Popular Music BMus(Hons)

2019-20 (also available for 2020-21)

Places available in clearing. Find out more.
Places available in clearing. Find out more.

Start date

23 September 2019

Duration

3 years full-time
4 years inc. placement year

UCAS Code

W3W8

About the course

If you love popular music and want to develop your songwriting or performing skills, or want to understand more about how popular music works, our Popular Music BMus (Hons) course is ideal. You will have the opportunity to work with commercially successful musicians who can help you build on your composing and production talents and you’ll benefit from the chance to make music in a lively student environment.

QS World University Subject Rankings 2019 ranked the University of Huddersfield 25th in the world for 'Performing Arts'.

Popular music is a highly competitive industry, but it can be extremely rewarding too, so we’ll do all we can to help you on your way to a career. We’ll give you the opportunity to develop industry-standard practices and techniques that will help you unleash your creativity. You could also find yourself performing as a soloist or part of a group to gain experience and demonstrate your talents.

During your studies we’ll look at a wide range of topics from production and performance through to songwriter and composition. We’ll also look at popular music in its historical, global and cultural contexts. You’ll be able to try ideas out in our state-of-the-art studios, which are equipped with the latest hardware and software.

You’ll be studying in a hive of creativity, working alongside aspiring classical and pop musicians, recording engineers, audio electronic experts and interface designers.

We’ll also give you the chance to learn from some leading musicians and practitioners – recent workshops have been led by the likes of electronic musician and DJ Richie Hawtin, drummers Mike Heaton, Bill Bruford and Craig Blundell, bassist Jah Wobble and guitarist Alex Hutchins and jazz saxophonists Snake Davies and Andy Scott.

Huddersfield really is a great place to study music, not least because of our label-defying festival of electronic music – Electric Spring – and the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. HCMF is the largest event of its kind in the UK and you’ll be able to get up-close and experience contemporary music in action.

In 2015 we were awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize for ‘world-leading work to promote, produce and present contemporary music to an international audience'. This represents one of the most coveted distinctions in UK Higher Education.

Popular music is one of the most dynamic forms of culture in the 21st century. It can appeal to niche audiences, or stadiums full of people across the globe. The Popular Music course at the University of Huddersfield will expose you to new ways of composing, recording, performing and thinking about music. It will help you develop your own interests, passions and creative voice, and will give you the technological tools to realise these ideas in the studio. Our students do a huge range of projects as part of their degree: from writing and recording their own songs, to performing in bands, to arranging brass sections, to writing essays about the significance of David Bowie or Bhangra. Our tutors work as songwriters, producers, performers or musicologists themselves, and are passionate about sharing what they do. Our students develop a diverse range of skills that they take with them into a variety of professions: songwriting, production and engineering, performing, composing, music therapy, music journalism and music education.

Toby Martin

Dr Toby Martin, Lecturer in Popular Music

Course detail

Core modules:

Introduction to Music Research

This module equips you with the skills needed to be a successful and confident music researcher. Drawing on examples from a range of styles and genres appropriate to your course, lectures and seminars will consider the idea of music and musicians as part of historical and contemporary culture. Coursework will allow you to focus on repertoire and issues of your choice, investigating the musical links between aesthetics, society, politics, and technology.

Desktop Music Production 1

This module will introduce you to relevant techniques and technologies for computer-based music production, including sequencing, sampling, arrangement, and a variety of other sound processing techniques. A range of practical work - both technical and creative - will develop your critical listening and production skills, and seminars will support you in applying these techniques to your own creative work.

Performance Skills 1

This module is designed to help you to gain a range of key musical skills. You will study improvisation and improve your aural awareness, as well as learning how to critique your own music-making and the performances of others. You will perform in musical groups, with a wide choice of styles and genres available. You will be assessed based on your contributions to performances, through practical musical tests, and through written coursework.

Songwriting 1

This module equips you with the skills needed for success as a contemporary songwriter. You will learn about lyric and melody writing, chord progressions and song structure. Using different arrangements, and a variety of compositional and vocal techniques, you will explore a range of songwriting styles and genres, helping you to develop your own individual creative voice.

