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About the course

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, this course combines creativity and technical learning with in-depth academic and research skills.

BA (Hons) Popular Music Performance and Production scored 90% overall satisfaction and our music courses are ranked in the top 20 for UK institutions. (National Student Survey 2020)

Solent’s popular music performance and production programme offers a broad range of creative and technical learning in music and production carefully balanced with the acquisition of 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 access to our industry standard facilities. These include nine recording studios (networked with Protools HD and Logic Pro), a range of mixing workstations, 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.

You have the opportunity to study abroad in one of our partner universities for a semester on this course.
Study abroad
If you're not quite ready for a full undergraduate degree, there's alternative entry through one of our foundation years.
Foundation year available
You have the opportunity to obtain a professional membership as part of this degree.
Professional memberships
As part of your studies you will have the opportunity to undertake a work experience placement.
Built in work experience placement
This course has access to Solent's specialist facilities.
Specialist facilities
After successfully completing your studies, there's an opportunity to continue your studies at Solent.
Further studies
If you have an appropriate Level 5 qualification, you can top it up to a degree in just a year.
Top-up option

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.

What does this course lead to?

Graduates from this course have gone on to work in diverse areas such as professional performance, songwriting, artist development, live sound, online mixing, sound engineering, teaching and technical support.

Who is this course for?

Solent’s popular music performance and production course is suitable for both schooled and self-taught musicians. Applicants should be interested by both performance and technical production, as well as music history and academic theory.

Applicants should aspire to careers as session musicians, producers, artists, songwriters, music journalists or promoters. 

Facts and figures

Fees icon

Fees and costs

Tuition fees

The tuition fees for the 2021/22 academic year are:
UK, EU and Channel Island full-time fees: £9,250 per year
International full-time fees: £13,800 per year

Following the UK government's confirmation that EU students will no longer be eligible for home fee status benefits, we've made the decision to keep EU tuition fees the same as UK tuition fees for 2021 entry.

For further information, please visit our tuition fees page.

Other costs

While most course costs are covered by your tuition fees, some essential resources and optional extras may need to be paid for separately. These additional costs are listed below. For advice on budgeting and managing your money, please contact

The 2021/22 other costs are not yet available. For guidance, previous other costs have been:

Optional costs
Optional trips to music performances are based on current ticket prices and transport costs. 

Compulsory costs
Drummers must own sticks, hot-rods and brushes
Guitarists and bassists must own instruments, straps and leads (and plectrums if appropriate) and be prepared to bring these to University
All students must have a pair of good quality headphones that will cost between £40 and £150 

Bursaries and scholarships

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

Graduation costs

For graduates in 2020, there is no charge to attend graduation, but you will be required to pay for the rental of your academic gown (approximately £45 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. Extra guest tickets will go on sale after results publication and will be sold on a first-come-first-served basis. The cost per ticket was £15 in 2019, but this fee is subject to change for future years. Please note, we do not guarantee there will be any extra tickets available to purchase.
Key entry requirements icon

Key entry requirements

96 - 112 UCAS tariff points from A-levels or equivalent

  • A minimum of two completed A-levels, a BTEC Extended Diploma at MMM or BTEC Diploma at DM or equivalent qualification, or a combination of qualifications which comply with the minimum entry requirement of 96 UCAS points.
  • Direct entry into the second or third year may be considered for this course.
  • All applicants are expected to be able to sing or play drums, bass, guitar or keyboards to the standard required for public performance. 
  • 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 Foundation Year in Popular Music.
  • If you are applying from outside the UK, find information about entry requirements, visas and agents for your country here.
  • For further information about UK, EU and international qualifications, please refer to our course entry requirement statement.

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 20 in each individual component
  • Duolingo English Language Test - 100 overall with minimum of 90 in each component
  • 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.

Pre-Sessional English programme

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.

Study location

East Park Terrace

Got a question about this course?

