BA (Hons) Popular Music Performance & Music Production

Joint Honours

Overview

Our BA (Hons) Popular Music Performance and Music Production degree is ideal for performing and recording music while simultaneously building a broad range of supportive skills. Once you graduate, you’ll have the tools needed for a successful and sustainable music industry career. You’ll leave here as a highly-skilled, versatile performer with an extensive portfolio of skills.

You’ll learn core topics of performance, technique, musicianship, recording skills, theory and technology – and how to apply them creatively. You’ll also be able to further tailor your course to your artistic and career aims via our optional modules.

Our optional modules mean you can specialise in a variety of areas. These include creative performance, technology (DAW and on stage), session skills, improvised music, global music styles, composing, arranging and learning complementary instrument skills. By the end of the course, you’ll have a portfolio that showcases your performances in the style, genre, or context of your choosing.

Whichever route you choose, you’ll graduate with a wide range of skills to champion any professional opportunities that come your way.

Your day to day learning will take place in large live rooms, recording studios, smaller studio settings, lecture-based classrooms and Mac suites. Our highly experienced lecturers will also guide you through your studies. And, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to collaborate with talented students from different disciplines to bring your artistic, academic and industry goals to life.

So, what are you waiting for? Combine your passion for music performance and music production today for a fulfilling music industry career in the future.

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Modules

Year 1

All students take the following core modules in their first year of study. Module names and structure may be subject to change.

  • The Creative Industries & You 1: Finding Your Path

    The first Creative Industries & You module sets you on the right path towards pursuing your dream career in the creative industries. Whether you are focused on a particular career goal or considering multiple career options, you will broaden your knowledge of the opportunities available to you as a creative professional in your specific field. In course groups, you will research career routes and examine the career journeys of inspirational creative professionals to determine key skills for success. In mixed classes, you’ll participate in activities to help you navigate life in higher education and the creative community, expanding your social networks. You will reflect on your progress, explore what motivates you, identify personal strengths and potential roadblocks, and support each other to develop realistic action plans to help you along your chosen path. Supported by your Personal Adviser, you will create a Personal and Professional Development Portfolio, which you will adapt and develop throughout your studies at BIMM. This first iteration has been designed in bitesize chunks to help you develop independent learning skills, receive ongoing feedback and experience a range of different assessment methods. This module also gives you the freedom to extend your learning by providing access to the Industry Skills Booster online courses, developed exclusively with industry employers, which you can select in accordance with career goals and identified areas for development.

  • Context & Culture of the Creative Industries

    Following on from your exploration of the creative community and career opportunities available to you in Creative Industries & You 1, this module will help you to develop a deeper intellectual understanding of the creative arts and industry structures. You will be challenged to investigate some key contemporary cultural issues relating to your professional field, developing a contextual understanding through research, questioning and debate. This awareness will help you to make informed creative and business decisions in the future and articulate them sensitively, acknowledging the different perspectives and experiences of others. You will explore pivotal cultural moments that have shaped the creative industries, exploring the factors that make something ‘popular’, and how key cultural issues affect both art and business. Reading, research and critical thinking skills will be developed to help you examine developments in the industry and the creative arts, communicating your arguments in a variety of formats. You will have an opportunity to meet with your Personal Adviser in a 1:1 tutorial to help you identify your strengths and areas for development, updating your PPDP and selecting relevant online Academic Skills Booster courses to support on your path to academic success.

  • Core Instrument Skills

    Good instrumental/vocal technique is reliant on efficiency – this module will enable you to develop the core techniques to be able to express yourself in the way you want to. Looking at various styles and theory, along with the physics and physiology of playing, you’ll be taken through the fundamentals in a step-by-step manner in a progressive way, leading you to develop your creative vocabulary, so you can say what you want to say, musically.

  • Applied Instrument Skills

    Applying the core techniques to develop your own voice on the instrument is a fundamental step to becoming a unique musician – the more diverse the influences, the more unique the musician. You will focus on exploring and analysing methods to expand vocabulary and develop open-ended creative methods. You will create a short video demonstrating the creative application of techniques and theoretical concepts to a musical style of your choice. This will allow you to select the best attempts of each exercise for the final video, allowing you to add your own creative touches to the presentation. Compositions and recording techniques developed in Creative Technology can be used to support your video creation.

  • Audio Fundamentals

    The way we communicate directly affects how other people interpret and understand our ideas and concepts. Our use of language also influences how our skills and abilities are perceived and is often a deciding factor for others when deciding to collaborate with us. This module will allow you to develop your understanding of the terminology used in the field of music production and give you the ability to communicate creative and artistic ideas as well as the technical specifications and details of digital and analogue audio equipment that are required to realise them as a tangible product. Audio Fundamentals is tightly integrated with Audio Capture Methods & Equipment and the online digital portfolio that you will create and develop over the semester will count towards assessment learning outcomes in both modules.

