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About the course

Looking to start a career in live or studio music production? Suitable for both schooled and self-taught producers of all skill levels, Southampton Solent University’s popular music production programme combines technical learning with an in-depth study of the history, context and theory behind contemporary music production.

Students will build the required skills by working alongside our experienced course team on a range of different equipment including:

  • five recording studios and four mix workstations, all equipped with Pro|Tools HDX and NI Komplete,
  • three ICON DCommand worksurfaces,
  • an analog studio with Audient ASP8024,
  • outboard 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.

Past students have benefitted from the course team’s excellent links to industry by attending guest lectures from visiting industry professionals. Speakers have included Mike Moran, composer; Trevor Horn, Grammy award-winning producer; Rob Da Bank, DJ and festival organiser; Gary Langhan, sound engineer; and Mark Lawrence CEO of The Association for Electronic Music.

Students will also be able to tailor the course to their own interests through optional projects and units in the second and third years. These units can help to inform your career and ensure that your technical skills are underpinned by a solid understanding of the wider music industry.

Graduates from this course have gone on to secure roles at record labels, post-production studios, and film and television companies.

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

The industry-standard facilities on offer include nine recording studios, four large rehearsal rooms, digital and analogue workstations, vocal booths, a 200-seat performance space, and Apple hardware loaded with the latest professional software.

What does this course lead to?

Previous graduates have gone on to roles such as assistant artist manager, audio engineer, and record production assistant at organisations like Bang Post-Production, Sony Music, Envy post-production, Global Documentary, Columbia records, Metropolis Studios, EMI Music Licensing and Stage Miracles.

Who is this course for?

This popular music production programme focuses on both live and studio production, combining technical training with an in-depth study of music history, appreciation, and academic theory.

Applicants may come from a range of academic backgrounds. Although a prior related qualification isn’t essential, those who haven’t previously studied production will need to bring a demonstration of their most recent work.

Facts and figures

UCAS codes icon

UCAS codes

Full Time

  • 4 Years Popular Music Production Foundation Year W341
  • 4 Years Language Foundation Year W34C
  • 3 Years Standard Entry W34D
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 

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 student.funding@solent.ac.uk.

Year one:
Optional studio headphones and UK study trip: £440

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.
  • Direct entry into the second or third years 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 or the International 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.


97%

of students feel staff have made the subject interesting

Study location

East Park Terrace

Got a question about this course?

Contact our Ask Solent team:

ask@solent.ac.uk 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: www.ucas.com.

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 Production

International Foundation Year route:

International Foundation Year

Popular Music Foundation Year route:

Popular Music Foundation Year

How to apply

What you'll study

Year one

Core units

  • Introduction to Studio Recording 1
  • Introduction to Studio Recording 2
  • History of Music Production
  • Creative Electronic Sound
  • Music Perspectives
  • Creative Music Industries

Year two

Core units

  • Advanced Studio Recording 1
  • Advanced Studio Recording 2
  • The Art of Music Production 1
  • The Art of Music Production 2
  • Live Music Production
  • Music Business Networking

Options

  • Noise Annoys: Experiments and Alternatives in Popular Music
  • Songwriting Techniques
  • Experimental Music Production
  • Introduction to Experimental Music Performance
  • Advanced Live Music Production
  • Music and Audio Post-Production
  • 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

  • Advanced Studio Recording 3
  • Music Strategies and Career Building
  • Major Project: Popular Music Production
  • Live Project Brief

Options

  • Festival Cultures
  • Film Music
  • Consuming Music
  • Songwriting Portfolio
  • Experimental Music Production
  • Experimental Music Performance
  • 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.

Support

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

83%

Assessment by coursework

17%

Practical exams

Meet the course team

Paul Rutter academic profile Paul Rutter Head of Subject View profile
Toni Diaz academic profile Toni Diaz Course Leader View profile
Daniel Pennie academic profile Daniel Pennie Senior Lecturer View profile
Simon Fisk academic profile Simon Fisk Senior Lecturer View profile
Jenna Barker academic profile Jenna Barker Senior Lecturer View profile
Bob Burke academic profile Bob Burke Senior Lecturer View profile
Annie Sanger-Davies academic profile Annie Sanger-Davies Lecturer View profile
Phil Durrant academic profile Phil Durrant Associate Lecturer View profile
Paul Statham academic profile Paul Statham 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.

Facilities

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. 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.

Southampton Solent University is an Avid Pro Tools Learning Partner, offering Pro Tools 101 training. Further Pro Tools training (to operator level) is also available. Students learn from experienced musicians with a wealth of knowledge in producing and performing music professionally and you will also have the chance to collaborate with students from other creative media disciplines, mirroring industry working practices.

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 creatives in television, events, film, animation and more.

Suitable roles for graduates include:

  • Live and outdoor sound
  • Studio sound engineering
  • Music publishing
  • Music promotion
  • Arts and entertainment industry administration.

94%

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

Industry links

The course team has close ties to Southampton’s active local music scene, enabling you to undertake a live brief from an external client, and get involved with some of the city’s extensive live venues.

We also have a programme of guest lectures from the industry, with recent speakers including:

  • Mike Moran – composer, musician
  • Trevor Horn – Grammy award-winning producer
  • Rob Da Bank –DJ and Festival organiser
  • Gary Langhan – Sound Engineer, War of The Worlds.

Placements

Students are helped to find work experience opportunities, both internal and external, ensuring you’ll stand out in this competitive industry.  Recent examples include the Glastonbury festival and Camp Bestival, live sound touring in the UK and abroad, synthesiser sound design, and community and education mentoring projects.

You’ll also have opportunities to collaborate on extra-curricular projects with students on other popular music courses – for example, recording an album, attending concerts and club nights, and working at festivals.

Graduate stories

Stephen's story

Stephen Hall - Technician at Mayflower Theatre

What made you choose to study at Solent?
The course I chose to study was perfect for me as I knew I wanted to go into live sound engineering but it could also give me the skills and experience in a professional industry standard recording studio. I chose to study in Southampton as I have relatives that have studied here and all gave great feedback from their time studying. 

What was the best part of your course?
I met 3 top guys that I'm proud to say I'll keep as my good friends for the rest of my life. We worked on pretty much every project together and were even able to advance to extracurricular activities together aside of the course. Because of this, we were the main guys to go to if you needed any technical help on events or projects. We were known as the Sound Crew in the music department and gained a lot of respect from our peers and colleagues from being hard-working and focused. The tutors have so much background knowledge of the industry and they know what they're talking about; everything is genuine and correct. 

What do you do now and what do you find most enjoyable about your work?
I work at the Mayflower Theatre as a casual technician working on great shows, working with great people. The most enjoyable part is working on so many diverse shows and meeting lots of different people. I'm also a freelance sound engineer where I'm able to put my knowledge and skills into every job I work on. I've worked in some very prestigious venues up and down the country but they all need a great technical team to make the shows work, "team work makes the dream work!"

What advice would you give to someone thinking of studying at Solent?
I would advise anyone thinking about studying Popular Music Production to go for it! The course gives you the opportunity to build vast technical knowledge which is essential for working in the industry. You're likely to regret it if you don't go and you might get an opportunity that you never knew was available to you.

Further study

Enhance your career prospects by continuing your study at Solent.

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