Jazz - PgCert / MMus / PgDip

Attendance:
Part Time, Full Time
Starting:
September 2016, September 2017
Fees:
£9,500 for UK/EU Full Time 2016 entry (view all fees)

Birmingham Conservatoire is renowned for its Jazz courses. Designed for recent graduates and suitably qualified mature students, our taught postgraduate courses in Jazz provide bespoke advanced-level tuition to Jazz musicians, whether as performers or instigators.

Our postgraduate courses in Jazz also provide you with excellent opportunities to develop other skills relevant to a future career in the music profession.

Specialist instrumental tuition

All of our tutors are professional jazz musicians active on today's scene.

What's covered in the course?

  • Specialise as a jazz performer or as an instigator.
  • Performance courses built around the art of improvisation.
  • Regular opportunities to rehearse and perform with small and large jazz ensembles.
  • At PgDip and MMus levels, the flexibility to choose from a broad menu of Professional Development modules – including some specifically in the Jazz area – designed to help you work towards achieving your personal career aspirations.
  • Personal support as you make plans for your future career.
  • The flexibility to transfer from PgDip to MMus once you have begun your studies (but before completion of the PgDip course).
  • At PgCert level, the ability to focus wholly on the Principal Study area.
  • Regular individual specialist tuition.
  • Priority access to guest masterclass sessions.
  • The chance to develop a distinctive musical voice.
  • An intensive one-year MMus route is available (for exceptional candidates only).

Why Choose Us?

For most aspiring professional performers, postgraduate study at a conservatoire is accepted as a required continuation of their training. Furthermore, if you have other specialisms – notably Composition, Music Technology and Musicology – Birmingham Conservatoire offers the ideal environment to hone your craft, with many opportunities to collaborate with each other and with performers.

While it is a characteristic of conservatoire study (at any level) that your Principal Study area is at the heart of your course, and that advanced skills in this specialist area are a pre-requisite for a successful career in the music profession, we recognise that you also need to be equipped with a range of additional essential attributes – especially given that most of you will be destined for freelance, portfolio careers which will rely on self-motivation and good organisational skills.

Our aim is to send you out with the knowledge, skills and confidence to succeed in your chosen branch(es) of the music profession, giving you a head-start in meeting the challenges involved in becoming a professional musician in the 21st century.

A distinctive feature of our postgraduate courses is that you can make choices within them directly relevant to your future career aspirations, both within your principal study area and – for PgDip, MMus and MA students – in your supporting studies; the latter take the form of ‘Professional Development Options’, which you choose from a broad and varied selection.

We also offer you guidance in making your choices by encouraging you to consider your plans for the future, and your priorities in terms of what you want to gain from your course. This will ensure that your module choices are made strategically in relation to your professional development and future employability.

Visit our open day

Birmingham Conservatoire Open Days

Our next Conservatoire Open Day is Thursday 26 January 2017.

More about our Open Days

This course is open to International students

Birmingham Conservatoire

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Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

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Entry Requirements

MMus/PgDip/PgCert
Essential

UK students should normally hold an honours degree, ideally but not necessarily in Music.

Non-UK students should hold a Bachelor's degree or a similar degree-equivalent diploma, ideally but not necessarily in Music.

MMus Intensive applicants must be at Level 7 standard in their Principal Study Area and be well-suited to the intensive period of study.

Audition requirements

All applicants for this course will be auditioned.

Home student auditions will be scheduled live in Birmingham.

EU/international students outside the UK at the time of application may submit a recording or may travel to one of our International Audition Centres.

For Intensive MMus applicants, a high-scoring audition/interview will be followed by an interview with the Programme Director or nominee to ensure suitability.

Jazz performers should perform two contrasting pieces with a rhythm section (provided), as well as a short transcribed solo (unaccompanied).

Pianists, bassists and drummers audition by taking their place in the rhythm trio.

Guitarists may choose to audition with just bass and drums, or the full rhythm trio.

The panel will be interested to hear you talk about your artistic influences, your inspiration to be a musician and your career objectives.

The audition and interview together will last for about half an hour. You will be invited to arrive before the audition for a warm-up that will last for 25 minutes.

English language requirements

You must have a minimum of IELTS 5.5 or equivalent in all four skills areas to secure a visa

You must have IELTS 6; or alternatively must have studied and completed a Bachelor’s degree in the UK;*.

