Programme Specification for BMus Popular Music Performance

This programme is only offered at: The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance, London.

Final award

BMus (Hons)

Intermediate awards available

Cert HE, Dip HE

UCAS code

 W315

Details of professional body accreditation

 JAMES Accreditation

Relevant QAA Benchmark statements

Music

Date specification last up-dated

July 2014

Profile

The summary - UCAS programme profile

BANNER BOX:

Taught at The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance (ICMP) by some of the finest educators and practitioners in the world of contemporary music, this dynamic, relevant and challenging programme combines the development of professional musicianship skills with the provision of the tools and knowledge required for graduates to develop and sustain a career in the modern music industry.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

  • 200 UCAS tariff points or equivalent; or
  • BTEC National Diploma (at suitable pass levels); or
  • The Institute Diploma in Popular Music Performance (at suitable pass levels)
  • IB 26 points
  • IELTs 5.5 with 5.5 in each element, or equivalent

Applications will be made through UCAS. All applicants will be expected to audition:

The audition will include Performance, Aural, Instrumental Technique, Sight Reading, and Harmony and Theory. Applicants will also attend an interview with the Programme Leader or Head of Instrument.

Note: the audition is free of charge

Applicants must demonstrate an appropriate level of instrumental performance skills to be eligible for entry onto the programme. The following grades are given as guidelines to indicate the general standard expected of applicants at audition:

  • Grade 8 Performance
  • Grade 6 Sight Reading,
  • Grade 6 Instrumental Techniques
  • Grade 6 Harmony and Theory
  • Grade 6 Aural

At UEL we are committed to working together to build a learning community founded on equality of opportunity - a learning community which celebrates the rich diversity of our student and staff populations. Discriminatory behaviour has no place in our community and will not be tolerated. Within a spirit of respecting difference, our equality and diversity policies promise fair treatment and equality of opportunity for all. In pursuing this aim, we want people applying for a place at UEL to feel valued and know that the process and experience will be transparent and fair and no one will be refused access on the grounds of any protected characteristic stated in the Equality Act 2010

ABOUT THE PROGRAMME

What is Popular Music Performance?

This BMus (Hons) programme is validated by UEL and taught by The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance.

ICMP was the first to offer education for popular musicians in the UK and has been offering innovative full and part-time programmes (as well as private tuition) to students of popular music for over 20 years.

ICMP has always been at the forefront of these educational possibilities, ensuring that, for the first time, career-minded players were able to study on a full-time basis specialising in guitar, drums, vocals and bass performance and be awarded a University qualification.

Being located in London enables you to learn from, and interact with, a staff of leading educators and professional musicians. There is a wide variety of musical activities with which to engage and opportunities to work in professional settings, and the programme is responsive to the demands of today’s ever-changing music industry.

Popular Music Performance at UEL

Programme Summary for BMus (Hons) Popular Music Performance

London is quite simply one of the music capitals of the world, and if you wish to build a career as a guitarist, bassist, vocalist or drummer, why would you not study at its heart! This programme is the UK’s pre-eminent BMus degree programme for musicians wishing to reach a professional standard and build a sustainable career in the music industry. Key benefits include:

  • Conservatoire Standard – serious, demanding and challenging
  • Enables the development of high levels of instrumental skill and music literacy
  • Develops professional musicianship across diverse range of styles and scenarios
  • More contact teaching hours than many popular music degrees
  • Offers students the opportunity to gain LSRL (teaching Licentiate)
  • Preparation for being a professional and versatile musician

Programme structure

This three year BMus programme is delivered primarily through practice and performance based modules, which constitute approximately 75% of the activities.

All students follow a core programme in the first two years, including modules which focus on establishing a common music skills base in performance, theory and practice, technology, stylistic awareness, collaboration, popular music history and songwriting.

In the second year, students continue with skills development in performance and production, alongside a module which examines the business and economic aspects of the music industry and its component parts, including standard practice and an arranging and composing module which provides an opportunity to explore writing for commercial scenarios.

Year 3 provides the opportunity to study practical music skills to an advanced level, including individual and ensemble performance, and simulated ‘real world’ environments and situations.

All students will complete a level 3 dissertation.

