Popular Music Practice - HND

UCAS Code:
Full Time (2 years)
September 2018
South and City College Birmingham

Offered by respected partner institution, South and City College Birmingham, this course helps you to develop creatively and gives you essential practical industry skills in performance, production and composition.

What's covered in the course?

By involving you heavily in the development of professional products such as performances, tours or radio shows, the course helps you build your own professional profile and artistic identity. Working with your colleagues will show you the importance of effective team collaboration.

The key areas covered are Performance, Production and Composition, which mirror the working realities of the commercial music industry. Your studies give you an all-round grasp of the inherent challenges, as well as specific skills to deal with clearly defined issues surrounding performance and production via live musical situations, and producing finished products such as recordings and composition portfolios.

In the second year, you work in an area of specialisation, allowing you to develop more advanced skills. Much of the work in the final year is self-directed and always takes place in professional-standard settings.

Why Choose Us?

  • The main areas of the course – Performance, Production and Composition – reflect the reality and scope of the commercial music industry in which you can aim for a variety of roles.
  • South and City College Birmingham’s advanced facilities, including a 440- seat auditorium, as well as specialist recording studios and music technology suites, put you in a professional working environment from day one.
  • You get the chance to work with current music industry professionals and possibly undertake a relevant commercial placement.
  • Developing your creative, practical and professional skills, the course shows you how products such as performances, tours, CDs and radio shows are put together.
  • The college has Customer Service Excellence status, and is one of only a handful of training providers to achieve the government’s Training Quality Standard in three or more sector areas.

Open Days

Our next Open Day for this course will take place on Wednesday 13 June 2018. Book your place to see our facilities and speak to our staff and students.

Book your place

To welcome all new home and EU undergraduate degree students starting in 2018 or 2019, we're giving at least £150 worth of credit to spend in a host of ways, on books and a range of learning materials. Even better, it doesn’t have to be repaid.

Find out more
This course is not open to International students


Discover South and City College

Visit our South and City College's website for extra information about the Digbeth campus, where thic course is based.

Visit the college website

Entry Requirements

Applications for this course should be made through UCAS

You must be at least 18 years old on entry and have one of the following relevant qualifications:

  • 120 tariff points
  • One A2 Level plus other appropriate qualification
  • GNVQ Advanced with Merit
  • BTEC National Diploma in a relevant subject
  • Scottish Certificate of Education at the Higher Grade with at least three passes at grade C
  • A professional qualification of an appropriate standard
  • A pass in a recognised access course
  • A portfolio of creative work
  • Equivalent qualifications or experience

All applicants will be auditioned/interviewed. Where successful applicants demonstrate a lack of music academic skills, musicianship support classes will be offered. Skills equivalent to ABRSM Grade 5 will be required for progression to degree level study. Mature students lacking formal academic qualifications will be offered essay-writing/research support classes.

Worried? Don't be!

Worried about exams? Don't be.

We've put together a whole host of resources including student tips and expert advice to help you nail your exams. You can even get a free revision guide.

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UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
HND Sep 2018 FT 2 years £5,500 per year Apply via UCAS

International Students

Sorry, this course is not available to international students.

The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Guidance for UK/EU students


UK and EU students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

Applying through UCAS
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

Personal statement

UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*

The personal statement gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.

Sorry, this course is not available part-time

Fees for Equivalent or Lower Level Qualifications - UK/EU

Applicants who are applying to a course at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire which is at the same or lower level to the qualifications they are already holding will be classed as an ELQ student. Students categorised as studying for an ELQ at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire will be charged a tuition fee rate that is higher than the standard published rates. This is because in 2008 the government announced that it would no longer provide funding to support universities teaching students who were classed as an ELQ status.

If you believe you may be categorised as an ELQ applicant, please email admissions@bcu.ac.uk for further details.

Worried about personal statements?

Worried about personal statements?

If you've got no idea where to start or just want to check you're on the right track, we’ve got expert advice and real examples from our students to help you nail your personal statement. You can even download our ultimate personal statement guide for free.

Get personal statement advice

Loans and Grants

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Year one (semester one)

This course is taught over four semesters, each comprising 60 credits. For the first three semesters, you will follow four 15-credit modules in each semester.

During your final semester, you will follow two 15-credit module, with your Product Realisation accounting for the remaining 30 credits. Before you begin the course, you will participate in a Diagnostic Assessment.

Foundation Skills
15 credits

Three hours per week, leading to a practical task (50 per cent) and exam (50 per cent).

Technique 1: Techniques into Practice
15 credits

Four hours per week, leading to a technical exam (50 per cent) and a podcast (50 per cent).

Live 1: Resourcing Performances
15 credits

Four hours per week, leading to two live performances (70 per cent) and a supporting portfolio (30 per cent).

Exploring the Contextual
15 credits

Four hours per week, leading to an essay (50 per cent) and composition (50 per cent).

Year one (semester two)

Enterprise 1: Music Business and Marketing
15 credits

Three hours per week, leading to an exam (50 per cent) and digital publication (50 per cent).

Technique 2: Expanding the Range
15 credits

Four hours per week, leading to a technical exam (50 per cent) and a product (50 per cent).

Live 2: Creating a Show
15 credits

Four hours per week, leading to a live event (70 per cent) and an evaluation (30 per cent).

Creative Portfolio
15 credits

Four hours per week, leading to a creative portfolio (75 per cent) and an evaluation (25 per cent).

Year two (semester three)

Music Critique and Analysis
15 credits

Two hours per week, leading to analysis portfolio (50 per cent) and critique (50 per cent).

Technique 3: Extending Creative Techniques
15 credits

Four hours per week, leading to a technical exam (50 per cent) and a viva (50 per cent).

Live 3: Expanding the Performance Horizon

Four hours per week, leading to a timed task (40 per cent) and an external event (60 per cent).

Independence in Research and Practice
15 credits

Four hours per week, leading to an essay (50 per cent) and a timed task (50 per cent).

Year two (semester four)

Enterprise 2: Contemporary Music Business in Practice
15 credits

Three hours per week, leading to an electronic press kit (50 per cent) and a marketing strategy presentation (50 per cent).

Techniques 4: Showcasing Extended Techniques
15 credits

Four hours per week, leading to an essay (50 per cent) and a final showcase (50 per cent).

Product Realisation
30 credits

Eight hours per week, leading to negotiated, realised product (50 per cent) and production cycle portfolio (50 per cent).

Course Structure

Much of your work will be geared towards the development of professional products, such as performances, tours, CD production or radio shows. The course will help you to develop your own professional profile and explore your individual artistic identity. You’ll also collaborate with others and explore all aspects of the contemporary music industry.

There are three areas of concentration: Performance, Production and Composition. Each of these will enable you to understand a key area and to develop new skills. Undertaking work in each area reflects the reality of the commercial music industry where practitioners may perform a variety of roles. In Year 2 you will specialise in one area and develop more advanced skills. Much of the work in the final year is self-directed and always takes place in professional-standard environments.

Study and work abroad

If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.

It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. If you study with us you will have access to an Erasmus co-ordinator, who can provide information about which institutions we have links with.

Find out more


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.


BCU Graduate+

Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.

Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.

More about Graduate+


This course is delivered at South and City College Birmingham's Digbeth Campus.

Find out more about Digbeth Campus

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Contact the admissions team

+44 (0)121 331 6295