Learn how to succeed in the music business, from performance to production, by studying our full-time Popular Music degree in Cambridge. Explore the history and cultures of popular music and get practical experience in up-to-date production and performance techniques, as you develop your musicianship to a professional level. Get support to find work placements and prepare for a career as a professional musician, composer, music technologist or teacher.
ARU Popular Music has helped me to develop crucial music related skills in business, recording and performance.
Since coming to the Uni, I’ve been programmed for various gigs and festivals in East Anglia and been in session for BBC Introducing Cambridgeshire, Cambridge 105’s New Music Generator and Cam FM Breakthrough.
Our BA (Hons) Popular Music will help you develop your musicianship to a new level. Your core studies will take you through the key skills in music-making, including notation and song writing. Through a continuing study of the history and culture of popular music, you’ll gain an awareness of different styles and techniques that you can then use to inform your own music.
On our optional modules, you’ll find many other aspects of popular music to explore. Whether you’re interested in the music industry, world music, performance art or music therapy, you’re sure to find something that will help you prepare for your future career.
In Years 1 and 2, you will also receive training in vocal or instrumental performance from our specialist tutors, which you can choose to continue in Year 3. Our weekly workshops and individual lessons will also ensure you get regular feedback on your performance skills.
Outside of your studies, this invaluable tuition will allow you to further engage with our performance culture. You’ll discover many opportunities to work alongside staff and students from other courses on live public performances, such as our regular musicals, operas and bands evenings, in venues on campus and around Cambridge.
You’ll also have the chance to listen to professional musicians on-campus every week in our lunchtime concert series, as well as attend workshops, masterclasses and lectures by visiting performers, composers and academics. Our links to local industry, including Cambridge Arts Network and Cambridge Live, will help you make the most of the city, and build the foundations for your future career.
Course Leader: Nick Ryall
Get a headstart before joining the course - listen to Nick Ryall's top 11 albums.
Our BA (Hons) Popular Music will give you a knowledge of music theory as well as the practical skills you need for a career in the music industry. You can choose from many optional modules to tailor the course towards the career that you want. Many of our past students now enjoy successful careers as performers, composers, music technologists, music teacher or arts administrators.
Studying the creative and performing arts will give you the ideal training for any position that requires quick thinking, self-reliance, imagination, teamwork and the ability to organise both yourself and others.
If you are interested in postgraduate study, after you graduate you could also go on to take our MA Music Therapy, for example.
We work with employers to make sure you graduate with the knowledge, skills and abilities they need. They help us review what we teach and how we teach it – and they offer hands-on, practical opportunities to learn through work-based projects, internships or placements.
You will have opportunities throughout the course to find work experience in areas such as music education, instrumental teaching, artist management, marketing, recording and studio work, or events management. Our links with local industry partners, including venues such as Cambridge Junction, and networks such as Cambridge Live and Cambridge Arts Network, will give you a head-start in securing your placement.
Modules are subject to change and availability.
You’ll show your progress on the course through a combination of public performance, creative projects, essays, presentations and portfolios of work, including projects, which can include practice-led work.
This ongoing assessment will help you develop your musical and academic skills, such as improvisation and sight-reading, your creativity in composition and recording work, and your writing, analysis and research. We’ll also encourage you to use self-help packages, particularly for aural training, and undertake an extensive listening programme.
Using our creative expertise and industry connections in Cambridge and beyond, we create experiences that entertain, educate, inspire and improve lives.
At Cambridge School of Creative Industries, we believe in the importance of experimentation and risk-taking to create experiences that entertain, educate, inspire and improve lives.
Whether writing bestselling fiction, creating challenging documentaries or sharing a piano with people on the autism spectrum, the expertise of our staff goes far beyond teaching. Their research produces significant funding success, leading to important publications and international conferences.
You’ll work in our purpose-built music centre, which includes: band rooms; recording studios; lecture and practice rooms; a large recital hall; an extensive suite of computer music studios with workstation laboratories; digital editing studios; other instruments, including traditional ones. You can also get access to all of our other creative industries facilities.
UK and EU students can take out a tuition fee loan, which you won’t need to start repaying until after your graduate. Or alternatively, there's the option to pay your fees upfront.
You can pay your tuition fees upfront, in full or in two instalments. We will also ask you for a deposit of £4,000 or a sponsorship letter. Details will be in your offer letter.Paying your fees
We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Some of these cover all or part of your tuition fees.
Most new undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This includes Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans. There are additional grants available for specific groups of students, such as those with disabilities or dependants.
We also offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.
You will be invited to perform an audition as part of the application process.
For more guidance on how to prepare for this, please visit our creative industries auditions page.
Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
We don't accept AS level qualifications on their own for entry to our undergraduate degree courses. However for some degree courses a small number of tariff points from AS levels are accepted as long as they're combined with tariff points from A levels or other equivalent level 3 qualifications in other subjects.
We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.
If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.
If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.
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