  • Audio Capture Methods & Equipment

    This module will look at recording audio practically for the modern engineer. It will complement the theories studied in Audio Fundamentals. We will focus on modern engineering essentials and apply them to any setup from large format consoles to bedroom studios. We will focus on gain staging, use of analogue and digital equipment, Mic placement and techniques and running a recording session.

  • Mixing Multitrack Audio

    This module will require you to explore the art and techniques of mixing multiple sources of audio, acoustic recorded or electronically generated/synthesised, into one cohesive sounding ‘mix’. The skills developed in this module will allow you to mix multi-track recorded compositions, multi-mic’d live performances and soundtracks for visual media. You will identify areas of the original audio that require improvement, such as sonic quality, arrangement or performance. You will consider the tools and techniques related to level balance, spatial image and frequency balance, and the application of creativity within the norms of your chosen field of work.

  • Creative Technology

    This module will provide you with the support required to continue your study of music theory, arrangement, aural perception skills and mixing techniques used in popular music. Further to the concepts studied in Digital Music in semester one, theory concepts studied will include the melodic minor scale, the harmonic minor scale and modes. You will also study extended chords, and how to mix music using a DAW and its processing to a high standard. The module will also include a study of acoustic theories.

Year 2

All students take the following core modules in their second year of study, plus two optional modules. Module names and structure may be subject to change.

  • The Creative Industries and You 2: Creative Collaboration

    The creative arts have the power to bring people together, unite communities, support mental wellbeing, raise awareness of social issues and above all, bring joy to many people around the world. In Creative Industries & You 2, you will discover how you can turn your passion and talent into a collaborative project with a positive impact on society. Employing research and networking skills, you will develop a greater understanding of a charity, cause or campaign. In teams of students from all courses, you‘ll select a cause and identify a way to support its key objectives, either by raising awareness, raising funds or contributing as volunteers. You will be introduced to your college's partner charities but you are also able to find your own, or work independently of an existing organisation. Through this collaborative project, you’ll develop essential interpersonal and communication skills, experimenting with various digital tools for enterprise. You’ll reflect on your own values, applying theories of human psychology to explore how to get the best out of yourself and each other. Building on your industry research skills, you will assess your target audience and define clear SMART targets for your project that will enable you to execute an element of the strategy and evaluate its success. In teams, you will spend time working on your project both in class and in your own time, developing effective collaborative working methods. You’ll record your project activity in your Personal and Professional Development Plan, reflecting on how you have developed and changed over the course of your first year and a half at BIMM. Working with your Personal Adviser you will identify objectives, opportunities and actions that will help you stay on the path to success for the second half of your journey towards becoming a Creative Industries Professional.

  • Creativity, Identity & Agency

    This module continues the exploratory work you began in Context & Culture of the Creative Industries. You will directly apply ideas to your own discipline and development, selecting an area of investigation relevant to your own practice, and communicating your argument via your medium of choice. The concepts you encounter will actively critique claims to authenticity and originality; themes you will encounter frequently throughout your career as a Creative Professional. You will debate artistic production, the motivations for it, and the problems of creative autonomy. You will investigate relevant contemporary cultural issues and theories relating to society, race, gender, technology, and the environment to develop your contextual understanding of how these relate to your own creative practice, professional values, and sense of personal agency. You will be encouraged to meet with your Personal Adviser in a 1:1 tutorial to help you reflect on the strengths and areas for development identified in your PPDP in the first year, tracking your academic progress and setting new actions that will support you to achieve your best work. The research methods and study habits you develop throughout this module will prepare you for next year’s Final Project, in which you will self-direct a significant piece of academic, creative and/or professional practice.

  • Interpretive Instrument Skills

    In this module, you will focus on developing your unique voice on your instrument. You will study technical development in the context of creative applications – advancing your capabilities, and further refining your individual voice. A broad range of stylistic contexts will be investigated with a focus on developing appropriate technique and vocabulary and how to apply it creatively. You will be looking at technical studies that will increase the range, capacity and versatility of your instrument skills. Over the course of the module, you will select tasks and studies that work towards your personal and creative goals as a musician, pushing yourself to perform material that expands your musical capacity. You will also be autonomous in selecting the style and context for your performances, enabling you to further define and create your individual and unique sound.

  • Digital Performance Portfolio

    Video platforms enable you to connect with a global audience of fans, employers, students and future collaborators and are steadily replacing the open mic night, audition room, in-person lesson or submission to A&R team. The module aims to expand upon your existing technical abilities and stylistic awareness enabling you to further develop a fluent technical and creative foundation within your chosen genre. At the same time, you’ll learn to express and present these skills via video platforms that best suit your target audience that could include fixer, record label, fanbase, venue, performer, student or collaborator.

