Jazz - BMus

  • UCAS Code: 310F
  • Level: Undergraduate
  • Starting: September 2019
  • 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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The recent launch of our Eastside Jazz Club has helped consolidate the integral role that Royal Birmingham Conservatoire has to play in a major UK city that enjoys a thriving jazz scene. While Birmingham’s jazz scene has been established over many years, our bespoke new venue strengthens the promise of an exciting future for Jazz in the city.

Our Jazz Department is based around the Club, where student musicians share a platform and get invaluable side-by-side performance experience with the best on the scene, whom we welcome to our stage on a regular basis.

This course meets with the needs of the modern jazz performer – it places emphasis on practical work, with the majority of time dedicated to one-to-one lessons, small group coaching and private practice. You'll study modules that have been specifically and skilfully designed for jazz musicians, and as part of your learning we encourage you to explore in depth the relationship between improvisation and composition, which is central to developing your individual voice. You will graduate as a versatile, professional musician who is knowledgeable about the entrepreneurial opportunities available to you, and aware of the commercial realities for musicians joining today’s UK jazz scene as a portfolio musician.

Delivered by performers, band leaders and composers who enhance their teaching with professional experience, insights and connections, the course hones both your performance and professional awareness. As well as having our own club that has taken its place on Birmingham’s vibrant jazz scene, our students enjoy professional experience opportunities with external gigs that familiarise them with the industry – for example through our partnership with Cheltenham Jazz Festival – one of many ways we prepare you for the future.

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.

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • We are proud to be a festival partner of the Cheltenham Jazz Festival; a partnership that gives our students an insight into how festivals are run, and some invaluable performance opportunities.

  • 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.
  • Last year our musicians collectively earned over £50,000 by being hired to play at events through our Book a Musician service.

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

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Discover Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

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

Visit the School website

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:

Essential Requirements
Essential

GCSE passes in 5 subjects (grade 4 (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)

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 or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BMus Sep 2019 FT 4 years £9,250 per year Apply via UCAS

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BMus Sep 2019 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 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 all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Principal Study 1
40 credits

This module lies at the heart of the course and of the learning experience for students on the BMus (Hons) Jazz. It is the first of a suite of principal study modules taken across the four years of the course and as such, it is therefore the first stage in realizing 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.

The module provides students with the opportunity to explore and develop their creative musicianship in the context of performance, and technical skills in relation to the jazz aural tradition. To learn and develop as a performer, an aspiring jazz musician needs regular playing opportunities that provide a forum for group improvisation. They also need contact with a mentor to help develop techniques and improvisatory language and need inspiration through example by leading performers in the field (aim 1. Pursuing excellence).Essential to the culture and community of jazz music is the standard repertoire. This allows individual performers to share a common language with many other musicians and also provides a fundamental foundation in learning how to address forms (aim 2. Practice led, knowledge applied), elements that are addressed in preparing for the end-of year performance exam.

Students will have 30 hours of one-to-one tuition per year, allocated to specific teachers and activities in negotiation with the Head of Department. This is complemented by departmental workshops and masterclasses on performance repertoire, where both the exposure to a range of repertoire and to the variety of approaches by a range of international practitioners contribute to course aim 5 (Internationalisation).

Praxis 1
40 credits

A central tenet of the programme philosophy is the development of informed jazz musicians equipped to enter the profession. This module recognises the need for jazz musicians to have a highly developed approach to creativity (aim 1: pursuing excellence) reinforced by a thorough grasp of musical techniques and theories which are realized in practice through composition and core associated skills as preparation for improvisation (aim 2: practice led, knowledge applied). In this module first year students have the opportunity to develop skills in composition, and to develop their harmonic knowledge through keyboard skills and ear training The nature of the small-band work promotes the development of personal and interpersonal skills with particular reference to the cooperative and collaborative environment of the music profession and encourages students to develop a view of jazz as an international discipline with important links to numerous world cultures (aim 4: employability; aim 5: internationalization)

In this module, students are introduced to a variety of compositional techniques and strategies and to key areas of jazz harmony through keyboard and aural work, designed to enable them to develop their improvisational language, compose melodic lines that work within the jazz vernacular, and to develop and refine skills and knowledge relevant to a career in the music profession.

