FdA Popular Music

Welcome to Popular Music

The FdA 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 two 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

An exciting programme of study over two 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.

The FdA 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. Students will develop a wide range of competencies which will equip them for entry into the popular music industry or for further study.

There is a strong vocational bias and a high level of relevance to current practice in the popular music industry which will help students to become practitioners who are confident and proficient performers, able to create original music and use current technologies successfully in music making. There is also an emphasis on music business studies providing knowledge, skills and experience which will help students to manage their own business affairs effectively. Work experience is a central element of the course providing students with the opportunity to plan and develop a career through practical experience.

The course operates on a modular basis that provides flexibility and choice. Most modules count for 15 academic credits, with each credit taken equating to a total study time of around 10 hours, which includes scheduled teaching, independent study and assessment activity.

Full-time students 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.

Each module is worth a specified number of credits: you take a combination of compulsory and optional modules, enabling you to cover key subject knowledge while developing 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)

Normally a minimum of 32 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.

FdA Popular Music 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. Roles have included performer, composer, teacher, manager, music technologist.

Successful completion of the Foundation Degree in Popular Music allows for progression to year three of the BA (Hons) in Popular Music. Further progression is possible at MA level and higher, or to PGCE courses for entry into the teaching profession.

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
FdA Popular Music - Full-time
LevelLevel 5
LocationColchester
Duration2 years
UCAS CodeW340
Academic Year2018-2019
Study ModeFull-Time
CampusUniversity Centre Colchester
Start DateSeptember 2018
AttendanceThe full-time course requires attendance throughout the week including evenings and weekends. The course is physically and mentally demanding and requires learners that are disciplined and committed.
Fee(s)2018-19: £9,250
Year One (Level 4)

Recording and Digital Production Techniques (15 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)

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.

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).

Want to know more?

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.

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.