Music / Instrumental and Vocal Performance / Composition / Music Technology - BMus

  • UCAS Code: 300F / 301F / 302F
  • Level: Undergraduate
  • Starting: September 2020
  • Study mode: Full Time (4 years) (three years with direct entry to the second year, subject to ability)
  • Location: Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
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See the UCAS website for help and guidance with your application.

Achieve the extraordinary. Study at the conservatoire of the future.

We have invested £57 million into our impressive state-of-the-art music facilities with the aim of creating functional spaces that combine tradition with cutting edge technology. The focus of our undergraduate music course is to help you realise your potential and become the best musician that you can be, with the support of an encouraging creative environment. 

With individual specialist tuition throughout all four years of the course you will get the individual attention you need to prepare for a successful career in the music profession. You can also apply for additional hours with a Conservatoire tutor of your choice to help support your studies and develop your skills in complementary areas. Our students benefit from the individual care and attention of our highly qualified professional team of tutors and support staff, who are dedicated to supporting and developing the potential of each student.

Students studying on our BMus degree in music apply to one of three pathways; either BMus (Hons) Performance (instrumental or vocal), BMus (Hons) Composition, or BMus (Hons) Music Technology. 

Concert hall- BMus overview page

What's covered in the course?

In addition to benefiting from individual tuition, you will enjoy a range of activities designed to develop your artistry, musical fluency and personal and professional awareness.

You will find yourself immersed in masterclasses and performance and composition workshops.  Individual ensemble coaching and playing and teaching techniques complete the picture, helping you to become a well-rounded musician.

Top-flight singers and musicians – including baritone Roderick Williams, violinist Tasmin Little OBE, cellist Ben Davies, soprano Danielle de Niese and pianist Stephen Hough – are among musicians who have worked with and inspired our students.

Towards the end of your course, you will carry out a major project, which allows you to explore a specialism and format which matches your professional aspirations. This can be anything connected to music, from performance to business projects and  dissertations to multi-media installations.

Academically, you will explore themes such as musicianship, music history and professional development. As well as getting a thorough grounding in technical and performance skills with an emphasis on harmony and aural training, you will cover topics such as education and outreach work, conducting and world music.

Alistair Rutherford

Why Choose Us?

  • Students are satisfied with this course! For the second successive year our music provision has achieved the highest score for overall student satisfaction. The 92% score puts BCU 8% higher than the second placed music college.

  • Our performance health programme – including performance coaching, physiotherapy and movement workshops and Alexander technique – allows students to develop as confident and effective performers.
  • Individual specialist tuition throughout all four years of the course – far more than is typically offered by academic university music courses. You can also apply for additional hours with a Conservatoire tutor of your choice to help support your studies and develop your skills in complementary areas.
  • We are recognised by the Association of European Conservatoires. All our tutors are professional musicians who bring a lifetime of musical experience and insight to their teaching.
  • We have countless partnerships and long-established professional relationships with organisations including the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Welsh National Opera, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Orchestra of the Swan and the Royal Shakespeare Company.
  • You'll have full access to our superb £57 million facilities, including our Concert Hall, 150-seat Recital Hall, our black box performance space known as The Lab, seven recording studios, and more than 70 practice rooms, ensemble rooms and workshops; all acoustically designed to provide a music-making environment that is world-class.
  • In 2018/19 our musicians collectively earned over £43,000 by being hired to play at events through our Book a Musician service.

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Jazz - BMus

Conservatoire Open Day Feature

Open Days

Our next Open Day for this course will take place on Thursday 23 January 2020. Visit us to get a real insight into student life at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

Book your place

This course is open to International students

I AM BCU

Amy Ewen

Amy always thought she wasn’t good enough to study at conservatoire level but her passion and potential didn’t go unnoticed. She now has high aspirations since joining BCU.

Read in full

Where our students go

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

  • BBC Symphony Orchestra
  • CBSO
  • Bergen National Opera
  • RSC
  • Presto Classical
  • Welsh National Opera
  • Glyndebourne Festival
  • Les Arts Florissants

And in jobs such as:

  • International Tutor
  • Music Teacher
  • Freelance performer
  • Principal Singer
  • Running their own business

What I've Learned

Find out what fourth year composer Emily Abdy has discovered during her time studying at RBC.

Read more 

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:

Essential Requirements

GCSE passes in 5 subjects (grade 4 (C) or above, including English Language) and 2 passes at A 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

Irish Leaving Certificate with 5 different subjects at grade C or above, 4 of which are 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.

English Language Requirements

Audition Requirements
Essential

Entry to the BMus (Hons) is by audition (or, for composers, portfolio assessment) only. Our main auditions period for undergraduate places is in November.

