Foundation Degree Popular Music (Awarded by Birmingham City University)

The UK music sector continues to grow. Not only does it add to the UK’s culture scene, it is also a major contributor to the economy. According to a 2019 Music by Numbers report, the industry was worth £5.2 billion and employed nearly 200,000 people. This two-year course provides the training and skills necessary for a wide range of careers within the music industry. You will develop understanding of the commercial music sector, study musical output and techniques, and improve your creativity, professionalism and practical musicianship to a level needed for music industry employment. This Foundation Degree is focused on developing the practical and transferable skills required to make you industry-ready.
Duration:2 Year(s)
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About the course

Awarded by Birmingham City University, this is a high level course taught by experienced staff and with excellent resources. Three recording studios, seven rehearsal rooms, two sequencing suites and a 600-capacity working venue on site, you will enjoy the exciting, creative opportunities and a supportive environment. Your principal study can be in performance, music technology, live sound or composition. Additionally the course takes a holistic approach to musical study, with every student developing a broad range of skillsets required to become a successful music professional. Assessments are varied and innovative, and often modelled on real industry practice. You will learn through workshops, lectures, recording sessions, seminars and tutorials. You will study the theory, wider contexts and contemporary issues surrounding the modern day music industry and there will be regular visits from industry experts and artists. You will also develop the musical and creative skills required by a performer, composer or producer, learn how to work well in teams and demonstrate leadership, organisation and decision-making skills. This programme will help you to develop a profile suitable for an artist looking for employment within the music industry and reflect on individual progress as an artist, learning how to improve along the way. All students receive weekly one-to-one instrumental sessions, delivered by our highly qualified visiting instrumental specialists on vocals, guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards.

Modules studied are: Year One
• MIDI, audio and studio techniques (M.A.S.T.)
• Working live (performance or live sound)
• Understanding style
• Show me the money (music industry)
• Technical development (instrument, music technology or composition)
• Creative portfolio
• MAST (MIDI, Audio, Studio Techniques) (20 credits) The aim of this module is to develop music-specific techniques and understanding that provide a solid basis for your development on the programme. Being the first module on the programme it has an introductory role, but the skills it requires you to demonstrate will be central to many subsequent modules. The skills in question include music theory, MIDI input, audio recording, use of music software (e.g. Logic) and acoustic audio recording in a studio.
• Contextual Study in Action (20 credits) This module introduces students to the academic skills required in an undergraduate Honours programme, through the tuition of research skills, socio-contextual and musicological study, and the presentation of formal academic writing. In addition, students have the opportunity to illustrate their musical research and contextual understanding in a practical way through the medium of a linked original composition.
• Working Live (20 credits) This module provides students with tuition and an assessment framework in which they learn and rehearse the personal, technical, production and performance skills needed in a live musical situation, either as a performer or live music engineer. Delivery will cover both live performance and live sound techniques in distinct sessions, with content both on underpinning knowledge and the opportunity to develop the necessary skills in practice. Students ultimately choose which discipline to be assessed in (performance or live sound).
• The Music Industry (20 credits) This module focuses on relating and discussing the underpinning knowledge of the current music industry, its structures, organizations,

What do I need?

You will need to be aged 18 years or over on or before 31 August of the academic year the course commences. You must have English Language GCSE at grade 4 or higher, plus 48 UCAS points at A-level or equivalent, preferably including music, which may be gained from the following qualifications:"
• 2 x GCE ‘A’ Level passes
• 1 x GCE ‘A’ Level pass plus AS level passes in appropriate subjects
• BTEC National Diploma or Extended Diploma
• BTEC National Certificate
• A Level 3 Diploma or equivalent such as NVQ, GNVQ, International Baccalaureate, Scottish Certificate of Education
• City and Guilds, Technical Baccalaureate
• A recognised (Kite marked) Access Course
• ABRSM/Rockschool
• Other relevant international qualifications As part of the application you will also need to undergo an audition, qualification check and supply suitable references. Students with significant, relevant experience in place of formal qualifications may be accepted onto the course subject to a successful audition. International applicants will be asked to demonstrate equivalents of the above qualification levels and an IELTs score of 6 or above. To find out more about UCAS points, please visit Click here

Where can I progress next?

Upon successful completion of this 2-year Foundation Degree course, subject to appropriate credits being achieved, students can progress onto the 3rd year of the B.A. (Hons) Popular Music degree to complete their undergraduate study, or use the industry-focused content of the FDA directly to seek work as a professional musician. (You may alternatively transfer to the BA (Hons) in Popular Music at the end of year 1, subject to achievement and staff approval.) In the music industry itself, South & City graduates have progressed successfully to work with BBC Radio 1/1Xtra, BBC Introducing, Craig David, Sydney Opera House, X-factor, the Royal Variety Performance, Urban Audio, Blitz Games, music management and a range of ongoing corporate and independent music opportunities.

Foundation Degree Popular Music (Awarded by Birmingham City University)
Career opportunities
Foundation Degree Popular Music (Awarded by Birmingham City University)
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Foundation Degree Popular Music (Awarded by Birmingham City University)
Digbeth Campus
Start date:
16 September 2024
Study mode:
Full Time
Contact Apply
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