Project options within the third year of the programme offer numerous opportunities for the construction of individual learning routes so that students can develop more specialist skills in their chosen area of music study (e.g. production project, event management). There is also a unique opportunity to also engage in the practical and theoretical study of teaching via the Licentiate option in year 3.

Learning environment

The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance operates out of a purpose built facility in North West London, the layout of which was designed to be physically accessible, fully conducive to the learning experience, and comprises of the following:

  • Live performance studios; each air conditioned, sound proofed studio is fully equipped with professional standard PA, audio playback, a range of professional standard instrument backline, and drum kit.  The largest performance studio can accommodate up to seventy students.
  • Specialist teaching rooms; each air conditioned room is fully equipped with professional standard PA, audio playback, and professional standard instrument backline. Some rooms have electronic drum kits (Roland V-drums) for student use – although all classes for drummers are on acoustic kits.
  • iMac Technology Suite; air conditioned. Each iMac work station is fully equipped with the latest software and hardware from M-Audio, Logic Audio, Apple, Line 6, Roland, Sibelius, including professional standard keyboard. There are also two Roland V-drum kits for laying down drum tracks via Midi.
  • Recording studio - Linked via Roland’s Digital Snake to a live performance room, the studio is based around a Yamaha digital desk and G5 running Logic. It can record 16 channels at broadcast quality and outboard includes Lexicon, TL Audio, Line-6, Roland and Akai, and mics by Shure.
  • Lecture Room - This room is equipped with ICT and is used to deliver lecture and seminar classes as well as video and film presentations.
  • Resource Centre - The Learning Resource Centre (also known as the LRC or library) is stocked with all of the key programme texts for students to use on a reference basis, and features computer stations where students can research and work in a quiet and relaxed environment. Students may also either of the Tech suites, both of which are equipped with internet enabled iMac workstations.
  • Keyboard Suite - comprising twelve individual high spec Roland keyboard stations.
  • Drum practice booths; each air-conditioned custom designed booth is fully equipped with a professional acoustic drum kit, drum machine, audio playback, and headphone mixer system.
  • Student Area; furnished with a mixture of sofas, chairs and tables an area where students can relax in their lunch breaks, read the latest music press or jam and network with fellow classmates.

All of the above facilities are available outside to timetabled hours for practice free of charge to Institute students.

Instruments - We hold a wide range of guitars, basses, mics and percussion (both large and small), that is available for use in performances. For the study of percussion the school has a wide range of large and small instruments (from Congas to triangles) available for use.

ICMP has a long-standing policy of inviting industry professionals to address the student body via master classes and lectures. This provides a unique opportunity for students to learn from external specialists - performers, producers, music business experts, educators, entertainment agencies, Musicians’ Union advisors, Musical Directors, Conductors etc.
Students will be taught through a variety of teaching and learning methods including lectures, small tutorial groups, performance workshops, hands-on technology laboratory tutorials, group work, student-led classes/presentations, independent learning and self-directed study.

The Institute understands the commitment that students are making to their future, and we are equally committed to creating the best environment and conditions for them to undertake their studies. We work in close partnership with some of the greatest names in the music industry to provide our students with access to the widest range of professional equipment.
Industry Partners. If you want to be a professional you need to play on professional equipment! We are proud that many of the world greatest manufacturers choose to support our students in their education, including;

Mapex, Yamaha, Ampeg, Gibson, Peavey, Musicman, Ernie Ball, Paiste, Vic Firth, Shure, Roland, Hughes & Ketner, DW, Peerless Guitars, Zildjian, Line 6, Remo, Crate, DWP, Marshall, Mesa Boogie, Trace Elliot, Apple, Sabian, M Audio, Sibelius, Shure.

Assessment

As a performance-based programme, the emphasis will be on practical assessment (including performance), constituting approximately 60% of the assessment activity.

Music Practice will be assessed twice per semester, via practical assessment (Techniques, Reading, Styles, Keyboards) or written work (Aural and Transcribing, Harmony and Theory).

Music Performance will be assessed via continuous assessment. There will also be an end of year recital. (History and origins will be assessed via portfolio, typically including written submission, presentation and independent research.)

Music Production will be assessed via practical assignment. (Business will be assessed via portfolio typically including written submission, presentation and independent research.)