  • Studio Practice & Engineering

    After decades of technological advancement, the position of the Studio Engineer within current music production could not be more valuable. The smooth running of each studio session requires in-depth knowledge of all studio technology (analogue, digital and software) combined with the ability to choose the correct technical approach and deliver professional results efficiently. This module will present the role of the modern Studio Engineer within the industry and discuss in detail the technology involved. Focus will be on teaching current engineering practices, applied to a variety of typical commercial scenarios, and understanding the relationship between technology and professional studio practice.

  • Practical Acoustics

    This module facilitates understanding of our listening environments and the interpretation of sound through the complexities of both physical and psychological influences. For successful music productions and live sound events, we require acoustically suitable environments alongside an understanding of how our brains interpret sound. You will learn about the mechanics of acoustics, human hearing and the psychology of audio perception in order to manipulate audio creatively and effectively. You will study topics such as frequency, reverberation and standing waves. This module gives you the skills to design appropriate acoustic treatments utilising industry-standard software and hardware for acoustic analysis.

  • Optional Complimentary Instrument Skills

    In this module, you will expand your versatility and employability by learning and performing additional complementary instrument. Many musical situations require musicians to perform and be creative on additional related instruments – on gigs, recording sessions, when writing and teaching. You will choose a complementary instrument for extended deliberate practice. For example, this could be double or synth bass for bassists, backing vocals for instrumentalists, percussion, hybrid electric/acoustic drum kit, acoustic or mandolin for guitarists, guitar or keyboards for vocalists etc. You will work towards a performance on this instrument that includes some creativity and interpretation, as well as performing set/defined parts. You will set out your goals on the instrument and make a practice plan. During the module, you will document your progress and seek out feedback from instrument specialists. At the end of the module, you will evaluate your progress on the instrument, and also how effective your learning plan was. This will enable you to continue your development on the instrument, as well as in future expand this to other complementary areas.

  • Optional Practical Notation Reading

    Throughout this module, you will develop the necessary skills to enable you to effectively navigate notated music you may find in various performance situations. You will be given unseen notation as well as pre-prepared charts to perform with backing tracks. Emphasis will be placed on the variety of reading situations seen in the professional world, developing skills of preparing charts for others and transcription. Studying this module will help set you up as a confident and competent reading musician, thus opening up more performance and wider employment opportunities in the future.

  • Optional Composition and Arranging Techniques

    This module is an extension of the Digital Music module from year one and is designed to develop and further your use of the skills learnt. Your ability to develop the tonal, rhythmic, textural and structural, elements through analysis, transcription and practice is key to your ability to develop your own voice and individual way of expressing yourself musically. You will study tracks using different analytical techniques, from a variety of musical styles, to discover what and how different artists use and develop different musical elements.

  • Optional Applied Repertoire Performance

    In this module, you will perform set repertoire to enhance your ensemble and individual performance skills. The repertoire will be taken from material that is towards the more challenging end of pop and commercial music. Classic and contemporary examples will be taken from music that is in or influenced by genres such as prog, jazz, R&B, electronica etc. Where numbers permit, there may be optional stylistic routes through the module. Completing this module will equip you with the skills to confidently step into varied pop and commercial performance situations

  • Optional Improvised Music Performance

    This module will allow you to develop and explore improvisation in ensemble performance. Various tasks and methods will be used to introduce and expand upon concepts of improvisation in an ensemble setting. Workshops will include improvisation tasks, using various source material as a vehicle for exploration. Instrument-specific prep classes will investigate language and vocabulary that can be used to communicate within ensemble workshops and performances. Components of music such as melody, harmony, rhythm, form and structure will be dissected and improvised within an environment that encourages exploration and the development of your own sound.

  • Optional Session and Recording Skills

    In this module, you will be encouraged to attain an understanding of professional production values and an awareness of the responsibilities of the recording musician. The skills and knowledge required for effective musical creation and performance appropriate for the music industry will be developed through you being placed in simulated, deadline-driven recording session environments. Compositional, interpretative and instrumental technical skills, as well as a variety of stylistic approaches, will be explored through appropriate case studies. Typical technological skills related to the traditional recording studio will be fostered, as will attributes relevant to remote collaboration over the internet.

  • Optional Creative Band Performance

    This module presents you with the opportunity to develop your songwriting, arranging and performing skills as you embark on a creative journey, where you will be writing, rehearsing and performing an original set for your assessment. Your songwriting and arranging skills will be addressed in the prep lessons and expanded upon in the weekly workshops as part of an ensemble performance. During the weekly prep lessons, you will examine songwriting and arranging techniques, such as subject writing, core values, toplining, melody, harmony, form, structure, conceptual development, collaborative writing and basic orchestration. Arrangements, instrumental/vocal proficiency, rehearsal skills and communication will all be covered during the weekly workshops. The second assessment will take place after the first, whereby you will sit a viva voce, evaluating the processes involved in crafting, rehearsing and performing your set.

