Student singing and jumping on stage in front of guitarist

CertHE Music Courses

Become a skilled creative music artist with one of our three CertHE courses.

Key details
Location
Penryn Campus
Course duration
1 year
Attendance
Full-time
UCAS code
W3W1/ W3W2/ W3W3

Course overview

These CertHE (Certificate of Higher Education) courses are specifically designed to support those wishing to explore their artistic identity, provide you with an extensive introduction to a range of contemporary music practices and contexts and guide you on your first steps towards success as a skilled creative artist and industry professional.

Whichever CertHE course you choose, you’ll find a wealth of teaching experience, technical support and industry links that will provide you with the opportunity to progress your creative ambitions. As part of the Academy of Music & Theatre Arts, you'll learn from industry professionals and have access to our cutting-edge facilities and performance spaces.

Whether you are a vocalist, instrumentalist, songwriter, composer or producer, these programmes are aimed at those looking to eventually become entrepreneurial and creative music professionals with varied and enduring portfolio careers.

Once you have successfully completed your CertHE you’ll have the option to progress onto the second year of the equivalent honours degree: Music BA(Hons), Popular Music BA(Hons) or Creative Music Technology BA(Hons).

You will:

  • Develop and nurture your specialist practice
  • Communicate via sound and music in collaboration with others
  • Gain key insights into the music industry and understand the requirements to succeed in a variety of roles
  • Explore sound and music practices as they evolve within ever-changing audio cultures
  • Examine the context and culture in which artists and musicians work, to better understand and critically question the relationship between music, sound, noise and culture
  • Engage with various theoretical concepts in order to form critical theories and to reflect on your own practice
  • Acquire the fundamental set of skills and knowledge needed to work in the sound and music industries
  • Study modules tailored to your chosen subject

Our CertHE courses at a glance

Music CertHE

Suitable if you are looking to develop your practice and musical identity for a career as a professional musician

UCAS code: W3W1

Popular Music CertHE

Suitable if you are looking to focus on your unique artistic identity and work creatively in both live and studio environments. 

UCAS code: W3W2

Creative Music Technology CertHE

Suitable if you want to explore composition, music production and sound design while growing as an artist and musician.

UCAS code: W3W3

Course details

Whichever CertHE course you choose, you'll find a wealth of teaching experience, technical support and industry links that will provide you with the opportunity to progress your creative ambitions. 

Details for each course

You’ll develop and advance your musical and creative ability through technical study and practice of performance, composition, notation and music technology, in a wide range of musical contexts. 

Modules could include:

Composition Studies: Musical Building Blocks 

You’ll be looking at music across a range of styles, establishing theories and techniques that consolidate, challenge and develop an understanding of the main elements of music: melody, lyrics, harmony, rhythm, form and timbre.  

Performance Studies: The Self and Sound 

In this module, you’ll delve into a range of issues pertinent to the performer, from theories of embodiment and authenticity to creative processes of interpretation and critical listening, to skills in stage craft and dealing with anxiety.   

Music Technologies 

Here, you’ll explore a range of music technologies relevant to the contemporary musician. Through lectures and workshops, you’ll learn and develop new skills, while seminars provide an opportunity to explore the role of technology in a range of musical styles. 

Contemporary Techniques 

Focusing on a number of key twentieth-century principles, you’ll question what music can be. A series of miniature projects will explore important techniques/ideas/principles, along with their socio-historical context. 

You’ll study improvisation, songwriting, aesthetics, recording, group dynamics, reinterpretation, stage presence, visuals, live sound, and listening. We’ll introduce you to electronic instruments, vintage equipment, and the recording studio. Taking inspiration from popular musicians, you’ll develop an original style and approach based on art forms like poetry, film and visual art.  

We’ll explore music through philosophy, critical thinking and debate. And you'll focus on improving the quality of your output through a combination of musicianship skills, creative experimentation and by developing an understanding of the contexts in which you wish to work as a creative specialist in popular music.  

Modules could include:

Playing Live: Creative Performance 

This live performance module encourages you to creatively develop your ability to perform live on stage, while teaching you how to write and arrange songs as part of a collaborative project.  

Making Popular Music: Technology and Aesthetic 

During this module, you’ll become immersed in the possibilities of music technology. You will be encouraged to integrate different kinds of music technology into your current approach, pushing the boundaries of your songwriting and the perception of your sound.  

