Course Overview

Attendance
UK/EU Fees £9,250 *
International Fees £12,500 *
Alumni Discount See details
Duration 3 years

* Price per academic year

Course summary

Our aim is to develop you as an individual to become an innovative music creative, and challenge you to develop a style relevant to the contemporary music industry. Developing your own musical identity is the first order of business and we are looking for students who are not only strong performers but who are also curious and not afraid of the challenges that lie ahead in the ever changing music industry and employment landscape. This is a transforming process that requires attention to a number of key areas of understanding, knowledge, communication, making and doing.

Our degree is written by practitioners for practitioners encompassing a view of the music world that is varied, open and focused. Not only are students encouraged to develop a specialism but we also expect students to understand, as many artists have also learned, that their future lies in variation, adaptation and hybridisation. This course will help you to make this leap and to understand that the music market thrives on fresh input, new ideas, twists on familiar themes and the integration and exploration of new approaches and hybrids.  The energy ushered in by new styles, new modes of working, mixed with traditional and new ways of disseminating material is a tangible force.

Our recent graduates have releases either as the artist or as a collaborator for labels such as Sony, Universal, Island, Mercury, Hospital, Viper, RAM; on the playlists for BBC Radio 1 as well as playing at festivals such as Reading & Leeds, T in the Park, The Great Escape and Liverpool Sound City. Graduates from both music courses are regularly featured on BBC Sound of lists and Mercury Prize lists.

Our degree is focused on performance in three primary domains:

  • The development of artistic identity
  • The creation of content as an expressive vehicle
  • The cultivation of networks to aid discovery including traditional mediums such as Radio to online activities

We use a range of teaching and tutoring methods. Taking advantage of exceptionally well resourced and equipped facilities, this course will equip you with the skills you need to succeed. We support a wide range of music practitioners working in a variety of domains including performer, songwriter, composer, musicologist, music journalist, DJ, technologist or educator or any combination suitable for a portfolio based career. This course will equip you with the transferable and cognitive skills necessary for lifelong personal and professional development in the world of making, doing and being.

The course supports the development of your instrumental skills in both workshop and individual settings, and the development of group performance skills coupled with individual and collaborative composition and songwriting. Underpinning the degree is a considered and thought-provoking contemporary programme of contextual studies combining musicology, music business and music education. Assessment and teaching take place across both practical and theoretical areas of the course with an emphasis on work being assessed at points for a number of related modules.

Our strong music industry links allow us to provide guest lectures from leading practitioners, and maximise opportunities for you to begin your career in music prior to graduation.

As part of an arts-dedicated campus, you will have unique opportunities to collaborate with students from other academic disciplines including film, TV, radio, fashion and media, and to network with other Music Department courses while developing a strong portfolio of work and experiences to launch a career in music or continue on to postgraduate study.

Our music courses are based at our state-of-the-art Harrow Campus, one of the main media education campuses in Europe, where facilities include 13 professional recording studios, 21 rehearsal studios, a new teaching recording studio, a purpose-built venue with video and streaming capacity, and satellite public performance spaces, 2 dedicated music labs, an Emerging Media Space and an array of television, post-production, radio, film, video and multimedia facilities and opportunities for the engaged student. We also offer 'Triple A' training and certification for Avid, Apple and Adobe products for our students.

 

Course structure

The course sets high standards for professional achievement and practice, preparing you for the challenge of the fast-moving and demanding music sector. By doing this we aim to nurture your ability to adapt to creative opportunities that emerge in new music and/or media forms, or in response to new creative partnerships, and develop your capacity to participate in contemporary musical, business and cultural debates. Throughout the course students are expected to develop their awareness of the political, ethical and aesthetic implications of their work and the industry in general. Teaching methods include masterclasses, lectures, seminars, individual tutorials, and instrumental and vocal workshops; the wide range of assessment methods includes oral presentations, reports, essays, group projects, and presentations of creative work.

Subjects of study include:

  • Artist Development for Commercial Music Performance
  • Commercial Music Performance – Contemporary Practice
  • Commercial Music Performance – Instrumental Musicianship
  • Commercial Music Performance Portfolio
  • Individual and Professional Development
  • Music in Context

Credit Level 4

Subjects of study include:

  • Commercial Music Performance – Instrumental Musicianship
  • Commercial Music Performance – Producing Performance
  • Commercial Music Performance Portfolio
  • Individual and Professional Development
  • The Creative Industries and You
  • Music Marketing & Artist Development

Credit Level 5

Subjects of study include:

  • Commercial Music Performance – Final Major Project
  • Commercial Music Performance – Instrumental Musicianship
  • Dissertation or Research Paper and Extended Essay
  • Individual and Professional Development

Credit Level 6

Westminster Plus Electives

 
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As part of your course you may be able to take elective modules. Electives are an exciting opportunity to widen your experience at university and to gain skills and knowledge that will help make you more employable.

Find out about Westminster Plus Electives.