Contact our Solent team:

If you are a UK, EU or EEA applicant please contact 023 8201 5066 If you are an international applicant please contact 023 8201 5066

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 15 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 the end of June. The UCAS Code for the University is S30, code name SOLNT.

Please click the links below to apply through UCAS:

Mode of study
Full-time  3 years  Apply 

Popular Music Production Foundation Year route:

Mode of study
Full-time  4 years  Apply 
Top-up route:

We welcome applications from students currently studying a Foundation Degree, DipHE, HNC, HND or modules of an undergraduate degree course at another university, who wish to enter directly into Years 2 or 3 of one of our undergraduate degree courses. Please contact our admissions team for more information: contact us

How to apply

What you'll study

Year one

Core modules
  • Performance Techniques 1
    The module begins with safe and efficient group and individual rehearsal/practice methods, leading to performances in workshops, assessments and external venues. 
  • Introduction to Studio Recording 1
    This module combines practical mixing and recording with the established and proven theories of how multitrack music is made. 
  • Creative Music Industries
    In this module you will explore contemporary music industry issues and developments.  The unit allows specialisation for the constituent courses involved.  You will gain an understanding of how current events are shaping the music industries of the future.  
  • Creative Performance 1
    Building on the knowledge and techniques developed in Performance Techniques 1, this module continues the focus on the essentials of performance with a greater emphasis on instrumental/vocal skills and techniques.
  • Creative Music Production 1
    Having been introduced to fundamental concepts and theory of audio and music production, you now have the opportunity to apply these concepts to creative projects.  You will undertake two composed productions, one using predominantly sequencing techniques with live vocals, and one using predominantly live instrumentation. 
  • Theory and Listening Skills
    This module will help you develop the language to communicate musical ideas.  In addition to traditional notation you will learn how to describe and analyse songs and musical productions.

Year two

Core modules
  • Performance Techniques 2
    Building on the knowledge and techniques developed at Level 4, this module continues the focus on the essentials of performance with a greater emphasis on reflective practice.
  • Advanced Studio Recording 1
    In this module you will learn to understand mix techniques and methods at a higher level to help you craft more engaging, lasting mixes.
  • Music Portfolio Careers
    Through research and enquiry, supported by the music team, you will investigate the many and varied income streams available to you.   
  • Creative Performance 2
    Building on the knowledge and techniques developed in Performance Techniques 2, this module continues the focus on the essentials of performance with a greater emphasis on instrumental/vocal skills and techniques.
  • Creative Music Production 2
    Building on the technical and creative skills that you have developed at Level 4 and in Advanced Studio Recording 1, you will learn how to arrange and compose music using workstations and/or the recording studio.  These processes will be supported by development of a foundation in genre expectation and awareness.


  • Songwriting Techniques
    This module will help you develop and enhance your skills in songwriting and will allow you to develop your musical identities through a wide range of songwriting tasks.
  • Creative Sound Design
    In this module you will expand your musical thinking into the world of film sound design. Whether through music or sound effects, films rely heavily on sound added post production; this module gives you the chance to develop skills required for sound in visual media.

Please note: Not all optional modules are guaranteed to run each year.

Year three

Core modules
  • Music Collaboration
    You will examine how to approach collaborative projects in a manner that suggests professionalism and inspires those around you.  Teamwork will be key, you will need to develop your ideas, present a proposal and realise your project in a negotiated group context.
  • Advanced Music Production
    As well as advanced production techniques such as mastering, this module will examine how you can solve practical production problems and present your findings in a video or interactive format designed to train others.
  • Entrepreneurship and Artist Development
    In this module you will study and practise prescribed techniques such as music reading skills, technical exercises, professional practice, performance skills and repertoire. 
  • Major Project
    In this module you will undertake a major research project in an area of your choosing. It may take a variety of forms and is negotiated with support and feedback from module tutors who will discuss and approve project proposals.