Listening and Context 1
20 credits

A central tenet of the programme philosophy is the development of informed jazz musicians. This module contributes to this by providing an overview of the historical development of the music.
Students will employ listening skills and analytical skills to understand musical processes historically, socially and technically and to articulate their musical understanding in both written form and by aural examination.

This module contributes to the delivery of programme aims 1 and 2: pursuing excellence through a wider knowledge of jazz history and developing skills to employ knowledge-applied research, which will in turn inform the student’s own musical practice. With guidance from the lecturer, each student chooses their own topic for the essay, thus enabling students to develop as informed practitioners within their discipline, cultivating an appreciation of key historical concepts and analytical processes to enrich performance and composition. It also contributes to programme aim 5, internationalization, in exposing students to a range of research practices and musicological approaches that encourage a broad, global outlook, and to aim 4, employability, in the development of core research, writing and aural skills.

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 [aim 2: practice-led, knowledge-applied] 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 [aim 4 employability]. The activities within the module include practical tuition in conducting, and participation in a range of workshops with different interdisciplinary focuses including world music, jazz, composition-based, therapeutic, voice-led, and instrument-led [aim 3: interdisciplinarity].  This broad introduction to workshop facilitation strategies across different disciplines helps to promote an open-minded and enquiring attitude and enables you to build a ‘toolkit’ of workshop facilitation strategies, including musical warm ups, games, activities and communication techniques (musical, verbal, non-verbal), which will be useful for your future career. You will also critique video footage of professionals at work and reflect on your experiences during the module in order to inform a) a collaborative task where you will work with your peers to devise, deliver and engage your fellow students in a short interactive workshop; and b) your overall professional development [aim 1: pursuing excellence].

This module also continues to prepare musicians for the profession in respect of the personal and interpersonal skills required in the cooperative and collaborative environment of professional music making, and the qualities and attributes necessary for a career as a professional musician [aim 1, aim 4].

Year two

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

Principal Study 2
40 credits

This module lies at the heart of the course and of the learning experience for students on the BMus (Hons) Jazz. It is the second of a suite of principal study modules taken across the four years of the course and as such, it is therefore the next stage in realizing 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.

The module provides students with the opportunity to explore and develop their creative musicianship in the context of performance, and technical skills in relation to the jazz aural tradition. To learn and develop as a performer, an aspiring jazz musician needs regular playing opportunities that provide a forum for group improvisation. They also need contact with a mentor to help develop techniques and improvisatory language and need inspiration through example by leading performers in the field (aim 1. Pursuing excellence).Essential to the culture and community of jazz music is the standard repertoire. This allows individual performers to share a common language with many other musicians and also provides a fundamental foundation in learning how to address forms (aim 2. Practice led, knowledge applied), elements that are addressed in preparing for the end-of year performance exam.

Praxis 2
40 credits

A central tenet of the course philosophy is the development of informed jazz musicians. This module recognises the need for jazz musicians to have a highly developed approach to creativity reinforced by a thorough grasp of musical techniques and theories which are realized in practice through composition and improvisation. In this module students have the opportunity to build upon the knowledge and skills gained in the Praxis 1 module and acquire further proficiencies in composition and improvisation which are essential for the aspiring jazz musician (aim 4: employability). The nature of the small-band work promotes the development of personal and interpersonal skills with particular reference to the cooperative and collaborative environment of the music profession and encourages students to develop a view of jazz as an international discipline with important links to numerous world cultures (aim 5: internationalization).

