BMus (Hons) Contemporary Music Performance

This Contemporary Music Performance degree is designed for those who wish to become professional musicians. It will develop your skills so you can work as a versatile musician and polished performer, able to respond and adapt to a range of professional music contexts. Your studies on this music degree will enable you to perform, produce and collaborate with others, benefitting from first class instrumental tuition from professional musicians.  You’ll experience composition, ensemble performance, improvisation and theory classes, all to help you to build your professional portfolio.

Performing in Cardiff’s vibrant music scene is part of your student experience, and you’ll be inspired by high-calibre masterclasses and events. You will be encouraged to work with students from other disciplines and will benefit from the creative community you can access through the University of South Wales.

The Contemporary Music Performance degree is currently open for musicians specialising in guitar, bass guitar, drums, vocals and, from September 2019, Keyboards.

UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
W315 Full-time 3 Years September Cardiff (ATRiuM) B

Practical activities are key to this degree, which is currently open for musicians specialising in guitar, bass guitar, drums and vocals.

You will hone your performance skills and techniques during workshops and experience a wide range of musical genres. You will work solo and in collaboration with fellow students. You'll undertake sessions in harmony and theory, as well as transcribing.

Understanding the music industry is essential for all performers, so we'll share our knowledge and experience with you.

By your final year, you'll have a professional portfolio that showcases your best work. You can work on several independent projects to develop your expertise and prepare to launch your musical career.

Year One - Contemporary Music Performance degree

  • Practical Musicianship
  • Production Project
  • Live Performance Workshop
  • Music Theory
  • Words and Music

Year Two - Contemporary Music Performance degree

  • Practical Musicianship 2
  • Improvisation Techniques
  • Live Performance Workshop 2
  • Musicology
  • Composition Portfolio

Year Three - Contemporary Music Performance degree

  • Performance Portfolio
  • Professional Musician
  • The Working Musician
  • Entrepreneurship in the Music Industry
  • Immersed in the city


The BMus (Hons) Contemporary Music Performance programme is mainly delivered through practice and performance based modules and provides a  practice-theory divide combination. This enables students to develop skills in music practice, performance and production resulting in a high level of competence and literacy with the language of popular music.

In addition to more traditional lecture and tutorial based methods, teaching styles will emphasise the practical, including workshops and lab workstation sessions.

Relevant visiting speakers provide an industry focus to the course, and compliment the teaching of our experienced tutors.


Course assessment is through regular coursework submissions, in addition to examinations in some areas.


All tutors and lecturers are currently active in the music industry, from professional session musicians to studio producers and music copyists. You’ll develop a detailed understanding of the music business and industry standards.

The entry criteria below shows the qualification range within which the University will make offers. Most offers we make are at the top of the range, but we take all aspects of an application into consideration and applicants receive a personalised offer. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable.


You will be asked to take part in a 30-minute audition before we can fully consider your application or make you an offer. You will be asked to sit an aural test as part of this audition, which will include interval recognition, chord recognition and chord sequence recognition. You will be required to undertake additional harmony, theory and sight-reading tests, and we expect all applicants to attend their interview with 3 tracks prepared in 3 different genres for assessment - you are expected to bring your own backing track to the interview.


Typical A-Level Offer

BCC - CDD to include a relevant subject (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical Welsh BACC Offer

Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C/D in the Skills Challenge Certificate and BC - CD at A Level with a relevant subject (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit - Merit Merit Pass in a relevant subject (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical IB Offer

Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with higher grades of between 655-445 to include a relevant higher subject (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points)

Typical Access to HE Offer

Pass the Access to HE Diploma with 60 credits overall – the credits should equate to between 106-80 UCAS tariff points (examples below)

45 Level 3 credits equating to 15 Distinctions, 24 Merits and 6 Passes in a relevant subject (106 UCAS Tariff Points)

45 Level 3 credits equating to 12 Distinctions, 6 Merits and 27 Passes in a relevant subject (80 UCAS Tariff Points)

Additional Requirements

GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics and English at Grade C or above, or their equivalent but consideration is given to individual circumstances

International Entry Requirements

We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.

English Requirements

In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.

However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

Find out how to pay your tuition fees in full or by payment plan.

This course is eligible under the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme for Ex-Armed Forces personnel.

International Scholarships are available for self-funding international students.

August 2018 - July 2019 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU:  £9000

  • Full-time International:  £12300 

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
Kit (Uniform and Equipment) £500
All students are expected to practice at home on their principle instrument. Whilst some equipment can be hired it is suggested that students have access to their own musical instruments (cost dependent on instrument played).
Kit (Uniform and Equipment) £100
Students are expected to provide their own 'breakables'- Strings, sticks etc. All academic years
Other: Travel £100
Students may be expected to travel to master classes/ conferences at their own cost

UK and EU students

Apply via UCAS if you are a UK/EU residing applicant, applying for year one of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly

International students

Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK/EU. 

Admissions statement

Graduates who want to use their music degree in their work often progress to become self-employed musicians, performers, composers, teachers, academics, music therapists, studio managers or sound engineers.

Other opportunities include specialist magazine journalism, music librarianship or music publishing. Many musicians enter careers that seek graduates of any discipline but offer the opportunity to use the specific skills developed in their studies.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.