BA (Hons) in Professional MusicianshipApply Now!
Guitar / BA (Hons) in Professional Musicianship
The BA (Hons) in Professional Musicianship (validated by Bath Spa University) is both academically and musically challenging. There are two routes to the BA qualification, one for performers and the other for songwriters. This Guitar Degree will stretch students as musicians/ composers and provide them with the essential academic and business skills required to work successfully in the contemporary music industry.
There is a strong focus on live performance, technique and stylistic development; in addition to research and project work that encourages musicians to develop realistic and attainable career goals using a deadline-driven project management approach.
Students may choose optional modules in years two and three in order to tailor the course to their own ambitions as musicians or songwriters, and may also undertake work placements during their studies.
BA graduates work extensively within the music industry including, session work with major artists, professional teaching work, making appearances on major TV music shows, and achieving chart success.
UCAS CODE: W311
INSTITUTION CODE: B39
CAMPUS CODE: L
Techniques - Closely linked to Essential Styles, this module is designed to develop technical ability in an applied way, to facilitate enhancement of musical vocabulary. A disciplined approach to regular practice will be essential.
Essential Styles - A comprehensive study of different styles of music and associated practitioners, designed to facilitate stylistic development and awareness in each discipline. This module is closely linked to Essential Styles and is invaluable for anyone wishing to become a studio or touring musician. Aural Perception skills, as well as associated techniques and historical context are all focused on here.
Music Business and Study Skills - This module is designed to give musicians a comprehensive understanding of the workings of the Music Industry. Topics include music publishing, artist management, recording contracts, music law, synchronization, music teaching and business planning. A study skills element is included, designed to develop the academic skills needed for Higher Education study.
Artist Development and Entrepreneurship - Here, musicians will develop an understanding of exactly what it takes to become a professional artist. This module dissects every aspect of live performance at local, national and international levels. Musicians will learn how to make the correct decisions that could give them or their band the edge in one of the World’s most competitive industries.
Live Performance Workshop - This module is all about the preparation of songs to professional standards, being made to work in a live setting. Parts, arrangement, tone, feel, and performance will all be broken down and analysed in detail, with aspects such as musical communication, performance ability, and how to sound great through a big PA addressed in live performance workshops.
Music Theory and Notation - A comprehensive study of the theory behind the music, including practical applications of theoretical concepts. This module will also facilitate the development of sight-reading ability and transcription skills, to better prepare musicians for the range of situations likely to be encountered throughout their careers.
All students take the following mandatory modules in their second year of study:
Research Methods - Musicians undertake a research project that supports their planning for the Professional Project module. For example, a vocalist could research the techniques involved in getting a vocal sound in the studio, or a band musician planning a national tour could prepare a case study on a relevant breaking act or important venue.
Cultural Perspectives - A comprehensive history of popular music from 1900 to 1970, which analyses the social and political conditions that influenced the development of the art form, as well as evaluating key releases from influential artists.
Professional Musicianship - This class focuses on high-level technical development for guitar, bass, drums or vocals. In addition to the lectures on technique, musicians will need to choose a particular area relating to their discipline in which to specialise. This will be chosen via negotiation with the tutors.
Theory & Transcription - This module assists musicians with ear training, transcription skills and notation. It discusses broad theoretical issues and introduces students to techniques of composition, analysis and performance as related to popular music.
Group ‘A’ Modules:
Performance in Context - In this class musicians map their own performances against professional work using original and cover material. Performances are routinely critically assessed in small group settings.
Session Skills - Practical analysis and application of studio styles and techniques for guitar, bass, drums and vocals. In addition to lectures, workshops and practical elements, musicians will develop an overview of the basics for studio musicianship and beyond. This learning and experience should support the final practical studio recording assessment and viva.
Commercial Band Management - This class helps musicians understand how to run a commercial covers band as a business. Musicians will develop and gig projects under the direction of professional musical directors and agents.
Commercial Songwriting - This module will further address the musical and technological aspects of writing and producing popular songs, and will include focus on composition for the media and moving image alongside the commercial concerns and production values vital to this discipline. Musicians will continue to develop technical skills along with creative techniques common to working with sound and image.
Group ‘B’ Modules:
Studio Recording - This module is designed to help studio musicians understand basic engineering principles and take responsibility for the sonic direction of their recordings. This knowledge will help any musician to get a quality sound in even the most basic of studios. The module also covers studio-based arrangement skills.
The Songwriter/Producer - This module will address the musical and technological aspects of writing and producing popular songs, and will include focus on song forms and structures (AABC etc.), cadences and chord progressions, modulation, writing and harmonising melodies, lyric writing and applying learning to original material. Training in the use of Digital Audio Workstations (DAW), the mainstay of this discipline, will also feature in this module. Songwriter/Producer is not a beginner’s songwriting module. Students wishing to choose this course must provide a demo of at least one co-written song as part of their module selection at the end of BA Y1 for approval by the BIMM25 Module Leader before acceptance.
