On this course we see no boundaries between performance, production and composition. We look for creative and versatile musicians who wish to develop their performance, production and technical skills to a professional level in order to prepare for a career in the contemporary music industries.

We recruit musicians to the following principal studies: Vocals, Keyboard, Guitar, Bass Guitar and Drum Kit. You will study in an artistic environment that fosters collaborative opportunities with students across a range of creative disciplines, and have access to our bespoke music facilities.

Performance, production and composition are integral to our approach whilst providing you with a clear understanding of the business of music and the structure of the music industries. Our experienced tutors and visiting industry professionals will support and stimulate the development of technical skills necessary to thrive as a working musician in the 21st century creative world. On graduation students will have the choice of a wide range of career options.

Most distinctively the course provides invaluable experience of working with fine artists, visual communicators, photographers, fashion designers, animators, filmmakers, graphic designers and creative advertisers as part of our world-facing specialist arts university. As a working musician you’ll come into contact with other creative artists during your career and our degree provides the unique opportunity to build important creative networks and an impressive musical portfolio from the outset of your professional life.

Note: We do not accept deferred entry for the BMus (Hons) Popular Music Performance course.


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course details

What You'll Study

Year One — You’ll develop a sound knowledge of the fundamental concepts of popular music performance, production and composition, through an engagement with practical music-making. Live performance is key, so you will participate in Ensemble Performance Workshops. When combined with stagecraft sessions these will give you the opportunity to perform on stage and in the recording studio in various ensembles and as an individual, whilst receiving expert guidance from experienced teaching staff. You will learn instrumental and performance techniques through specialised 1:1 tuition and dynamic ensemble groupings. This will allow you to refine and enhance your approach with the aim of achieving a high level of musical fluency. In addition to the development of your instrumental/vocal skills and the stimulation of your creativity and musical curiosity, the course also uniquely integrates the study of song-writing, arranging, stagecraft, music production and entrepreneurial activity.

Year Two — You will continue to develop and demonstrate a sound knowledge of the concepts of popular music performance, production and composition through practical music-making. You will respond to briefs which will contribute to an extensive portfolio of song-writing, performances, recordings, and visual material, which will provide evidence of your musical confidence, ability and originality. You will explore professional artist development and address the real-world structure of the professional music industries such as contracts, rights, finances, planning, professional presentation and networking. You’ll explore the position of popular music in society, connecting musicians to distinctive and ground-breaking events in context and ongoing developments within the field.

Year Three — You will propose and undertake a musically-focused project which embodies your own popular music performance, production, and composition practice and business ambitions. You will be expected to establish your own critical position with consideration of the relation between your music and relevant external contexts. You will further develop your professional identity, and identify the intended audience for your performance as you implement analytical techniques and problem-solving skills that can be applied in many types of employment. You will be expected to evaluate evidence, arguments and assumptions, in order to reach sound judgements and to communicate these effectively and with clear evidence of your musical creativity, individuality, and originality. Holders of the BMus (Hons) Popular Music Performance will be able to demonstrate qualities needed for employment in situations requiring the application of personal responsibility, flexibility, and decision-making in complex professional, musical, and creative environments.

Work Experience

Work experience covers a broad range of activities and students are encouraged to undertake work placements during their time at University. As well as guidance from the course team our Careers, Employability and Enterprise team offer support that enhances employability skills and underpins engagement with industry.

Course Specification

Destination Careers

Graduates of the BMus (Hons) Popular Music Performance will be ready to pursue careers as artists, musical directors, and session, touring and theatrical musicians as well as arrangers, songwriters and producers.

Entry Requirements

Applicants must achieve by enrolment:

  • Passes at GCE A level, or a Rockschool Level 3 Music Practitioner qualification, or a National Diploma in a music-related subject with a minimum of 112 UCAS tariff points and
  • GCSE level English minimum grade C/4 and
  • Certified Theory of Music equivalent to either ABRSM or RockSchool or Trinity Grade 5 and
  • Pass a Leeds Arts University audition in the year prior to entry demonstrating a high level of performing ability – equivalent to ABRSM/Rockschool/Trinity Grade 8

Specifically - applicants do not need to hold a Grade 8 certificate, but will be expected to demonstrate energy and presence in performance to this level.

For mature students who are unable to provide formal evidence of an appropriate standard of English, the University may request completion of its own English proficiency test.

Audition Guide

Click here to view the BMus (Hons) Popular Music Performance audition guide.

Tuition Fees and Other Costs

Tuition Fees

Our current fees are listed here

Other Costs

Further costs of study are related largely to the costs of materials and depend very much on how individual students choose to respond to University briefs.

Equipment & Materials

  • Level 4 (First Year) Books and/or academic, musical texts and subscriptions approximately £100; additional musical and academic consumables approximately £100; 1TB USB hard drive approximately £50 (you will be advised at induction week which is appropriate).
  • Level 5 (Second Year) Books and/or academic, musical texts and subscriptions approximately £100; additional musical and academic consumables £100
  • Level 6 (Third Year) Books and/or academic, musical texts and online subscriptions approximately £100; additional musical and academic consumables £150

Although good quality instruments, amplifiers, and microphones will be provided, we recommend that you invest in a reliable first-study instrument and a robust case or gig bag. Costs will vary depending on the brand and quality of instrument.


During the year we will undertake a series of trips. The trips are an essential part of your course and are built into the academic year, so you are expected to take part in course visits.

There will be an annual European trip opportunity which costs in the region of £400-£500 including travel and accommodation.

Other regional visits will cost approximately £10 each or be free of charge.

We provide support for undergraduate students dependent upon their financial circumstances. Visit Undergraduate Financial Support for further information.

Terms & Conditions and Key Information

Our Terms & Conditions are here.

If you would like to download the Key Information on this course click here.

International Opportunities / Visiting and exchange students

We are delighted to welcome undergraduate visiting and exchange students from Europe and around the world who would like to spend a semester or a full academic year taking credits from our exciting range of courses. You will be fully integrated into the academic and social life of the University during a period of full-time supervised study and your credits transferred back to your home institution.

You can join us through programmes such as Erasmus+, individual university partnerships or as an independent applicant. Please see here for more information and how to apply.

Leeds Arts University students interested in spending some time overseas can find information on the international opportunities available during your course here.

Questions? Contact international@leeds-art.ac.uk

3 Years
Study Mode
Full Time
Institution Name
Leeds Arts University
Institution Code
Awarded by
Leeds Arts University

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"If you're a creative, versatile, imaginative and curious musician, and want to be part of a close-knit collaborative community, you should join us!"
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BA (Hons) Popular Music Performance