Course Details

Find out what you will study on the popular music degree and pathway options.


A conservatoire education

Ten years ago, we became the first UK conservatoire to deliver a specialist degree course in Popular Music, and we’re still pioneers.
We don’t just treat you like a professional at Leeds College of Music – you are one. If you haven’t already, you’ll start your music career whilst you’re studying, and be ready to take it to the next step after graduation.

Music and Business

Focus is placed on developing technical proficiency and artistry, as well as enhancing musicological and critical listening skills.

Additional business focused modules are embedded throughout the programme, enabling you to forge a sustainable career in a highly competitive field.

Industry Links

Strong links with the music industry mean we are in constant contact with major labels like Sony/ATV, Universal, Polydor and Decca as well as local labels like Hide and Seek and the Leaf Label, and we regularly welcome them here for student showcases and discussions.


One-to-one Tuition

You’ll receive personally tailored, weekly one-to-one tuition with an expert in your specialism, alongside band work and a range of seminars and lectures.

Access to masterclasses from professional performers, songwriters, producers, managers and promoters will support your artistic development as well as sharpen your musical abilities.

Artistic Identity

We champion original material, and encourage you to take creative risks.

By the end of your popular music degree, you will be a specialist in your chosen discipline and will have established your individual artistic identity and voice as a musician, whilst possessing a breadth of understanding, knowledge and transferable skills that will support you throughout your future career.

Close-Knit Community

Working alongside staff and students from other pathways, you’ll both lead and lend yourself to exciting independent projects. We have a close-knit community at the conservatoire which means you won’t have to look far to find a string quartet, brass section or promoter to help you manage your gigs.



Our modules cover developing performance and composing skills, group study, contextual studies and professional studies that prepare you for industry.
Download the full course outline for BA (Hons) Music (Popular Music)


Specialist Study

Through one-to-one tuition and small group work you will further develop your understanding of the techniques and skills of musical performance, showing a command in your execution and realising and developing your emerging musical voice with appropriate expression, creativity and presentation.
You will deliver a stylistically informed performance with a command of appropriate musical and repertoire skills, leading to the presentation of a public performance.

Specialist Group Study

You will develop a secure foundation in ensemble performance and composition. Issues of style and repertoire will be discussed and taught, alongside a developing awareness of rehearsal etiquette, crafting original material, developing a unique band sound, and good practice.  
You will be expected to take responsibility for your contribution to both the rehearsal process and performance in addition to demonstrating greater technical command in regard to the range of skills appropriate to the chosen musical idiom.
You will continue to work on crafting original material relative to the on going honing of a unique band sound and identity.


Contextual Studies

You will develop fundamental skills and knowledge essential to the understanding, appreciation and creation of music, including the exploration, evaluation and application of the core musical skills associated with relevant repertoire informed by its social and cultural context.
You will develop composition, musicology and critical listening skills, through a detailed examination of repertoire, its style and effects on the development of music. You will study key works, musicians, compositional techniques, reception and environment.

Professional Studies

Additionally, as with all our degree pathways, you will be able to choose to study a number of professional studies modules that cover topics such as self-promotion and marketing, legal and commercial issues and digital and media literacy.

This focus on developing your business skills will help to prepare you for a successful career in the industry.


Pathway Options

You can choose to study an extra Foundation Year or combine the BA (Hons) Music (Popular Music) degree with another pathway.


Foundation Year

You can choose to add a foundation year to our BA (Hons) Classical pathway.

This 4-year BA (Hons) with Foundation Year would be suitable for you, if:

  • You do not have the standard/traditional entry requirements

  • You need additional time and support to achieve conservatoire-standard musicianship

During your foundation year, you will receive one-to-one tuition in your specialist study, and develop performance, composition or production skills in preparation for degree-level study.

On successful completion of the foundation year you would progress directly to year 1 of the BA (Hons) programme.

Download the full Course Structure for BA (Hons) Music (Popular) with Foundation Year.


Combined Degree

You can combine the Popular pathway with Jazz, Classical, or Production, choosing one as your major and one as your minor.

Our degrees with a Popular major are:

If you opt to combine two pathways, you will follow the Specialist Study modules in your major pathway and Specialist Group Study modules in your minor pathway.

For example, if you wanted to take BA (Hons) Music (Popular with Jazz), your one-to-one lessons would be in Popular and your ensemble group study would be in Jazz.