  • Optional Global Music Styles

    This varied practical module will give you the opportunity to explore the musical features, origins, the social and cultural impact of lesser-known styles and genres from around the globe. You will simultaneously undertake ethnomusicology research to dig deep into the background of a musical style from selected geographical locations whilst developing practical skills and stylistic awareness. This personal practice and self-reflection in becoming more musically literate in your chosen style will culminate in you devising, rehearsing and, finally, performing a short ensemble live set of music from your selected region and pop/rock music influenced by your research findings.

  • Optional Touring and Live Events

    This module focuses on how to plan a tour or series of events at a grassroots level. You will gain valuable knowledge in dealing with contracts, managing staff and equipment, booking venues, and understanding technical production and show design. The module will give you the skills required to effectively manage budgets and finances as well as your teams well being whilst on the road. You will learn to produce live events in a number of creative disciplines including music, comedy, film, E-sports and the performing arts. You will also gain insight into the specific needs of these disciplines including audio, lighting, transport, set, special effects, venue choice and ticketing. You will look at liaising with promoters and agents effectively and the processes involved in pre-planning, execution, and post evaluation of events from the perspective of a number of different parties, including the performer, event manager, and the audience. The module will focus on taking a creative discipline into the live event sphere and give you the tools needed to effectively produce events and tours in a diverse range of different ways.

  • Optional Creative Video Production

    This module will provide you with the necessary skills and information for creating your own digital promotional assets for your content. With the rise of platforms such as youtube, Instagram and Vimeo creatives are now having to embrace digital content creation to keep up with audience consumption needs. Throughout this module, you will develop an understanding of digital video technology, video editing, camera work, sound to visual post-production work, storyboarding and their vocational relevance to ensure the creation of informative and engaging content for your audience. You will be introduced to audience engagement theories such as Netnography to understand how best to appeal to your desired audience via your chosen video distribution method.

  • Optional Working in the Creative Industries

    Working in a professional environment will afford you the opportunity to gain practical skills, consolidate and expand professional networks, build confidence and develop a sound knowledge of the employment opportunities in the creative industries. Working in the Creative Industries will guide you through the process of developing your CV and covering letter, working through applications, preparing for interviews, developing business ideas and promoting your personal brand. Using BIMM Connect and the advice of tutors and careers teams at BIMM, you will explore, research and secure a work-based learning placement or creative project within the creative industries Module delivery will be in weekly sessions and will include career case studies, presentations from employers, advice and guidance for creative enterprise projects and information on the range of BIMM industry projects to work with; magazines, TV shows, record labels, blogs, festivals etc - all offered to further develop your professional skills. Once a placement or project has been chosen, you will need to negotiate and complete a learning agreement, where you, the employer (where relevant) and your module leader agree in writing the key goals and measures for success for the work-based learning. Please note that you will be expected to keep a journal of your own learning during your WBL and you will need to show that you have researched and planned for the learning that occurred on your placement or creative enterprise project. The Learning Agreement is evidence of this. Work-Based Learning handbooks are available on Moodle for both students and employers, these contain your learning agreements and important information relating to health and safety, insurance and BIMM contacts for use during a placement. There are two elements to the assessment of this module intended to observe and critically reflect on your experience; a learning diary and a project evaluation which both form your Work-Based Learning Report. You need to complete a minimum of 30 hours WBL to satisfy the requirements of your Working in the Creative Industries module. The 30 hours can be worked as one block (e.g. a two or three-week placement) or as flexi-time (e.g. one day a week for several months). During this time, you may be visited onsite by a member of the Careers & Industry team, where appropriate.

  • Optional Practical Learning and Teaching in the Creative Arts 1

    Teaching and learning skills are essential elements for practitioners in the creative arts, both in terms of supporting lifelong development through self-teaching and self-assessment, and in terms of generating income and deriving satisfaction from teaching others. The foundations of effective teaching are the abilities to empathise, conceive, plan, communicate, adapt, assess, and provide feedback in an inspiring, motivational and safe environment that stimulates learning. Combining theory and practice throughout, this module is focussed on teaching, self-teaching and learning of learner-relevant content in one to one contexts, such as individual tutorials, instrumental lessons or individual practice sessions.

  • Optional Music Creation with Technology

    This module will allow you to further develop the tools required to put creative energy into practice, inspiring you to engage in compositional techniques and technological processes to improve your skills as a songwriter and enhance your creative and professional practice. You will utilise Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) for writing purposes, including the recording, editing, mixing and production of new material using industry-standard software and equipment.