Studio Engineering and Mixing Essentials

This module equips you with the core skills and practical principles involved in producing, engineering, and mixing popular music. You'll gain experience of working in an analogue/digital recording studio, allowing you to put your theoretical understanding to practical use in a range of situations.

Option modules:

Choose one from a list which may include:

Theory and Analysis of Popular Music

You will explore the musical building blocks of popular music, developing an understanding of key theoretical principles such as melody, harmony, rhythm, arrangement, and form. This will allow you to investigate a number of key works in detail, giving you an insight into how music works in ways that will also help to develop your creativity as a performer or composer. An in-class test and coursework will be used to assess your progress.

Solo Performance 1

Supported by individual lessons with one of our professional visiting instrumental and vocal teaching staff, you will develop your technical skills and musical insight as a solo performer. An in-lesson technical test and end of year recital will be used to assess your progress, and you will have access to a variety of masterclasses and workshops.

Teaching and assessment

24.67% of the study time on this course is spent in lectures, seminars, workshops etc. You'll learn in a range of teaching and learning formats, including individual tutorials, practical workshops, composition clinics, masterclasses and rehearsals, and opportunities for individually devised projects that may involve off-campus placements. Students are encouraged to take a full part in extra-curricular activities, including participation in Directed Ensembles, chamber music and concert attendance both on and off campus.

Assessment of this course takes various forms including written and oral examinations, dissertations, essays, seminar papers, analyses, practical projects, composition folios, performance recitals, learning journals and peer assessment.

Your module specification/course handbook will provide full details of the assessment criteria applying to your course.

Feedback (either written and/or verbal) is normally provided on all coursework submissions within three term time weeks – unless the submission was made towards the end of the session in which case feedback would be available on request after the formal publication of results. Feedback on final coursework is available on request after the publication of results.

Entry requirements

To find out if you are eligible for this course, please call our Clearing helpline on 0330 123 227701484 472777.

Placements


In addition to the compulsory short term (8 week) work placement in the final year Work and Professional Practice in Music module, this course offers you the opportunity to take an optional one-year (48 week) work placement after your second year, in the UK or abroad. Previous placement providers in the subject area of Music have included Kirklees Music School, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment, Buxton Opera House and Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.

I took a placement at Robannas Studios. During my placement year, I worked on a number of tours, including Shawn Klush's 2016 and 2017 Arena tours. The variety of music tech courses at the Uni open up lots of opportunities for collaboration with a great mix of people.

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Ben Waters, Music Technology and Popular Music BA(Hons)

Teaching excellence

  1. Huddersfield is a TEF gold-rated institution delivering consistently outstanding teaching and learning of the highest quality found in the UK (Teaching Excellence Framework, 2017).
  2. We won the first Global Teaching Excellence Award recognising the University’s commitment to world-class teaching and its success in developing students as independent learners and critical thinkers (HEA, 2017).
  3. Here at Huddersfield, you’ll be taught by some of the best lecturers in the country. We’ve been the English university with the highest proportion of professionally-qualified teaching staff for the past four years*.
  4. For the past ten years, we’ve been the UK’s leading university for National Teaching Fellowships too, which rate Britain’s best lecturers. It’s all part of our ongoing drive for teaching excellence, which helps our students to achieve great things too.
  5. We’re unique in the fact that all our permanent teaching staff** have, or are completing, doctorates. This expertise, together with our teaching credentials, means that students here learn from knowledgeable and well-qualified teachers and academics who are at the forefront of their subject area.

*HESA - First awarded in 2016, maintained in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

**Permanent staff, after probation: some recently appointed colleagues will only obtain recognition in the months after their arrival in Huddersfield, once they have started teaching; research degrees applies to those on contracts of more than half-time.

