BA (Hons) Popular Music

Welcome to Popular Music

The BA (Hons) Popular Music programme of study will provide you with an exciting learning experience where you can engage with performing, recording and composing music and enhance your understanding of how the music business works – and, most importantly, how it might work for you!

This is an exciting programme of study over three years for the contemporary rock/pop musician seeking a career in the music industry. Areas of study include Performance, Song Writing/Composition, Music Technology and Music Business. Students will develop a wide range of competencies which will equip them for entry into the popular music industry or for further study at postgraduate level.

Course enquiries: 01206 712777
Ask a question
Course IntroductionModulesEntry RequirementsGraduate CareersAdditional

The BA (Hons) in Popular Music programme offers students the opportunity to develop skills and knowledge in relation to performance, song writing/ composition, music technology and the music business.

The programme has a vocational bias and a high level of relevance to actual current practice in the music industry which will help students to become practitioners who are confident and proficient performers, able to create original music, use technology both in performance, recording and composition and who have a highly developed understanding of the music business.

Year three includes focused work in subjects chosen by students from a range of options so that specialised skills and interests can be developed which are relevant to career aspirations. Whilst maintaining a clear professional relevance, students will also be expected to develop transferable and intellectual skills that will facilitate progression to higher levels of study or movement into employment.

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

The course operates on a modular basis that provides flexibility and choice. Each module is worth a specified number of credits, with most modules counting for 30 or 15 academic credits, 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.

Compulsory modules enable you to cover key subject knowledge whilst and optional allow you to develop your own interests. The number of optional modules you can take depends on the number of core modules at a given level. Our teaching is informed by research, professional practice and industry engagement and modules change periodically to reflect developments in the discipline.

Year One (Level 4) Year Two (Level 5) Year Three (Level 6)

A minimum of 64 UCAS points (2017-18 UCAS Tariff). An appropriate level of practical performance skill and experience (instrumental or vocal) is required. Entry is normally by audition/interview which will include instrumental or vocal performance and consideration of previous experience. Overseas candidates may submit recordings and other evidence.

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:

  • 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.

Graduates may 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.

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 practical’s. Seminars enable smaller group discussions to develop understanding of topics covered in lectures. You will use and have access to industry-standard software and facilities throughout your course.

When not attending lectures, seminars and laboratory or other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-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.

Apply Full-time
Apply Part-time
BA (Hons) Popular Music - Full-time
LevelLevel 6
LocationColchester
Duration3 Years
UCAS CodeW341
Academic Year2018-2019
Study ModeFull-Time
CampusUniversity Centre Colchester
Start DateSeptember 2018
Fee(s)2018-19: £9,250 per year
BA (Hons) Popular Music - Part-time
LevelLevel 6
LocationColchester
Duration6 Years
Course CodeZH3BAPMP01
Academic Year2018-2019
Study ModePart-Time
CampusUniversity Centre Colchester
Start DateSeptember 2018
Fee(s)2018-19: £4,625 per year
Year One (Level 4)

Recording and Digital Production Techniques (30 Credits)

What’s it about?

It is an introduction to Studio Recording, mixing and mastering. This is aimed at musicians with the focus on practical skills which can be used for basic mobile/home recording and in professional recording studios.

What do I learn?

You will learn the basics of multi-track recording techniques, sequencing and sampling. The module covers basic recording and mixing/mastering techniques along with sequencing and sampling production processes

What’s the assignment?

Record, mix and master a song with a report.

To see the module description, please click here.

CONTEXTUAL STUDIES IN POPULAR MUSIC (15 Credits)

What’s it about?

Let’s talk about sex…and religion, fashion, politics, civil rights, censorship, economics and war! All of these subjects, and more, are discussed in relation to the music that represents them and artists that are linked to them.

What do I learn?

You will learn about the historical, social, political and cultural developments of popular music and explore some of the aesthetic concepts that underpin it.

What’s the assignment?

There is only one element, which is a presentation (20 minutes) on a contextual issue (s) of your choice supported by research.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

EARNING A LIVING IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY (15 Credits) 

What’s it about?

