This course is aimed primarily at students who are interested in developing practical musical skills together with music theory and industry knowledge. It is a highly practical course and is centred on performing, relevant music theory and industry practice.
As it is a popular music course it is suitable for students who sing or play the common pop music instruments: guitar, bass, drums, keyboards. We do occasionally accept students who play saxophone or trumpet although we will discuss this at the audition.
The BTEC Level 3 Extended Certificate is equivalent to one A-level. The course covers the core aspects of practical music skills, and relevant industry knowledge. Students studying on this programme will have a keen interest in developing their knowledge and skills and may be intending to pursue a career in the industry. This course attracts UCAS points in the same way as an A-level.
Music Open Event Presentation
Students are required to study a range of units over two years. Assessment is a mixture of internal and external.
The following units are currently offered; all are taught across both years:
Ensemble Music Performance (exam 2nd year)
You will learn about good practice and preparation for rehearsal and performance through a series of worksheets, discussions, practical exercises and evaluation.
Practical Music Theory and Harmony (both years)
You will learn about relevant music theory through a series of exercises and worksheets. Many of the exercises will need to be implemented practically.
Professional Practice in the Music Industry (exam 2nd year)
You will learn about the music industry through individual research, case studies and worksheets.
Music Performance Session Styles
Sessions Styles involves you learning to perform in a range of different styles, for example, Jazz, Punk, Reggae and Soul- as well as learning about the origins and musical influence of each of these genres. This will be through research, discussions, practical exercises, workshops and performances.
Assessment of Progress
The course is two years in length and 42% of assessment is via coursework which is internally assessed:
It is structured around a number of assignments, some of which will be short-term (gigs, written projects) while others will require evidence of long-term progression (instrumental lessons, practice logs, etc.). Each unit has a learning content and outcomes that are clearly stated, and students will be kept informed of their progress.
Please note that changes to this year's specification mean that BTEC is introducing some exam-like elements to the course which will make up 52% of the assessment - however, they will be unlike traditional exams and more like supervised assessments such as preparation tasks, performances, and evaluations.
Instrumental and vocal Lessons
As performing to a high standard and demonstrating and monitoring technical improvement are such important aspects of the course it is compulsory that all students take regular instrumental/voice lessons. Lessons are available in College and students should sign up with a peripatetic teacher at the start of the year, or continue with their own lessons outside of college. The college operates a bursary system that offers financial support for lessons to some students. If the cost of lessons is prohibitive it may also be possible to have them less frequently e.g. once a fortnight rather than once a week.
Music (Performing) facilities include:
- Fully equipped performance space including professional sound and lighting systems
- Computer suite with high-end PC’s running Logic Pro and Sibelius 7
- Digital recording studio incorporating a ‘live’ room and separate control room, complete with significant outboard equipment for effects and processing
- An excellent range of industry-standard microphones
- Six practise rooms equipped with pianos and/or PA systems.
- A wide range of band equipment, including amplifiers, acoustic and electronic drum kits
- We have a wide range of working professionals who provide peripatetic instrument/voice teachers who come into college to support students. We can also recommend specialists if needed.
The BTEC Level 3 Music Performing qualifications provide a sound basis for students wishing to proceed to university / higher education courses in Popular/ Commercial Music. It can lead to careers in performing, teaching, and composition as well as related areas in publishing and media. It combines well with most other subjects but compliments in particular Music Technology, Theatre Studies and Media Studies.
A subscription to a basic Spotify account or similar streaming service is required for access to study playlists for use in the class and at home. There is a charge for instrumental lessons although funds may be available for those who may find the cost of these prohibitive. Students will be expected to provide their own stationery and pay for printing credits. They will need to provide their own instruments and spares (guitar strings, drum sticks, plectra etc.).
- All students will be required to attend an audition prior to starting the course.
- Candidates will be expected to prepare a solo piece on their first instrument (the instrument they intend to use during the course).
- Candidates will receive an invitation to attend audition following receipt of their application.
There will be visits from local HE institutions and also the possibility of attending performances outside of college. There will be ensemble groups running alongside this course for you to participate in and masterclasses with visiting professionals.