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Foundation Degree in Contemporary Musicianship (formerly Music Performance)

Level 4-5
Course Code:
HEB024 / W310
Brannams Campus
Two years, full time.

On stage or in the studio, professional musicianship is key to getting ahead in the industry. At The Factory, Petroc, with our excellent resources - including an 800-capacity venue and a fully-equipped recording studio - we aim to get you ahead in your career. This programme will provide you with the practical, creative, and professional skills needed to make it in the music industry.

This course gave me the opportunity to explore new areas of music and access tools necessary to get into the industry. - Former student


During the Foundation Degree in Contemporary Musicianship, you will study the following modules:

Year 1:
1. Styles & Techniques
This module aims to develop students awareness of the stylistic development behind genre, and a theoretical awareness of each discipline.

2. Music Theory
This module equips learners with the foundation of music theory that is necessary in any musical career path. It will allow the student to develop their musical understanding to respond to the requirements of a broad range of industry scenarios.

3. Music Production
This module introduces the student to a broad spectrum of skills and techniques necessary for the development of a Music Producer. This module focuses on teaching each student the technical requirements behind setting up, signal checking, and successful operation of advanced recording equipment.

4. Performance Techniques
This module will assess through audit the existing skills of the performer and identify how and where progression needs to take place. Students will be expected to develop and record development of performance skills, and the module will concentrate on developing skills of the group member. The module focuses on the development of music performance skills with the view to putting theory to practice in multiple performance scenarios.

5. Music Business
This module concentrates on organisations involved in regulating the music business, safeguarding intellectual property and royalty collection. Lectures will introduce contract law, copyright issues, developments with music promotion/distribution through traditional means and the Internet, also entrepreneurial/freelance aspects of employment in the music industry.

6. Research & Context
This module is designed to enable students to gain knowledge of theory and principles relating to their area of study and transferable skills necessary to support an emerging professional practice. The application of that knowledge will embrace written responses and portfolio building (PDP).

Year 2:
7. The Music Video
The module introduces learners to a comprehensive set of skills and techniques within the art of creating a Music Video. Learners will gain an enhanced understanding of the principle theories and practices behind the planning, pre production, post production and delivery of a Music Video.

8. Performance in Practice
This module takes theories and practices taught within Year 1 Performance Techniques and develops them further with the view of students putting these theories to practice within an industry setting. By this point students will have developed a strong array of technical performance skills; this module allows for students to take these skills and use them within an external live performance environment such as a live music tour or short succession of gigs.

9. Artist Development
This module allows students to develop a comprehensive understanding of what is required in order to become a professional musician working with the competitive music market.

10. Composition & Arrangement
This module focuses on the core and extended theories and techniques behind the manipulation and organisation of sonic materials. Students will apply established fundamental skills and put their music ideas together within their own creative music compositions.

11. Professional Musicianship
This module allows for students to demonstrate the high technical development of their instrument ability. Whether that may be the development of their ability within guitar, bass, drums or vocals. This module focuses on working with students in order to develop a high standard of instrument proficiency and technique. Each student will work with their lectures to choose a particular area relating to their discipline to specialise in.

12. Music Project
This module gives the students the opportunity to culminate their learning over the last 2 years with the development and realisation of their own Music Project.
Your performance in a module will be assessed during the academic year, normally through a combination of coursework and end of year examinations. You must pass the assessments in order to be credited with that module for your Foundation Degree. In addition, some modules may have to be passed as pre-requisites for others taken later in your programme.

The method of assessment varies between modules and your lecturers will advise you of the method(s) to be used. This reflects the need to develop a range of different knowledge, understanding and skills. During your programme, you may experience some, or all, types of assessment, including coursework essay/report research projects, group presentations, practicals, in-class tests, portfolios and a research project.

In all cases, these are chosen and designed to assess your achievement of the particular learning outcomes for the module. You will be given assessment criteria which are used to judge the extent of your achievement.

Please note that ALL assessment marks and results are provisional until confirmed by the Subject Assessment Panel and verified by the Award Assessment Board. If you do well enough, i.e. you average a mark of over 70% over all your modules at the end of your programme, then you will qualify for the award of a Foundation Degree with Distinction. You should note marks of 70% and over are awarded for outstanding work only.
Applicants should show evidence of a previous Level 3 qualification and also hold previous experience in live performance. Please note there will also be an audition at interview (you will need to bring your instrument, but drummers can just bring sticks).
Students who successfully pass their Foundation Degree may be able to progress to stage 3 of BA (Hons) Music, or BA (Hons) Music: Technology pathway at the University of Plymouth. They must do this within three years.
We provide a dedicated state-of-the-art recording studio, current model Apple iMacs with industry-standard recording and sequencing software, and other sound creation software packages. 800-capacity music venue, with state-of-the-art P.A and stage monitoring system and lighting rig.
You will need to bring your own personal instrument, a good sized hard drive or memory stick, and an ambitious attitude.
Please contact the HE Team on 01271 852335 for more information.
Q: How much will this course cost?
A: For more information about course fees, please visit

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