You will be learning about the nature of the music industry and the various roles within it. This could be aimed at students interested in pursuing a career as professional musicians as well as those interested in other occupations in the industry.

What do I learn?

You will be learning about different opportunities for working in the music industry and a realistic and structured approach to earning potential through the production of a personal business proposal.

What’s the assignment?

There are two things to submit. One is a written report on the media industry (800 words), the other is a 3,000 word Business Portfolio outlining in detail a personal business or earning opportunity of the learner’s choosing.

To see the module description, please click here.

Year Two (Level 5)

ROCK, POP AND RELATED GENRES (15 Credits)

What’s it about?

This module is about analysing musical developments since the early 1950s. This includes exploring connections between styles, harmonies, and rhythm, and how each core genre develops over time. Genres include Modal and Free Jazz, Punk, Hip-Hop, and Film Music.

What do I learn?

You will learn to analyse musical characteristics to evaluate their significance in the development of popular music that will result in well-researched logical arguments.

What’s the assignment?

There are two elements to this: One is an essay on a genre of your choice (1,500 words) and the second is a Viva Voce (10-12 mins) where you will be expected to discuss the genres delivered during the module.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

THE SELF EMPLOYED MUSICIAN (POP) (15 Credits)

What’s it about?

Today’s musicians and producers need to be in charge of their own careers. You will be learning about the nature of the music industry and the laws and obligations that the self-employed musician must deal with.

What do I learn?

You will be learning about the various laws that affect the modern musician, from contract and tax law to health and safety, as well as developing a personal approach to self-marketing and promotion.

What’s the assignment?

There are two assignments to submit. One is a pair of complementary written reports on contemporary music business laws and personal finance organisation (1,200 words).  The other is a Portfolio and student-designed Promotion Pack demonstrating a personal approach to and understanding of self-marketing.

To see the module description, please click here.

MUSICAL SKILLS AND DEVELOPMENT 2 (30 Credits)

What’s it about?

There are three aspects to this module: musical performance, musicianship skills, and personal development planning (PDP).

What do I learn?

Building on the Musical Skills and Development 1 module, and through a combination of instrumental / vocal lessons, performance workshops and ensemble activities, you will develop an enhanced technique and musicianship in support of musical performance. You will continue to develop your aural awareness and use of musical notation along with an approach to PDP that supports your wider learning and starts to consider career planning.

What’s the assignment?

You will prepare two performances, create and perform a portfolio of compositions for your instrument, and plan and later reflect on your learning during the academic year (1,600 words).

To see the module description, please click here.

Demo Production (30 CREDITS)

What’s it about?

Following on from Recording and Digital Production Techniques, this module offers you the opportunity to record 15 minutes of original music whilst also improving your knowledge of recording, mixing and mastering.

What do I learn?

You will develop your song writing skills, expand on your ability to perform in a recording studio environment and continue to work on your skills in production and recording.

What’s the assignment?

Record, mix and master 15 minutes of original music and include a report on the processes behind this.

To see the module description, please click here.

Optional Modules

ADVANCED CREATIVE PRODUCTION (15 Credits)

What’s it about?

This module is about developing skills as a producer through studio multitrack recordings and advanced digital manipulation to provide expert mixing, mastering and re-mixing for an ever changing recording industry.

What do I learn?

You will learn to evaluate and creatively apply digital historical and contemporary post- production techniques.

What’s the assignment?

There is only one element: A portfolio of two distinct mixes from one multitrack recording and a supportive evaluation of 750 words.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

Music for Media (15 Credits)

What’s it about?

An introduction to composing for a visual stimulus, including adverts, computer games, and films.

What do I learn?

You will be introduced to composing to a brief and working with moving images. Your compositions will need to react to the images on the screen. We will also work on developing production techniques.

What’s the assignment?

2 original compositions for 2 given stimuli and a website to showcase these products.

To see the module description, please click here.

IMPROVISATION WORKSHOP (15 Credits)

What’s it about?

You will undertake a detailed practical study of improvisation.

What do I learn?