Music Publishing - This module introduces students to the principles and practice of copyright, the business mechanics of music publishing and the roles and structure of the collection societies. The module goes on to examine diverse applications, including music & media, film, television, radio and the Internet.
Personal and Business Development - Musicians are encouraged to consider and facilitate their own personal and business development, an essential activity for band players, writers and singers alike. Topics include effective team working, stress management, time management and goal setting.
Analytical Perspectives - This module examines the history of popular music from 1970-2000. It looks at the work of significant artists and examines the lineage of their influences through the different generations of popular music.
Professional Project - Three years of hard work come together in the realisation of the student's final year project. Theoretical and conceptual material will be delivered on site but the module provides the student with a unique opportunity to implement these ideas in a practical setting undertaken via self directed study of a project idea of their choice. Past projects have included musicians taking a band on the road, combining touring with an album release and press campaign, establishing a private tuition business or music events management.
Group ‘A’ Modules:
Solo Performance - A high-level performance module based on the development of solo performance skills for guitarists, bassists, drummers, and vocalists. Musicians perform either on their own or using backing tracks. Work is compared to professional material and students must critically assess their progress and attainment. Solo Performance is a high-level performance course. Students selecting this module must attain a minimum 2.1 grade (60% or higher) in BA Y2 Professional Musicianship (or equivalent).
Ensemble Performance - Building on the skills and knowledge acquired in previous live performance modules, students will work together to arrange and perform original compositions into effective live performances. Musicians map their work against that of professionals and make recommendations for future working practice. Commercial Songwriting - This module will further address the musical and technological aspects of writing and producing popular songs, and will include focus on composition for the media and moving image alongside the commercial concerns and production values vital to this discipline. Musicians will continue to develop technical skills along with creative techniques common to working with sound and image.
Group ‘B’ Modules:
Music Business Studies - This module provides a thorough investigation into the music business and will provide students with an understanding of the various agreements they might be expected to enter into during the course of a career in music. Musicians will gain insight into the structure of the industry and will be able to interpret key terms used in the management, recording, and publishing contracts.
Music Teaching Practice - This module deals with the development of a sound set of teaching skills, from one-to-one tuition to large group classroom work. Small teaching practice business models are discussed and musicians can investigate full-time teaching as a career option either in mainstream education or as a private practitioner.
In addition to practical and academic lessons, course delivery is supported by BIMM’s comprehensive tutorial system that enables every musician to benefit from widespread access to music industry professionals for expert help and advice. There are also many extra-curricular activities including rehearsing, recording and performing in public, and visits from high-level professional musicians and other music industry personnel.
Minimum entry requirements are 5 GCSEs at C or above (including English), plus two A Levels at Grade E, or an equivalent Level 3 vocational qualification. Musicians will also be expected to have Grade 6 equivalency playing skills. Applications by experienced musicians without formal qualifications may also be considered through accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL).
Post Graduate Certificate in Further and Higher Music Education at BIMM Brighton.
Students who successfully pass all modules are eligible to complete after one year, receiving a Cert HE qualification.
BA (Hons) in Professional Musicianship
Note that a separate course specification applies for students entering the Certificate of Higher Education in Professional Musicianship as a one-year, stand-alone course.
- Mode of Attendance
- Length of Course
- This course is taught as either a three-year course at levels 4, 5 and 6, or a one-year top-up course at level 6 available only to those successfully completing the FdMus in Professional Musicianship at BIMM Bristol
- Start date
- Initial validation of two-year course in 2003: first cohort 2003/04. Revalidation of two-year course and validation of one-year course in 2006: first cohorts 2006/07 Revalidation of 1 year & 2 year course plus Diploma exit award April 2009: first cohorts
- Awarding Institution
- Bath Spa University
- Teaching Institution
- Bristol Institute of Modern Music
- UCAS Code
- Language of Study
- Final Award
- Certificate of Higher Education, Diploma of Higher Education (exit award only at level 5), Bachelors Degree with Honours
- FHEQ Level
- 120 credits at Level 4, 120 credits at Level 5, 120 credits at Level 6
- Reference Points
- QAA Subject Benchmark in Music (2008)
QAA Code of Practice (2004-2010)
QAA Guidance on Programme Specifications (2006)
UoS Partnership Procedures (2010-11)
- Minimum Period of Registration
- For the three-year course at levels 4,5, and 6: 3 years
- Maximum Period of Registration
- 9 years (3 year Course), 5 years (1 year Course)
- Admissions Criteria
- 80 UCAS tariff score (2 A levels at grade E)
An equivalent qualification or experiential learning is acceptable via our AP(E)L processes
Trinity Grade 6 or above (or equivalent) playing skills is the normal requirement
- Date of Course Specification:
- May 2011
- November 2011
What makes this Course distinctive?
Download the Full Course Specification [192 KB]