  • Optional Lyricism & Aesthetics

    Lyricism and Aesthetics is concerned with the methodologies used by songwriters to generate original, imaginative lyrics. It aims to provide a detailed study of the creative and technical processes underpinning effective lyric writing and to consider the cultural and artistic influences that inspire the compositional process, as well as the impact this has on the construction of a creative identity. You will explore the prosodic relationship between lyrics and melody, harmony, arrangement, rhythm and structure within original songs, as well as within the work of established writers, which will also help you develop your own distinct idiolect (or artistic ‘voice’). You will be introduced to key lyric writing techniques and apply and develop these into original work. Additionally, you will incorporate narrative tools and strategies from poetry, literature and other relevant media and culture. You will consider cultural identity, gender identity and/or a personal viewpoint, and explore how these elements might be expressed through narrative. The module will also consider the impact of interpretative performance, instrumental arrangement, and studio production on narrative delivery. The development of critical analysis, self-evaluation and high-level lyric writing skills will be a key part of weekly content, and subsequently, you will be expected to develop a wide range of imaginative, original material, both individually and collaboratively.

  • Optional Digital Composition in Context

    In this module, you will study the advanced techniques of music production and creative practice necessary to create genre-specific tracks in areas of electronic music. Key genres will be compositionally analysed, such as Hip Hop, Microsound, Synth Pop, Grime, Ambient, IDM and many others. You will be introduced to relevant contextual theories situating the works historically, culturally, socially and politically. The creative and technical elements will also be examined, covering industry-standard software, hardware and production processes, affording you the skills to both create and contextualise a track of your own, relating it to a specific electronic music genre.

  • Optional Digital Performance Skills

    Technology has become ubiquitous with today's modern performer through the use of live looping, triggering, manipulation of effects, and remixing providing new forms of musical expression. The tools are now available to enable you to produce experimental layers of sound and textures to create and perform within the live domain. In this module, you will examine the various aspects of using music technology to plan, collaborate, and deliver a live performance from the studio to stage.

  • Optional Live Sound & Events

    The live music industry is thriving, and with this comes a wide range of opportunities. Artists and venues always need great sound engineers. This module will cover important theoretical ideas that are necessary to get the job done well. The focus though is the practical work and listening skills required to enable you to be as ‘gig ready’ as possible.

  • Optional Vocal Capture & Production

    Vocals are arguably the most important part of any song, across all music genres. A superb vocal production can raise a mediocre composition to stardom, but a poorly produced vocal performance will see little benefit from even the best instrumental backing track. This module will focus on all aspects of studio vocal production: from the technical approach to coaching the best performance, to vocal arrangement, to post-production and mixing. You will be guided through contemporary music genres and taught effective approaches to achieve professional-sounding vocals and communicate effectively with the talent.

  • Optional Creating Sample Libraries

    In this module, you will be required to create a bespoke, functional library of sounds regarding an identified gap in the market or for professional or personal use. The module will focus on relevant microphone techniques in relation to an end-user as well as the desired library functionality. Students will learn to use different Samplers available in their DAW as well as samplers offered by 3rd parties, offering comparison and critical analysis. Emphasis will be placed on file management, software implementation, creating a GUI (where possible), the study of existing libraries and the justification of working methods and market research.

  • Optional Festival Management

    Students will gain a comprehensive insight into the inner workings of the outdoor events industry with a detailed and definitive overview of on-site operations, as well as the pre-event logistics planning required to ensure operational success. The first part examines the tools and techniques underpinning operations planning, including a site production schedule, management and command structures and a detailed site plan, taking into consideration the relevant regulations supporting safe event design. The second part explores on-site operations and considers what happens when functions are disrupted by unplanned events. You will study how to identify and tackle potential hazards, as well as leadership and decision-making, thereby learning the importance of establishing and observing correct procedures, and how to deploy the right resources.

  • Optional Sound Design & Writing for Media

    The module will examine approaches to composing for a variety of film mediums including adverts, documentary and feature films. We will also examine workflow in relation to collecting original sound design assets to create realistic environments while accommodating elements of Foley in the resulting soundscape. You will explore technical processes such as recording, mixing, layering and blending sound design and Foley with musical compositions, and this will be combined with musical theory concepts to broaden your compositional capability. Development of technical processes will include synchronisation, time and meter mapping, electronic processing techniques and music production skills.

  • Optional Foley & Location Recording

    Foley, a performance art form, is integral to the creation of immersive media soundscapes. Utilised alongside creative sound design and location recording, these integral disciplines form the basis of modern media asset production. This module will expose you to the appraisal, deployment and evaluation of state-of-the-art techniques and tools. You will develop and explore narrative analysis from both a theoretical and practical perspective, whilst developing successful strategies for asset development within the wider media production landscape

  • Optional Creative Mix Techniques

    This module looks to develop your skills as a mix engineer, building upon what you have learned in the Mixing Multitrack Audio module in year 1. You will continue to develop your core mixing and listening skills, with a focus on complimenting musical arrangement through the mix process and will also look at the techniques that make your mix stand out amongst your contemporaries. The module explores techniques and approaches to mixing that employ the advanced skillset of a modern mix engineer, applying both hardware and software-based effects as well as utilising an understanding of audio theory. The module will explore genre-specific techniques and will aid students in creating a mix that is both impactful and unique and will facilitate “thinking outside the box” (pun somewhat intended…).

