees and financial support

There are different options to cover the cost of your course, including government loans and bursaries (eligibility criteria applies).

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