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FD Music Performance and Production

Sheffield College

UCAS Code: W3W3 | Foundation Degree - FD

Entry requirements

UCAS Tariff


UCAS points from A Level BTEC or equivalent Merit/Pass/Pass Other Level 3 in courses related to music performance/production equivalents with supporting performance or theory grades (Grade 6 and above) Students should also have English Language GCSE at Grade C/4 or above (or equivalent e.g. Functional Skills at Level 2). Applicants should have a genuine interest and passion for the subject and be able to demonstrate this articulately along with motivation, confidence and creativity. Students do not need to have a theory qualification to enter the programme. In line with The Sheffield College’s commitment to widening participation, we encourage applicants from a diverse range of backgrounds. If students are mature learners, they may present a more varied profile of achievement that is likely to include extensive work experience and/or a range of professional qualifications in their work sector. References, alternative experience and skills will all be taken into account.  Use of prior credit will be considered on an individual basis. In terms of APCL (Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning) you will be expected to provide detailed transcripts of previous qualification. These will be mapped against the Course Modules to check for compatibility and currency. To gain APEL (Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning) prospective students will be required to present a portfolio of evidence for assessment. Any final decisions on your acceptance will be made in line with The Sheffield College’s policy guidelines and regulations on the following: APCL (Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning) and/or APEL (Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning).

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About this course

Course option


Full-time | 2022

Validated by The Open University, the Foundation Degree in Music Performance & Production is an innovative programme located in purpose-built facilities at Hillsborough Campus. The course offers a highly practical focus and provides the opportunity to develop specialist skills in music performance, production and composition, whilst simultaneously gaining a broader understanding of the industry and the interrelationship between musical disciplines. The course is delivered through a series of lectures, seminars, workshops, performances and professional projects, supported by experienced academic staff, professional musicians, producers, studio engineers, performers and high quality, tailored industry support. Students will draw upon critical approaches which underpin effective and professional practice and engage with contemporary thinking both within and beyond their specialist area. The course prepares students for employment, further study and self-fulfilment within a wide field informed by critical, historical, conceptual, and ethical dimensions and their own relationships with audiences, clients, consumers and co-creators, enterprise, industry and markets.

The programme aims to provide skills that:
Cultivate and nurture originality and the development of musical identity
Develop an ability in interpretive and technical skills within composition, performance and productions
Develop an understanding of the music industry, how it functions and how to develop entrepreneurial skills
Develop some analytical and critical awareness of the synthesis between relevant theory and its application in performance, production and composition
Develop the practical skills required to use a variety of It formats and music technology
Gain an understanding of how cultural and social contexts shape significant developments within popular music
Support the development of interpersonal, communication and leadership skills

At Level 4, students will study two modules focusing on practical musicianship; studying the context and elements of composition, popular music, recording and live sound. The modules at Level 5 further develop students' musical and contextual skills with harmony and composition, advanced practical musicianship and music studio production; all of which lead to the development of a composition/songwriting portfolio. You will also study session styles, improvisation and music processes and production.

The Foundation Degree in Music Performance and Production is heavily focused on employability and involves work related learning, live briefs and simulated live briefs. Students work across a range of venues in Sheffield and the surrounding area, engaging in large scale projects involving project management, developing individual portfolios and employability skills.

The course is delivered in purpose built, industry standard setting, comprising of a fully equipped recording studio, production suite, teaching spaces running Logic Pro, Ableton, Reason and CUBASE and 7 fully equipped practice rooms.

The Staff are experienced HEA fellows and practicing musicians, studio and live sound engineers with experience working across Europe as vocalists, recording artists and session musicians.

Formal and informal, group and one-to-one tutorials take place at regular intervals and on a weekly basis throughout the programme. Formal tutorials are documented to include topics discussed, guidance, feedback, support, actions and outcomes. They are also an opportunity to inform members of staff of any personal issues students wish them to know. Group tutorials focus on project work, discussion, progress review and current and future information, given as guidance and feedback. Students are expected to take notes and use this opportunity as reflection and potential areas of progress and development of projects. 


Year 1 (Level 4)
Semester 1
Practical Musicianship [1] (20 credits)
Develops appropriate reading skills and successful practice and rehearsal strategies to allow for preparation and performance of both solo and group material to an audience.

Elements of Composition (20 credits)
Develops awareness of the different elements of musical composition through the study of compositional techniques in the creation and development of melodic, rhythmic, harmonic and structural ideas.

Popular Music in Context (20 credits)
Examines the contexts within which popular musical culture has evolved and continues to develop. This module will introduce, and give opportunity to apply, research skills needed for other modules at Levels 4 and 5, and give a context for practical study on other modules. 

Semester 2
Practical Musicianship [2] (20 credits)
Students build performance and rehearsal skills through the preparation of a variety of material across a variety of styles for performance in a series of short ensemble performances culminating in a larger scale performance. 

Composition in Context (20 credits)
This module builds upon the elements of composition and prepares learners for Level 5 through the investigation and application of stylistic convention across a number of genres and a practical investigation of common instrumental combinations and resources.

Live Sound and Recording (20 credits)
Learn and apply principals of music technology relating to sound capture and amplification for studio recording and live sound engineering. 

Year 2 (Level 5)
Semester 1
Harmony and Composition (20 credits)
This unit builds on skills developed at level four and investigates common harmonic and contrapuntal conventions that are used in different musical styles and genres and prepares learners for the portfolio required for the composition/songwriting module in Semester 2.

Advanced Practical Musicianship (20 credits)
This module builds on skills developed for Level 4 modules in performance and investigates professionalism in performance and the need for versatility as a working musician. The module will help prepare students for the session styles and improvisation module in semester two. 

Music Studio Production (20 credits)
This module will enable learners to produce recordings to professional standards by developing their practical and theoretical skills. This is a progression from the Level 4 Recording and Live Sound module and will give students opportunities to record independently and with confidence, to enable an option of running recording studio sessions as part progression on to Music Process and Production in the second semester.

Semester 2
Composition/Songwriting Portfolio (20 credits)
This unit allows learners the opportunity to investigate and apply the skills and techniques developed throughout the course in the creation of a portfolio of completed songs/compositions in any chosen style/genre.

Session Styles and Improvisation (20 credits)
This unit builds upon previous performance modules and investigates the role of the session musician and the role of improvisation in the performance of music.

Music Process and Production (20 credits)
The module will enable students to work in real work situations to research, plan, promote and manage an enterprise project. This will prepare students for work, as well as give students who are progressing onto level 6 experience is managing a substantial project as part of a team.

Assessment methods

The majority of units in this course are assessed through a combination of written coursework (essays, portfolios, analysis etc.) and practical assessments (e.g. presentations, performances etc.)

Tuition fees

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The Uni

Course location:

Hillsborough Campus


Performing Arts

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