Diploma in Popular Music Performance


This one-year practical and vocational course is equivalent to two ‘A’ Levels, and covers tuition across everything from technique and performance skills to musicianship and music theory.

At BIMM London, we understand that live performance is the key to you becoming a great drummer, so you’ll spend a lot of time on stage to help you develop and find your niche as a performer. You’ll participate in weekly Live Performance Workshops (LPWs), playing with your fellow students while receiving expert guidance from highly skilled BIMM tutors.

As well as the focus on performance, this drum course will teach you to communicate musically and be creatively self-sufficient. It’ll also provide you with an understanding of how the music industry works and give you the opportunity to study the work of the leading artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. All in all, it’s a fantastic grounding for a holistic understanding of modern music and the industry that surrounds it.

Successful completion of the course will gain you a Pearson Edexcel BTEC National Diploma qualification, and it’s a great gateway to either taking your first steps in a music industry career, or continuing on with study in the form of a music degree at BIMM.

So, what are you waiting for? To make your way as a drummer, connect with us, and we’ll connect you to a life in music.

Validated by:

UK & EU STUDENTS £6,950 per year

NON EU STUDENTS £12,450 per year

more information

Year 1

Module names and structure may be subject to change.

  • Technique

    This module focuses on the mechanical, physical and ergonomic principles of hand and foot technique. Students will look at co-ordination, control, speed, endurance and mobility to develop effective self-expression on the kit and apply this to the study of the essential conceptual aspects of drumming, including styles, grooves and musical feel. They’ll also look at the mental approach to performing and practicing, and Latin percussion sessions will develop their understanding of the principles of African, Cuban and Brazilian rhythms, giving them a sound grasp of hand percussion.

  • Session Styles

    This module will give students the tools to be thoroughly creative in their own right. They’ll study the approaches of the great drummers and develop the dexterity and co-ordination needed to respond to any musical situation.

  • Pre-Production

    This module supports the preparation of songs for the Live Performance Workshops. Parts, arrangement, tone and performance will all be analysed, with the emphasis on simplicity being taken to a very high standard. Attention to detail is paramount and students will also work on developing their time, feel and groove with a drum tutor in a weekly rhythm-section class.

  • Live Performance Workshop (LPW)

    This module gives the chance to put it all the learning into practice – on stage with a full band line-up. Students will develop their live sound in a number of different styles, concentrating also on performing, showmanship and the right mental approach. They’ll learn to communicate ideas with other musicians, with the focus on a tight, well-arranged and professional performance.

  • Reading

    Students will cover a simple step-by-step method for learning to read and perform from music notation in this module, and well as interpreting charts – all of which is required by the industry. This will enable them to communicate quickly and effectively and perform to a high level in a variety of musical situations, opening up many employment opportunities throughout their career.

  • Musicianship

    Students will study the recognition of intervals, chords, rhythm, notation, melodies and chord progressions, forming a direct link between music they hear and their own instrument. They’ll explore how harmony and theory is applied in commercial music in a very practical and relevant way.

  • The Music Industry

    This module gives students practical music industry knowledge that will help them plan their career. They’ll be taken through aspects of the music industry, including record and publishing deals, management, social networks, music synchronisation, legal issues, copyright, live music and business plans.

  • Music in Context

    This module provides a history of classic artists placed in their social, historical and political context. Artists studied include Elvis Presley, Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Madonna, Nirvana and Radiohead. An understanding of this essential stylistic knowledge will help to develop authenticity in performance.

  • Personal and Instrumental Development

    This module supports the performance opportunities that feature as part of the one-year programme alongside artist development, presentational skills, practice routines and academic writing. As the weeks progress you will gain advice and guidance in how to develop as an individual and instrumentalist / vocalist in all areas of your work. You will explore and adopt many different approaches to ensure you deliver every aspect of your what you do, whether this is a live performance or an essay, to your best level. This module will help support and guide you through the course and will help you to manage yourself as a student and as a musician

  • Music Technology

    This module introduces students to industry-standard music software packages, allowing them to build up effective backing tracks, work out solos and program their own music.

  • Extended Studies

    This module is a chance to recap and review key areas of the curriculum, as well as receiving information relating to academic writing, assessment criteria, the forming of bands and guests.

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Minimum requirements

Five GCSEs at a minimum grade of C/4, including English Language and Maths. Overseas students where English is not their native language must meet a minimum English language requirement of IELTS 6.0. We require a minimum of 5.5 to be achieved in each band.

After this course:


Graduates can progress directly to employment in the music industry in roles such as solo performer, band member, session musician, backing vocalist or songwriter, or can continue their study with a BMus Popular Music Performance or BA (Hons) Creative Musicianship degree at BIMM London.

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How to apply

All diploma applications can be made directly via the BIMM Admissions Team. To request an audition and/or assessment call 0844 2 646 666. All students will be invited to attend an audition and/or assessment. International applicants who can’t attend an audition and/or assessment will be sent guidelines and an application form.

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Coming from abroad?

International students

We’re proud to welcome students from all around the world. Our dedicated International Team is on hand to help with applications, visas, accommodation, settling in and much more.

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Course Specification

Mode of attendance:
Length of course:
1 year
Awarding institution:
Teaching institution:
BIMM London
Language of study:
Final award and exit awards:
Pearson BTEC National Diploma Level 3 qualification in the National Qualifications Framework.
Admissions criteria:
Five GCSEs at a minimum grade of C/4, including English Language and Maths. Overseas students where English is not their native language must meet a minimum English language requirement of IELTS 6.0. We require a minimum of 5.5 to be achieved in each band.

Teaching this course

BIMM Tutors

From headlining the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury with Moby and playing drums in the soundtrack to the Hollywood movie ‘Nine’, to performing for The Queen and being a vocal coach on the Russian version of The X Factor, our BIMM London tutors have done it all. Imagine what you could achieve with direct access to their knowledge, guidance, experience and enviable industry connections!

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Making it in music:

Success Stories

Our students prove that talent and hard work are an impressive mix, with nearly 80% of our graduates making a living out of music alone. Take a look at our shining stars.

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