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BA (Hons) Popular Music: Performance and Production

Welcome to Popular Music

Musicians studying on the BA (Hons) Popular Music programme benefit from a multi-faceted approach to popular music. Performance has a central role but a broad range of skills are developed in the following areas: music technology, music business, practical musicianship, analysis and contextual studies.

Creativity and innovation are cornerstones of the flourishing creative and cultural economy. Employment led curriculum provides our students with the capacity to be adaptive and reflective practitioners. Our students demonstrate the breadth of creative talent and versatility possible within the creative arts, as seen in the outstanding performances at local venues such as the Mercury Theatre, Headgate Theatre, in the London West End, and the Brighton Fringe Festival. We work closely with local schools, Essex Music Services, Creative Colchester, Film Suffolk, and the Dance Network Association to enable students to engage with a broader arts network.

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Course IntroductionModulesEntry RequirementsGraduate CareersAdditional

Your profile

You are a motivated, inventive and original singer, songwriter or band member. Your passion for music drives you and you are compelled to transform your hunger for music into a profitable career.

Your subject

Great Britain is the world’s largest consumer of music, relative to its population. The UK music industry alone adds £5.2 billion to the economy and as a result, there is an ever-growing number of employment opportunities ready for you to take advantage of. In addition to being a musician, industry enthusiasts can also consider careers as producers, composers, songwriters, live or recorded performance artists, teachers, coaches, DJs, sound engineers or music journalists, to name but a few roles.

Your course

BA (Hons) Popular Music at University Centre Colchester is a lively, practical-based programme. As a student, you will undertake an exciting learning experience where you will engage in performing, recording and composing new music, while enhancing your understanding of how the music business works and, most importantly, how it might work for you! The programme boasts a high level of relevance to current industry practice, which will help you to become a well-versed musician with the skills to confidently create and perform new music. During your studies, you will critically analyse performance, songwriting and music composition, and expand your understanding of music technology. You will benefit from being taught by industry professionals, who are experts in their chosen fields, and take advantage of a well-equipped Mac suite, a recording studio, performance spaces and bookable practice rooms, which can help you to hone your craft and excel in your studies.

Your future

As a BA (Hons) Popular Music graduate, you will have a huge list of potential career avenues to explore. You will be fully prepared as a performer or composer, or ready for employment in a wide range of roles within the creative industries. Past graduates have gone on to have successful careers in creative roles at music production companies, music retailers, music magazines and licensing bodies, touring companies and recording labels. You may also use the BA (Hons) Popular Music degree as a stepping stone for moving on to postgraduate study.

Undergraduate courses operate on a modular basis that provides flexibility and choice. Each module is worth a specified number of credits, with most modules counting for 30/40 or 15/20 academic credits (depending on the programme), with each credit taken equating to a total amount of study time which includes scheduled teaching, independent study and assessment activity.

Most full-time students will take modules worth 60 credits per semester, with part-time students taking proportionately fewer credits per semester. A total of 120 credits per level and 360 credits are needed for an honours degree as a whole. Overall grades for the course and degree classification are based on the marks obtained for modules taken at levels 5 and 6.

Our teaching is informed by research, professional practice and industry engagement and modules change periodically to reflect developments in the discipline.

Course Overview Year One (Level 4) Year Two (Level 5) Year Three (Level 6) Module Schedule Structure

A minimum of 96 UCAS points*. An appropriate level of practical performance skill and experience (instrumental or vocal) is required. (It is not a prerequisite for entry to have passed a graded examination in instrumental or vocal performance but a standard equivalent to grade seven will be expected).

Entry is normally by audition/interview which will include instrumental or vocal performance and consideration of previous musical experience. Applicants are advised to bring a portfolio of evidence that could include recordings, compositions or academic work. Overseas candidates may submit recordings and other evidence.

For mature applicants with non-standard academic qualifications, Admission Tutors will assess the applicant’s ability to succeed on the course, taking into account their past experience in relevant areas.

*UCAS Tariff points where shown, are for entry on to higher education programmes starting from September 2022.

International applicants

If English is not your first language you will need an IELTS score of 6.0, with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English Language qualification.

Additional requirements for International Students:

  • You must provide evidence of having been in general education for at least 10 years and of having studied within the last five years
  • a face-to-face interview is required before an offer is made.