MMus Intensive applicants should have IELTS 7 or must have studied and completed a Bachelor’s degree in the UK

 

* If your first language is not English, and you choose Professional Development Options which involve placements/activity in the local community in your first year (ie Teaching Matters; Music, Community and Wellbeing; Music Management) you will normally need to show evidence of IELTs 6.5 or equivalent at the start of the course.

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MMus Sep 2016 FT 1 year (Intensive) £9,500 Apply via CUKAS
FT 2 years £7,500 per year Apply via CUKAS
PT 3 years £5,000 per year Apply via CUKAS
Sep 2017 FT 1 year (intensive) TBC Apply via CUKAS
FT 2 years TBC Apply via CUKAS
PT 3 years TBC Apply via CUKAS
PgCert Sep 2016 PT 1 year £4,835 Apply via CUKAS
Sep 2017 PT 1 year TBC Apply via CUKAS
PgDip Sep 2016 FT 1 year £7,000 per year Apply via CUKAS
PT 2 years £3,750 per year Apply via CUKAS
Sep 2017 FT 1 year TBC Apply via CUKAS
PT 2 years TBC Apply via CUKAS

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MMus Sep 2016 FT 1 year (Intensive) £17,500 Apply via CUKAS
FT 2 years £15,500 per year Apply via CUKAS
Sep 2017 FT 1 year (intensive) £17,500 Apply via CUKAS
FT 2 years £15,500 per year Apply via CUKAS
PgDip Sep 2016 FT 1 year £15,500 Apply via CUKAS
Sep 2017 FT 1 year £15,500 Apply via CUKAS

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

Completing your application

Further information on writing your personal statement can be found on the UCAS Conservatoires website.

This course is available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Financial Support

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

Did you know that you will soon be able to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000 for some courses and options?

Postgraduate loans

Professional Development Options - List A

Teaching Matters: Principles and Practice
30 credits

This module provides a context for instrumental/vocal teaching by engaging with current ideas, theories and research, and incorporates teaching observations with Services for Education (Birmingham Music Service) and elsewhere, as well as a small amount of teaching.

Historical Performance Practice
30 credits

This module focuses on case studies in Historical Performance Practice, incorporating practical workshops which involve the application of research/theory to practice.

Issues in Contemporary Music Composition and Performance
30 credits

This module focuses on compositional and performance issues in contemporary music.

Music Technology Contexts
30 credits

This module engages you in researching the aesthetic and contextual issues that underpin and justify artistic choices within music technology.

Concepts in Jazz Improvisation
30 credits

This module focuses on the concepts and language of contemporary jazz improvisation.

Professional Development Options - List B

Instrumental/Vocal Teaching Placement
30 credits

This module involves a teaching placement with Services for Education (Birmingham Music Service); Teaching Matters module is a prerequisite, so this module can only be taken in a 2- or 3-year course. Numbers in a given year will be limited, so entry to the module will be competitive.

Music, Community and Wellbeing
30 credits

This module is concerned with music in health and therapeutic contexts, involving real-life placements. Numbers in a given year will be limited, so entry to the module will be competitive.

Music Management
30 credits

This module introduces you to the principles of artistic self-management, and involves you in defining and managing an actual project.

Self-defined Professional Project
30 credits

This module enables you to define your own project in an area relevant to your professional development; assessment will centre on documentation of and critical reflection on the project.

Lecture-Recital
30 credits

This module supports and guides you in developing your own Lecture-Recital.

Historical Keyboard Performance
30 credits

This module provides Principal Study keyboard players with the opportunity to gain skills in playing a historical instrument and to enhance their knowledge of relevant performance practices and practical musicianship skills; numbers will be limited, so entry to the module will be competitive.

Performing and Producing in the Studio
30 credits

This module combines practical, technical, theoretical and sociological training to enable you to deliver and evaluate recorded performance.

Interactive Music Technology Performance
30 credits

This module will engage you in the development and delivery of your own live music technology projects.

Writing Music for Media
30 credits

This module involves composition for different media contexts.

Orchestration
30 credits

This module is aimed specifically at composers and orchestral conductors.

Research Project
30 credits

This module engages you in defining and executing your own mini-research project.

Advanced Music Criticism
30 credits

This module enables you to develop our experience as a music critic, and also engages you with the history of the discipline of music criticism.

Critical Editing
30 credits

This module enables you to hone your experience as a critical editor.

Music and Ideas
30 credits

This module explores a range of approaches across the centuries to describe, investigate, rationalise and classify music.

Issues in Jazz Studies
30 credits

This module provides a historical and theoretical background to studies in Jazz: this is a core module in the School of Media’s MA Jazz Studies course, and is taught within the School of Media.

