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Popular Music (Performance/Production) — BA (Hons) Top-Up

Course information

The one-year, full-time BA (Hons) Top-up in Popular Music (Performance and Production pathways) is a direct progression route for students successfully completing the Foundation Degree in Popular Music or similar Level 5 programme at the college or elsewhere, such as a HND in Music or Music Production. The programme will equip you to be a multi skilled music practitioner, and studying at CoLC will hone your creativity with an innovative and supportive BA Hons to fulfil your dreams and aspirations of working in the music industry. Technology modules will be taught using Industry standard equipment, and all modules will be delivered by lecturers who have long standing careers in the industry to the present day. Their experience stretches over decades, including live sound, ensemble performance, professional bands, recording studios, record labels, DJing, audio post production and entrepreneurial Industry skills.

Skills and Knowledge Developed:Much of the Top-Up year will be project based, and you will select options for your personal pathway into the industry. The core modules will be a combination of academia and practical skills focused on professionalism and employability. The generic modules will investigate the current music industry and the place of music in contemporary culture and professional development. They will be completed in conjunction with specialist pathway modules for students to apply their individual skills to projects, to give an invaluable experience at Level 6.

A key special feature of the programme is work-related learning, not only in the area of employability but also self-employment, enterprise and entrepreneurship. Specialist options within the two pathways include performance, composition/songwriting, research, recording studio/audio production, and composing sound for film/TV/games. Being a Level 6 programme there is an expectation of a high level of self-directed and independent learning with tutorial support, particularly for the 40-credit Project Realisation module.

The programme handbooks for this course are available to applicants online:

BA (Hons) Top-up Popular Music (Performance pathway) Programme Handbook (20-21)

BA (Hons) Top-up Popular Music (Production pathway) Programme Handbook (20-21)

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


BA Honours Degree in Popular Music (Performance) / Popular Music (Production)

This course leads to...

This programme produces graduates skilled in a range of specialist areas. Progression is through direct entry into the music profession or through further study at postgraduate level, including teacher training.

Entry Requirements

Indicative requirements:
• Level 5 qualification in Music, Popular Music or Music Production (e.g. Foundation Degree or HND)
• A high level of competence on an instrument or voice (around grade 8 ABRSM, Rockschool or equivalent) and a good understanding of music theory. A high level of Music production processes and techniques must be shown for production students
• All applicants will be auditioned and assessed on their theory knowledge (a sample paper will be sent when invited for audition). Production students will sit diagnostic tests to assess their level
• Applicants with appropriate prior learning, or those who can demonstrate that they have achieved all learning outcomes required for the College’s Foundation Degree in Popular Music or Music Production at Level 5, will be considered

Applicants without any of the above may be considered on the basis of previously achieved certificated learning, experiential learning and/or work-related experience. Suitably qualified applicants who are not at the levels of music performance, theory or music production skills indicated above, will be asked to provide marked examples of their Level 5 academic work. If this is of sufficient quality, a place will be offered, on the understanding that they should opt to specialise in an area not involving performance or score writing.

Why study with us?

A key special feature of the programme is work-related learning, not only in the area of employability but also self-employment, enterprise and entrepreneurship. The current music profession is diverse and somewhat fragmented, and the music industries are (as are the creative industries in general) increasingly dependent on Small to Medium sized enterprises/businesses (SMEs) and self- employed practitioners providing specialist services and products.

This programme encourages and supports students in the development and application of their self-promotion skills (in the Professional Portfolio and Professional Practice modules) and the application of their musical skills or production skills and knowledge to chosen area(s) of the profession (in the Specialist Project and Project Realisation/Dissertation modules).

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, composition, arranging, enterprise and entrepreneurship, etc.)
• a holistic approach to the training of music and production 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 modules (particularly in semester 1)
• regular 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, record labels, music festivals, music distribution companies, music management and music brands around the city (such as The Lantern Theatre, Crosstown Studios, Urban Strawberry Lunch, Sound City, Threshold Festival, The Vocal Booth, Aintree Music School, Kooky music, Hocus Pocus, Paper Recordings and a host of boutique club nights and events) and further afield (internationally)
• regular workshops and masterclasses given by local, national and international visiting speakers and artists (recent examples being Benn Clatworthy, Daniel John Martin and Bill Connor). Industry day has also enabled us to showcase master classes from Steve Levine, Kinnerman, PRS and Ad Lib audio.

The staffing for this programme consists of people with recent and current industry experience across a wide range of music environments as well as scholarly activity. This valuable mix of experience and knowledge ensures students receive relevant, recent and up-to-date skills which position them effectively for employment, self-employment or progression to postgraduate study.

The city centre location of the Arts Centre adds further impact to the programme as it is in a key physical position to link in with new and established city centre businesses, as well as being close to other college services such as the LRC and nursery and other HEIs.
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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: 163260

Course Year: 21/22

Course Duration: 1 Year


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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