  • Experimental Music Performance
    You will explore the creative dynamics of existing sound performances and recordings.  You will investigate alternative approaches to music making by exploring experimental techniques that draw from creative music practices.
  • Surround Mixing
    You will experience recent and emerging technological developments including 5.1 surround sound and Dolby Atmos. The issues in mixing music and film sound will be examined and you will learn how to achieve effective mixes in these formats.

Please note: Not all optional modules are guaranteed to run each year.


Web-based learning

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

The Student Hub

The Student Hub is a central space where you can access all of the information and support you need during your time at University.

Professional and experienced staff can help resolve any query, and if they cannot answer the question themselves they will find the person who can.

Career support

Students' work

Meet the course team

Patrick Ainsworth academic profile Patrick Ainsworth Course Leader View profile
Pete Wilson academic profile Pete Wilson Senior Lecturer View profile
Toni Diaz academic profile Toni Diaz Senior Lecturer View profile
Esther Keappock academic profile Esther Keappock Senior Lecturer View profile
Daniel Pennie academic profile Daniel Pennie Senior Lecturer View profile
Greg Mudd academic profile Greg Mudd Lecturer View profile
Colin Willsher academic profile Colin Willsher Associate Lecturer View profile
Jennifer Skellington academic profile Jennifer Skellington Associate Lecturer View profile
Brendan Johnson academic profile Brendan Johnson Associate Lecturer View profile
Alex Diaz academic profile Alex Diaz Associate Lecturer View profile

The university cannot guarantee any particular members of staff will teach specific aspects of the course in the future, but will endeavour to ensure the teaching team maintains their balance of experience and qualifications.


Solent’s recording studios and rehearsal spaces are state-of-the-art, including:

  • Pro Tools Ultimate and Logic digital audio workstations
  • Microphones by Neumann, AKG and Shure
  • Analog processing includes Neve, Universal Audio, Focusrite, Empirical Labs, and Portico
  • Instruments provided include Drums by DW and Mapex, a Moog Synthesiser, Korg Kronos, Marshall, Orange, Friedman, Fender and Vox valve guitar amplifiers, Ampeg and Eden bass amps, and Mackie PAs
  • Software includes Native Instruments Komplete, and Plugins by Sonnox, McDSP and Celemony
  • Live sound mixers include Allen and Heath DLive, Soundcraft Si, and Midas M32

Solent provides a creative hub where students can meet filmmakers, web content, animators, game designers, musicians, video producers and work on combined projects.

Your future

Students from Solent’s music performance and production programme will be well prepared for a wide range of graduate level employment opportunities. Suitable roles for graduates include:

  • Music performer
  • Music producer 
  • Session musician
  • Songwriter
  • Live sound engineer 
  • Mix engineer 
  • Game sound composer 
  • Events organiser 
  • Music publishing 
  • Arts administrator 
  • Music technician 
  • Music and sound entrepreneur 
  • Music teacher
  • Postgraduate study 

Industry links

Students have the chance to work with local clients including the JoinersLive venue and BBC Introducing. Every year you have a chance to visit Abbey Road studios, probably the most famous studio in the world, and talk to engineers at the top of the industry during a real recording session. The entire guest speaker programme at Solent is open to you, providing a wealth of advice from industry professionals.

Recent guest speakers have included: Craig David, Hannah Vasanth (keyboards for Rhianna), Katie Holmes-Smith (backing vocals for Adele), Imogen Heap (songwriter for Taylor Swift), Andrew Scheps (mix engineer for Red Hot Chili Peppers), Nina Hartstone (dialog editor, Bohemian Rhapsody), Colin Lester (manager for Craig David), Tudor Davies (sound engineer for Later with Jools Holland).

Graduate profiles

Find out more about our popular music graduates.

Get ready to find your place

You can still experience life at Solent at a virtual open day! Hear from course tutors, take virtual campus and accommodation tours, and chat to us live.

Register for a virtual open day