Year 3

All students take the following core modules in their third (and final) year of study, plus three optional modules. Module names and structure may be subject to change.

  • Final Project

    In this module, you will undertake a significant project of your own choosing. It’s your chance to explore your passion within the industry and creative arts: experiment, take risks, strengthen your skills and create a product/cohesive portfolio of work that you are proud to showcase at the end of your degree. This module will support you in consolidating the broad learning and development from the course so far, building a bridge into the industry, the workplace and future opportunities. You will be supported to self-direct your own learning through a series of lectures, seminars and 1:1 tutorials with expert supervisors.

  • Creative Industries & You 3: Professional Portfolio

    This module is the final step in your journey and will support you as you look to enter your chosen field as a creative professional. Drawing on evidence from throughout your time here. you will critically self-evaluate your personal learning journey and industry engagements to date. You will explore concepts and theories of personal and professional development to support, challenge and test your assumptions, to determine your readiness for work in the creative industries. You will have the opportunity to discuss this with your peers and learn from your collective experiences in both small degree path groups and large mixed discipline sessions. With this position in mind, you will then be challenged to create and consolidate creative assets to give you the edge over the competition in your chosen field. Specialist workshops will be offered throughout the module, informed and delivered by our wide-reaching connections and specialist tutors in the creative industries. This culminates in the creation of a portfolio which tells the story of your personal and professional journey so far, communicating your unique professional identity and future career plans in the creative industries.

  • Performance Showcase

    This module will develop your ability to construct and implement a live ensemble performance to a professional standard, with consideration for your target audience. Additionally, you will critically evaluate the processes by which this is achieved. By analysing high-level performances (e.g. Super Bowl shows/ festival headliners etc) as reference points, you will take into account all aspects of stagecraft and musicality to create your own showcase performance. The showcase will need to include; technical proficiency, creative musicianship and arrangement, and visual performance. Throughout the course, you will also be required to engage in reflective practice by creating a digital portfolio (via Mahara). This will document your practice, progress, insights, strengths and challenges; both as an individual and as part of the ensemble. The portfolio may include written notes, images, audio examples, video recordings of the rehearsal process or vlog entries.

  • Answering a Creative Brief 

    This module will focus on successfully answering a creative brief in a wide range of possible industry areas. You will experience real-world case studies and complete practical exercises in areas such as moving image, production libraries, video games, theatre, interactive exhibitions, and music production. The aim is to provide you with the skills needed to explore your own creative voice within the artistic constraints of professional-client commissions.

  • Optional Specialised Genre Performance

    In this module, you will have the opportunity to continue developing challenging genre inspired technical skills within an ensemble performance setting. Recent years have seen the emergence of collectives like Snarky Puppy, Vulfpeck, The Pentatonix and The Aristocrats while established progressive groups like Dream Theatre remain hugely successful. Visible to international audiences they all bring instrumental and vocal virtuosity to the fore in their respective musical fields. This ethos provides the inspiration for the repertoire featured in the module.

  • Optional Performance, Stagecraft & Identity

    In this module you will widen and develop your skills in understanding, creating and applying identifiable artistic identity and branding elements, while developing dynamic and effective stagecraft skills within a performance of your choosing. You will examine and workshop essential aspects of stagecraft such as; verbal and non-verbal communication, movement, body language, image, use of stage and props, using these as a basis by which to create, prepare and plan a showcase with suitable creative/original repertoire which clearly reflects your artist identity. You will use reference points and research to help build and define your stage identity. This, along with your initial plans and reflections will be collated in a digital portfolio.

  • Optional Specialised Instrument Skills

    Within this module you will cultivate your unique and original approach to solo performances, focusing on the high level of technique and musical skill you have developed to convey your message. Your journey will start with the development of the concept and then the music will be composed/chosen to reflect that emotion and the journey you want to take the audience on, whilst displaying a high level of instrumental skill.

  • Optional Theory & Analysis

    In this module, you will explore the advanced musical techniques found in popular music, and how the musical syntax of popular music has evolved. You will undertake the analytical study of harmony, melody and rhythm. You will look at a variety of works from a practical and musicological perspective and discuss the application of a range of musical techniques to compositions. You will explore the relationship between popular and other musical forms and investigate how various techniques utilised have become part of popular music. You will also explore performance practice and improvisation techniques as related to theory.