Listening and Context 2
20 credits

A central tenet of the course philosophy is the development of informed jazz musicians. This module contributes to this through the exploration and development of an in-depth knowledge of the key moments in the history of jazz. Students will employ listening skills and analytical skills to understand musical processes historically, socially and technically and to articulate their musical understanding and develop their own insights in both written form and through oral presentation.

This module contributes to the delivery of course aims 1 and 2: pursuing excellence through a wider knowledge of jazz history and developing skills to employ knowledge-applied research, which will in turn inform the student’s own musical practice. Alongside guidance from the lecturer, each student define their own specialist topic for the proposal and presentation, thus enabling them to develop as informed practitioners within their discipline, cultivating an appreciation of key historical concepts and analytical processes to enrich performance and composition. It also contributes to course aim 5, Internationalization, in exposing students to a range of research practices and musicological approaches that encourage a broad, global outlook, and to aim 4, Employability, in the development of core research, writing and presentation skills, including PowerPoint as required.

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 [aim 4: employability]

Through devising and improvisation, the module also promotes an open and enquiring attitude to areas of music with which you may not already be familiar [aim 5: internationalisation].  This not only cultivates creativity for your performing and composing work: the materials and approaches used in the workshops contribute to a ‘toolkit’ of teaching strategies needed by successful educators in the 21st century [aim 2: practice-led, knowledge-applied].

Year three

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 80 credits):

Principal Study 3
40 credits

This module lies at the heart of the course and of the learning experience for students on the BMus (Hons) Jazz. It is the third of a suite of principal study modules taken across the four years of the course and as such, it is therefore the next stage in realizing 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.

 

The module provides students with the opportunity to explore and develop their creative musicianship in the context of performance, and technical skills in relation to the jazz aural tradition. The process of acquiring a musical identity as a jazz performer is developed primarily through gaining experience of performing in the small band situation. In this module the student takes the role of leader of a group of improvising musicians and is required to choose his/ her own repertoire and personnel for the band (aim 1. Pursuing excellence). This is a great challenge that requires a sophisticated range of skills and a developing artistic sensibility. The process of working towards end-of-year performance provides the creative space in which the aspiring jazz performer has the opportunity to draw on their musical knowledge to experiment with different musical concepts, both in rehearsal and in performance, get constructive critical feedback from peers to facilitate reflection and instigate change and further development (aim 2. Practice-led, knowledge applied). 

Music Production
40 credits

A central pillar of the course philosophy is the development of informed jazz musicians.

The current professional landscape dictates that practitioners require a broad skills base in multiple areas as: performers, composers and project instigators. Students are therefore encouraged to develop their entrepreneurial, enterprising, independent and professional approaches (aim 1: pursuing excellence; aim 4: employability).

As such, this module aligns two central components of: recording and composition/arranging. These two elements result in the production of both a studio recording project portfolio and a composition/arrangement portfolio. This offers the opportunity for students to arrange one piece for nonet, compose one piece for big band and perform and record one free choice piece for small ensemble. The portfolio will therefore include three recorded works (ca.15mins) and associated materials.

Music Promotion
20 credits

Artistic and creative qualities need to be developed alongside a pragmatic and realistic understanding of the music industry (aim 1: Pursuing excellence). Aspiring jazz musicians need experience and understanding of the means of projecting creative outputs into the public domain both for commercial returns and for the development of artist profile within the cultural landscape (aim 2: Practice led, knowledge applied)

This module provides experience in music promotion, which can take place in the context of either live performance events or publishing creative outputs via digital media (aim 3: Interdisciplinarity). Both aspects will involve developing an understanding of how to use digital media for marketing, distribution and promotion processes and their associated professional and legal practices. (aim 4. Employability).

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 ability to work collaboratively in a team is a vital employability skill within the Creative Industries. This module is an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of collaboration by enabling you to create a group project with students from complementary disciplines.

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 order to complete this course a student must successfully complete at least 120 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules.

