Bass Guitar

BA (Hons) Professional Musicianship


At BIMM Birmingham, we understand that live performance is the key to you becoming a great bass player, so you’ll spend a lot of time on stage to help you develop and find your niche as a performer.

You’ll also further hone your skills by receiving tuition in bass techniques, music theory and styles across a wide range of genres from pop, punk, folk and funk.

The degree is both academically and musically challenging, providing the perfect balance between practical and technical skills, theory and analysis.

You’ll explore and develop your potential career pathways through research and professional projects and will learn the essential business skills required to work successfully in the music industry.

Plus you’ll get to plug into one of a kind networking opportunities and collaborate with like-minded fellow musicians during your time on the course.

Through a range of optional modules, including Solo Performance, Music Business Studies, Music Teaching Practice and Online Music, you can tailor the degree to fit your own personal goals.

Life at BIMM will stretch you as a musician, composer and performer but will inspire you as a bass fan, as you attend unique Masterclasses with some of the best bass players and musicians in the world.

So, to make your way as a bassist, connect with us, and we’ll connect you to a life in music.

Click here to find this course on UCAS.

Validated by:

2018/2019 Fees

Student Loan Finance Available 

Year 1

All students take the following core modules in their first year of study. Module names and structure may be subject to change.

  • Essential Styles

    As a studio or touring musician, the more musical styles you have at your disposal, the more employable you’ll be. On the Essential Styles module, we’ll make you the complete player, familiar with the key genres and must-hear releases from every era, and armed with the chops and aural skills to shine in any session or live situation.

  • Techniques

    Running alongside your Essential Styles studies, this module puts your musicianship under the spotlight. With the focus on real-world skills – and disciplined practice expected of all students – this is where you’ll build the technical ability and musical vocabulary you’ll need as an expressive modern musician working in different fields.

  • Applied Music Business

    Every musician needs bulletproof business chops, and this module reveals how the modern industry really works. Whatever your next move, you’ll be confident dealing with every aspect of your career, including publishing, artist management, contracts, music law, synchronisation, music teaching and business planning. You’ll also learn the academic and study skills to help you get the most from your time at BIMM.

  • Artist Development and Entrepreneurship

    Passion is just the start. This module is where you’ll gather the skills and knowledge that turn amateurs into professional artists. You’ll learn how to make the right call in every situation – from international touring to long-term career decisions – and to apply the blue-sky thinking that will give you the edge in a competitive industry.

  • Live Performance Workshop

    In the modern industry, nothing opens doors like a great live performance. Working closely with BIMM’s expert tutors, you’ll learn to analyse and perfect all the elements – from arrangements to hooks – that make a song come alive onstage, and master the performance and communication skills you need to dazzle audiences and A&Rs.

  • Music Theory and Notation

    Whether you want to write more adventurous material or get booked for the best sessions in town, a watertight knowledge of musical theory goes a long way. Dive into a fast-paced, dynamic module full of applicable skills – from sight-reading to transcription – that will keep your music fresh and your phone ringing.

Year 2

All students take the following core modules in their second year of study, plus one optional module. Module names and structure may be subject to change.

  • Research Methods

    As a professional musician or project manager, you’ll need stellar research skills for a thousand different scenarios, from gauging international markets to finding the right clubs for your next tour. This module reveals the best methods of gathering accurate data in the digital age, without wasting time or resources. It’s a great practical skill for your career ahead – and invaluable preparation for the Year 3 Professional Project.

  • Professional Musicianship

    To make your mark in the competitive music industry, you’ll need complete mastery of your instrument. This module aims to move your technical capabilities on to the next level, inviting you to attend lectures on general techniques and liaise with your tutor to choose a specific area as your specialism.

  • Cultural Perspectives

    To know where music is headed, you need to understand where it’s been. This dynamic module leads you through the unfolding history of popular music and the industry, showing how art and business have been shaped by society, economics and technology. You’ll not only gain a watertight knowledge of the pivotal events, releases, labels and artists – but a clear vision of how you’ll write the next chapter.

  • Performance in Context

    The stage becomes your second home during the Performance In Context module, whose close focus on live technique turns raw talents into capable and commanding performers. Dive into BIMM’s archive of reference material, study the performances of the greats as you evaluate and improve your own – then showcase your new skills in front of real audiences.

  • Applied Music Theory and Critical Listening

    We believe in music theory with real-world benefits, and this module locks down the skills that you’ll draw on every day as a professional musician. Expect to make giant leaps as you polish your ear-training, transcription and notation-reading skills. Study the influence of different genres on modern rock and pop, then apply the theories, chords and scales to make your own material go supersonic.

  • Optional – Studio Musicianship

    Tracking in a professional studio will test your musicianship in a thousand different ways. With fast-paced classes, practical workshops and field work, this module gives you a flying start, drilling into the techniques and approaches that make a successful studio musician – and preparing you for your final practical studio recording assessment and viva.

