BMus (Hons) Contemporary Music Performance

The Contemporary Music Performance degree offers a practical, challenging and professional grounding, developed and delivered by industry musicians and producers. By using tried and tested teaching methods in instrument technique and weekly opportunities to perform, this music course will give you the playing, performing and musicianship skills to succeed as a performer and develop a career in music.

Alongside your practical sessions you’ll learn about the language of music through sessions in harmony and theory, as well as aural and transcribing, in addition to learning the art of songwriting and music production. Throughout your Music Performance degree, you’ll be challenged in many areas of professional musicianship and instrumental ability, and be inspired by regular music masterclasses and events.

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

The Contemporary Music Performance course offers four pathways, drums, bass, guitar or vocals, and is taught by some of the finest music educators and practitioners in the world of contemporary music.

With mainly performance-based modules, this music course provides the right balance between practice and theory. You’ll be set live project briefs that replicate work in the industry and that engage with other disciplines, by working with other students and external organisations. You’ll achieve professional standards in a serious, demanding and challenging environment, and reach high levels of instrumental skill and musical literacy.

Year One

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

Year Two

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

Year Three

  • 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.

August 2017 - July 2018 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU:  £9000 
  • Full-time International:  £11900 

August 2018 - July 2019 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU: TBC
  • 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 1 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

Apply now 

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.

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