Work experience/placement opportunities

Being located in London enables students to learn from a staff of leading educators and top professional musicians, who have developed performance-led curriculum in line with the demands of today’s ever changing music industry, and to interact and network with professional musicians throughout the programme. There are a wide variety of musical activities in which to engage, and opportunities to work in professional settings. There are also numerous informal opportunities for students to work with professional musicians throughout the programme.

Project work

Students will have the opportunity, throughout the programme, to submit assignments of their own songwriting, arranging, production, and composing work.

Students will also have the opportunity to study a style/period/artist for presentation.

Performance is continually assessed.

Students will have the opportunity to engage themselves in an independent and self-directed research project as part of the dissertation module.

Project options will provide the opportunity to compose/produce/compile a portfolio of original compositions for stage or studio (Production Project), assume responsibility for planning, organising and managing a music event (Event Management), gain a music teaching qualification (Licentiate).

Added value

There are a wide variety of musical activities in which to engage, and opportunities to work in professional settings. There are also numerous informal opportunities for students to work with professional musicians throughout the programme.

Students will have the opportunity, throughout the programme, to submit assignments of their own songwriting, arranging, production, and composing work, and the opportunity to study a style/period/artist for presentation. They will further be able to engage themselves in an independent and self-directed research project as part of the dissertation module.

The Institute benefits from close working relationships with not only equipment manufacturers but also musical directors, supervisors and music business specialists.

One of the most exciting parts of the student experience at the Institute is the regularly scheduled programme of masterclasses, demonstrations, seminars and clinics. The Institute has a long-standing policy of inviting industry professionals to address the student body through these events, providing a unique opportunity for students to learn from external specialists - performers, producers, music business experts, educators, entertainment agencies, Musicians’ Union advisors, Musical Directors, Conductors etc.

IS THIS THE PROGRAMME FOR ME?

This is the programme for you if you are interested in...

  • Popular Music Performance, including the study of the music industry, music technology, music business, event management, music production, music teaching / education
  • Making music and performing, both as an individual and as part of an ensemble
  • Working with music technology, songwriting, arranging and composing music, recording original material and teaching music
  • Developing and extremely high standard of musicianship and the ability to apply specialist music skills, to collaborate effectively as a member of an ensemble/band, to develop an advanced level of creativity and expression in composition or performance, and
  • Developing an appreciation of the commercial nature of the popular music industry. 

Your future career

As well as producing an extremely high standard of musicianship, the programme will also provide students with the opportunity to develop other relevant skills that will enable them to work in numerous professional areas such as composition, programming, arranging and teaching. Students will also have a sound knowledge of the current business practices that operate within the industry.

Successful graduates would be expected to sustain career progression within the industry and adjunctive disciplines. Typically, these would include employment as a;

  • Studio/session artist
  • Performing artist
  • Theatre musician
  • Commercial arranger / composer (song, film, TV, radio, jingles etc)
  • Teacher
  • Postgraduate student
  • Publishing and journalism
  • Music business management

How we support you

Students are fully supported throughout their programme by professional and experienced personnel from both the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance and the University of East London. Institute personnel provide day to day advice on a wide range of practical matters, including accommodation, learning resources, library access, career development and general well being. Students, in addition, have access to the extensive support services provided by the University, including advice regarding accommodation, student finance, career development, study skills development, library and learning resources, general counselling and immigration advice, sports and fitness, disability, dyslexia and chaplaincy.

All students are allocated a personal tutor throughout the programme.

A wide variety of professional musicians are involved in the delivery of the programme. Students learn from an experienced and committed faculty of leading educators and top professional musicians who have developed performance-led curriculum in line with the demands of today’s ever changing music industry. This ensures that students are able to interact and network with professional musicians and experienced industry practitioners throughout the programme. Importantly, there are a wide variety of musical activities in which to engage, including showcase events and public performance opportunities, and opportunities to work in professional settings.

Bonus factors

There are a wide variety of musical activities in which to engage, and opportunities to work in professional settings. There are also numerous informal opportunities for students to work with professional musicians throughout the programme.