You will learn a variety of techniques for developing improvising skills along with the means to use them effectively to create and shape engaging performances.

What’s the assignment?

Your improvisation skills are assessed in a 12-15 minute performance. Improvisation must feature heavily but the choice of musical style or genre is up to you.

To see the module description, please click here.

Year Three (Level 6)

RESEARCH PROJECT (15 Credits)

What’s it about?

This module deals with the preparation and submission of a self-directed music-related project that demonstrates independent study and research.

What do I learn?

You will learn the concepts of project negotiation and how to analyse research data through exploring different methodologies to raise questions, identify limitations, and provide suggestions for further study.

What’s the assignment?

There is only one element: A research report of 4,000 words or a presentation/multimedia submission, or a combination of either.

Want to know more?

To see the module description, please click here.

MUSICAL SKILLS AND DEVELOPMENT 3 (30 Credits)

What’s it about?

There are three aspects to this module: ensemble musical performance, musicianship skills, and personal development planning (PDP).

What do I learn?

Building on the Musical Skills and Development 2 module, and through a combination of instrumental / vocal rehearsal and performance workshops, you will develop a high level of technique and musicianship in support of ensemble performance. By analysing music that you have a strong interest in, you will also develop new creative ideas for composition or improvisation. In PDP, you will reflect on your university experience as a whole from the point of view of potential employment.

What’s the assignment?

You will prepare an ensemble performance, provide a 20-25 minute presentation on your creative process in composition or improvisation, and reflect on your personal development as an undergraduate student (1,600 words).

To see the module description, please click here.

ENTERING EMPLOYMENT IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY (15 Credits)

What’s it about?

You will be receiving firsthand experience of working in the music industry in depth through the undertaking of an active work placement and developing business and practical skills in the music industry.

What do I learn?

You will be learning about the real-world challenges of working in the media industry by personally negotiating a project with an employer (or self-employed opportunity) lasting between 24-48 hours.

What’s the assignment?

At the successful completion of the work project, the student will produce a critical evaluation of their learning experience through a reflective report (3000 words), reflecting upon the contrasts between theory and practice and determining their personal readiness to enter the music industry after completion.

To see the module description, please click here.

DIGITAL PROCESSING IN LIVE PERFORMANCE (30 Credits)

What’s it about?

In this module you will learn how to control digital sound processing in your own live performance. Typically, this will be through use of music technology including software that is designed for this purpose in combination with hardware controllers.

What do I learn?

You will learn a range of methods for manipulating and controlling sound in order to create and shape engaging performances. This could be a solo performance or an ensemble.

What’s the assignment?

You will first have to develop a portfolio of techniques for digital sound processing; these later become the basis for a 20-25 minute live performance.

To see the module description, please click here.

Library Music (15 CREDITS)

What’s it about?

An introduction to a career in library and production music, this involves composing, recording, production and mastering.

What do I learn?

How to compose to a given brief and create a composition which meets the needs both musically and technically for music production houses.

What’s the assignment?

2 original compositions with edits and 2 “soundtrack” compositions with edits.

To see the module description, please click here.

Independent Recording Project (15 Credits)

What’s it about?

This is your opportunity to create near professional level recordings. The purpose of these can vary from student to student but they should ideally be used to help you progress in your chosen pathway as a musician.

What do I learn?

Advanced recording, mixing and mastering techniques for a range of genres and purposes.

What’s the assignment?

15 Minutes of original music to a near professional standard.

To see the module description, please click here.

Additional Year 3 Optional Modules May include:

  • Performance Studies 3
  • Solo Performance Project B
  • Music in the Classroom
  • Music Education Placement
  • Arts Planning
  • Music Management and Promotion
  • Independent Recording Project
  • Library Music Portfolio
  • Music Teaching in Private Practice
  • Workshops in Music

 



Open events
Places to live
About finances
Academic calendar
Prospectus request
View School of Music

Disclaimer

All Fees and prices shown on the website are for courses starting in the 2017-18 academic year and 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. Fees for courses starting in the 2018-19 academic year will be added to the website from June 2018.

The course information describes programmes offered by 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. 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.