Jazz - BMus

UCAS Code:
310F
Attendance:
Full Time (4 years) (three years with direct entry to the second year, subject to ability)
Starting:
September 2018

Join us as we launch our new Eastside Jazz Club and solidify our integral role in Birmingham's thriving jazz scene. The jazz scene in Birmingham has been established over many years; our new venue strengthens the promise of an exciting future for jazz in the city.

This course is perfectly compatible with the requirements of the modern jazz musician, especially if refining your performance is a top priority. We focus heavily on practical work and you will greatly benefit from spending the majority of your time in dedicated one-to-one lessons.

You will graduate as a versatile, professional musician who is aware of the entrepreneurial opportunities available to you. We also ensure that you know about the commercial realities for musicians joining today’s thriving UK jazz scene.

What's covered in the course?

You will be taught by performers, band leaders and composers, who are ideally placed to share their professional experience, insights and connections. With their guidance, you will hone both your performance skills and your professional awareness.

“My musical approach is greatly indebted to the time I spent studying on the jazz course. Simply being around like-minded people in a culture of practice and study, with guidance from musicians I greatly respected, was extremely beneficial.” Tom Chapman

Why Choose Us?

  • Students are satisfied with this course! We scored 91 per cent for overall satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2017.
  • You will work with some of the greatest musicians and study on modules that  have been specifically and skilfully designed for jazz musicians.
  • You will experience significantly more one-to-one tuition time than on a typical academic university music course – or indeed any other conservatoire courses.
  • Your course is professionally supported by Jazzlines, a leading jazz promoter and key contact for international masterclasses.
  • Our course prepares you for a portfolio career on the contemporary music scene, with performance at its centre. It will also give you transferrable skills, including team-working, adaptability, self-promotion, time management and critical thinking.

Open Day

Our next Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Open Day for prospective music students is on Thursday 25 January 2018.

Book your place

To welcome all new home and EU undergraduate degree students starting in 2017 or 2018, 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 open to International students

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Beats City

And in jobs such as:

  • Freelance Musician
  • Director of Events Company

Entry Requirements

For insurance purposes, you must be at least 18 years of age by 1 September in the year of enrolment. Normally, you should satisfy one of the following:

UK students
Essential

GCSE passes in 5 subjects (grade C or above, including English Language) and 2 passes at A2 Level (each grade E/16 points minimum)

Scottish Certificate of Education/Scottish Qualifications Authority Intermediate/ Higher/ Advanced Higher in 5 different subjects, of which 3 are at Higher level

An Irish Leaving Certificate with 5 subjects at grade C or above, 4 of which are at Higher level

An International Baccalaureate with a minimum of 24 points

All other non-UK applicants should have completed a course of secondary education at a high school/college/ conservatoire, including classes in music theory. You should normally possess a qualification which would be required for entry to a university in your home country

A standard in First Study equivalent to that of the Associated Board’s Grade VIII (Distinction): this may be demonstrated at audition or on your audition recording.

Candidates hoping to satisfy these requirements should note that successful performance at your audition is accepted as the equivalent of one A2 Level/ SQA Higher/ Advanced Higher/ILC Higher in Music.

Audition Requirements
Essential

You will be required to perform two contrasting pieces with a rhythm section (provided), one of which must be chosen from a list of standards, and one of their own choice.

You will also be asked to perform a short transcribed solo (drummers and vocalists excepted) and sight-read.

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

Drummers will be asked to play through the chord changes of any of the listed standards at the piano.

Drummers must also take part in an interactive test, joining in with various grooves indicated by the piano and bass.

All candidates will be interviewed at audition.

Full details of our audition requirements can be found here.

English Language Requirements

International Students

Entry requirements here

GCSE passes in 5 subjects (including English Language)

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BMus Sep 2018 FT 4 years £9,250 per year* Apply via UCAS

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BMus Sep 2018 FT 4 years £19,500 per year Apply via UCAS

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.

The deadline for on-time applications is normally on or around 1 October in the year prior to entry, followed by auditions in November (for those attending an audition in Birmingham). If you apply between 1 October and 4 January, you may be eligible for our late auditions in February, if places are still available. For detailed information, see our how to apply section.

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

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.

Years one and two

First Study Performance
  • Individual lessons
  • Group Coaching
  • Repertoire Class
  • Masterclasses
 
Technical 1 & 2
 
History 1 & 2

Year one

Proficiency
  • Keyboard and Ear Training

Composition
  • Composition (Basic Techniques)
Media
  • Jazz and the music industry

Year two

 
Jazz praxis
Option choice

Choose from:
Media 2: Jazz in the Digital Age
Pedagogy: Education, Community & Outreach Music

Year three

First Study Performance
  • Individual lessons
  • Own Small Group
  • Performance Platform
  • Masterclasses
 
Transcription Project
 
Studio Project
 
Professional Development
 
Composition (Large ensemble concepts)
Option choice

Choose from:
Media 3: Enterprise
Pedagogy: Art of Teaching

Year four

First Study Performance
  • Individual lessons
  • Own Small Group
  • Performance Platform
  • Masterclasses
  • Final Performance
Major Project

A project, created around your choice of specialism, which can be one of four types:

  • Studio Project
  • Dissertation
  • Teaching
  • Student Defined
 
Composition and Arranging: Portfolio
 
Contemporary Issues in Jazz

Course Structure

We tutor you in several different areas of musicianship. You will get 30 hours of individual tuition in your first study area, plus five allocated student hours, which you choose to ‘spend’ how you wish.  This rises to 35 hours, plus five hours in your final year.

