“Weekly lectures, performance classes led by professors, guest teachers and master classes have all helped to expand my repertoire.” Evelyn Bong, Music graduate
Our degree, taught by dedicated tutors, will enhance your technical ability, build your knowledge of the industry, and give you the confidence and contacts to succeed.
BA Popular Music is an exciting degree programme for those seeking a career in music in the 21st century. The course is focused on three key areas: popular music practice, popular music business, and popular music studies. The practical work develops expertise in songwriting, musicianship, performance, and production. The business modules provide students with a thorough knowledge of the music industries, as well as the entrepreneurial skills required to gain employment in the industries or to self-release their music.
Through the academic study of popular music, students gain know-how in the history of the music and learn how to analyse contemporary developments. These three areas of the course provide students with a wide array of career options, within the music industries and beyond. If you want to be successful when it comes to making music, making money out of music, and making sense of popular music, then this degree is for you.
This course has an outstanding student satisfaction rate of 92% (NSS, 2016)
This module provides an overview of the music industries, principally in the sectors of recording, publishing, live music and management. Students will develop their understanding of related roles, e.g. A&R, marketers, managers, publishers, agents, promoters and administrators, to gain a broad-based understanding of contemporary issues and practices.
This module develops students' knowledge of the musical and lyrical characteristics of popular music genres in order to create a firm foundation for further study and to inform students' practice as musicians and songwriters. The porous nature of genres will be covered, alongside style, repertoire and interpretation. Students will develop: the ability to work effectively as part of a team, which is crucial to working within the profession as well as a core transferable skill; performance, musicianship and critical listening; the ability to analyse and reflect upon their own practice.
This module introduces students to a range of fundamental musical concepts and skills. Students will learn to "think in sound," which is an essential ability in the development of effective and rewarding practical musicianship. Students will also explore techniques and procedures in digital and acoustic audio environments, allowing them to integrate such tools in their own practices.
This module enables students to acquire an understanding of the historical, cultural, social, economic, technological and aesthetic trends that shaped developments in popular music in the 20th century, gain knowledge of the ways that popular music was performed and heard during the 20th century, and develop an understanding of approaches to popular music's history.
This module explores the key principles of music journalism and develops practical skills in interviewing and writing reviews, features, biographies, website content and promotional material. Students will also explore the history of music journalism and its possible future. As well as students considering a career in music journalism, either full-time or part of a portfolio career, the module will appeal to students who would like a greater understanding of working with the press from an artist's perspective.
This module develops students' knowledge of the music industries, with a specific focus on entrepreneurship. Such issues are particularly important to those intending to launch a company of their own, or to self-manage and/or self-release, but will also be relevant to those intending to work for an existing company – within the music industries or beyond. Students will work on a live case study of a music business, as well as planning their own music-related business, working both autonomously and in groups.
This module develops a practical understanding of musicianship and performance. Each student will take both leading and supportive musical roles within an ensemble, and will also develop solo performance skills. Vocal and/or instrumental technique is developed, alongside a practical understanding of style, performance, aural skills and harmonic vocabulary.
This module develops expertise in music production theories and practices. Students will learn to understand clearly and use confidently advanced techniques and procedures in digital and analogue musical environments and adapt these to achieve desired creative results. Students will also explore the critical study of music production and establish a strong sense of its artistic and historical contexts, drawing from this knowledge to inform and enhance their own practice.
This module appraises recent and current trends in popular music and identifies related concepts for students to explore and evaluate. The module's relatively narrow timeframe enables detailed investigation of such concepts, which will necessarily be updated annually but will include discussion of new genres, economics, technology and cultural developments. As well as encouraging students to investigate musical practice in order to develop written work, this module encourages students to use theory to produce practical work.
This module develops students' skills in practical song composition and is informed by theoretical perspectives. Each student will develop their critical faculties through aural analysis and practical skills exercises in a variety of styles and genres. Tasks involving various compositional processes (including working to specific briefs) will build technique and stylistic sensitivity, providing a firm foundation for the development of a more distinctive personal voice.
