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BA (Hons) Popular Music Performance and Production

Develop creative, professional and multi-disciplinary music skills

Enquire: 023 8201 5066

Are you interested in a career as a music performer, songwriter or producer?  Would you like to be involved in artist development?  Suitable for both schooled and self-taught musicians, Southampton Solent University’s BA (Hons) Popular Music Performance and Production programme combines creativity and technical learning with in-depth study of the music industries.

  • Students learn from experienced musicians and practitioners with a wealth of knowledge in performing and producing music for a living.
  • Southampton is home to nationally renowned venues including the O2 Guildhall and The Joiners. This vibrant mix of venues has encouraged a diverse music scene, perfect for gaining on-stage experience.
  • Students are given guidance as they create a professional portfolio, recording songs and musical arrangements using the latest industry-standard equipment.
  • Our high-end facilities include nine recording studios, four large rehearsal rooms, digital audio workstations, vocal booths and a 200-seat performance space.  Students will have access to our music technology lab, equipped with Apple and Avid hardware and the latest professional software. Students can take advantage of these facilities during evenings and weekends.
  • Popular music performance and production students are given opportunities to collaborate with students from other creative courses, mirroring working practices in the industry.
  • Past students have made use of the teaching team’s industry contacts to find work experience opportunities and freelance employment.
  • Guest lectures and master-classes are integrated into the programme, past guests include Guthrie Govan, guitarist; Rob Da Bank, DJ and festival organiser; Mike Moran, composer; and Trevor Horn, Grammy award-winning producer.
  • Solent’s virtual learning environment provides quick online access to assignments, lecture materials, suggested reading and other course information.
  • Students are given the chance to get involved with SMILEFest, the University’s annual music industry conference. Past speakers include Zoe Ball; The Blackout; Gallows; Steve Strange; Download booking executive and Livenation promoter, Andy Copping; Kerrang editor, James McMahon; and Bloc Party/Franz Ferdinand PR guru, Janine Warren.

The industry

The UK is the world’s biggest consumer of music (relative to population size), and is the world’s third-biggest music market after the US and Japan (BPI, 2013). This course aims to help students discover where they fit into this growing market and how to best monetise their talents.

The programme

Southampton Solent’s popular music performance and production programme offers a broad range of skills in music and production carefully balanced with academic skills involving research and critical thinking.  Students will gain experience both specific to the music industry and relevant to other careers.

The course features extensive study of the music industry including copyright, contract law and career pathways. Students are also expected to develop transferable skills in research, IT, presentation, teamwork, creative thinking, communication and project management.

Student learning is aided by free access to our industry standard facilities. These include nine recording studios (networked with Protools HD and Logic Pro), a range of mixing workstations equipped with Avid control surfaces, and a Production Lab with 24 Apple workstations (with Pro Tools, Logic Pro and Sibelius). You’ll also have access to large rehearsal rooms fully equipped with backline and PAs.

The curriculum is delivered by an experienced course team, many of whom are active industry experts with professional experience in performance, studio and live sound, electronic sound design and the business and culture of music production.  Staff frequently engage with on-going research in music composition, performance and production.  The team’s industry links also enable a handpicked selection of students to record at the world renowned Abbey Road Studios.

Outside lectures, seminars and workshops, students are encouraged to engage with Southampton’s music scene. By promoting or performing their own shows and creating their own productions, students can cultivate their talent and expand their understanding of production, arrangement, composition and stagecraft.

Next steps

Do you want to hone your composition, song writing and performance while learning essential technical production skills? With close industry links, an eclectic mix of experienced teaching staff and ample opportunities to build a body of work in our studios, Southampton Solent University’s popular music performance and production programme is ideal for those who are hoping to get their career off to a flying start.

Have you got a question about applying?



Don't just take our word for it...

Justin Hawkins
Carly Spratt
Steve Middleton
"The practice rooms at Solent University are great – the most important thing for young people interested in music is for them to have some place to play."
  More from Justin
"The course gave me the knowledge, skills and confidence to put myself forward for opportunities in the highly competitive music business."
  More from Carly
"Since graduating, I have toured the UK and abroad as a freelance sound engineer, and worked at some great festivals such as Glastonbury and Glade."
  More from Steve

UCAS codes


  • 3 Years Standard entry W302
  • 4 Years Popular music production foundation year W342

Typical entry requirements

2016 entry
280 UCAS Tariff points

2017 entry - New UCAS Tariff
112 UCAS Tariff points

  Which Creative University Award 2014

Year one:


Core units

  • The Language of Music
  • Creative Music Production 1.1
  • Creative Music Production 1.2
  • Musicianship Skills 1
  • Creative Music Practice 1
  • Understanding the Music Industries.

Year two:


Core units

  • Creative Music Production 2.1
  • Creative Music Production 2.1
  • Musicianship Skills 2.1
  • Musicianship Skills 2.2
  • Creative Music Practice 2.1
  • Creative Music Practice 2.2
  • Music Business Networking.