Students will have the opportunity, throughout the programme, to submit assignments of their own songwriting, arranging, production, and composing work, and the opportunity to study a style/period/artist for presentation. They will further be able to engage themselves in an independent and self-directed research project as part of the dissertation module.

The Institute benefits from close working relationships with not only equipment manufacturers but also musical directors, supervisors and music business specialists.

One of the most exciting parts of the student experience at the Institute is the regularly scheduled programme of masterclasses, demonstrations, seminars and clinics. The Institute has a long-standing policy of inviting industry professionals to address the student body through these events, providing a unique opportunity for students to learn from external specialists - performers, producers, music business experts, educators, entertainment agencies, Musicians’ Union advisors, Musical Directors, Conductors etc.

Outcomes

Programme aims and learning outcomes

What is this programme designed to achieve?

This programme is designed to give you the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge required to build a sustainable career in the music industry:

The principle aims of the programme are:

  • To establish an advanced instrumental/vocal technique through the expansion of an advanced repertoire.
  • To enhance creative performance and presentation skills as well as consolidating the ability to assimilate and convey interpretative issues through live ensemble performance;
  • To further develop response to theoretical and analytical concepts;
  • To co-ordinate ensemble performance through interaction, collaboration and co-operation and achieve an appropriate level of interpretative maturity;
  • To further develop the ability to create and produce original music.

What will you learn?

Knowledge

  • Advanced skills in reflexive musicianship, including perception, sensitivity, history, tradition, and context
  • Extensive subject–specific knowledge, including a critical understanding of subject-specific resources, and the ability to develop original argument
  • Originality and insight in both practical and academic contexts, and the ability to demonstrate independence in the execution of advanced and challenging tasks

Thinking skills

  • An understanding of the commercial nature of the popular music industry
  • An appreciation of the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge
  • An advanced level of communication, imagination, creativity and expression

Subject-Based Practical skills

  • An advanced deployment of practical music skill
  • The ability to apply specialist music skills
  • Developed IT skills to an advanced level, including the ability to transfer elements of this skill to other areas

Skills for life and work (general skills)

  • The ability to work independently, organise work effectively, exercise initiative and personal responsibility, and manage personal learning
  • The ability to collaborate effectively as a member of a team
  • The learning ability needed to undertake appropriate further training, whether formally (institution-based) or informally (professional development)

Structure

The programme structure

Introduction

All programmes are credit-rated to help you to understand the amount and level of study that is needed.

One credit is equal to 10 hours of directed study time (this includes everything you do e.g. lecture, seminar and private study).

Credits are assigned to one of 5 levels:

  • 0 - equivalent in standard to GCE 'A' level and is intended to prepare students for year one of an undergraduate degree programme
  • 1 - equivalent in standard to the first year of a full-time undergraduate degree programme
  • 2 - equivalent in standard to the second year of a full-time undergraduate degree programme
  • 3 - equivalent in standard to the third year of a full-time undergraduate degree programme
  • M - equivalent in standard to a Masters degree

Credit rating

The overall credit-rating of this programme is 360 credits.

Typical duration

The expected duration of this programme is 3 years when attended in full-time mode. It is possible to move from a full-time mode of study to a part-time mode of study and vice-versa, to accommodate any external factors such as financial constraints or domestic commitments. Many of our students make use of this flexibility and this may impact on the overall duration of their study period.

How the teaching year is divided

The teaching year begins in September and ends in June, but it may be possible to join at the start of Semester B, in February. A student, normally registering for 6 modules in one year (3 modules in each Semester) would do so in a full-time attendance mode of study.

What you will study when

This programme is part of a modular degree scheme. A typical full-time student will take six 20 credit modules per year. An honours degree student will complete six modules at level one, six at level 2 and six at level 3.