In order to be eligible, you must submit your CUKAS application before the on-time deadline (normally on or around 1 October in the year prior to entry).

For full details, audition requirements and audition advice, please visit the Auditions section of the Conservatoire website.

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.

Don’t meet our entry requirements?

You could apply for a foundation course or a course at our International College. These routes have lower entry requirements and act as the bridge to a full degree. To find out more, please select your status:

Home student International student

  • UK/EU students
  • International students

Award: BMus

Starting: Sep 2020

Pathway: Composition

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Award: BMus

Starting: Sep 2020

Pathway: Music Technology

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Award: BMus

Starting: Sep 2020

Pathway: Performance

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Award: BMus

Starting: Sep 2020

Pathway: Composition

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Award: BMus

Starting: Sep 2020

Pathway: Music Technology

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Award: BMus

Starting: Sep 2020

Pathway: Performance

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

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 up to a maximum of five per cent.

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.

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.

Year one

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete one of the following principal study modules and all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Principal Study: Performance 1
60 credits

This module lies at the heart of the course and of the learning experience for students on the performance pathway. It is the first of a suite of principal study modules undertaken in each of the first three years of the BMus (Hons) Performance, leading eventually to the Final Recital in year four. As such, it is therefore the first stage in realising course aims 1, 2 and 4 (Pursuing excellence; practice-led, knowledge applied; employability) in preparing musicians for the profession; nurturing their creativity as performers; and developing high standards of musicianship and technique. 

Principal Study: Percussion 1
60 credits

This module lies at the heart of the course and of the learning experience for students on the performance pathway. It is the first of a suite of principal study modules undertaken in each of the first three years of the BMus (Hons) Performance, leading eventually to the Final Recital in year four. As such, it is therefore the first stage in realising course aims 1, 2 and 4 (Pursuing excellence; practice-led, knowledge applied; employability) in preparing musicians for the profession; nurturing their creativity as performers; and developing high standards of musicianship and technique. 

Principal Study: Composition 1
60 credits

This module lies at the heart of the course and of the learning experience for students on the performance pathway. It is the first of a suite of principal study modules undertaken in each of the first three years of the BMus (Hons) Composition, leading eventually to the Final Portfolio in year four. As such, it is therefore the first stage in realising course aims 1, 2 and 4 (Pursuing excellence; practice-led, knowledge applied; employability) in preparing musicians for the profession; nurturing their creativity as performers; and developing high standards of musicianship and technique. 

Principal Study: Music Technology 1
60 credits

This module lies at the heart of the course and of the learning experience for students on the performance pathway. It is the first of a suite of principal study modules undertaken in each of the first three years of the BMus (Hons) Music Technology, leading eventually to the Final Portfolio in year four. As such, it is therefore the first stage in realising course aims 1, 2 and 4 (Pursuing excellence; practice-led, knowledge applied; employability) in preparing musicians for the profession; nurturing their creativity as performers; and developing high standards of musicianship and technique. 

Language of Music 1
20 credits

Central to the course philosophy is the ideal of the informed musician: an intelligent listener who is able to understand, analyse and evaluate what is being heard. For context, this module begins with a study of ancient Western Art music, but rapidly moves to a focus on music which might best be described as stemming from the Age of Common Practice — that is from roughly 1650CE to 1900CE — the period in which tonality may be said to have triumphed.

Contextual studies: Performance traditions 1
20 credits

A central principle behind the course philosophy is to create informed musicians who are able to make educated choices about their own practice. An awareness of different performance styles and traditions is therefore crucial not only to all performers, but also to composers, who can draw on this knowledge in their own compositions. The relationship between composer and performer in music dating from c. 1600-1900 is explored by considering the extent to which performers were expected to interpret written scores. 

Professional Portfolio 1: Community Engagement
20 credits

Within the modern profession, most musicians will spend a proportion of their time working in educational and community outreach contexts, presenting live music/composition workshops and/or interactive performances in settings away from the formal concert platform, in venues such as schools, hospitals, care homes, and rehabilitation centres. This module aims to give you a practical and theoretical introduction to the wide range of music activities taking place in community/education settings and therefore represents an aspect of preparing you for the profession as well as guiding you in your career aspirations by familiarising you with this important area of potential employment.

Year two

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete one of the following principal study modules and all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Principal Study: Performance 2
60 credits

This module lies at the heart of the course and of the learning experience for students on the performance pathway. It is the second of a suite of principal study modules undertaken in each of the first three years of the BMus (Hons) Performance, leading eventually to the Final Recital in year four.

