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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 2023.
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:
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.
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.