Course structure

MMus students will take two Principal Study Project modules (60 credits each), plus four Professional Development Option modules (30 credits each).

MMus Intensive students will take one Principal Study Project module (60 credits), plus four Professional Development Option modules (30 credits each), and AP(E)L (60 credits).

PgDip students will take one Principal Study Project module (60 credits), plus two Professional Development Option modules (30 credits each).

PgCert students will take one Principal Study Project module (60 credits).

Principal Study Project modules

These modules are entirely practical in nature, whether you specialise as a performer or instigator. For performers, they mainly focus on performance within a small ensemble, though part of Principal Study Project 1 also requires you to share your own practice methods.

While instigators need to be able to demonstrate high-level performance skills of their own, Principal Study Project modules on this pathway are focused on exercising skills in directing rehearsal and performance, as well as developing your creativity and artistic vision in constructing jazz performance projects.

Preparation for Principal Study Project modules of both types is supported by individual specialist tuition, as well as by the programme of performance activities you undertake throughout the course.

The number of 1:1 hours available (per year unless otherwise indicated) is as follows:

  • MMus Full Time (2 years) – 35
  • MMus Part Time (3 years) – 70 across the course
  • MMus Full Time (1 year intensive) – 40
  • PgDip Full Time (1 year) – 35
  • PgDip Part Time (2 years) – 17.5
  • PgCert Part-Time (1 year) – 35

Student stories Arabella Sprot

As a saxophonist I was attracted to the MMus Intensive course in Jazz performance at the Conservatoire because it’s such a brilliant course. I managed to get an Entry Scholarship which was such an advantage as I really wanted to study in Birmingham as it has one of the most vibrant jazz scenes in the UK, as well as having so much going on in general.

OpportUNIty

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.

Birmingham Conservatoire has a growing community of international students from across the world.

We appreciate the challenges of moving to a new country to live and study, and aim to be as supportive as possible.

Aside from being friendly and welcoming, we have put various support mechanisms in place to help you settle in as an international students, including:

  • An international students' 'orientation week', including a special Conservatoire welcome event.

  • A dedicated international student admissions administrator.

  • A full-time staff member employed as international student mentor (who speaks Mandarin).

  • A pastoral mentoring system in which you, as a new postgraduate international student, are mentored by continuing postgraduate international students.

  • Additional academic skills support provided by expert tutors from the University's Centre for Academic Success, and by postgraduate academic mentors from among continuing postgraduate students.

Further information for prospective international students is available on the University's international pages.

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.

BCUIC

BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Our music technology facilities are some of the best of their kind in the country. All of our studios are capable of recording from any of our concert halls or live rooms.

Practice rooms

Our purpose-built site includes over 50 dedicated practice rooms; some of the most heavily used rooms in the entire University!

Additional practice facilities are available after 6pm, including some spacious studios used for teaching during the day. Most practice rooms are equipped with one or two upright or grand pianos and all are fitted with sound-dampening panels.

Conservatoire Café

The Conservatoire Café is open weekdays during term time from 8.30am to around 4.30pm (closing times vary a little, depending on what’s going on in the building). Hot food, freshly prepared, is available at breakfast and lunch times, with sandwiches, snacks, cold and hot drinks available throughout the day.

Coffee Bar

Serving hot and cold drinks and a selection of snacks, the Conservatoire’s Coffee Bar generally opens before and during the interval of concerts in the Adrian Boult Hall, Arena Foyer and Recital Hall.

Conservatoire Bar

Our licensed bar is open before and during the interval of major concerts at the Conservatoire. However, most students prefer the comfort and laid-back atmosphere of the local pubs, many of which have been co-opted as student bars!

Our staff

Around 50 full-time members of staff (including support staff) and nearly 200 visiting specialist tutors work at the Conservatoire. This means that for roughly every two students there is one member of staff.

The vast majority of our tutors are active professional musicians, dividing their time between performing or composing and teaching. All are dedicated and experienced musicians with a passion for inspiring and training the next generation of professionals.

For a full list of staff in each department or area, as well as selected biographies, please go to Departments and Tutors.

Jeremy Price

Head of Jazz

Jeremy Price (born 1970) studied at Birmingham Conservatoire and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and has since followed a career as a freelance trombonist and jazz educator. Jeremy has been Head of Jazz at Birmingham Conservatoire since the Jazz Department was established in 1999 and wrote the Conservatoire's first ever BMus (Hons) Jazz programme in collaboration with Mark Racz, now Vice Principal of the Royal Academy of Music.

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?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295