Graduates can develop self employment opportunities or gain employment in relation to a wide range of professional activities including performance, song writing/composition, recording/music technology, music business and teaching. The programme also provides the opportunity to progress to postgraduate study at MA level and higher, or to a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) courses for entry into the teaching profession. Additionally it prepares students for direct entry into the music industry.

Timetables: Timetables are normally available one month before registration. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week. Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week.

Teaching and Learning: You are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and practicals. Seminars enable smaller group discussions to develop understanding of topics covered in lectures.

When not attending lectures, seminars and practicals or other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-directed study. Typically, this will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library, learning zone or technical learning resources, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for examinations

Assessment: The course provides you with opportunities to test your understanding of the subject informally before you complete the formal assessments that count towards your final mark. Each module normally contains at least one piece of practice or ‘formative’ assessment for which you receive feedback from your tutor. Practice assessments are developmental and any grades you receive for them do not count towards your module mark.

There is a formal or ‘summative’ assessment at the end of each module. Assessment methods include written examinations and a range of coursework assessments such as essays, reports, portfolios, performance, presentations and your final year major project. The grades from formal assessments count towards your module mark.

 Feedback: You will receive feedback on all practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module tutor.

BA (Hons) Popular Music: Performance and Production - Full-time
LevelLevel 6
LocationColchester
Duration3 Years
UCAS CodeW341
Academic Year2022-2023
Study ModeFull-Time
CampusUniversity Centre Colchester
Start DateWe are no longer accepting applications for September 2022 for this course
Fee(s)2021-22: £8,250 per year
Additional Cost Information

You are recommended to purchase at least one external hard drive with a minimum of 1TB storage, although 2TB is recommended.  You will need this to save and back up relevant course work, such as music scores, recordings and video files of performances, promotional work and so on.  You are also expected to provide your own main instrument and other basic peripherals (sticks, cymbals, cables, etc). For independent study, carried out in recording spaces and practice rooms, vocalists in particular will need their own mic and cable and drummers will need to have their own cymbals, felts and hi-hat clutch.  You will also need to provide any sheet music you need, but there is an extensive collection in the library for student use. For certain activities or performances, there may be travel costs and other incidental expenses involved.

Awarding/Validation BodyUniversity of East Anglia
Course Overview

Music technology also has a key role in ensuring that students can record and distribute their creative writing and performance work in the digital domain and in turn promote their individual musical identity. Music business is core to the BA (Hons) Popular Music programme so that graduates have the skills needed to work in the music industry and to purse their career interests on either a freelance of employed basis. A major project in the final stage of the programme provides an opportunity for in-depth study of particular personal interest. Flexibility is built in to allow for a variety of approaches that ranging from traditional academic research in written form, presentations or websites, to creative work resulting from practice-based research.

Our facilities include a suite of Macs running Logic and Sibelius, with extensive East West sound libraries and two main recording studios. We have a concert hall and many bookable practice rooms for bands and orchestral ensembles.

The practical elements of this course and flexible modules enable you to specialise in the areas most relevant to your chosen career.Pera Frank, BA (Hons) Popular Music
Year One (Level 4)

MUSIC TECHNOLOGY (20 CREDITS)

What’s it about?

This module will develop production skills in a studio and mixing environment. A central part of the students experience is to explore traditional and modern recording/production techniques, and to develop an understanding of the requirements to complete a finished recording through appropriate terminology and practical application of theoretical principles.

What do I learn?

You will develop skills in recording, production, mixing and mastering through lectures, workshops and in-class tasks.

What’s the assignment?

You will submit a portfolio of 2 original or creative covers, each between 6-8 minutes long. One will be created using mostly sequenced material with some acoustic sources the other will be predominantly made by recording acoustic sources.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

CREATING EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES (20 CREDITS) 

What’s it about?

The purpose of the module is to enable students to maximise their chances in finding employment in the music industry, or related occupations.

What do I learn?

You will identify and define different types of work and employment and think more holistically about the diverse, and ever changing, job market.

What’s the assignment?

You will prepare a 20-minute presentation about potential employment opportunities for your future career.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

DEVELOPING MUSICIANSHIP (20 CREDITS)

What’s it about?

This module is designed to develop a broad base of practical, aural and written skills to support related musical studies.

What do I learn?

You will develop your knowledge of musical vocabulary along with the techniques necessary to respond to, communicate and manipulate musical ideas in a variety of written and practical contexts.

In addition, you will take part in and contribute to performance workshops as part of the programme’s enrichment provision.

What’s the assignment?