Signs and Lyrics: Making Meaning in Popular Music 

This module explores the relationships and interactions between popular music, art and literature. Together, we’ll consider specific case studies of popular musicians and how the influence of different art forms and cultural texts such as film, dance, poetry and painting can be read and analysed in their music and performance.  

Creative Recording: Studio Practice 

This module explores the studio environment, asking questions about the nature and context of the studio. You’ll build on your existing technological skillset and look towards the recording, processing and production of acoustic and electronic sound sources, with a view to making contemporary recordings. 

With technical and artistic guidance from staff and specialists, you'll develop your musical skills, knowledge, and creative voice. You'll learn analytical and problem-solving expertise, and project management and interpersonal skills. You'll also produce your own artistic work following training in industry-standard software and hardware tools and techniques. 

Here, you’ll explore a range of music technologies relevant to the contemporary musician. Through lectures and workshops, you’ll learn and develop new skills, while seminars provide an opportunity to explore the role of technology in a range of musical styles. 

Modules could include: 

Audio Cultures and Critical Theory 

In an age that's seeing rapid technological changes and huge political, social and financial shifts across the globe, this module explores sound and music practices as they evolve within ever-changing audio cultures. 

Studiocraft 

Studiocraft is about effective working with instruments, spaces, equipment and people, in the context of contemporary, studio-based music recording and production. 

Designing Sound 

This module explores the ways in which recorded sound can be edited, manipulated and mixed. It also introduces the professional workflows involved in putting sound to picture and the ways in which sound can bring new depth and meaning to moving images. 

Electronic Toolkit 

This module focuses on electronic music, covering the fundamentals of sound synthesis and audio signal processing. You'll learn to create your own sounds, developing a systematic understanding of how they were made, and considering how to apply them to your own work. 

Mixcraft 

Mixcraft introduces students to the art and craft of sound mixing, exploring both the technical and aesthetic aspects of the mixing process. The module covers a wide variety of genres and examples from students' work and professional multi-track recordings. 

The modules above are those being studied by our students, or proposed new ones. Programme structures and modules can change as part of our curriculum enhancement and review processes. If a certain module is important to you, please discuss it with the Course Leader.

We are making changes to our curriculum framework for courses starting in 2023. Modest amendments to our course module structure will provide you with new opportunities to collaborate and co-create with students from across disciplines during your studies.

This course page will be updated when these changes have been finalised and applicants will be notified.

How you'll learn

Our CertHE music courses are designed to allow you to explore your creativity, collaborate musically and develop your professional identity. You'll be taught through collaborative exercises, workshops and peer evaluations. 

At Falmouth, we use a 'digitally enhanced learning & teaching' approach. Your experience will always be predominantly in-person, including seminars, tutorials and studio teaching, with some, more targeted elements, being online either live (synchronous) or pre-recorded (asynchronous). You can read more here.

How you'll be assessed

Your assessments will be practical exams and coursework.

Assessment methods

Depending on the course option you choose, your assessment methods may consist of the following:

  • Essays 
  • Performance 
  • Portfolios 
  • Presentations 
  • Individual reports 
  • Practical work

    Course progression options

    Once you have successfully completed your chosen CertHE course, you can apply to join the second year of the equivalent honours degree at Falmouth University on your chosen subject of Music BA(Hons), Popular Music BA(Hons) or Creative Music Technology BA(Hons). 

    Student singing into microphone and playing accordion
    Music - 2023

    Music BA(Hons)

    Prepare for a career as a professional musician with this industry-focused music degree. Based withi...

    Music BA(Hons)
    Student singing into microphone on stage and playing guitar
    Popular Music - 2023

    Popular Music BA(Hons)

    Whether it’s underground or mainstream, DIY or commercial, acoustic or electric, this course is fo...

    Popular Music BA(Hons)
    Student mixing music
    CMT close up mixer

    Creative Music Technology BA(Hons)

    Develop the creative and technical abilities needed to thrive in the music industry. Exploring compo...

    Creative Music Technology BA(Hons)

    Staff

    During your CertHE course, you'll be taught by lecturers ranging from professional musicians to respected academics in the field. Depending on the course option you choose, you may be taught by the following members of staff. 

    Some members of staff only teach on specific modules, and your course might not feature every staff member who teaches on the course.

    Samuel Murray

    Course Coordinator/Senior Lecturer, Music

    Samuel Murray is a guitarist, researcher and lecturer whose current projects include playing guitar ...

    Samuel Murray

    Dr Simon Poole

    Course Coordinator & Senior Lecturer: Music, Theatre & Entertainment Management

    Simon has been making, selling, collecting, managing and writing about music for 30 years. During th...