This module furthers knowledge, understanding and skills in a particular area of interest, whether arising from prior learning or enabling the pursuit of interests not other otherwise catered for in taught modules. Because of the diversity of Independent Projects, their specific aims will vary according to the nature of the project.
This module cultivates to a sophisticated level an understanding of the history of film music, particularly of the West, and the aesthetic concerns which can be brought to bear in composing music for screen. It is also designed to test the ability to compose appropriate music for media productions with effectiveness and relative speed. Students will be introduced to contractual aspects of media music composition.
This module enables students to affect positively the musical development of a community or individual(s). This will be achieved through the planning and delivery of participatory musical activity within a specific community-based or pedagogical context. To this end, both practical facilitation techniques and theoretical literature will be explored.
This module develops core practical skills to the point at which students can demonstrate excellence in both style and technique as performers of popular music. The module covers advanced aspects of musicianship, including transposition, chromaticism and extended harmony, chord substitution and appropriate modes. The student will attempt to develop an individual soloing voice, and to direct an ensemble.
This module provides the student with an advanced idea of popular music studies through a selective overview of theoretical approaches, including cultural theory, sociology, political economy and musicology. Key areas of popular music studies will be addressed, including production, mediation and reception. Theory will be used to explore popular music practice and popular music practice will be used to explore popular music theory.
This module enhances students' existing command of songwriting craft and styles by facilitating the development of a more individual and professional approach to practical song composition. Each student will be encouraged to establish and maintain a distinctive musical identity - a personal creative 'voice' - that will inform present and future songwriting. Successful students will be willing to experiment and to expand the boundaries of popular music.
You can find more information about this course in the programme specification.
As well as performing, practising and working on projects, both alone and in a group, you will learn through interactive lectures, creative workshops, seminars, tutorials, visits, class discussions and your own study. The course also includes careers sessions with industry professionals.
You will put together portfolios of songs and creative work, and will also be assessed on live and recorded performances, creative journals, essays, reports and presentations. You may be able to count work experience as part of your assessment. You will receive regular feedback on your projects, from your peers as well as your tutor.
Typical offers for this course:
A Levels minimum two, maximum three subjects
Edexcel BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma minimum two, maximum three subjects
Access to HE Diploma
Overall pass: must include 45 credits at level 3, of which all 45 must be at Merit or higher
Our entry requirements are displayed as grades. Please use the UCAS calculator to find out the equivalent tariff points.
UK/EU and International students are eligible to apply for this course.
If you have achieved a qualification such as a foundation degree or HND, or have gained credit at another university, you may be able to enter a Middlesex University course in year two or three. For further information please visit our Transfer students page.
If you have relevant work experience, academic credit may be awarded towards your Middlesex University qualification. For further information please visit our Accreditation of Prior Learning page.
We accept the equivalent of the above qualifications from a recognised overseas qualification. To find out more about the qualifications we accept from your country please visit the relevant Support in your country page.
If you are unsure about the suitability of your qualifications or would like help with your application, please contact your nearest Regional office for support.
You will not need a visa to study in the UK if you are a citizen of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. If you are a national of any other country you may need a visa to study in the UK. Please see our Visas and immigration page for further information.
You must have competence in English language to study with us. The most commonly accepted evidence of English language ability is IELTS 6.0 (with minimum 5.5 in all four components). Visit our English language requirements page for a full list of accepted English tests and qualifications. If you don't meet our minimum English language requirements, we offer an intensive Pre-sessional English course.
Entry onto this course does not require an interview, entrance test, portfolio or audition.
The career options with a Popular Music degree are exciting and diverse. They include: songwriting and performance, production, music marketing and promotion, copyright, music publishing, music journalism, arts administration and management, events management, education, training and music research.
As a graduate you will possess transferable skills that cut across various sectors of the music and cultural industries.
"Weekly lectures, performance classes led by professors, guest teachers and master classes have all helped to expand my repertoire. Middlesex University has fostered an environment where I'm able pursue my future career. The department also has very good facilities, especially the soundproofed practice rooms."