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About the course

Looking to start a career as a performer, songwriter or session musician? Southampton Solent University’s BA (Hons) Popular Music Performance programme combines practical and vocational learning with an in-depth study of the music industries.

Southampton 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.

Study abroad Foundation year available Professional memberships Built in work experience placement Specialist facilities Further studies 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

UCAS codes icon

UCAS codes

Full Time

  • 3 Years Standard Entry W310
  • 4 Years Popular Music Production Foundation Year W315
Fees icon

Fees and costs

Tuition fees

The tuition fees for the 2018/19 academic year are:
UK and EU full-time fees: £9,250 per year
International full-time fees: £12,500 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.

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

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

Southampton 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

112 UCAS tariff points from A-levels or equivalent

  • A-levels, a BTEC Extended Diploma at DMM or BTEC Diploma at D*D* or equivalent.
  • 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.

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
  • 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 3039

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.

Click the links below to apply through UCAS:

BA (Hons) Popular Music Performance

Popular Music Foundation Year route:

Popular Music Foundation Year 

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. Print the application form below, complete and return to the admissions office, addresses are given on the form.

Applications for 2018 will open soon. For any enquiries, please email admissions.

Email us

What you'll study

Year one

Core units

  • Music Practice 1.1
  • Music Practice 1.2
  • Instrumental Studies 1
  • Music Theory
  • Listening Skills
  • Popular Music in Context

Year two

Core units

  • Music Practice 2.1
  • Music Practice 2.2
  • Instrumental Studies 2.1
  • Instrumental Studies 2.2
  • Arranging
  • Composing


  • Noise Annoys: Experiments and Alternatives in Popular Music
  • Songwriting Techniques
  • Experimental Music Production
  • Advanced Live Music Production
  • Music and Audio Post-Production
  • Introduction to Experimental Music Performance
  • Pop, Politics and Protest
  • Copyright, Piracy and the Music Industries
  • Fanzines to Facebook
  • Freelancing at Solent Creatives
  • Model Your Business
  • Curriculum Plus

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

Year three

Core units

  • Music Practice 3
  • Music Strategies and Career Building
  • Instrumental Studies 3
  • Major Project: Popular Music Performance


  • Festival Cultures
  • Film Music
  • Consuming Music
  • Experimental Music Performance
  • Songwriting Portfolio
  • Experimental Music Production
  • Advanced Live Music Production
  • Music and Audio Post-Production
  • Freelancing at Solent Creatives
  • Creative Entrepreneurial Freelance Practice
  • Curriculum Plus

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

Key figures


Assessment by coursework


Practical exams

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
Bob Burke academic profile Bob Burke Senior Lecturer View profile
Toni Diaz academic profile Toni Diaz Senior Lecturer View profile
Daniel Pennie academic profile Daniel Pennie Senior Lecturer View profile
Esther Frake academic profile Esther Frake Lecturer View profile
Paul Rutter academic profile Paul Rutter Associate Professor View profile
Larry Davids academic profile Larry Davids Associate Lecturer View profile
Rachel Rees academic profile Rachel Rees Associate Lecturer View profile
Kevin Dredge academic profile Kevin Dredge Associate Lecturer View profile
Greg Mudd academic profile Greg Mudd Associate Lecturer View profile
Christopher Lewis academic profile Christopher Lewis 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.


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.


of students go on to work and/or study six months after finishing the course

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.

Further study

Enhance your career prospects by continuing your study at Solent.

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