It is possible to bring together modules from one subject with modules from another to produce a combined programme. Subjects are offered in a variety of combinations:

  • Single - 120 credits at levels one, two and three
  • Major - 80 credits at levels one, two and three
  • Joint - 60 credits at levels one, two and three
  • Minor - 40 credits at levels one, two and three

Modules are defined as:

  • Core - Must be taken
  • Option - Select from a range of identified modules within the field
  • University wide option - Select from a wide range of modules across the University

The following are the core and optional requirements for the single and major routes for this programme

LEVEL

MODULE CODE   

TITLE

CREDITS

STATUS SINGLE

1

PA1901

Music Practice 1A

20

Core

1

PA1902

Music Performance 1A

20

Core

1

PA1903

Music Production 1A

20

Core

1

PA1904

Music Practice 1B

20

Core

1

PA1905

Music Performance 1B

20

Core

1

PA1906

Music Production 1B

20

Core

 

 

 

 

 

2

PA2901

Music Practice 2A

20

Core

2

PA2902

Music Performance 2A

20

Core

2

PA2903   

Music Production 2A

20

Core

2

PA2904

Music Practice 2B

20

Core

2

PA2905

Music Performance 2B

20

Core

2

PA2906

Music Production 2B

20

Core

 

 

 

 

 

3

PA3904
PA3902

Dissertation Double
Dissertation Single

40
20

One must be taken

3

PA3905

Instrumental and Vocal Teaching

40

Option

3

PA3903

Specialised Performance Skills 3A

20

Core

3

PA3907

Specialised Performance Skills 3B

20

Core

3

PA3901

Event Management

20

Option

3

PA3906

Production Project

20

Core

Requirements for gaining an award

In order to gain an honours degree you will need to obtain 360 credits including:

  • A minimum of 120 credits at level one or higher
  • A minimum of 120 credits at level two or higher
  • A minimum of 120 credits at level three or higher

In order to gain an ordinary degree you will need to obtain a minimum of 300 credits including:

  • A minimum of 120 credits at level one or higher
  • A minimum of 120 credits at level two or higher
  • A minimum of 60 credits at level three or higher

In order to gain a Diploma of Higher Education you will need to obtain at least 240 credits including a minimum of 120 credits at level one or higher and 120 credits at level two or higher

In order to gain a Certificate of Higher Education you will need to obtain 120 credits at level one or higher.

In order to gain a Foundation Degree you will need to obtain a minimum of 240 credits including:

  • A minimum of 120 credits at level one or higher
  • A minimum of 120 credits at level two or higher

(A foundation degree is linked to a named Honours degree onto which a student may progress after successful completion of the Foundation degree.)

Degree Classification

Where a student is eligible for an Honours degree, and has gained a minimum of 240 UEL credits at level 2 or level 3 on the programme, including a minimum of 120 UEL credits at level 3, the award classification is determined by calculating:

The arithmetic mean of the best 100 credits at level 3

×

2/3

+

The arithmetic mean of the next best 100 credits at levels 2 and/or 3

×

1/3

and applying the mark obtained as a percentage, with all decimals points rounded up to the nearest whole number, to the following classification

70% - 100%

First Class Honours

60% - 69%

Second Class Honours, First Division

50% - 59%

Second Class Honours, Second Division

40% - 49%

Third Class Honours

0% - 39%

Not passed

Assessment

Teaching, learning and assessment

Teaching and learning

Knowledge is developed through

  • Classes (tutor- and student-led) 
  • Lectures and small tutorial groups
  • Performance workshops 
  • Hands-on technology tutorials 
  • Independent learning and self-directed learning
  • Reading, writing, and critical reflection on practice
  • Practice and development of music performance and production

Thinking skills are developed through

  • Researching 
  • Planning 
  • Developing 
  • Rehearsing and evaluating assignments, practical and written
  • Collaboration with other musicians
  • Independent study, research and practice
  • Analysis of performance context

Practical skills are developed through

  • The development of a high level of instrumental/vocal skill and competence
  • The development of a high level of skill and competence in music technology
  • The development of a high level of skill and competence in musical literacy
  • Planning, rehearsal, communication and leadership in music making

Skills for life and work (general skills) are developed through

  • Collaboration, teamwork and project development with other students
  • General development of a level of competence in the use of music-based ICT.
  • Opportunities to connect with the professional music business and reflect upon the organisation and economics of the music industry.
  • Ability to work independently in an efficient and structured manner

Assessment

As a performance-based programme, the emphasis will be on practical assessment (including performance), consisting approximately 60% of the assessment activity.

Music Practice will be assessed twice per semester, via practical assessment (Techniques, Reading, Styles, Keyboards) and written work (Aural and Transcribing, Harmony and Theory).