With the help of your tutor, you will develop a productive practice regime and lay down a foundation for technical skills and  improvisation processes.

Using a typical group of two or three frontline instruments, plus a rhythm section, you will receive intensive weekly coaching in your core repertoire. You will then go on to run your own small group, using your choice of repertoire and performers.

We encourage you to explore in depth the relationship between improvisation and composition, which is central to developing an individual voice.

You will also work towards a major project of your own devising, such as a recording, performance or  dissertation. This will need to reflect your specialist interests and career aims.

You can look forward to masterclasses and workshops led by acclaimed performers.

Teaching breakdown

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32 Time in lectures, seminars and similar MidnightBlue
68 Time in independent study RoyalBlue

Assessment breakdown

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3 Written exams DarkOrange
41 Coursework FireBrick
56 Practical exams #fece5a

Student stories

Chris Mapp and Percy Pursglove

We graduated from Birmingham City University’s Conservatoire in 2004 and 2003 respectively. We both received a BMus (Hons) in Jazz but while Chris specialised in the bass, Percy specialised in the trumpet. As well as being Jazz alumni, we are co-directors of Harmonic, a three day jazz festival launched in Birmingham in 2010.

Conservatoire’s memberships

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire is a member of Conservatoire’s UK (CUK) and Association Européene des Conservatoires (AEC).

CUK is the voice of Conservatoire education in the UK.  It represents the collective views of nine UK conservatoires and aims to develop the best training and education in the performing arts.

The AEC is a European cultural and educational network, which looks after the interests of institutions concerned with training students for the music profession.

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

Further study

We offer an exciting postgraduate jazz course, which is designed to take you one step nearer to achieving your professional goals and aspirations.

Student stories Harry Lightfoot

Composed the Theme Tune for Britain's Big Wildlife Revival

Harry Lightfoot is a music composer for film and television. The five years since his graduation have seen his career in composition go from strength to strength, acquiring a contract with Accorder Music and working on projects for big names including BT, Olay, MaxFactor, Milka, Sony, Ford and Hyundai.

His recent work has seen him creating sound design for the BBC's Original British Drama logo and composing the theme tune for Britain's Big Wildlife Revival. As well as TV work, Harry has composed for BAFTA-winning film production companies and game developer Namco Bandai.

Employment Opportunities

One of the central aims of the course is to launch jazz performers into the music profession. You will have a chance to document your work as a jazz musician through a studio project in the third year. You will also design a major project in the fourth year around an area of professional practice of your choice.

As further professional development, you will look at contemporary role models in jazz performance, undertaking in-depth case studies of their careers. There are also classes providing advice on how to manage a freelance portfolio career in music, covering topics such as personal finance and tax, publicity and events promotion, applications to funding bodies, and bidding for commissions.

Placements

We have a  number of musical partners including the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO), Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG), Birmingham Royal Ballet, Orchestra of the Swan, Birmingham Music Service, Jazzlines, and Town Hall Symphony Hall, with whom opportunities to perform occur.

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.

Firewalking

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+

Trips and visits

Recent trips have included opportunities to perform at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival and to Norway and Italy as part of jazz exchange programmes. Our Ellington Orchestra were invited to Oxford to perform at Kellogg College.

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations

The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations for international students.

The first-class experience offered by universities are reflected in the world’s largest survey of international students. International students are more likely to recommend the UK than any other leading English-language study destination.

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

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our jazz honours course is most popular with international students from:

Norway Flag

Norway

Concert Hall - Copyright Hufton +Crow

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s £57 million music building opened in September 2017, and is located on Birmingham City University’s City Centre Campus in the Eastside ‘learning quarter’ of the city.

This brand new music facility include five public performance venues – a 500 seat Concert Hall, 150 seat Recital Hall, Organ Studio, Eastside Jazz Club and the experimental black box performance venue known as The Lab. As well as these stunning performance venues, we have nearly 100 practice spaces; including 70 small practice rooms and larger ensemble rooms and workshops.

Our new home is the first conservatoire built in the digital age, and as such it has been vital to ensure that the technical infrastructure installed is on par with any advanced commercial facility. We have seven recording studios, a mastering suite, a distance learning hub, and all of our performance venues feature high specification audio-visual equipment that enables interconnectivity and advanced functionality throughout the building.

These impressive modern facilities guarantee that we are excel in our unique dual purpose of providing the highest standard of music education deserved by our students, as well as meeting our role as a concert and performance venue for the people of Birmingham; taking our place in the vibrant cultural landscape of the UK’s second city.

South entrance of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
Royal Birmingham Conservatoire from the North East
North entrance to Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
Eastside Jazz Club Copyright Hufton + Crow
Eastside Jazz Club Gallery 2
Workshop spaces
Organ Studio Gallery
500 seat Concert Hall
150 seat Recital Hall
Recording control room
The Lab
Gallery Bar - Copyright Hufton + Crow

Our staff

We have an outstanding team of tutors, all of whom are highly respected artists in their field. The fact that they come not only from the UK but also from the USA and Europe gives a real breadth and depth to the range of jazz music represented here, as well as greater scope for you to find a suitable mentor to watch over your individual development.

View the full list of Jazz Tutors and Guest Lecturers

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.

Read Jeremy's full profile

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