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 a creative environment that fosters collaborative opportunities with students across a range of disciplines. Our course nurtures and develops musicians to have the confidence to create original music. 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.

This dynamic course develops your musicianship through specialist 1:1 vocal/instrumental tuition, a range of band performances and learning from experienced visiting musicians with a range of styles.  Our vibrant community gives you the opportunity to work with creative writers, graphic designers, fine artists, visual communicators, photographers, fashion designers, animators, filmmakers, and creative advertisers. 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.


We are proud to be academic sponsors of The Ivors Academy, the independent professional body for songwriters and composers in the UK.


Apply now

Please apply direct to the University for our BMus (Hons) Popular Music Performance course using the links below.

Home applicants

Click here to apply via UCAS

International applicants

Click here to apply

If you need any assistance completing the form please contact the Admissions team at admissions@leeds-art.ac.uk.

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course details

What You'll Study

Year One — You’ll be introduced to the fundamental concepts of popular music performance, production and composition, through an engagement with practical music-making. Performance is key, so you will participate in Ensemble Performance Workshops. When combined with stagecraft sessions these will give you the opportunity to perform in a variety of settings including ensembles stage, the recording studio 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 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 further develop and demonstrate a knowledge of the concepts of popular music performance, production and composition through practical music-making. You will respond to briefs which will contribute to a 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. You will continue to receive specialist 1:1 vocal/instrumental tuition and hone your performance skills through ensemble workshops.

Year Three — You will undertake a musically-focused project which embodies your own popular music performance, production, and composition practice and business ambitions. Further supported with specialist 1:1 vocal/instrumental tuition, 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.


Students performed at the O2 academy, and collaborated and performed with the Royal Northern College of Music session orchestra. Students also worked with Skin from band Skunk Anansie and Chancellor of Leeds Arts University, who led an masterclass and provided valuable feedback to our students. Previous Visiting Professionals have included: Emma Stakes (A&R, Nashville, New York), Kelsey Gill (X Factor), Liam Craig (Radio 1 airplay), Jason Bowld (Bullet for My Valentine), Scott Devine (international bass educator), Donovan Hepburn (ELO, Take That), and Joe Glossop (Tom Jones, Van Morrison, Laura Mvula). Students have also benefitted from previous Masterclasses from: Rockfield Studios, Monmouth, Jon Stewart, Sleeper, RNCM Session Orchestra, Taz Modi (ambient and strings), Juice Aleem (rapper, writer), Magick Mountain, The Ivors Academy, Polydor Records, PRS, Futuresound, Lins Wilson and Fran Stocks.

Course Specification

Destination Careers

Graduates will be ready to pursue careers as artists, musical directors, and session, touring and theatrical musicians as well as arrangers, songwriters and producers. Graduates may also continue to  postgraduate study.

Entry Requirements

We’re looking for students with the best potential to succeed - irrespective of their background. That’s why we welcome a wide range of qualifications and experience.

Click here to view our entry requirements

Online Audition Guide for 2022 Entry

You will be asked to upload a video of a practical set piece performance to a suitable video sharing platform (YouTube, Vimeo or Weibo) for remote review. Click here for our Online Audition Guidance for 2022 Entry.

Contact Hours and Teaching/Learning Methods

Undergraduate degree courses at Leeds Arts University are delivered and supported through a range of teaching and learning strategies. Courses are made up of modules, these are elements of study that are taught and assessed separately. Each module carries a clearly identified credit value, the accumulation of which will allow you to progress to the next level of the course. 100 hours of learning are expected for every ten credits of the course. Each level (year) of the course is made up of 120 credits and therefore requires 1200 hours of learning. This equates to 40 hours of study per week throughout the academic year.

For every 100 hours of study, approximately 25 hours are delivered as taught or staff-led sessions and the remaining hours are a combination of other types of supported learning and independent study.

For further information visit Undergraduate teaching & learning at Leeds Arts University.

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. At the start of the first year you will be provided with a starter kit of equipment and materials that will help you during the first few months of the course. You will be provided with basic materials to help you complete set briefs. As you progress through the course, you will incur additional costs depending on the level and complexity of the work you are making and the materials you use.

The costs below are the result of asking our students to state how much they spend during the year and creating an average, as such they are indicative only.

Equipment and 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 the University has good quality instruments, amplifiers, and microphones, 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.

Computers and Digital Equipment

Our course is offered using a blended learning model which means you will need to access some course materials and video conference using a computer or mobile device (eg laptop, tablet or smartphone). If you are intending to buy a computer for your studies we suggest that you wait until you get here. You will quickly find out what you need and what you don’t need. The Course Team will be able to offer you  advice on what to buy and where to purchase it from based on your creative needs and budget. If you do not have access to a mobile device, are unable to afford one and are in receipt of a full maintenance grant you may be eligible for further support from our hardship fund, more information can be found here.

Educational Visits and Off-Site Activities

Due to the uncertainties caused by the pandemic no residential trips are currently planned. This situation will be assessed and reviewed as the course progresses so that opportunities for educational visits further afield can be explored. Costs for such trips are in addition to other costs but attendance is not mandatory. 

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

Terms & Conditions and Key Information

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!"
Tom Attah, Course Leader
BA (Hons) Popular Music Performance