Entry Requirements

Typical offer

  • A Levels – CCC
  • International Baccalaureate – 26 points (minimum)
  • Edexcel BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma – MPP
  • Access to HE Diploma - Pass with 45 credits at Level 3 with a minimum of 30 Level 3 credits at Merit or Distinction
  • GCSEs – minimum grade C in Maths and English

Applicants with backgrounds in music performance, songwriting and alternative music styles and/or electronica are strongly encouraged to apply. We welcome applications from all interested musicians and performers who want to take control of their productive processes and outputs.

View more information about our entry requirements and the application process

Typical offer

  • International Baccalaureate – 26 points (minimum)

Applicants with backgrounds in music performance, songwriting and alternative music styles and/or electronica are strongly encouraged to apply. We welcome applications from all interested musicians and performers who want to take control of their productive processes and outputs.

More information

Fees and Funding

UK and EU tuition fee: £9,250 (Price per academic year)

The amount you will pay may increase each year to take into account the effects of inflation.

Find out how we set our tuition fees.

Funding

As well as tuition fee loans, there is a range of funding available to help you fund your studies.

Find out about undergraduate student funding options.

Scholarships

The University is dedicated to supporting ambitious and outstanding students and we offer a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students, which cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Find out if you qualify for one of our scholarships.

Additional costs

See what you may need to pay for separately and what your tuition fees cover.

International tuition fee: £12,500 (Price per academic year)

The amount you will pay may increase each year to take into account the effects of inflation.

Find out how we set our tuition fees.

International student funding

Find out about funding for international students.

Scholarships

The University is dedicated to supporting ambitious and outstanding students and we offer a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students, which cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Find out if you qualify for one of our scholarships.

Additional costs

See what you may need to pay for separately and what your tuition fees cover.

Careers

Our graduates follow a diverse career path. They start companies that grow into key players in music such as Big Sync Music; in social media/music management such as Root Music Group; they are artists such as Michael Kiwanuka, Arctic Lake; they are fiercely independent bands such as The Crows, Shanty and Hana Piranha; others are collaborators working with producers such as Szjerdene Mulcare (Bonobo), Zara Kershaw (Technimatic), Karina Ramage (Krakota); they are musicians carving out interesting careers such as Kaz Rodriguez, Eddie Frimpong, Iziah Yarde and so on. Some however follow a different path. This path leads into education for schools, colleges, as private tutors or as Music Therapists. Our students and graduates work in roles that are as diverse and as challenging as they are.

All students work on securing performance and songwriting/composition work as part of their degree. Students are encouraged to work with as many WSMAD students from the other creative courses on campus such as Film, TV, Video, Animation and Fashion to secure as much experience writing and performing music in a commercial setting. These students will become your future network and it pays to get to know people ahead of time.

We have strong links with various record labels, publishers, writers and managers. We encourage as many students as possible to attend industry events to grow their contacts and to seek working opportunities as much as possible. We facilitate this by providing many students with free passes to be in the room at industry conferences and expos. However no one gets in the room who does not have something to offer that should be valuable to the Industry.

Industry professionals are invited to speak at weekly events and this offers our students additional opportunities to extend their networks and to ask key, critical questions.

We have weekly masterclasses given by diverse and successful performance practitioners and these also offer an opportunity for our students to perform their music to industry guests and panels. These include playback panels for A&R for labels and publishers and music video panels as part of our Major Performance modules.

Students have recently completed internships for Domino Records, Solar Management, Beggars Banquet, Mute, Big Sync and Full Time Hobby.

Our large network of alumni keep our name and reputation alive in the industry.

Our Career Development Centre has just been shortlisted for the Best University Careers Service in the National Undergraduate Employability Awards for 2017.

With a growing network of over 3,000 employers around the world and a team of experienced careers consultants, we are here to help you succeed.

In 2015–16, we helped over 1,500 students find work placements across a range of sectors, with 250 employers attending 14 on-campus skills and careers fairs.

As a Westminster student, you’ll have access to our services throughout your studies and after you graduate.

We can help you:

  • find work placements related to your course
  • find part-time/vacation, placement and graduate jobs, including voluntary experience
  • find international opportunities to enhance your employability
  • market yourself effectively to employers
  • write better CVs and application forms
  • develop your interview and enterprise skills
  • plan your career with our careers consultants
  • meet employers and explore your career options at our employer fairs, careers presentations and networking events throughout the year

Find out more about the Career Development Centre.

Course Location

The vibrant home of Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design, the Harrow Campus offers one of the richest portfolios of creative industry research and learning in Europe. The recent redevelopment of the campus has seen the creation of fluid, informal learning spaces, dedicated project and gallery spaces and a revamped library. For more details, visit our Harrow Campus page.

Facilities

We offer fully equipped rehearsal rooms, state-of-the-art recording studios and a brand new live music venue. We aim to give our students first-hand experience of "real world" recording environments and to set them on their paths to successful music industry careers.

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