  • Optional – Studio Recording

    The best studio musicians aren’t just capable players – they also understand the fundamentals of engineering and take responsibility for the sonic direction of their recordings. Mixing theory and hands-on skills, this module prepares you for every studio scenario, from getting a professional sound with basic equipment to arranging parts for your musicians when the clock is ticking.

  • Optional – Music Business Studies

    The contracts you sign as a professional musician are some of the most important paperwork of your life, with the terms dictating everything from earnings to creative freedom. This module gives you all the specialist knowledge you need to deal with management, recording and publishing contracts, helping you cut through the jargon, negotiate the small-print and sign with confidence.

  • Optional – Music Publishing

    If you write songs, and want to earn money from them, you need to know how music publishing works. This module is your complete guide to the theory and reality, covering copyright, business mechanics, collection societies and the many platforms – including radio, film, TV and the web – where modern songwriters can profit.

Year 3

All students take the following core modules in their third (and final) year of study, plus one optional module. Module names and structure may be subject to change.

  • Professional Project

    The Professional Project is the culmination of your three years at BIMM. Your tutors will give you all the theory and concepts you need for a flying start, but it’s down to you to dream up a project that shows off your practical skills and see it through to completion. Perhaps you’ll take your band on a headline tour. Manage an album launch. Helm a national press campaign or set up a viable music business. The Professional Project is your chance to think big.

  • Professional Development

    As a professional musician, you’ll be responsible for steering your own career – so it’s vital to become self-sufficient and assess the areas that could hold you back. On the Professional Development module, we’ll help you identify your own personal and business needs, and teach the skills you’ll call on throughout your career, from stress control and teamwork to goal-setting and time management.

  • Analytical Perspectives

    Music doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and to be an effective industry professional, it pays to sharpen your knowledge of popular culture and business developments. This module teaches you to look critically at the culture and industry unfolding around you, take the pulse of the modern music scene – then fuse what you’ve learnt into your own musical projects and business plans.

  • Ensemble Performance

    You’ll never stop sharpening your live skills during your time at BIMM. Building on the performance modules from your first and second year, you’ll now work closely with your fellow students to arrange and perform your own original material to pro standards – then self-assess the results and make recommendations for the future.

  • Optional – Music Teaching Practice

    Whether you plan to teach full-time or give lessons between other projects, music tutoring is a highly rewarding career – and this module gives you the knowledge to pursue it. You’ll master the teaching skills to deliver one-to-one, small or large-group tuition. But you’ll also get a practical guide to the employment options, whether that’s teaching in mainstream education or setting up your own profitable private business.

  • Optional – Solo Performance

    Life as a professional musician is highly collaborative, but you’ll still be expected to excel on your instrument when the spotlight is on you. For this high-level Year Three module, you’ll perform either solo or with a backing track, critically assessing your development and measuring your attainment against the best professional players.

  • Optional – Music Theory and Analysis

    This module targets the students who want to drill deeper into advanced musical techniques across the spectrum of musical styles. Analysing seminal and modern releases from trailblazing artists, you’ll break down the harmonic, melodic and rhythmic approaches in genres ranging from jazz to progressive-rock – and learn how to fuse them into your own material.

  • Optional – Online Music

    As a modern musician, ignoring the web is not an option – and this specialist module gives you the practical knowledge to navigate and monetise the online world. Guided by our expert tutors, you’ll learn how the music industry interacts with the Internet – and discover the potential benefits and pitfalls of online investment and funding, digital rights management, social media, social networking and digital distribution.

Want to apply?

Minimum requirements

Minimum entry requirements are five GCSEs at C or above (including English Language). Plus two A levels at grade E or above, or an equivalent Level 3 vocational qualification (32 UCAS points).
Applications by experienced musicians without formal qualifications may also be considered through APEL. 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 producer, DJ, sound engineer, film and television composer and computer music designer. Or can continue their studies with a BIMM Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching or a Masters Degree elsewhere.

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How to apply

All degree applications must be made via UCAS. 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 demo guidelines and an application form for a remote assessment.

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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:
3 years
Awarding institution:
University of Sussex
Teaching institution:
BIMM Birmingham
UCAS code:
Language of study:
Final award and exit awards:
Certificate of Higher Education (exit award only at level four), Diploma of Higher Education (exit award only at level five), Bachelors Degree with Honours.
Admissions criteria:
Minimum entry requirements are five GCSEs at C or above (including English Language), plus two A- levels at grade E or above, or an equivalent Level 3 vocational qualification (80 UCAS points). Applications by experienced musicians without formal qualifications may also be considered through APEL. 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 launching the career of Oasis and scoring nine Top 40 singles with the band Sleeper, to winning a Mercury Music Prize as part of Gomez and knocking Take That off the top spot, our BIMM Birmingham tutors have done it all. One even has the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, as her real life godfather! 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 many forging a career in the music industry as performers and music industry professionals.

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