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Music (Popular) — Foundation Degree (FD)

Course information

The two-year, full-time Foundation Degree in Popular Music specialises in popular music and its professional application and includes a work placement underpinned by an agreement drawn up between the student, the placement employer and the College.

Level 4 Modules:

  • Music Theory and Keyboard Skills (20 credits)
  • Practical Musicianship 1 (20 credits)
  • Studying Popular Music 1 (20 credits)
  • Sequencing/Notation Software and Composition (20 credits)
  • Practical Musicianship 2 (20 credits)
  • Music in the Community and Education (20 credits)

Level 5 Modules:

  • Advanced Harmony and Arranging (20 credits)
  • Advanced Practical Musicianship (20 credits)
  • Studying Popular Music 2 (20 credits)
  • Developing Professional Practice (including work placement) (20 credits)
  • Performance Project (20 credits)
  • Session Styles and Recording (20 credits)

Work-based learning is provided as the major element of Music in the Community and Education (20 credits) and Developing Professional Practice (20 credits). In addition, Performance Project (20 credits) culminates in a public performance in a professional venue and Session Styles and Recording (20 credits) is delivered in the College’s professional standard studios, to closely replicate working practices. Other modules such as Sequencing/Notation Software and Composition (20 credits) are work-related, with industry-relevant assignment briefs and delivered using industry standard software.

Skills and Knowledge Developed: The course is designed to develop specialist knowledge and skills in music performance, composition and arranging to a high level so that they can be applied in the music industry and in other contexts such as education and music in the community. The course also develops the skills and knowledge involved in the academic study of popular music in its historical and cultural contexts, to provide a wider and deeper understanding of the subject and as preparation for further study (at Level 6 and above) or music teaching.

Please note: this course will only run when it has a sufficient number of applicants.

The programme handbook for this course is available to applicants online:

FD Popular Music Programme Handbook (21-22)

This programme is validated by The Open University. To access the OU Regulations and OU Students' Guide please follow the links below:

OU Regulations

OU Students' Guide


Foundation Degree in Popular Music

This course leads to...

For those students wishing to continue their HE studies in music, it is possible - subject to individual assessment - to complete a BA (Hons) Popular Music degree by studying the final year of this programme (level 6) at The City of Liverpool College (CoLC).

Entry Requirements

Indicative requirements: DMM grade profile (BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma) or M grade (RSL Extended Diploma) in subjects including music.

A good level of competence on an instrument or voice (around grade 6 ABRSM, Rockschool or equivalent) and a good basic grounding in music theory (preferably around grade 5). You will be required to submit a successful video audition.
All applicants will be auditioned and assessed on their theory knowledge (a sample paper will be sent when invited for audition).

Appropriately experienced applicants will be considered in line with the Open University’s APEL/Credit Transfer guidelines and the CoLC’s APL procedure, which considers individual cases on merit at the interview/audition stage.

Why study with us?

A key special feature of the programme is work experience and work-related learning. Students undertake a short (up to 4 hours) assessed group community music project in level 4, and an individual assessed work experience placement or work-related project of 70 hours in total in level 5. In both cases, the learning outcomes are clearly identified but can be achieved in a wide range of ways to allow flexibility for the diversity of students and modes of music-related employment, and the 70-hour
placement may be organised in any way that is convenient for the student and provider (one day a week in a school over 12 weeks, for example). Due to the main (level 5) work experience placement being in semester 2, during semester 1 of level 5, students will be given guidance and preparation time in finding a suitable placement during tutorial sessions, making use of existing college partnerships and staff contacts, where necessary. An alternative work-related project may be considered, as long as it is of a professional nature, meets the 70-hour requirement and can be documented sufficiently.

Other special features of this programme that, together, make it unique in Merseyside at this level are:
• the breadth of knowledge and skills covered (performance, music theory, composition, keyboard skills, community music, etc.)
• a holistic approach to the training of future music professionals by encouraging transferable learning across a wide range of work-related contexts, to enable them to pursue sustainable careers
• the balance between theory and practical work across and within modules
• weekly group and individual tutorials throughout the programme with an allocated personal tutor to support each student in academic, professional development and pastoral matters
• a small cohort benefitting from small class sizes, and timetabling designed to enable students to continue with family or work commitments whilst studying
• the use of real-world briefs and the department’s links with venues and music companies around the city (such as The Lantern Theatre, Crosstown Studios, Urban Strawberry Lunch and Aintree Music School) and further afield (internationally)
• regular workshops and master-classes given by local, national and international visiting speakers and artists (recent examples being Benn Clatworthy, Daniel John Martin and Bill Connor)
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Further Information...

Need more information or can’t find the course you’re looking for? We can book you in to speak with our dedicated Advice & Guidance team about your options at The City of Liverpool College. With hundreds of courses and flexible learning, we’re sure to have something to meet your needs.

You can contact us online via or call us at any point on 0151 252 3000 with any queries you may have – we’re here to help.


Course ID: 163611

Course Year: 21/22

Course Duration: 2 Years


This course is only available to learners aged 18 and over. Fees are payable by all students unless sponsored by an employer, but you may qualify for a student loan through Student Finance England towards the cost of your course and living costs. Find out more at, or contact our HE team at

Fee for21/22 is 8278.00
In future years we anticipate increasing this fee in line with the annual inflation level (capped at RPI All Items Excluding Mortgage Interest (RPIX)).

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