Music BA(Hons)

Penryn Campus
3 years full-time
Direct line
01326 213730

This course is open for applications through Clearing. Please contact our Admissions Team on 01326 213730.

At Falmouth we make music. The BA(Hons) Music course supports performers, composers, sound artists and musicologists as they explore new techniques and ideas, and develop their own unique approach to music-making. Our course, housed within the state-of-the-art Academy of Music and Theatre Arts, is built to reflect today's music scene - adventurous and constantly pushing stylistic and technological boundaries.

If you're inspired by new and diverse music, from jazz, to pop, to classical, and want to embrace a spirit of adventure in your music, then this is the course for you.

  • We are a contemporary music course, helping you to gain an understanding of the musical world as it is today, both stylistically and in terms of career opportunities
  • We are eclectic, studying a wide variety of musical styles so that you can explore the full range of your musical interests - we create new sounds out of the collision of these interests
  • We are experimental in our outlook, and encourage you to be, as you search for your own distinctive musical voice
  • We nurture high quality musicianship skills, ensuring you have the necessary ability to realise your creative ideas

How the course is taught

We put creativity and artistic exploration at the heart of what we do, creating a supportive environment for you to research new ideas, cross stylistic borders and work collaboratively with a wide range of people.

What you'll do

Year 1

In your first year, you'll consolidate and challenge the fundamentals of music-making, across performance, critical listening, composition, recording, theory and notation.

  • Composition Studies: The Elements of Music
    The object of study in this module is the score. Lectures will look at music across a range of styles, establishing theories and techniques that consolidate, challenge and develop an understanding of melody, lyrics, harmony, rhythm, form and timbre; skills will also be established in analysis and notation, sequencing and soft synths.
  • Performance Studies: Self and Sound
    The object of study in this module is the performance. Lectures will cover theories of interpretation, authenticity, embodiment, analysis for performers, critical listening and technology in live performance; skills workshops will cover stage craft, sound checking, conducting, aural skills and dealing with nerves.
  • Music in Culture and Critical Theory
    This module asks you to consider and explore the relationship between music and culture. It questions assumptions that are held as 'normal' and 'common sense' within the fabric of our culture, and the music we make and consume.
  • Contemporary Techniques
    The aim of this module is to question what music can be, by focusing on a number of key 20th and 21st century principles. Techniques of the contemporary composer, performer and sound artist will be considered, along with their socio-historical origins.
  • Professional Practice
    This module introduces you to avenues within the music profession, and asks you to situate your music making relative to the contemporary musical world.
  • Independent Project
    A self designed project, supported by a series of bespoke, one to one lessons. You might choose to use this project to develop your performance skills by taking a course of instrumental lessons, or you might prefer to study one to one with one of our composers, song writers or sound artists.
  • Ensembles
    You'll perform in one of our wide range of ensembles. Options currently include vocal group, laptop orchestra, Cobra (improvisation), new music ensemble, Gamelan, percussion group, Taiko, guitar ensemble and Rhizome (songwriting).
  • Lunchtime Concerts
    Each week, you'll attend our lunchtime concert series, where you'll hear a mixture of student work and visiting artists. You can take part as performers, sound/lighting engineers or concert managers.

Year 2

In year two, you'll choose from specialist modules such as Film Music, Music Education, Studio Composition or the Music Business. In other modules, we look at cutting-edge trends in today's music scene and think about career opportunities available to you.

  • Music at the Cutting Edge
    The aim of this module is to consider in detail music that is being produced now that you should be aware of. Weekly lectures will cover trends and music of interest today across a range of styles, detailing relevant cultural & historical contexts, artist case studies and relevant techniques.
  • Applied Music
    The aim of this module is to consider real-world applications of music making, and to consider ways of adapting your practice to particular professional scenarios in a way that preserves individuality. Lectures will cover applying for and undertaking commission work, responding to fixed briefs, music education, community music and group music making projects, music psychology and music therapy. Practice as research will function as a key theme throughout the module: how to adapt your practice through research.
  • Options Projects
    You'll pick two modules to study from a selection that changes each year. Current options include Film Music or Music & Dance, which allow you to collaborate with students on other courses in the university; Music Education or The Music Business, which focus on particular career pathways in music; and Exploring Timbre or Studio Composition, which focus on creative approaches to making music.
  • Proposals for Practice
    This module prepares you for year 3 by establishing key research skills and the capacity to plan and manage complex programmes of work.
  • Independent Project
    You'll undertake a new independent project, either developing the work began in year 1 or starting something completely new.
  • Ensembles and Lunchtime Concerts
    You'll continue to perform in ensembles and attend/participate in lunchtime concerts.

Year 3

Your third year begins with an off-campus project, designed to place your music in a professional context. Recent projects have included community music-making in Kenya, researching American Folk music in New York, and working as a film composer in Sri Lanka. Other possibilities include placements in the UK in schools, orchestras or record labels. When you're back, you'll work on self-devised projects, such as writing an album, putting on a major performance, or composing a score.

  • Practice in Context
    Your third year begins with a three month off-campus project to expand your skills in a professional context. Recent projects have included community music making in Kenya, researching American Folk music in New York, working as a film composer in Sri Lanka, and touring as a performer in Portugal. Other possibilities include placements in the UK in recording studios, schools, orchestras or record labels. Whatever path you choose, you'll be supported by regular Skype tutorials.
  • Dissertation
    A self-devised, research and writing project, in which you look in detail at an area of music that interests you and relates to your own creative work.
  • Professional Practice Project
    A large-scale, practical project in which you showcase your music making at its highest level. You might choose to give a live performance, produce an album, compose a large-scale score, or work collaboratively to produce interdisciplinary work. The project is entirely self-designed and managed, and is supported by one to one tutorials.


The Performance Centre's incredible facilities include:

  • High-spec studios for acoustic and amplified music
  • Recording studios and practice rooms for bands and solos
  • Some of the best studio hardware, software and collection of microphones in any UK higher education institution


Our core staff team comprises performers, composers, producers, sound artists and musicologists, working across a wide range of musical styles. You will also have access to our large team of associate staff, including leading instrumental tutors, composers and songwriters, industry contacts and our team of technical support staff.

Experience you'll get

  • You'll receive one-to-one instrumental lessons every year, or can opt for composition or studio production lessons instead
  • You'll play regularly in ensembles - options include vocal group, laptop orchestra, and Taiko drumming
  • We regularly welcome guest speakers and artists, such as Radiohead's Ed O'Brien and Island Records' President, Darcus Beese
  • Take advantage of Falmouth's annual jazz summer school, held in collaboration with Yamaha


Assessment is 100% coursework, tailor-made to refect your musical interests.


Our graduates are freelance musicians, composers, business owners, teachers and community music leaders. They have worked with Elvis Costello, Madonna, Mark Ronson, and the Philharmonia Orchestra, amongst many others. Typical careers include:

  • Freelance performer, composer, producer or writer
  • Work as a session musician or ensemble work
  • Extended involvement with arts organisations or community music leader
  • Career in music journalism
  • Teaching or running workshops

Student Mentor Scheme

Falmouth's Student Mentor Scheme matches new starters with a second year student, to help you settle in and find your feet. Our student mentors are now on Facebook. To chat to a mentor about the course, living in Cornwall or what to expect at Falmouth, check out the Music courses group. You'll need to join the group before you can post.

If you don't have access to Facebook please email your name and proposed course to:

For more information about the application process, portfolios, interviews and selection days, please contact our admissions team using our enquiry form