  • Noise Annoys: Experiments and Alternatives in Popular Music
  • Songwriting Techniques
  • Experimental Music Production 
  • Advanced Live Music Production
  • Music and Audio Post Production
  • Popular Music on Film
  • Urban & Electronic Music Genre Studies
  • Pop – The Invisible Mainstream
  • Pop, Politics and Protest
  • Copyright, Piracy and the Music Industries
  • Fanzines to Facebook
  • Introduction to Experimental Music Performance
  • Freelancing at Solent Creatives (Media) 2
  • Model Your Business MYB2
  • Curriculum Plus.

Year three:


Core units

  • Major Project 
  • Creative Music 3
  • Client Brief
  • Music Strategies and Career Building.


  • Festival Cultures
  • Film Music
  • Consuming Music
  • Songwriting Portfolio
  • Experimental Music Production 
  • Advanced Live Music Production
  • Music and Audio Post Production
  • PM: Technology & Production
  • Experimental Music Performance
  • Freelancing at Solent Creatives (Media) 1
  • Freelancing at Solent Creatives (Media) 2
  • Creative Entrepreneurial Freelance Practice 1 CFP1
  • Creative Entrepreneurial Freelance Practice 2 CFP2
  • Curriculum Plus.

Teaching, learning and assessment

The course is taught through workshops in rehearsal and recording studios, lectures and seminars. In the final year you’ll benefit from individual supervision.

Work experience
Students will be guided to find work experience opportunities, both internal and external, ensuring you’ll stand out in this competitive industry.

You’ll also be able to build your experience collaborating with students from across Solent’s popular music programme: setting up education projects and concerts, putting on gigs, playing at club nights, working at festivals and mentoring students at local colleges.

Students from the popular music programme have worked at various leading festivals, including Glastonbury and Camp Bestival, in a wide range of roles. Music production students have also toured in the UK and abroad as part of our live broadcast team, worked on synthesiser sound design, and more.

You’ll be assessed through public and in-house performances, practical production projects, group/individual projects and seminar presentations, essays and portfolio work.

Our facilities

  • Five recording studios and four mix workstations, all equipped with Pro Tools HD and NI Komplete.
  • Three ICON DCommand worksurfaces.
  • Analog studio with Audient ASP8024.
  • Outboard by Neve, Lexicon, Universal Audio.
  • Microphones by Neumann, AKG, Coles, Rode.
  • Plug-ins by Waves, McDSP, Sonnox.
  • Yamaha M7 and LS9 digital live mixers.
  • Music Tech Lab with 25x Apple Mac, Pro Tools, Logic, Sibellius.
  • Large rehearsal studios with backline, keyboards and drum kits provided.
  • Solent is an Avid Pro Tools Learning Partner, offering Pro Tools 101 training free of charge to production students. Further Pro Tools training (to operator level) is also available.

Study abroad

The Erasmus+ programme may give you the opportunity to spend between a term and a year of your course studying abroad at one of our partner universities, or undertaking a work placement for a company in Europe.
For more information visit 

If you are a student at one of our Erasmus partner institutions in Europe, then you may have the opportunity to come to the UK and study performance units at Solent for either a single term or a full academic year as part of your degree programme.

If you’re studying outside Europe then you may be able to study with us as an exchange student if there is a partnership agreement in place. If you are studying at a university which does not have a partnership agreement with us, then you could apply to study at Solent under our Study Abroad programme. 

Web-based learning

Solent’s virtual learning environment provides quick online access to assignments, lecture notes, suggested reading and other course information.

Meet the Team

The course team are all active industry experts, with experience in areas such as music performance, studio and live sound, electronic sound design, music education and the business and culture of music production.

UCAS codes


  • 3 Years Standard entry W302
  • 4 Years Popular music production foundation year W342

What do we offer?

From a vibrant city centre campus to our first class facilities, this is where you can find out why you should choose Solent.

The creative industries encompass a vast range of employment areas, and this course helps you understand the diverse career opportunities in the music and sound industries. You will be able to start building your network of like-minded practitioners in music, television, events, film, animation and more.

Suitable roles for graduates include:

  • Solo artist 
  • Session player 
  • Composer 
  • Songwriter 
  • Music producer 
  • Bands member 
  • Arts manager 
  • Tour support 
  • Music journalist 
  • Music promoter

Links with industry

The course team has close ties to the local and national music scene, enabling you to undertake a live brief of your choosing from an external client, negotiated with a tutor.

We also have a programme of guest lectures from the industry, with recent speakers including:

  • Mike Moran – composer and musician
  • Trevor Horn – Grammy-winning producer
  • Rob Da Bank – DJ and festival organiser 
  • Gary Langhan – Sound engineer on The War of The Worlds
  • Guthrie Govan – world-famous guitarist.

Transferable skills

IT, presentation, teamwork, creative and critical thinking, communication and project management.

