Student singing into microphone and playing accordion

Music BA(Hons)

Prepare for a career as a professional musician with our industry-focused degree.

Key details
Location
Penryn Campus
Course duration
3 years / 4 years
Attendance
Full-time / Placement year
UCAS code
W300

Course overview

If you’re stylistically eclectic and keen to experiment, this is the course for you. Whether you aspire to be a performer, composer, session musician, music educator, sound artist or to work in a mixture of these disciplines, we’ll offer an insight into the modern music industries.

Based within our supportive and collaborative environment, you’ll develop your practice, pushing stylistic and technological boundaries while carving out your musical identity.

You will:

  • Learn to play in a range of musical styles and genres, in a variety of professional contexts
  • Play regularly in ensembles, including session bands, vocal groups, contemporary music groups and laptop orchestras
  • Benefit from guest speaker artists and ensembles. Recent visitors include Adrian Utley (Portishead), Graham Fitkin (composer), Kenny Werner (pianist), Ed O’Brien (Radiohead) and Kevos (ensemble)
  • Have the chance to gain industry experience, from shadowing a professional composer or interning with a record label, to working with a professional orchestra
  • Have the opportunity to investigate study options with our prestigious international exchange partners, including CalArts (USA), Griffith University (Australia), LASALLE (Singapore) and Nagoya University (Japan)

The placement year pathway for this course is new for entry year 2023 and is subject to validation.

Course details

On this Music degree, you'll have the opportunity to gain a BA(Hons) degree over three years or study Music BA(Hons) with a placement year option.

This degree will provide you with a range of experiences and enable you to develop a unique musical identity, a diverse set of musical and academic skills, strong critical awareness, and a good understanding of the contemporary musical world. 

By the end of the course, you’ll have a varied portfolio of work and a keen sense of enterprise. This will equip you well to identify, create and respond to the many musical opportunities that exist in the professional world. 

BA(Hons) Music course video

Analysing and exploring the basics of music-making, you’ll study performance, critical listening, composition, recording, theory and notation. 

Modules

Audio Cultures and Critical Theory

In an age thats 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.  

Composition Studies: The Elements of Music

Youll 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: 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.  

Core Music Practice 

This module considers a wide variety of approaches and roles within the vast and broadly termed ‘music industry’. The module covers fundamental key skills needed by professionals, such as communication, collaborative work, independently managed self-discipline and a strong work ethic.  

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, youll question what music can be. A series of miniature projects will explore important techniques/ideas/principles, along with their socio-historical context.

You’ll choose from specialist modules like Film Music, Music Education, Studio Composition, and the Music Business. Other modules will explore the latest trends in the music scene, and the right career opportunities for you. There’ll also be opportunities to study abroad with one of our partner institutions. 

Modules

Creative Writing and Research in Virtual Music

This module explores the interdependency of technology, language and culture. You’ll undertake a written project based on either self-promotion or the analysis and evaluation of a relevant case study. Either project will need to carefully consider context, module concepts, critical reflection, thorough research and appropriate language. 

Music Innovations

You’ll consider in detail new and innovative music that is being produced now. Weekly lectures will cover trends and today’s music of interest across a range of styles, detailing contexts, innovations, artist case studies and relevant techniques.  

Professional Music Practice

This module moves you towards the realities of working in the sound and music industries as a professionally-minded creative individual. You’ll continue the acquisition, development, deployment and evaluation of your specialist skillset. Strong emphasis will be placed on the ability to evaluate your practice with respect to professional contexts, as well as seeking out future development and career opportunities.  

Applied Music

In this module you’ll consider real-world applications of your music-making, and ways of adapting your practice to particular professional scenarios while preserving your individuality.  

Optional modules

Voice
Timbre
Supersonic
The Working Musician: Reproduce; Arrange; Mutate
The Hit Machine
The Music Educator
Music and Moving Image
Creative Performance Technology 

You can choose to take an optional placement year after your second year on a three-year programme. 

You’ll be responsible for finding your own placement, with support from the RealWORKS employability team. 

Choosing this option will enhance your industry experience and skills while studying. 

How you’ll study during your placement year 

You’ll spend time working in a professional context, as part of a business or organisation. This can be in one role, or up to three, and must be for a minimum of 24 weeks. 

You’ll develop in-demand workplace skills, deepen your insight into industry and grow your network of contacts, all of which could help you get ahead in your career after graduation. 

