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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, Solent University’s BA (Hons) Popular Music Performance and Production programme combines creativity and technical learning with in-depth study of the music industries.

Our music courses ranked 15th out of 66 other UK institutions for student satisfaction (NSS 2019).

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.

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

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?

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.

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

UCAS codes icon

UCAS codes

Full Time

  • 4 Years Popular Music Production Foundation Year MPP3
  • 3 Years Standard Entry MPP1
Fees icon

Fees and costs

Tuition fees

The 2020/21 tuition fees are not yet available. For guidance, the 2019/20 fees were:
UK, EU and Channel Island full-time fees: £9,250 per year
International full-time fees: £12,875 per year

For further information, please visit our tuition fees page.

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.

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 an instrument 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 Popular Music Production Foundation Year.
  • 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 19 in each individual 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.

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 Ask Solent team: 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 
How to apply

What you'll study

Year one

Core units
  • Intro to Studio Recording 1
  • Creative Music Production 1
  • Instrumental Skills and Artist Development 1 
  • Creative Music Practice 1
  • Creative Music Industries
  • Live Performance Techniques
  • Popular Music Theory

Year two

Core units
  • Advanced Studio Recording 1
  • Live Performance Techniques 2
  • Instrumental Skills and Artist Development 2 
  • Creative Music Production 2 
  • Creative Music Production 2.1
  • Music Business Networking


  • Songwriting Techniques
  • Experimental Music Production 
  • Advanced Live Music Production
  • Introduction to Experimental Music Performance
  • Music and Sound for Games
  • Creative Sound Design

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

Year three

Core units
  • Major Project
  • Music Strategies and Entrepreneurship
  • Instrumental Skill and Artist Development 3


Students must choose:

  • Advanced Music Production or Advanced Music Performance

And from the following:

  • Film Music
  • Songwriting Portfolio
  • Experimental Music Production 
  • Advanced Live Music Production
  • Advanced Music Production
  • Creative Sound Design
  • Experimental Music Performance
  • Advanced Mixing and Mastering

Please note: Not all optional units 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

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.


The University provides excellent learning resources and facilities to its students, from campus-wide wireless to extensive library services and dedicated student working spaces with plenty of laptop points. Popular music students will also have access to:

  • 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, Sibelius.
  • 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.

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. Popular music performance and production students are given opportunities to collaborate with students from other creative courses, mirroring working practices in the industry.

Your future

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
  • The course gave me the knowledge, skills and confidence to put myself forward for opportunities in the highly competitive music business.

    Carly Spratt, Warner Chappell Music

  • 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.

    Steve Middleton, Graduate

Industry links

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.

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.

Graduate profiles

Find out more about our popular music graduates.

Further study

Enhance your career prospects by continuing your study at Solent.

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