Popular Music - FdA

  • UCAS Code: W34F
  • Level: Foundation
  • Starting: September 2020
  • Study mode: Full Time (2 years)
  • Location: South and City College Birmingham

The Popular Music Foundation Degree course provides the training and skills necessary for a wide range of careers within the music industry. 

You will develop understanding of the commercial music sector, study musical output and techniques, and improve your creativity, professionalism and practical musicianship to a level needed for music industry employment. This Foundation Degree is focused on developing the practical and transferable skills required to make you industry-ready.

What's covered in the course?

Awarded by Birmingham City University, this is a high level course with experienced staff and excellent resources. With 3 recording studios, 7 rehearsal rooms, 2 sequencing suites and a 600-capacity working venue on site, you will enjoy the exciting, creative opportunities and supportive environment.

Your principal study can be in performance, music technology, live sound or composition.  Additionally the course takes a holistic approach to musical study, with every student developing a broad range of skillsets required to become a successful music professional.  Assessments are varied and innovative, and often modelled on real industry practice.

You will study the theory, wider contexts and contemporary issues surrounding the modern day music industry and there will be regular visits from industry experts and artists. You will also develop the musical and creative skills required by a performer, composer or producer, learn how to work well in teams and demonstrate leadership, organisation and decision-making skills.

This programme will help you to develop a profile suitable for an artist looking for employment within the music industry and reflect on individual progress as an artist, learning how to improve along the way.

Why Choose Us?

  • South and City College Birmingham’s advanced facilities put you in a professional working environment from day one.
  • The college has Customer Service Excellence status, and is one of only a handful of training providers to achieve the government’s Training Quality Standard in three or more sector areas.
  • With a highly supportive and experienced staff team, excellent levels of contact time and quality resources, you will feel valued, encouraged and stimulated to do your best.
  • The industry focus of our training prepares you well for a career in music, or for a wealth of graduate opportunities.

This course is open to International students

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Discover South and City College

Visit our South and City College's website for extra information about the Digbeth campus, where thic course is based.

Visit the college website

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

Essential Requirements

48 UCAS tariff points.

Typical Offers

At the point of enrolment, you must have GCSE at Grade 4 or above in English Language. Equivalent qualifications can be considered in lieu as long as the required subject is covered.

Plus, you must have achieved or be completing one of the following:

A level  DD. Music at Level 3. A maximum of three subjects are considered. Other 6-unit qualifications can be considered in lieu of one or two A-level subjects.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma

MP.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma

PPP.
Access to HE Diploma Pass overall with 60 credits, 45 at Level 3 and 15 at Level 2.

Scottish Advanced Higher

Achieve a minimum of 48 tariff points achieved in either three Advanced Highers or from a combination of two Advanced Highers plus two Highers.

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

Obtain a minimum of 24 points overall. 
Other qualifications
If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.

Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.

Further information

As part of the application you will also need to undergo an audition, qualification check and supply suitable references. Students with significant, relevant experience in place of formal qualifications may be accepted onto the course subject to a successful audition.

International applicants will be asked to demonstrate equivalents of the above qualification levels and an IELTS score of 6.0 with no sub-test below 5.5.

  • UK/EU students
  • International students

Award: FdA

Starting: Sep 2020

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Award: FdA

Starting: Sep 2020

  • 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.

Guidance for UK/EU students

UCAS

UK and EU students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

Applying through UCAS
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

Portfolio Guidance

You will be asked at interview to prepare two pieces for live performance and/or recorded tracks of music technology work.

Year one

MAST (MIDI, Audio, Studio Techniques)
20 credits
Working Live
20 credits
Understanding Style
20 credits
Show Me The Money
20 credits
Technical Development
20 credits
Creative Portfolio
20 credits

Year two

Production Cycle
20 credits
Personal Development Portfolio
20 credits
Technical Development 2
20 credits
Final Showcase/Product
20 credits
Professional Music Practice
40 credits

How you will learn

You will learn through workshops, lectures, recording sessions, seminars and tutorials.

All students receive weekly one-to-one instrumental sessions, delivered by our highly qualified visiting instrumental specialists on vocals, guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards.

Much of your work will be geared towards the development of professional products, such as performances, tours, album production or radio shows. 

The course will help you to develop your own professional profile and explore your individual artistic identity. You’ll also collaborate with others and explore all aspects of the contemporary music industry.

Further Study

Upon successful completion of this two year Foundation Degree course, subject to appropriate credits being achieved, students can progress onto the third year of the BA (Hons) Popular Music degree to complete their undergraduate study, or use the industry-focused content of the FdA directly to seek work as a professional musician.  (You may alternatively transfer to the BA (Hons) in Popular Music at the end of year 1, subject to achievement and staff approval.)

Graduates from this degree course benefit from a wide range of career opportunities through professional graduate training programmes, and by demonstrating high-level employability through the academic, creative and transferable skills developed during the course.

In the music industry itself, SCCB graduates have progressed successfully to work with BBC Radio 1/1Xtra, BBC Introducing, Craig David, Sydney Opera House, X-factor, the Royal Variety Performance, Urban Audio, Blitz Games, music management and a range of ongoing corporate and independent music opportunities.

Graduate Opportunities

Graduate opportunities include studio engineer, live sound engineer, stage manager/tour staff, session musician, media music composer, independent freelance musician. Also you can progress to graduate placements/training in education, finance, public services etc. utilising the transferable and creative skills developed on the course.

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Birmingham 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:

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

Facilities

This course is delivered at South and City College Birmingham's Digbeth Campus.

Find out more about Digbeth Campus

Staff

  • Dr Simon Lesley PhD MMus BMus (Hons) FHEA: Graduate of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and the University of Birmingham.
  • Nils Edstrom BA (Hons) PG Cert Ed: Three-time gold disc winner for million-selling records, producer of 100 professional albums and audio technician for TED and Channel 4.