Throughout this year, you’ll develop a portfolio of work that includes critical self-reflection on what has been learned from the experience. You’ll be required to evidence your experiences, the skills you’ve learned and your professional growth. 

You’ll begin by gaining professional experience with an independently organised specialist project – anything from overseas community projects to working in a UK record label. When you return, you’ll work on self-devised projects, like writing an album, putting on a major performance, or composing a film score. 

Modules

Specialist Practice in Context

This module is designed to help you realise your professional aims and ambitions by developing an in-depth, specialist understanding of the relationship between your practice and context. 

Dissertation

The dissertation module provides an opportunity for you to carry out in-depth research and critical analysis of a topic relevant to the direction and development of your practice. It’s also a further opportunity for you to gain and develop skills in the structuring, protocols and conventions associated with effective academic and discursive writing. 

Professional Portfolio

This module will enable you, in consultation with your tutor(s), to develop and consolidate your creative, theoretical and contextual enquiries into your own independent practice. 

Emphasis will be placed on integrating your practice and research with strategies for sustaining a collaborative, or individual, body of work that demonstrates levels of compositional, contextual and critical thinking and realisation consistent with relevant professional arts practice. 

This module will also support you in devising a professionalisation strategy for bridging your practice from university to employment or an entrepreneurial future. 

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.

How you'll learn

You’ll study a range of ideas and techniques in lectures and seminars, collaborate with a variety of people, and find support in tutorials. Regular learning will also come through specialist instrumental lessons, or lessons in composition or studio production. 

Industry insights and expertise will come from our regular guest speakers and artists, like composer Graham Fitkin, Portishead’s Adrian Utley, conductor Marta Gardolińska, producer and guitarist Dan Weller (SikTh), and Island Records’ Darcus Beese. 

Previous third-year Practice in Context modules have included organising an international conference, working as a session musician, researching American folk music in New York, and working as a film composer in Sri Lanka. Local possibilities include placements in UK schools, orchestras and record labels.

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 spend your time

Year

Timetabled teaching and learning activity

Guided independent study

1

31%

69%

2

32%

68%

3

14%

72%

 

How you'll be assessed

Year

Written exams

Practical exams

Coursework

1

0%

33%

67%

2

0%

22%

78%

3

0%

25%

75%

The above percentages relate to 2019/2020 data.

Assessment methods

Assessment is a combination of practical exams and coursework.

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Staff

You’ll learn from performers, composers, producers, sound artists and musicologists, working across a wide range of musical styles. Our associate staff members include instrumental tutors, composers and songwriters, industry contacts and technical support 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...

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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

Head of Music

Dr Antti Sakari Saario is an award-winning post-acousmatic composer, educator and an audio prof...

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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...

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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 ...

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Dr Johny Lamb

Senior Lecturer, Music

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

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Jim Aitchison

Instrumental Tutor, Music

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

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Will Parker

Lecturer in Popular Music

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Dr Simon Waite

Course Co-ordinator & Senior Lecturer

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Helen Worthington

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Frankie Stevens

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Facilities

  • 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.
  • Professional theatre venue hosting visiting companies and artistes.

Take a virtual tour

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Performance Facilities

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Library Facilities

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Sports Centre

Sports Centre

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Sports Centre

Careers

Our graduates have worked as:

  • Performers
  • Composers
  • Session musicians
  • Music educators
  • Ensemble leaders
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It's five years since Joe Donohoe graduated and since then life has been, in his words, 'flat out.' ...

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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 BA(Hons) three year degree W300
Music BA(Hons) with placement year (New for entry year 2023) UCAS code available soon

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
BA/BSc(Hons) three year degree 104 – 120 UCAS Tariff points
BA/BSc(Hons) four year degree with placement year 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

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

If English is not your first language you will 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. We accept a range of in country equivalencies and approved tests.  

If you need a student visa to study in the UK, you may need to take a recognised language test. You can read our English Language Requirements for more information.

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.

What we're looking for

We want someone who:

  • Has musical ability, experience and contextual knowledge.
  • Shows creativity and imagination.
  • Can write and speak clearly.
  • Engages with interview questions and discussion.
  • Can critically discuss their portfolio or other musical examples.
  • Shows ongoing engagement, motivation and creative potential.

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
£1,850 per placement year Full-Time UK and 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

  • £150 - Recurring annual costs
  • £550 - Optional study visits and placements for the course duration
  • 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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