  • Optional MD-Led Performance

    In this practical-based module you will develop a broad range of skills which will enable you to work in situations from theatre to live broadcasts, where reading, following a conductor or MD, stylistic versatility and creative flair are essential to success. You will develop your self-reflective skills, building strategies to overcome technical and theoretical challenges. Through ensemble rehearsals, you will develop reading, listening and communication skills as both a follower and leader of the ensemble. These rehearsals will culminate in two assessed rehearsal and performance scenarios with a Musical Director, where you will bring this unique and varied skillset together.

  • Optional Psychology of Music

    The field of Music Psychology is one of wide interest and rapid development. The questions of what music is, what it means and how we are affected by and interact with music are endlessly fascinating and relevant to a range of professions within the music industry. Studying this module will give you unique insights into a significant number of the relevant fields of music psychology, which include but are not limited to musicology and the psychology of emotion, learning and therapeutic. As well as exploring these fields in-depth, you will be supported to focus on an area of music psychology that is most relevant to you as a professional working in the music industry.

  • Optional Culture and Society

    This module offers the opportunity for detailed application of the ideas and theories introduced in “Practice, Context and Culture” then developed in “Creativity, Identity and Authenticity”. It will explore key thinkers in-depth, allowing one to become the focus of your work as you analyse an important aspect of music, film, events or the performing arts. This module is ideal for anyone who wants to pursue an in-depth understanding of the ideas that shape popular culture and will provide useful tools to enhance your own creative practice. It is for anyone who would like to develop their analytical skills by evaluating complex and interesting ideas in a supportive environment.

  • Optional Film Studies

    Film is not merely entertainment but important in reflecting, contextualising, and interpreting the mood of the time at any point in history. Film can also be a high-level creative expression. At its best, it communicates ideas while entertaining in an economically significant multi-billion pound global industry. This module will equip you with the knowledge to critically reflect on its impact.

  • Optional Gender and Sexuality

    Patriarchal systems have shaped the society we live in today, dictating how we live, who we should be with and how we should act. Many movements and artists have tried to break down barriers and encourage a more open, diverse society. From the Suffragettes to Stonewall, David Bowie to Beyonce, Freddie Mercury to Christine and the Queens, standard conventions of what gender and/or sexuality means is constantly being challenged. Throughout this module, you will be exploring theoretical discourses to analyse how gendered society exists within these systems, in order to challenge your own perspectives. The lack of representation is not limited to artists and you will consider what can be done to encourage change within the creative industries. You will examine why gender and sexuality continue to be used to undermine and exploit those in industry and reflect on whether these constructs can be used to empower or whether subverted norms of gender and sexuality can break down barriers and boundaries to encourage fairer, more equal representation.

  • Optional Diversity in the Creative Industries

    How many new female artists can expect not to have their physical appearance dictated by their label and management? How many new black British artists can expect to get heard without collaborating with a mainstream white artist? Can disabled fans of performing arts gain access to work that speaks to their concerns, let alone find themselves in positions of responsibility where they could change what is performed in our venues and theatrical spaces? In an age in which minority and female artists are questioning the old habits of the white-male dominated music-business, can the music industry say there is genuine equality of opportunity for all? This module will enable you to explore the key issues, historical factors and current debates shaping our thinking about diversity in the creative industries. Negotiating key areas and methods of investigation with your tutor, you will reflect, in podcast format, on your own place within an increasingly diverse creative landscape.

  • Optional Practical Learning and Teaching in the Creative Arts 2

    Building upon your learning in Practical Learning and Teaching in the Creative Arts 1, this module combines theory and practice throughout as the focus moves to the context of learning and teaching in groups. This includes classrooms, youth and community groups and creative workshops, and the opportunities and challenges that are associated with learning and teaching in these environments. The module will further develop your teaching practice as you explore your subject specialisms and far beyond, stretching your knowledge to meet the demands of real-life teaching, either for work after your degree or as preparation for further study including PGCEs.

  • Optional Scoring for Drama

    Scoring for film, television, gaming and other visual media isn’t just about writing good music: it’s about writing the right music for the scene and the dramatic arc. You will be using your technical skills (DAW’s, theory, recording techniques etc.) to serve the vision of a film, to tell the story of the film, and to support the aesthetic and emotional aims of the production. A major aspect of film is its collaborative nature, which will be reflected in your ability to react to and incorporate feedback given on your work in progress.

  • Optional Creative Performance with Mixed Media

    This module is designed to equip you with the skills required to develop an initial musical idea or creative concept through to a final live performance. If you’re interested in developing your skills in electronic music composition, you will be able to explore electronic instruments in the creation of an engaging performance using tools such as Ableton Live. Or if you’re interested in a more traditional band performance, you will discover how to integrate music technologies into your set to enhance arrangements and to explore new sonic possibilities. You will also be encouraged to explore the creation of a visual component (animation, film and lighting) as part of your project – and you can choose to involve fellow performers – however, the material presented in the performance or installation must be entirely created and curated by you – and that includes audio and visuals.