Principal Study: Percussion 2
60 credits

This module lies at the heart of the course and of the learning experience for students on the performance pathway. It is the second of a suite of principal study modules undertaken in each of the first three years of the BMus (Hons) Performance, leading eventually to the Final Recital in year four.

Principal Study: Composition 2
60 credits

This module lies at the heart of the course and of the learning experience for students on the performance pathway. It is the second of a suite of principal study modules undertaken in each of the first three years of the BMus (Hons) Composition, leading eventually to the Final Portfolio in year four.

Principal Study: Music Technology 2
60 credits

This module lies at the heart of the course and of the learning experience for students on the performance pathway. It is the second of a suite of principal study modules undertaken in each of the first three years of the BMus (Hons) Music Technology, leading eventually to the Final Portfolio in year four.

Language of Music 2
20 credits

Building on the core skills developed at Level 4, this module improves this understanding by following the same three complementary strands: historical awareness, aural perception and harmonic understanding. Students will continue to develop aural perception skills at a deeper level: pulse may become flexible, rhythm more complex, pitch and harmony more layered. Dynamics, style, texture, timbre and form also change dramatically and by including extended techniques and non-tonal approaches, the lexicon of music is widened enormously. Having established a secure grasp of the underlying principles of tonal harmony at level 4, they will now learn to apply such learning through the lens of stylistic awareness, investigating various genres such as the trio sonata, the string quartet, and voice and piano.

Contextual Studies: Performance Traditions 2
20 credits

This module builds upon the principles and skills introduced in Performance Traditions 1. The philosophy of informed musicians (including performers, composers, and music technologists) who can make educated choices about their own practice is extended in this module to explore a wider range (than that covered in PT1) of performance issues relevant to both historical and contemporary musical idioms/ styles [course aim 1]. In keeping with the course philosophy, this module responds to the principle that the modern, informed performer must be aware of performance practices (both past and present) and be able to contextualise these in relation to relevant source materials and evidence (including scores/ notation, recordings, and other written or verbal forms of performance practice documentation).

Professional Portfolio 2: Pedagogy and practice
20 credits

The course’s primary aim, central to its philosophy, is to equip students for a career in the music profession. Many Conservatoire graduates will teach as part of their professional life, and in the second year of the course you will study the pedagogical aspects of your principal-study discipline as an important aspect of preparing you for the profession. This will equip you with additional skills which are likely to prove useful in your future musical career.

Year three

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete one of the following Principal Study modules and all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Principal Study: Performance 3
60 credits

This module lies at the heart of the course and of the learning experience for students on the performance pathway. It is the last of a suite of principal study modules undertaken in each of the first three years of the BMus (Hons) Performance, leading eventually to the Final Recital in the year four. 

Principal Study: Percussion 3
60 credits

This module lies at the heart of the course and of the learning experience for students on the performance pathway. It is the last of a suite of principal study modules undertaken in each of the first three years of the BMus (Hons) Performance, leading eventually to the Final Recital in the year four. 

Principal Study: Composition 3
60 credits

This module lies at the heart of the course and of the learning experience for students on the performance pathway. It is the last of a suite of principal study modules undertaken in each of the first three years of the BMus (Hons) Composition, leading eventually to the Final Portfolio in the year four. 

Principal Study: Music Technology 3
60 credits

This module lies at the heart of the course and of the learning experience for students on the performance pathway. It is the last of a suite of principal study modules undertaken in each of the first three years of the BMus (Hons) Music Technology, leading eventually to the Final Portfolio in the year four. 

Language of Music: Specialism 1
20 credits

In this module, students choose two specialist areas of study, one in each semester, the topics being offered reflecting the research enthusiasms of the staff, so engaging students with areas of learning led by the research and performance practice of their tutors. Central to the course philosophy is the ideal of the informed musician, one who is able to employ both advanced skills and knowledge in the advancement of their musical career. Performers and composers require a variety of specialist musicianship skills in order to support and enhance their professional development and employability as individual practitioners, and this module supports the course philosophy by enabling students to study specific areas of music in depth and detail.

Contextual Studies: Specialism 1
20 credits

In this module, students choose two specialist areas of study, the topics being offered reflecting the research enthusiasms of the staff, so engaging students with areas of learning led by the research of their tutors. Central to the course philosophy is the ideal of the informed musician, one who is able to employ both advanced skills and knowledge in the advancement of their musical career. Performers and composers require a deep understanding of music’s contexts in order to develop an informed understanding of their own relationship to specific performing and composing traditions and practices, and this module supports the course philosophy by enabling students to study specific areas of music in depth and detail.

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules.