Music Performance will be assessed twice via continuous assessment. There will also be an end of year recital. (History and Origins of Popular Music will be assessed via portfolio, typically including written submission, presentation and independent research.)

Music Production will be assessed via practical assignment. (Business will be assessed via portfolio, typically including written submission, presentation and independent research.)

Specifically, knowledge is assessed by

  • Practical music-making
  • Writing essays and giving presentations
  • Producing music and audio compositions and performances across a range of media and formats
  • Undertaking a specialist study in the third year of the programme through a written dissertation

Thinking skills are assessed by

  • Assignments which test the ability to develop musical ideas and work with audio
  • Essay questions and discussion topics which test understanding of key concepts in musical and cultural analysis
  • Practical collaboration with other musicians leading to assessed musical outcomes

Practical skills are assessed by

  • Extensive participation in performance, composition and music production activity
  • An extended production project (composition, performance or audio production-based).
  • Assignments which test the ability to use music technology to achieve creative and polished musical outcomes

Skills for life and work (general skills) are assessed by

  • Assignments which involve contact with professional musicians, organisations and venues
  • placements and work in community and industrial settings
  • The incorporation of SEEC indicators into schemes of assessment to identify general skills under development

Quality

How we assure the quality of this programme

Before this programme started

Before this programme started the University checked that:

  • there would be enough qualified staff to teach the programme;
  • adequate resources would be in place;
  • the overall aims and objectives were appropriate;
  • the content of the programme met national benchmark requirements;
  • the programme met any professional/statutory body requirements;
  • the proposal met other internal quality criteria covering a range of issues such as admissions policy, teaching, learning and assessment strategy and student support mechanisms.

This is done through a process of programme approval which involves consulting academic experts including some subject specialists from other institutions.

How we monitor the quality of this programme

The quality of this programme is monitored each year through evaluating:

  • external examiner reports (considering quality and standards);
  • statistical information (considering issues such as the pass rate);
  • student feedback.

Drawing on this and other information, programme teams undertake the annual Review and Enhancement Process which is coordinated at School level and includes student participation. The process is monitored by the University’s Quality Standing Committee.

Once every six years the University undertakes an in-depth review of the whole field. This is undertaken by a panel that includes at least two external subject specialists. The panel considers documents, looks at student work, speaks to current and former students and speaks to staff before drawing its conclusions. The result is a report highlighting good practice and identifying areas where action is needed.

The role of the programme committee

This programme has a programme committee comprising all relevant teaching staff, student representatives and others who make a contribution towards the effective operation of the programme (e.g. library/technician staff). The committee has responsibilities for the quality of the programme. It provides input into the operation of the Review and Enhancement Process and proposes changes to improve quality. The programme committee plays a critical role in the University's quality assurance procedures.

The role of external examiners

The standard of this programme is monitored by at least one external examiner. External examiners have two primary responsibilities:

  • To ensure the standard of the programme;
  • To ensure that justice is done to individual students.

External examiners fulfil these responsibilities in a variety of ways including:

  • Approving exam papers/assignments;
  • Attending assessment boards;
  • Reviewing samples of student work and moderating marks;
  • Ensuring that regulations are followed;
  • Providing feedback to the University through an annual report that enables us to make improvements for the future.

Listening to the views of students

The following methods for gaining student feedback are used on this programme:

  • Module evaluations
  • Student representation on programme committees
  • Student/Staff consultative committee

Students are notified of the action taken through:

  • Circulation and display of minutes from student rep meetings via student noticeboards
  • Verbal feedback to the student body via the student reps.
  • circulating the minutes of the programme committee via the student noticeboards
  • a monthly newsletter published via email notifies students of events taking place at the school, programme developments and general issues/changes which affect the school but are non-programme specific.
  • providing details on the programme noticeboards

Listening to the views of others

The following methods are used for gaining the views of other interested parties:

  • Annual student satisfaction questionnaire
  • Questionnaires to former students “Student Destination Questionnaires”.
  • Module Evaluation Questionnaires
  • Anonymous Suggestions Box

Further Information

Alternative locations for studying this programme

LocationWhich elements?Taught by UEL staffTaught by local staffMethod of Delivery

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Where you can find further information

Further information about this programme is available from:

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