Examples of employment obtained by recent graduates

Previous graduates have progressed to roles at Bang Post-Production, Sony Music, Metropolis Studios, EMI Music Licensing and Stage Miracles. Many are professional performers and teachers.


Key facts


Location of study: East Park Terrace

Study mode: Full-time

Accreditations: The course includes optional Pro Tools certification 101, accredited by Avid.

Entry requirements


UCAS have updated their tariff points for 2017 entry. Please click here for more information.

280 points (for 2016 entry) or 112 points (for 2017 entry) from:

  • A-levels, a BTEC Extended Diploma at DMM or BTEC Diploma at D*D* or equivalent.
  • Applicants will be asked to send in an electronic audition.
  • Direct entry into the second or third years may be considered for this course.
  • Applicants over the age of 21 may be considered based on relevant experience, without having the required tariff points.
  • Alternative entry to this course is available through the Popular Music Production Foundation Year.

Electronic audition requirements

Before sending us your electronic audition, please read the following: Audition information

We welcome applicants from a diverse range of backgrounds. Applicants who are not in possession of the minimum entry requirements but are able to demonstrate aptitude, enthusiasm and motivation will be considered on an individual basis and may be admitted subject to satisfactory interview and/or portfolio. Please contact us for further details.

English language requirements

Applicants who do not have English as their first language will be required to demonstrate an approved level of proficiency in the use of the English language. The agreed minimum requirements for this course are:

  • IELTS minimum 6.0 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each individual component
  • TOEFL IBT minimum 80 with a minimum of 19 in each individual component- TOEFL is only valid for EU students
  • or equivalent.

Qualifications are checked before enrolment, and international students must bring their original certificates or certified copies when coming to study at the University.

The University also offers a pre-sessional English programme for international students who wish to improve their level of English before starting a degree course.

Note to all international students requiring a visa:

All international applicants need to be aware that the English language requirements to attend Southampton Solent University, and the English language requirements to obtain a visa from the Home Office, may be different. This means that if you meet the Southampton Solent University language requirement to gain a place on the course, you may still have to meet additional requirements to be granted with a visa by the Home Office.

We strongly advise all applicants to visit the Home Office website which outlines all the requirements for a successful visa application and to take a look at this PDF document which outlines both Solent University and Home Office requirements for a number of language tests.  

Non-standard entry

If you do not have these qualifications or are unsure of your eligibility please contact the University using the contact details found at the top of this page.

Costs involved


Tuition fees

The tuition fees for the 2016/2017 academic year are:

UK and EU full-time fees: £9,000 per year

International full-time fees: £11,000 per year

Graduation costs 

Graduation is the ceremony to celebrate the achievements of your studies. For graduates in 2015, there is no charge to attend graduation, but you will be required to pay for the rental of your academic gown (approximately £42 per graduate, depending on your award). You may also wish to purchase official photography packages, which range in price from £15 to £200+. Graduation is not compulsory, so if you prefer to have your award sent to you, there is no cost.

For more details, please visit:

Bursaries and scholarships

Southampton Solent University offers a range of scholarships that provide financial assistance or waive fees for tuition or accommodation. Each scholarship has specific eligibility criteria. Check out our scholarships page to find out more.

How to apply


Any student applying for the first year of a full-time/sandwich undergraduate course must apply through UCAS (University and Colleges Admissions Service). This includes mature, overseas and EU students.

Nearly all schools and colleges offer their students the facility of applying electronically through the UCAS website using 'Apply'; it may also be used by those applying independently in the UK and overseas. This facility and all course information can be found on the UCAS website:

Your application should reach UCAS by January if you hope to enter a course the following autumn. Early application is advised for the most popular subject areas. Late applications may be made until June. The UCAS Code for the University is S30, code name SOLNT.

Part-time and distance learning courses

Applications for part-time and distance learning courses are made directly to the University and can be made at any time prior to the start of the course. Please contact the admissions office for further details, contact details are at the top of the page. Print the application form below, complete and return to the admissions office, addresses are given on the form.

Part-time undergraduate study application form

Student support and services


Student welfare

Southampton Solent University is committed to giving you the best possible educational experience during your time with us. As such we have a number of support services and policies set up covering funding, careers and employability, chaplaincy, counselling, international advice, student affairs, key academic skills, disability support and general student advice. Find out more about our approach to student welfare.

University facilities

You will have access to a modern, comfortable and efficient environment in which to study, following our extensive refurbishment and modernisation over recent years. Some key facilities include Mountbatten library, a wide variety of sports and watersports facilities, plus superb IT and media facilities. Find out more about our first-class facilities here.

Living in Southampton

Southampton is a vibrant student city and studying at Solent means that you will be at the very heart of the action. Find out more about being a student in Southampton.

Solent Students’ Union

Run by students for students, Solent Students’ Union is a key part of any student’s time at Solent. Visit the Students’ Union website for more information.

UCAS codes


  • 3 Years Standard entry W302
  • 4 Years Popular music production foundation year W342


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