Optional modules
120 credits

In Year 4, all students will select a total of 120 credits which must include at least 80 and no more than 100 credits from List A and at least 20 and no more than 40 credits from list B.

List A

  • Principal Study 4: 40 credits
  • Principal Study 4: 60 credits
  • Final Project: 40 credits
  • Final Project: 60 credits
  • Major Project: 40 credits

List B

  • 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

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.

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.

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 music for the trailers of three recent Star Wars movies, ‘Mary Poppins Returns,’ and a number of Disney movies, among many more.

Harry Lightfoot is an award winning composer for film and TV. Since he graduated from BMus (Hons) Jazz in 2007, his career in composition has gone from strength to strength. As well as writing and producing epic orchestral and hybrid trailer cues, he regularly composes for TV advertising with clients includingMcDonald’s, Samsung, Netflix, Pepsi, Mercedes, Adobe, Milka, Axe, Giff Gaff, Harveys, Max Factor and many moreHe also created sound design for the BBC's ‘Original British Drama’ logo, the’ BBC Earth’ ident, and composed the theme tune for the critically acclaimed Britain's Big Wildlife Revival.

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+

Conservatoire Employability Feature Box

‘What next?’ music careers conference

We hold an annual careers event involving leading industry professionals who take part in panel discussions about the future of the profession and the opportunities available to Conservatoire graduates.

Read more 

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.

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

John O'Gallagher

John O’Gallagher

Senior Lecturer

John O’Gallagher is a professional saxophonist, educator, and researcher from Brooklyn, New York. During his performing career he has appeared at numerous international jazz venues and festivals, and additionally on radio programs broadcast by BBC-3, RSI-Switzerland, and Radio France. The New York Times has described him as “an alto saxophonist of dry tone and daring temperament”. He has been featured with the Joe Henderson Big Band, Maria Schneider Orchestra, Kenny Wheeler Large Ensemble, and in numerous groups with artists such as Ben Monder, Tyshawn Sorey, Billy Hart, Ralph Alessi, Mike Gibbs, Bill Stewart, Donny McCaslin, Jeff Williams, Tony Malaby, Johannes Weidenmueller, Chris Cheek, Tim Hagans, Drew Gress, Mark Guiliana, Paul Dunmall, and Tom Rainey. His discography is comprised of more than 60 CDs. Recordings on which he has appeared have received one GRAMMY award, two GRAMMY nominations, and three JUNO award nominations. As an educator and clinician, he has mentored students at international conservatories and universities such as The New England Conservatory, The New School, Hochschule Musik und Theater (Zurich, Switzerland), Conservatoire De Paris (France), and the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (UK). He is the author of the book Twelve-Tone Improvisation published by Advance Music.

Read John's full profile

Percy Pursglove

Jazz Tutor (Jazz Musicianship, Rhythm Class, Ensemble Coaching)

After graduating from the Birmingham Conservatoire’s BMus (Hons) Jazz course with first class honours, Percy obtained a scholarship to study Jazz and Contemporary Music at the New School University, New York City. During his stay in New York he performed with numerous ensembles including The Duke Ellington Orchestra at Birdland, Sweet Rhythm, the knitting factory and the Rene Marie Big Band at Town Hall.

Having returned from New York, Percy is now working as a freelance jazz musician/composer/arranger/recording artist (trumpet/double bass), visiting lecturer at the Birmingham Conservatoire, director of the National Youth Jazz Wales, artistic co-director of Harmonic Festival, music for youth mentor and improvisation clinician.

Some of the most recent artists and ensembles he has performed and recorded with include Evan Parker, Steve Swallow, Mark Dresser, Dan Weiss, Chris Potter, Django Bates, Bill Frissell, WDR Big Band, Vince Mendoza, Thomas Morgan, Peter Erskine, Claudio Roditi, Phil Woods, Matt Brewer, Amy Winehouse, Elbow and BBC Radio Big Band.

Read Percy's full profile