The Music Department

For more information regarding the Music department at the University of Huddersfield, please click the images below

Your Career


Popular Music graduates can consider careers in performance, teaching, composition, arranging, session recording, arts administration, community music, and music therapy. A selection of companies that have employed Huddersfield music graduates in recent years include Abbey Road Studios, BBC, Royal Northern College of Music, Chethams School of Music, Opera North, ITV, and Calderdale Music Services.**

*Percentage of graduates from this subject area at Huddersfield who go on to work and/or further study within six months of graduating (Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2016/17)

**Source: LinkedIn

89% Graduates employed*

Student support

At the University of Huddersfield, you'll find support networks and services to help you get ahead in your studies and social life. Whether you study at undergraduate or postgraduate level, you'll soon discover that you're never far away from our dedicated staff and resources to help you to navigate through your personal student journey. Find out more about all our support services.

Important information

We will always try to deliver your course as described on this web page. However, sometimes we may have to make changes as set out below.

Changes to a course you have applied for

If we propose to make a major change to a course that you are holding an offer for, then we will tell you as soon as possible so that you can decide whether to withdraw your application prior to enrolment.

Changes to your course after you enrol as a student

We will always try to deliver your course and other services as described. However, sometimes we may have to make changes as set out below:

Changes to option modules

Where your course allows you to choose modules from a range of options, we will review these each year and change them to reflect the expertise of our staff, current trends in research and as a result of student feedback or demand for certain modules. We will always ensure that you have a range of options to choose from and we will let you know in good time the options available for you to choose for the following year.

Major changes

We will only make major changes to the core curriculum of a course or to our services if it is necessary for us to do so and provided such changes are reasonable. A major change in this context is a change that materially changes the services available to you; or the outcomes, or a significant part, of your course, such as the nature of the award or a substantial change to module content, teaching days (part time provision), classes, type of delivery or assessment of the core curriculum.

For example, it may be necessary to make a major change to reflect changes in the law or the requirements of the University’s regulators; to meet the latest requirements of a commissioning or accrediting body; to improve the quality of educational provision; in response to student, examiners’ or other course evaluators’ feedback; and/or to reflect academic or professional changes within subject areas. Major changes may also be necessary because of circumstances outside our reasonable control, such as a key member of staff leaving the University or being unable to teach, where they have a particular specialism that can’t be adequately covered by other members of staff; or due to damage or interruption to buildings, facilities or equipment.

Major changes would usually be made with effect from the next academic year, but this may not always be the case. We will notify you as soon as possible should we need to make a major change and will carry out suitable consultation with affected students. If you reasonably believe that the proposed change will cause you detriment or hardship we will, if appropriate, work with you to try to reduce the adverse effect on you or find an appropriate solution. Where an appropriate solution cannot be found and you contact us in writing before the change takes effect you can cancel your registration and withdraw from the University without liability to the University for future tuition fees. We will provide reasonable support to assist you with transferring to another university if you wish to do so.

Termination of course

In exceptional circumstances, we may, for reasons outside of our control, be forced to discontinue or suspend your course. Where this is the case, a formal exit strategy will be followed and we will notify you as soon as possible about what your options are, which may include transferring to a suitable replacement course for which you are qualified, being provided with individual teaching to complete the award for which you were registered, or claiming an interim award and exiting the University. If you do not wish to take up any of the options that are made available to you, then you can cancel your registration and withdraw from the course without liability to the University for future tuition fees and you will be entitled to a refund of all course fees paid to date. We will provide reasonable support to assist you with transferring to another university if you wish to do so.

When you enrol as a student of the University, your study and time with us will be governed by a framework of regulations, policies and procedures, which form the basis of your agreement with us. These include regulations regarding the assessment of your course, academic integrity, your conduct (including attendance) and disciplinary procedure, fees and finance and compliance with visa requirements (where relevant). It is important that you familiarise yourself with these as you will be asked to agree to abide by them when you join us as a student. You will find a guide to the key terms here, where you will also find links to the full text of each of the regulations, policies and procedures referred to.

The Office for Students (OfS) is the principal regulator for the University.

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