Collaborative practice
20 credits

The module is an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of collaboration by enabling you to create an interdisciplinary project with students from complementary disciplines, or with academic staff. Collaboration is a vital employability skill within the Creative Industries and this module allows you to develop these skills, making use of University facilities and with the support of academic staff. Within this module framework, several kinds of collaborative opportunities are available. For example, with the approval of your supervisor, you can determine a project based on your own interests; your supervisor may set you a predetermined project to enable you to work with other students in a way that is appropriate to your subject area; or there may be opportunities for you to collaborate with staff on research projects. In all cases, you must apply your subject skills to an interdisciplinary project which will be agreed in advance with your supervisor.

Live Project
20 credits

This module provides an opportunity for you to apply your knowledge and skills to an external, professional brief. The brief will be set by an external client/ agency, in consultation with your supervisor, and it could be a ‘real life’ problem to be solved, or a simulation. It is an opportunity for you to engage in a professional manner with an aspect of your subject area, which contributes to the development of employability skills within the supportive infrastructure of the University. Where appropriate, the project may involve interdisciplinary collaboration with students from other courses. In this way, it reflects the collaborative, flexible nature of employment within the Creative Industries.

Work Placement
20 credits

The purpose of this module is to enable you to develop professional attributes and subject skills through experience in the work place, and to critically reflect upon your learning in that context. You will normally be expected to arrange your own placement, with support from academic staff and ADM Careers+.

 
Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Year four

In Year four, all students will select a total of 120 credits which must include one module from List A (Principal Study), one module from List B (Project) at least 20 and no more than 40 credits from list C (indicative list of optional modules).

Optional modules
120 credits

List A: Principal Study

  • Final Recital (40): 40 credits
  • Final Recital (60): 60 credits
  • Final Composition Portfolio (40): 40 credits
  • Final Composition Portfolio (60): 60 credits
  • Final Music Technology Portfolio (40): 40 credits
  • Final Music Technology Portfolio (60): 60 credits

List B: Project

  • Final Project (40): 40 credits
  • Final Project (60): 60 credits
  • Major Project: 40 credits

List C: Options

  • Further pedagogy: 20 credits
  • Music, Community and Wellbeing: 20 credits
  • Language of Music: Specialisms 2: 20 credits
  • Contextual Studies: Specialisms 2: 20 credits
  • Professional development: 20 credits
  • Work Placement: 20 credits
 
Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Course Structure

Years one to three

We concentrate on providing you with a thorough grounding in technical and performance/ composition skills, alongside contextual studies, musicianship and professional development activities such as conducting, pedagogy and community music. Each year, you have more choice and opportunities to specialise in your studies.

Professional development is embedded into our core modules, which focus on self-awareness, understanding your strengths and weakness, goal setting and self-motivation.

The Conservatoire participates in a number of exchange schemes with European and US Conservatoires. Provided that you achieve the appropriate levels of skills, you will be encouraged to spend a semester of year three at a partner institution.

Year 4

You will effectively design your own curriculum based on your career aspirations. You will be assessed on performance, composition or music technology (as appropriate) and design your own final project in any area of music you wish. You will take one or more additional modules in professional development, pedagogy or other specialist areas.

Student stories

Samantha-Oxborough-BMus

Samantha Oxborough

Lancashire born twenty-five year old Mezzo Soprano Samantha Oxborough is a recent graduate from Royal Birmingham Conservatoire with a Post-Graduate Certificate and a Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours under Christine Cairns and David Wilkinson. In 2019, Samantha moved to London and joined the Young Artist Programme at the National Opera Studio.

Emily-Abdy-BMus

Emily Abdy

Emily graduated from Royal Birmingham Conservatoire with a degree in music composition in 2019 and has continued at RBC to study for her Master’s. As well as creating new music, she runs a YouTube channel and researches film music.

Find out more about Emily 

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 Studies

Graduates frequently go on to Masters courses in Performance, Composition or Music Technology either at Birmingham Conservatoire or at other British, European or American universities.

Student stories Laura Mvula

Release of Debut Album 'Sing to the Moon'

Laura Mvula is a singer-songwriter and one of the 2013 Alumni of the Year. She landed her first record deal with Sony Music Entertainment's flagship label, RCA Records, and in March 2013 released her debut album, 'Sing to the Moon', which reached the UK Top 10.

Laura won two MOBO awards in 2013 - Best Female Act and Best R&B/Soul Act - plus nominations for BRIT and Q awards, and she came fourth in the BBC's Sound of 2013 new music list. In September 2013 her album - acclaimed by the Sunday Times Culture as "a masterpiece" - was shortlisted for the Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize.

She has also featured alongside actress Dame Helen Mirren and singer Ellie Goulding in Marks & Spencer's 'Britain's Leading Ladies', a campaign for the high-street chain's new clothing range.