    Dr Simon Poole

    Dr D Ferrett

    Course Coordinator/Senior Lecturer, Popular Music

    Dr D Ferrett is Course Leader for BA(Hons) Popular Music and a Senior Lecturer in Music. Since begin...

    Dr D Ferrett
    Dr Antti Saario

    Dr Antti Saario

    Head of Music

    Dr Antti Sakari Saario is an award-winning post-acousmatic composer, sound and audio practitioner, r...

    Dr Antti Saario

    Andrea Rushton

    Lecturer in Music

    Andrea Rushton is a lecturer in Music focusing particularly on voice studies and performance.  ...

    Andrea Rushton

    Dr Chris Best

    Senior Lecturer

    Dr Christopher Best has been senior lecturer and principal tutor in music composition at Falmouth Un...

    Dr Chris Best

    Dr Chris Morgan

    Lecturer in Formal & Non Formal Music Education

    Chris is lecturer in formal and non-formal music education, co-ordinator of the Making Music modules...

    Dr Chris Morgan
    David Prior

    Professor David Prior

    Pro Vice-Chancellor Research and Knowledge Exchange

    I joined Falmouth as Associate Professor in Music and Sound Art in 2010. Now as Pro Vice-Chancellor ...

    Professor David Prior

    Dr Johny Lamb

    Senior Lecturer, Music

    Johny is a senior lecturer specialising in the study of popular music. He is a songwriter, composer,...

    Dr Johny Lamb

    Jim Aitchison

    Instrumental Tutor, Music

    Jim Aitchison is a composer and artist, working both in the realm of responding to visual artworks a...

    Jim Aitchison

    Will Parker

    Lecturer in Popular Music

    Will Parker is a lecturer, researcher and composer specialising in technology and aesthetics - ...

    Will Parker

    Dr Simon Waite

    Course Co-ordinator & Senior Lecturer

    Si Waite is a songwriter, producer and educator. He has written, recorded and performed as a solo ar...

    Dr Simon Waite

    Helen Worthington

    Senior Lecturer, Experience Design, Cornwall Business School

    Helen Worthington is a Senior Lecturer at Falmouth University, having joined the Cultural Management...

    Helen Worthington
    Frankie Stevens staff image

    Frankie Stevens

    Lecturer in Music

    Frankie Stevens is an operatic soprano, metal musician and academic. She has a diverse range of...

    Frankie Stevens

    Paul Joines

    Technical Tutor

    Since graduating in ‘Broadcast Studies’ from Falmouth College of Arts in 1996, Paul has spent ov...

    Paul Joines

    Dr Norah Lorway

    Lecturer, BA(Hons) Creative Music Technology

    Originally from Canada, Norah is a computer musician, computer programmer and composer who has ...

    Dr Norah Lorway

    Facilities

    The Academy of Music & Theatre Arts sits within a purpose-built professional performance venue on Penryn Campus. It houses an assembly of flexible theatre spaces, performance, rehearsal and recording studios, a box office and exhibition areas. Facilities include:

    • High-spec performance studios for acoustic and amplified music.
    • Recording studios and practice rooms for bands and solos.
    • Music practice rooms for bands and solo work.
    • Some of the best studio hardware, software and collection of microphones in any UK higher education institution.
    • Professional theatre venue hosting visiting companies and artistes.
    • A superb collection of analogue and virtual analogue synths and drum machines.
    • Professional theatre venue hosting visiting companies and artistes.
    • Sound studios featuring SSL AWS and TL Audio Valve desks.
    • Support for all the industry standard audio software including ProTools, Logic, Ableton Live, etc.
    • 10 channel Genelec Surround space and 5.1 surround monitoring in all control rooms.
    • Hire store with thousands of items available to borrow free of charge for off campus use.
    • Access to over 140,000 books, a comprehensive electronic journal resource and over 17,000 DVD titles.
    • Professional theatre venue hosting visiting companies and artistes.

    What our students do

    As a CertHE student you'll get to explore your passion and develop professional skills within the stimulating creative environment of the Academy of Music & Theatre Arts. Read more about what our AMATA students do.

