Our Higher Education programmes have a strong vocational bias with a high level of relevance to professional practice in the musical and media industries and are designed to develop proficient and versatile practitioners. Music and Music Technology Qualifications are available in Music Education, Popular Music and Film Music and Soundtrack Production. Our lecturers are active professionals in the industry, composing for film, television and radio, as well as working in live music and theatre and our Higher Education Centre provides a great range of specialist facilities including well-equipped teaching spaces and private study areas.
This course is for students looking to develop a musical career with a clear focus on teaching. The programme has a unique design that examines education in both the private and public sectors. Modules in 1-1 teaching, workshop skills and leadership are delivered alongside modules in classroom teaching, educational theory and practice. A foundation of core musical and creative skills is developed in the first two years of study, whilst in the third year of the programme students have the opportunity to follow their own musical or educational interests by realising a substantial project.
1-1 lessons instrumental/vocal lessons allow students to develop their performance skills whilst the experience gained through self-study of an unfamiliar instrument encourages a greater awareness of the needs of those new to musical study. Students participate in ensembles by playing, writing and conducting.
A range of musical styles are examined from the classical, world, jazz and pop traditions; this develops deeper analytical skills along with a broad musical outlook. Musical techniques are then applied creatively in composition and arranging. As students progress through the course they are required to observe and reflect on different approaches to music teaching. This prepares the ground for experience gained in a school placement and in the delivery of 1-1 lessons and a workshop.
A substantial negotiated project in year 3 allows students to pursue their own particular interests by undertaking an in-depth and detailed study.
The BA (Hons) in Popular Music 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.
This 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 at postgraduate level.
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 programme is designed to train the students in the musical, technical and analytical skills needed to succeed in a variety of media industry positions including self-employed musician, composer, conductor, arranger, sound designer, mixing engineer. Whilst studying a variety of traditional and modern techniques, students have the opportunity to extend their existing music and music technology skills at the same time as expanding their knowledge of other practices such as orchestration, vocal mixing and musical direction. Members of staff are working practitioners in the industry, working in live music, composing for film, television, video games, the internet, radio, theatre and with sound companies.
Phil Toms – Head of Music
Phil Toms is the Head of School for Digital Media, Music and Performing Arts and lectures on BA (Hons) Musical Theatre and other degree programmes at University Centre Colchester.
Phil is known internationally as a multi-instrumentalist, composer and conductor and works across all genres. In addition to conducting musical theatre productions and choirs in East Anglia, he is often found in the pit on keyboards or double bass. He is an authority on “Wicked”.
In addition to being passionate about films and film music, which he collects and fervently analyses, Phil is part of the creative team behind “Doctor Puppet” – a US/UK animated fan series featuring the characters of Doctor Who. Having co-hosted an award winning radio show, Phil is now the daily film critic on BBC Essex at 1:30pm weekdays.
- Suite of 28 Macs running Logic, Reason, Sibelius and Soundtrack Pro
- Two main recording studios
- Concert hall
- Bookable practice rooms for bands and orchestral ensembles.