Trips and Visits

There are no guaranteed trips or visits but there are regular opportunities, according to your chosen discipline. For example, we expect to send some of our students to Brazil and China in the next 18 months.

Enhance Employability Skills

All of the UK's Conservatoires aim to do the same thing: to train students for the music profession with the emphasis firmly on your principal study, whether that is in performance, composition or music technology.

As a vocational programme, it is easy to see how all your principal-study work adds to your professional development. Yet Royal Birmingham Conservatoire believes other areas of the course are just as important: the skills in writing, research, communication and critical and reflective thinking that you develop in the academic modules are exactly the types of graduate skills that make you more employable in any area of professional life, musical or otherwise.

Team working and collaborative skills are highly valued in the profession as a whole and are particularly important in any musical context, and you will have opportunities to work as part of team and ensembles across all areas of the course. Equally, you will have opportunities to develop your ability to work under your own direction, whether that is through the individual time spent practising, researching and writing essays and presentations, or working on personal development projects.

The course is designed so that we can guide you through these developments in the early years, give you the ability to reflect on what you have already learned and, most importantly, what you still need to learn. Taking charge of your own development as a musician enables you to work more independently in the later years and provides an employability skill set vital to your continuing professional life.

Placements

There are variety of extracurricular schemes that take students out of the Conservatoire and into the professional world. Numerous professional engagements for students are administered through the Conservatoire’s Book a Musician service, which provides direct experience of paid professional work.

We also run a number of placement schemes. These include long-running schemes with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra  (CBSO), the Orchestra of the Swan, and the Welsh National Opera where students participate actively or as observers; a collaboration with Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG) which gives composition students the opportunity to have their music played by experienced professionals who also give feedback; and many other partnerships with organisations including:

  • BBC Radio 3

  • Welsh National Opera

  • Arco Project
  • Leamington Festival
  • THSH
  • Birmingham Cathedral
  • St Chads
  • Birmingham Opera Company
  • Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Dudley Arts
  • Heartlands Hospital
  • Birmingham Music Service
  • Birmingham Royal Ballet
  • Jazzlines
  • Town Hall Symphony Hall

and for pedagogy/education specific projects:

  • Music in Hospitals and Care
  • Air Arts, Derby Royal Hospital
  • Birmingham Children's Hospital
  • Elmhurst Ballet School
  • Services for Education Music Service
  • Sandwell Music Service
  • Warwick School
  • Calthorpe Academy
  • In Harmony

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+

Graduate jobs

The typical career for a graduate of the Royal Conservatoire is a portfolio career. You will combine freelance composition or performing as a soloist and/or as part of an ensemble or orchestra with other sources of income as a self-employed musician, typically in areas such as teaching, arts administration, community music, music retail, and music arranging and transcription services.

This is a particularly common path taken in the first few years after graduation, although as time goes by.

Where our students go

Many of our student go on to be musicians, often with varied portfolio careers as detailed above. Another popular destination is music teaching, and other professional roles in the education sector such as working with local Music Services. 

Jack McNeill, graduate

"Royal Birmingham Conservatoire was a great place to learn from inspiring tutors, not just in playing my instrument, but also on what it means to be a musician in the wider sense. I made some fantastic professional connections there and it was the springboard for what is turning out to be a kaleidoscope of professional experiences."

Read more 

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 music honours course is most popular with international students from:

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.

Our staff

Our Principal, Julian Lloyd-Webber, is an internationally-acclaimed cellist who brings to his role both his wealth of musical experience and a detailed knowledge of the music profession.

The Heads of Department and their assistants at the Conservatoire are all highly-experienced and respected performers and composers in their own right, who use their expertise to provide engaging and challenging programmes for their students. The wider academic team comprises equally experienced and respected musicologists, whose knowledge and understanding of music complements the practical and creative work being pursued in each of the departments.

Dr Janet K Halfyard

Director of Studies (Undergraduate)

Dr Janet K. Halfyard is Director of Undergraduate Studies at Birmingham Conservatoire, part of Birmingham City University,where she teaches courses on film and TV music, and on twentieth century and contemporary music. Her publications include Danny Elfman’s Batman: a film score guide (Scarecrow Press, 2004), Music in Cult TV (IB Tauris, 2016) and the edited collections Music, Sound and Silence in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Ashgate, 2010) and Music in Fantasy Cinema (Equinox, 2012) as well as numerous essays in collections and journals on film and television music. She has also published on extended vocal technique (which she performs as well as researches) and edited a collection of essays on Berio’s Sequenzas (Ashgate, 2007).

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