You will create a number of short compositions for a variety of contexts and compositional structures and complete a practical assessment of aural transcription tasks based on harmonic progressions and single line melodies.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

STUDIO SESSIONS (20 Credits)

What’s it about?

This module will develop skills in performance and/or production in a studio environment.

What do I learn?

You will work collaboratively, developing skills in musicianship, stylistic awareness, responding to creative ideas and studio protocol and explore the numerous challenges a session musician and/or producer incurs in the production process, developing an understanding of the requirements to complete a finished recording through appropriate terminology and practical application of theoretical principles.

What’s the assignment?

You will contribute as a performer or a producer for a portfolio of recording sessions totalling 10-12 minutes of music with a supporting evaluation of your role.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

PRINCIPAL STUDY 1 (20 Credits)

What’s it about?

This content of this module will develop a broad range of musical skills in support of performance and composition.

As well as classroom delivery, performers and composers will benefit from personalised support through 1-1 lessons. In addition, performers are expected to take part in and contribute to performance workshops as part of the programme’s enrichment provision.

What do I learn?

You will engage with and evaluate a variety of approaches to advancing your understanding of core musical materials and techniques. A detailed examination of the interrelationships of aural ability, technique and creativity will lead to an enhanced personal process of practical development.

What’s the assignment?

You will prepare a portfolio of compositions.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

MUSICAL PERSPECTIVES (20 Credits)

What’s it about?

This module offers students the opportunity to study and analyse a variety of pieces through musical history.  It will consider stylistic developments, aural analysis and understanding genres.  This module is designed to include a range of musical styles, initially by investigating historical contexts.

 What do I learn?

You will also develop and apply analytical techniques, leading to the creation of compositional models. These models then form the basis of their own compositions whilst an on-going process of self-evaluation will allow students to develop a clearer understanding of your own musical development.

What’s the assignment?

You will accumulate a listening diary of historical repertoire with analysis and a portfolio of compositions.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

Year Two (Level 5)

PERFORMANCE AND COMMUNICATION (20 Credits)

What’s it about?

Good communication is an important part of effective performance in music. Musical intentions, stylistic awareness, and collaborative skills support the development of a music project.

What do I learn?

You will explore how performance can be enhanced through understanding the significance of rehearsal techniques, and how musical understanding and theory have an impact in performance.

What’s the assignment?

Multimedia portfolio including ensemble performances and reflective blog.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

ARTIST DEVELOPMENT IN CONTEXT (20 CREDITS)

What’s it about?

The module will investigate and analyse the development of established musical artists and to acquire an understanding of a range of influential musical and non-musical factors. The research will embrace musical analysis and aesthetics as well as a range of contextual factors and aspects of music industry practice.

What do I learn?

The research will embrace musical analysis and aesthetics as well as a range of contextual factors and aspects of music industry practice. You will be expected to demonstrate the effectiveness of your research via a presentation, which provides evidence of a comprehensive understanding of the depth and breadth of artist development.

What’s the assignment?

You will give a presentation with audio visual examples, offering analytical observations regarding an artist’s stylistic development, and the context, which influenced their musical output.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

CREATIVE PRODUCTION (20 Credits)

What’s it about?

This module will develop skills in performance and production in a studio environment.

What do I learn?

The module will allow you to realise a number of production techniques and develop skills in genres, which might not be your first choice for composing. You will work independently to developing skills in musicianship, composing and arranging in a creative way, utilising recording, production, mixing and mastering skills.

What’s the assignment?

You will create two mixes from one original multitrack recording with a supporting evaluative report on the process.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

FREELANCE MUSICIAN  (20 CREDITS)

What’s it about?
This module enables students to acquire skills, knowledge and understanding in relation to freelance professional practice within the music industry.

What do I learn?
You will examine the legal and financial requirements and processes for successful self-employment and will be required to evaluate these in relation to specified freelance activity. Additionally, you will explore a range of promotional tools and strategies and will learn how to apply creative approaches to self-promotion.

What’s the assignment?
You will produce a portfolio of promotional material and a report on financial and legal issues in the music industry.

Want to know more?
To see the module description, please click here.

PRACTICAL MUSICIANSHIP (20 credits)

What’s it about?
The purpose of this module is to provide opportunities for students to acquire knowledge and develop musical skills appropriate to their needs and aspirations as musical artists.

What do I learn?
You will study musical theory including analysis of relevant exemplary work from established practitioners and will apply theoretical principles to practical music making.

What’s the assignment?
You will give a 25 minute performance presentation.

