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Popular Music Production Foundation Year

From studio sound to live performance – turn your passion into a career

Enquire: 023 8201 5066

Got a passion for music production? Hoping to pursue a music degree here at Southampton Solent University? This year-long popular music production foundation programme is structured to equip you with the broad range of production skills you’ll need to progress onto a full degree. Suitable degrees include BA (Hons) Popular Music Performance and Production, BA (Hons) Popular Music Performance and BA (Hons) Digital Music.

  • Students build a broad knowledge of music production, studio recording and live sound engineering.
  • Southampton Solent University is home to a range of high-end production equipment including nine recording studios, four large rehearsal rooms, digital and analogue workstations, vocal booths, a 200-seat performance space and the latest Apple hardware.
  • Students build hands-on experience and the beginnings of a professional portfolio by recording editing and sequencing their own technical music projects.
  • The curriculum is taught by professional producers, composers, label owners and musicians.
  • Southampton Solent is one of the UK’s most creative universities, as voted for by students in the 2013 and 2014 Which? University student survey.
  • Students are able 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 Popular Music Production Foundation Year will help students begin to understand where they fit into this market, equipping them with the technical skills and industry knowledge required to succeed in further high-level study.

The programme

Students will spend the year building production skills and industry awareness, working alongside our experienced course team on a range of different equipment. Available facilities include:

  • five recording studios and four mix workstations, all equipped with Pro|Tools HD and NI Komplete,
  • three ICON DCommand worksurfaces,
  • an analog studio with Audient ASP8024,
  • outboards by Neve, Lexicon and Universal Audio,
  • microphones by Neumann, AKG, Coles, Rode,
  • plug-ins by Waves, McDSP, Sonnox,
  • Yamaha M7 and LS9 digital live mixers,
  • and a Music Technology Lab with 25 Apple Macs, Pro Tools, Logic and Sibelius.

Students are encouraged to pursue industry work experience throughout the course, and Southampton Solent University is ideally located for students to take advantage of the city’s thriving music scene.

In the second semester, students will have the opportunity to tailor the course to their own career ambitions, undertaking an assessed live sound production, studio recording project or music production project.

Next steps

Think a career in music production might be for you? Looking to build on your existing skills and prepare for further study? With close industry links, an eclectic mix of experienced teaching staff and ample opportunities to build a body of work in our modern studios, Southampton Solent University’s Popular Music Production Foundation Year is the perfect way to prepare for further study.

Have you got a question about applying?


Typical entry requirements

2016 entry
120 UCAS Tariff points

2017 entry - New UCAS Tariff
48 UCAS Tariff points



Year one:


Core units

  • Introduction to Popular Music
  • Introduction to Digital Music
  • Music Industry Pathway Project
  • Major Project (Degree Related)

Teaching, learning and assessment

The course is taught using a mix of lectures, seminars, workshops and project tutorials. Group work is balanced with individual study throughout the course, as is the mix between theory based and practical learning.

Work experience
You will be encouraged to get involved in the local music scene and supported in finding valuable work experience during the course. Past placements have included independent Southampton venues such as The Joiners, Talking Heads, Avondale House and Unit, giving students fantastic opportunities to perform and engage with the local industry. Southampton is a fantastic city for live music, and has many venues to get involved in.

Further support is offered through our Solent Music organisation, providing work experience opportunities at summer festivals, local venues and with local music organisations. You’ll also have a chance to join our Solent Creatives freelance agency, working on real-world briefs from commercial clients.

Assessment is through coursework: practical production projects, group and individual projects, seminar presentations, portfolio creation and reflective writing.

Our facilities

You will be able to use industry-standard software such as Logic Pro X™ and Pro Tools™, building essential knowledge for work in the music production industry.

You will also have access to the latest studio and production equipment, including five top-of-the-range multitrack music recording studios, four radio studios, a 5.1 surround sound video dubbing studio, a 5.1 post-production suite, ProTools™ and Pyramix™ workstations, two multi-camera TV green-screen studios and a wide range of location equipment for recording at live events.

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

This course is taught by a team with extensive knowledge of studio production, live sound and electronic sound design, who are well versed in the business culture of music production. Many of the team are still highly active within the industry.

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.

At the end of the course you’ll have a solid foundation of technical and academic skills ideal for progress onto three related degrees at Solent; BA (Hons) Popular Music Production, BA (Hons) Popular Music Performance or BA (Hons) Digital Music.

Suitable roles for graduates include:

  • Performer
  • Music producer
  • Music retail or management
  • Session player
  • Band member
  • Tour support
  • Live sound technician.

Links with industry

Solent’s close links with the music industry enables live briefs to be incorporated into coursework. This way you can be assessed on real-world outcomes, either producing work for an external client or working entrepreneurially.

The course team are actively involved in the contemporary music scene, bringing guest lectures from industry professionals, including James Zabella (DJ), Colin Lester (artist management), Rob Da Bank (DJ, producer, Bestival organiser) and Wez Saunders (producer).

Transferable skills

Skills in verbal and written communication, independent judgement, creative thinking, project management, analytical thinking, teamwork, self-evaluation, presentation, and public performance.

Further study

On completion of the foundation year you choose to progress onto one of our undergraduate 3-year degrees:
BA (Hons) Digital Music
BA (Hons) Popular Music Production
BA (Hons) Popular Music Production and Performance


Key facts


Location of study: East Park Terrace

Study mode: n/a

Entry requirements


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

120 points (for 2016 entry) or 48 points (for 2017 entry) from:

Portfolio interview requirements

Before attending your interview or sending us your portfolio, please read the following:

BA (Hons) Digital Music interview information

BA (Hons) Popular Music Production interview information

BA (Hons) Popular Music Performance and Production interview 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: £10,000 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.

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.


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