    Graduate Eva Gadd wearing a bright green tank top and leaning against a red brick wall, with large block of flats in the background.
    Eva Gadd_Popular Music Graduate_Falmouth University

    Popular Music graduate signs to Blue Adventure Records

    18 November 2022

    2021 BA Popular Music graduate Eva Gadd has been signed by Blue Adventure Records less than two year...

    Popular Music graduate signs to Blue Adventure Records
    Graduate Rachel Harrison and student Ben Pisacane stand either side of Time Peake in front of backdrop that reads 'Launch our future'.
    Rachel Harrison and Ben Pisacane with Tim Peake

    Rachel Harrison and Ben Pisacane with Tim Peake

    Falmouth pair work with Tim Peake for Spaceport Cornwall broadcast

    18 November 2022

    Graduate Rachel and student Ben got to work with British astronaut Tim Peake as part of the Universi...

    Falmouth pair work with Tim Peake for Spaceport Cornwall broadcast
    Graduate Thomas Young sitting cross-legged on a sofa with a wall of artwork and photos behind him
    Thomas Young

    Graduate spotlight: Reigniting your creative fire

    25 October 2022

    BA Musical Theatre and MA Professional Writing graduate speaks about discovering, losing and finally...

    Graduate spotlight: Reigniting your creative fire
    Popular Music students performing live
    CertHE Live Performance

    Careers

    After completing your CertHE you could continue developing your skills in industry or go on to complete a degree-level qualification in your chosen specialism. You'll be able to join the second year of our equivalent BA(Hons) degree course.

    How to apply

    Apply via UCAS

    Ready to join us? You can apply through UCAS. You'll need to reference the course and University code (F33).

    Apply now

    Applying as an international student? 

    International students can apply for a course through UCAS, via an agent or directly with the university. For more information about how to apply as an international student, visit our international applications page.

    International applications

    Course route UCAS code
    Music CertHE W3W1
    Popular Music CertHE W3W2
    Creative Music Technology CertHE W3W3

    We consider all applications on their own individual merit and potential. We invite all applicants to an interview day or audition to give them the opportunity to demonstrate this along with what inspires and motivates them in their field. Applicants will also be able to show their portfolio or give a performance depending on the course. We welcome applications from all subject backgrounds, whether you’ve specialised in STEM, the arts or humanities.  

    Course route Entry requirements
    CertHE one year course 104 – 120 UCAS Tariff points

    UCAS Tariff points will primarily be from Level 3 qualifications such as but not limited to A-levels, T Levels, a BTEC/UAL Extended Diploma or a Foundation Diploma.  

    Check how many points your qualifications are worth

    If English is your first language we require you to have or be working towards GCSE English Language Grade 4 (C), or equivalent. 

    If English isn’t your first language you’ll need to meet the same standard which is equivalent to the IELTS Academic 6.0 overall score, with at least 5.5 in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. If you don’t require a student visa we accept a range of in country equivalencies and approved tests.

    If you need a student visa you will need to take a recognised Secure English Language Test (SELT) to satisfy Home Office requirements as this course is below degree level.

    For starting your studies in 2023

    UK applications: 25 January 2023 (for equal consideration)

    Applications after the 25 January will be considered on a first-come, first-served as long as there are places available. Apply for this course now.

    International fee payers

    International fee payers can apply throughout the year. But we recommend applying as early as possible, to make time for visa and travel arrangements.

    Fees, costs & funding

    Tuition fees

    Annual tuition fee Student
    £9,250 per year Full-time UK
    £17,460 per year Full-time EU/international
    Annual tuition fee Student
    £9,250 per year Full-time UK
    £17,460 per year Full-time EU/international

    Tuition fees are set annually and are subject to review each year. The University may therefore raise tuition fees in the second or subsequent years of a course, in line with inflation and/or the maximum permitted by law or Government policy. Students will be notified of any changes as soon as possible. 

    The figures above don't include accommodation and living costs

    Typical course costs

    • A personal Mac or PC laptop capable of running professional DAW software (Ableton Live, Pro Tools, Reaper, Logic, FL Studio, Cubase etc)
    • £150 - Recurring annual costs
    • £80-£100 - Headphones (you can also book headphones from AMATA's Technical Resource Stores).
    • Public Programme season tickets (student rate) costs found: amata.org.uk/livepass

    If you need to bring equipment or materials with you, these will be outlined in your Welcome Letter.

    Ask a student

    What better way to find out about life at Falmouth University than by asking our current students?

    From course details and academic support, to the social scene and settling in, our students are ready and available to answer any questions you might have. Simply set up your account, send them a question and they'll get back to you within 24 hours.

     

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    From visiting campus to online application advice, get all the information you need about joining our creative community.

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