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About the course

Looking to start a career as a performer, songwriter or session musician? Solent University’s BA (Hons) Popular Music Performance programme combines practical and vocational learning with an 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 programme teaches students a range of skills balanced with academic, research and critical-thinking proficiencies that are relevant to many different careers.

The course features extensive study of the music industries 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 Digidesign mixing desks, and a production lab with 24 Apple workstations (with Pro Tools|HD, Logic Pro and Sibelius). You’ll also have access to large rehearsal rooms equipped with full backline and PA.

Beyond timetabled seminars and workshops, students are encouraged to engage with Southampton’s music scene. By promoting or performing their own shows, students can cultivate their talents and expand their understanding of real-world arrangement, composition and stagecraft.

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
You can study this course part-time.
Part time option

Southampton is home to various nationally renowned venues including the O2 Guildhall and The Joiners. This vibrant mix of venues has encouraged a diverse range of local music scenes, perfect for gaining on-stage performing experience.

What does this course lead to?

Graduates have gone on to various roles, including a wide range of professional musicians, music teachers and industry positions. Some of the organisations course graduates have worked for include Rock Out Music School, Thunderfoot Records and Totton College.

Who is this course for?

Students from a range of musical backgrounds will are well catered for on Solent’s popular music performance programme. Whether its guitar, drums, vocals, electronic music or songwriting, students are supported by experts as they learn to shape a career around their talents.

Facts and figures

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
UK and EU part-time fees: £4,625 per year
International part-time fees: Students from outside the EU are usually unable to obtain a visa for part-time study. Please visit our  visas and immigration page for more information.

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 2019/20 other costs are not yet available. For guidance, previous costs have been:

Year one:
Optional UK study trip: £385

Year two:
Optional European study trip: £715

Year three:
Optional USA study trip: £1,100

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

Graduation is the ceremony to celebrate the achievements of your studies. For graduates in 2018, 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.
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.
  • UK applicants will be asked to attend an audition.
  • Applicants resident outside the UK will be interviewed by video call or telephone and may be asked to send an electronic audition.
  • Direct entry into years two or three 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.
  • If you are applying from outside the UK, find information about entry requirements, visas and agents for your country here.

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 

What you'll study

Year one

Core units
  • Live Performance Techniques 
  • Studio Performance Techniques 
  • Instrumental Skills and Artist Development 1 
  • Popular Music Theory
  • Popular Music in Context
  • Creative Music Production 

Year two

Core units
  • Live Performance Techniques 2
  • Studio Performance Techniques 2 
  • Instrumental Skills and Artist Development 2 
  • Arranging and Composing


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

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

Year three

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


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

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

Pete Wilson academic profile Pete Wilson Course Leader View profile
Patrick Ainsworth academic profile Patrick Ainsworth Senior Lecturer View profile
Chris Anderton academic profile Chris Anderton Senior Lecturer View profile
Toni Diaz academic profile Toni Diaz 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.


Music and performance students at Solent have access to four large rehearsal rooms with backline provided, digital audio workstations, vocal booths and a 200-seat performance space. Students will also have access to our high-end music technology lab, equipped with Apple hardware and the latest professional music software.

Our industry-standard facilities also include nine recording studios, four mix workstations and a production lab with 24 workstations featuring Pro Tools|HD, Logic Audio and Sibelius.

The University provides additional 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.


Students are given close guidance as they create a professional portfolio, recording songs and musical arrangements on industry-standard equipment. Popular music performance students are given opportunities to collaborate with students from other creative courses, mirroring working practices in the industry.

Your future

Music graduates are well placed to enter employment in music and many other areas, such as music therapy and education.

Suitable roles for graduates include:

  • Solo artists
  • Session players
  • Bands
  • Arts management
  • Tour support.

Industry links

You’ll benefit from a programme of guest lectures from music industry speakers, passing on their knowledge and experiences of the industry. You’ll also be encouraged to be active as a performer and/or composer, building your reputation with a network of venues and industry. In addition, you’ll have the opportunity to compete for recording time at the legendary Abbey Road Studios.

Graduate profiles

Find out more about our popular music graduates.

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