  • Optional The Art of Mastering

    Mastering is the process of taking final mixes and preparing them for delivery to potentially multiple formats. The “Art” of mastering is in successfully meeting both the technical and aesthetic requirements to deliver the artist’s vision to the highest possible level. In this module, we will build upon your knowledge of equalisation, dynamics, stereo, noise removal and assorted saturation tools from previous core modules and refine this to enable the delivery of high quality, aesthetically appropriate masters for a variety of genres and formats.

  • Optional Game Sound & Music

    Game sound has come a long way since the bloops & bleeps of the 1980s. Gamers now expect fully immersive and interactivity to match the improvements in graphics and gameplay. Though there’s some overlap with film and TV sound, game sound designers need a unique set of skills. Sound effects and music need to be interactive and respond to changes and events in the game. This module will introduce you to the challenges involved and teach you how to identify and meet them.

  • Optional Audio Post Production

    In this module, you will focus on audio post-production techniques for Film, Television and Video. You will be learning the tools and techniques utilised by industry professionals to create a sympathetic sound design for moving imagery as well as creating a clean and engaging production suitable for broadcast or online consumption. The module will build upon your existing foley, location recording, vocal capture and creative sound skills as well as introducing new techniques that are specific to combining audio with moving imagery. A good working understanding of audio theory, recording and editing is essential for engaging well with this module.

  • Optional Convolution and Sound Modelling

    Spaces shape sound, so virtual spaces are some of the most powerful tools a sound designer can deploy. Convolution effects involve measuring the acoustic characteristics of physical spaces, which can then be used for processing an audio signal, instantly taking the listener to cathedrals, castles and caves. Such processes can also be applied to the emulation of analogue hardware, providing digital copies of vintage equipment. These effects present new creative vistas for music production, film and game audio. This module will give you an understanding of the technical construction and creative applications of convolution effects and sound modelling. You will capture and analyse impulse responses, build effects, and use them to process chosen multi-tracks and samples.

  • Optional Immersive Audio Techniques

    The module will introduce students to the possibilities of immersive audio environments, providing theoretical and practical knowledge on existing and emerging ways to create, mix, and perform with immersive audio setups. The module will focus on relevant immersive audio recording techniques, production and mixing. Students will be exposed to bespoke tools, techniques, practices and practitioners.

  • Optional Interactive Music Applications

    This module will focus on producing music through using programming language and interactive music systems. You will examine algorithmic music concepts from pioneering artists of the past and present, explore a range of interactive techniques using a range of different software and hardware. The aim is to provide a student with no prior programming experience the skills needed to build their own unique interactive music systems and instruments.

  • Optional Technical Event Production

    In this module you will be given an exciting overview of the technical production side of live events, covering lighting, audio, pyrotechnics, staging, backline, video and rigging in both indoor and outdoor venues. You will learn transferable skills around touring, festivals and theatres/arenas, and gain in-depth knowledge of production management and stage management, as well as specific disciplines. The module will focus on practical application in a range of environments (including practice rooms with real equipment), as well as covering health and safety, working with artists and clients, and industry best practices. This technical production module will aim to give you the tools needed to work both backstage and on stage as part of a tour, in a venue, and at outdoor events and festivals.

  • Optional Electroacoustic Composition

    Contemporary electronic music ranging from Techno to Modern Classical utilises many of the cutting-edge processes developed by pioneering electroacoustic composers. This module will introduce you to electroacoustic practices, advanced software tools and compositional strategies that will develop your creative abilities in electronic music production. You will engage in technical and aesthetic analysis of exploratory electroacoustic sound works, which will equip you with the necessary skills to make informed interpretations and appraisals. You will develop both practical and theoretical prowess, enabling you to create bold and challenging contemporary electroacoustic sound works.

The option modules advertised as available for BIMM Institute courses are subject to variation dependant on minimum student numbers and the availability of specialist resources at each college (Please refer to our terms and conditions for further detail).

Want to apply?

Minimum requirements

Successful completion of a BIMM admissions assessment.

Minimum of 2 A-levels at Grade E or above (32 UCAS points), OR BTEC Level 3 equivalent, and normally three GCSEs at a minimum grade C/4, including English Language.

IELTS 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 to be achieved in each band.

After this course:

Progression

Graduates can progress directly to employment in the recording industry, the live music industry, the film and TV industry, the audio post production industry and education industry.

Course Specification

Mode of attendance:
Full-time
Length of course:
This course is taught as a three-year course at levels four, five and six.
Awarding institution:
BIMM Institute
Teaching institution:
BIMM Birmingham
UCAS code:
W382
Final award and exit awards:
Year Three FHEQ Level 6: 360 credits (BA in Popular Music Performance and Music Production)
Admissions Criteria:
Minimum of 2 A-levels at Grade E or above (32 UCAS points), OR BTEC Level 3 equivalent, and normally three GCSEs at a minimum grade C/4, including English Language.