Want to know more?
To see the module description, please click here.

PRINCIPAL STUDY 2 (PERFORMANCE) (20 credits)

What’s it about?
This module builds on the performance elements of Principal Study 1 through a deeper understanding of the materials of music along with further development of musical awareness, technique, communication skills and programme design. The experiences gained through complementary workshops will facilitate improvements in confidence and professionalism.

What do I learn?
You will develop your musicianship through a variety of practical activities designed to enhance aural perception, understanding, imagination and technique. By progressing these core skills you will be better able to demonstrate their understanding of style and their ability to interpret music in performance contexts. You will additionally undertake individual instrumental/vocal tuition to focus on individual needs and to encourage a more personal interpretative approach.

What’s the assignment?
You will give a 15-20 minute performance evidencing achievement in style and interpretation, technique, programme design, communication and professionalism on stage, with a graded report from the tutor based on module engagement in workshops.

Want to know more?
To see the module description, please click here.

Year Three (Level 6)

MUSIC LEADERSHIP (15 Credits)

What’s it about?

This module offers students the opportunity to lead a music workshop in the context of the wider community, and will develop an understanding of the roles that different approaches to learning music will play within particular workshop contexts.

What do I learn?

You will develop the skills needed to deliver practical music workshops to diverse groups, and enhances greater understanding of current teaching methodologies and design effective lessons and provide appropriate supporting materials in the very creative field of music workshop delivery.

What’s the assignment?

You will produce a video of a 25-30 minute workshop with supporting documentation.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

RECORDING PROJECT  (20 CREDITS)

What’s it about?
The purpose of this module is to provide a platform for production of a portfolio recording. It may be approached in a variety of ways depending on the interests and musical focus of the individual.

What do I learn?
You will develop the skills to produce a bespoke portfolio recording, collaborating with other students at a professional level.

What’s the assignment?
You will produce a 12-15 minute portfolio of recordings with a 1500 word critical report on the process.

Want to know more?
To see the module description, please click here.

INTERACTING WITH THE POPULAR MUSIC INDUSTRY  (20 Credits)

What’s it about?

This module is designed to understand the foundations of successful employment and self-employment within education or within the wider music industry. It aims to initiate a process of career planning and preparation.

What do I learn?

You will evaluate your professional skills before and after a period of work experience that is relevant to your career aspirations. You will undertake industry research, such as interviews with practitioners, and formulate an action plan for employment or business development.

What’s the assignment?

At least 24 hours of industry work experience will be evidenced in a journal in support of a reflective report.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

PERFORMANCE PROJECT (20 CREDITS)

What’s it about?
This module’s focus is on the requirements to plan, market and perform in a public setting. It will provide the opportunity for the acquisition of skills and understanding to equip you for a professional career.

What do I learn?
You will develop your entrepreneurial skills to develop career paths through self-promotion of your performances in a style and venue of your choice.

What’s the assignment?
Portfolio of performances will showcase promotional material as well as performance skills with supporting evidence.

Want to know more?
To see the module description, please click here.

PROJECT REALISATION (40 credits)

What’s it about?
This module supports the conceptualisation and realisation of a self-directed music related project, demonstrating independent study and research appropriate to level 6.

What do I learn?
Following an agreed proposal, you may choose a traditional approach to qualitative research or may prefer to adopt a practice-based methodology.

What’s the assignment?
To facilitate flexibility in assessment and personal learning preferences, you may also choose to present your report in written, electronic or audio/visual formats, or in a combination of these. Practice-based outputs can include creative musical work.

Want to know more?
To see the module description, please click here.

Module Schedule Structure

Structure of 3 years full time, 2 years intensive and 4 years part time:

Semester 1 (Trimester 1)Semester 1 (Extension)Semester 2 (Trimester 2)Trimester 3
3 years full-time

 

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2 years intensive

 

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4 years part-time

 

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Disclaimer

All Fees and prices shown on the website are for courses starting in the 2021-22 academic year and are correct at the time of entering/printing information, however these may be subject to change. The College cannot accept legal or financial liability as a result of any such changes.

The course information describes programmes offered by University Centre Colchester at Colchester Institute. The College takes all reasonable steps to provide courses as described, but cannot guarantee provision. The information is for guidance and does not form any part of a contract.

The College reserves the right to update and amend information as and when necessary. University Centre Colchester at Colchester Institute will do its best to provide the courses shown, but may have to modify or withdraw a course depending on customer demand and other factors.