BA Hons Top Up available in Exeter & Gateshead September 2023

Are you looking to top up an FDA (Foundation Degree) or HND (Higher National Diploma) in music, music technology, multimedia or other related subject to a full BA hons?

If you are, then there are limited places available on our BA Hons Top Up at both Exeter and Gateshead Academy of Music & Sound Centres starting at the end of September 2023.

Our BA top up is a flexible, creative, year long programme (2 x 12 week semesters) that tops up a level 5 qualification to a BA (Hons).

There are modules in composition, performance, writing library (stock) music as well as the opportunity to specialise in music management and undertake a large scale project in an area of your choosing.

Our course page is HERE> 

If you don't have a previous level 5 qualification please do still get in touch, because if you've been active in the music industry in some capacity for over 5 years we can consider your experience to 'fast track' you onto this qualification, saving you both time and money.

Academy Group Photo.

The BA (Hons) top up in Exeter and Gateshead is validated by the University of West London, as such it is fully eligible for a tuition fee loan, maintenance loan and grant (where applicable) to support your living costs whilst you are studying.

If you have special educational needs, or a mental health condition you may be able to unlock further support through DSA.

Our city centre campuses offer small group delivery in high quality creative spaces, backed up by experienced tutors and support staff.

Get in touch today!

Contact Us 


University of West London logo

AMS Partner University Ranks Highly In The Times

AMS are delighted to share excellent news on behalf of our partnership University, University of West London. UWL has been named “University of the year for Teaching Quality” and “University of the Year for Student Experience” in The Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023. 

UWL are now ranked in the top ten universities in London and have risen to an impressive 40th place in these latest national rankings.

This is the first time that both awards have been given to one university in the same year, and it is also the second time in the last three years that UWL has received the student experience accolade.

Receiving these two awards is a tremendous achievement and one that perfectly captures the ethos of UWL as a university. We are proud to work along side UWL to deliver a high quality of teaching and support across all our campuses and online as part of The Academy of Music and Sound.

The University of West London shared the following statement on their great news:

“Our students are at the heart of everything we do and that is why we have a relentless focus on delivering the best possible student experience so that they may thrive and achieve the success they deserve. It is gratifying to have that effort recognised with this latest accolade for student experience. This comes on the back of our successful National Student Survey results earlier in the year.”

AMS delivers our BA and M.Mus courses across our UK campuses and online in partnership with UWL. You can find all of our BA and M.Mus information over on our courses section and enquire directly below.

You can find out more about the University of West London and the awards presented below.

ams gateshead ba hons foundation degree music diploma open day online zoom newcastle study music

AMS Gateshead announce 3 new online open events!

The team at AMS Gateshead have just announced 3 course open evenings in February and March.

The upcoming open events will be specific for each of the courses at our Gateshead centre – RSL Level 3 for 16-18 year olds, and our undergraduate qualifications, the Foundation Degree in Music & Sound, and the BA (Hons) top-up year in Music & Sound.

Our BA top-up year is the final year of a BA, designed to follow on from our Foundation Degree. Those with relevant industry experience may be eligible to fast-track onto this final year without necessary having any prior formal qualifications. We value real-life industry experience, and believe you should be rewarded for working hard in the sector.

Sign up via the links below if you’re interested in attending one of the events with the AMS Gateshead team! You’ll get the Zoom video link (which will go live on the day) sent straight to your inbox! Each event will include an informative presentation, Q&A session and performances from staff/students.


RSL Level 3 Diploma
24th February 2021


Foundation Degree in Music & Sound
3rd March 2021


BA Hons Top-up Degree in Music & Sound
10th March 2021

gateshead teachers luke elgie teacher spotlight gateshead ams uk music school education newcastle

Teacher Spotlight! Gateshead edition

Whether you’re a new starter, or old timer at AMS Gateshead, why not take some time to get to know our incredible staff and tutors. These guys work tirelessly to provide a diverse, dynamic, and exciting music curriculum. Many of them were also previous AMS students and enjoyed it so much, they decided to stay! Find out more in the bios below.


Luke Elgie is a Gateshead based Bass Player/producer who has had multiple plays on BBC Radio 1, BBC 6 Music and BBC Radio 2. With his main musical projects, SHIELDS and Penguin, he has toured The UK and Europe and played Glastonbury festival, Reading and Leeds Festival, BBC 6 Music Festival, Hyde Park Calling Festival and Melt Festival, to name a but a few.

His music has also been used by the likes of BT Sport, British Airways, Ubisoft, Asos and Wateraid. As well as continuing to work on multiple studio projects Luke is a session bassist for Callum Pitt and Cattle and Cane and also performs regularly in multiple function bands.


Jake is a songwriter and producer working out of Mono Studios in Newcastle and Gateshead. Signing with Soul Kitchen Music Management in 2015, he has previously worked on writing sessions with Ivor Novello Award nominee Iain Archer amongst others. Resulting in airplay on Radio 1 as ‘BBC Introducing Track Of The Week’, he has also supported prominent artists such as Jake Bugg, Primal Scream, Sundara Karma and Sunset Sons around the UK.

As a member of the electronic genre bending duo Drive, his recent work is inspired by the films of John Hughes, analog and the mediums of 80’s nostalgia; Super8, Polaroids, VHS and Cassette Tapes. You can listen here: bit.ly/listentodrive


With 17 years working as an educator and music producer, Lisa has designed and delivered industry-focused music technology and production courses to students all over the UK. She runs Blast Recording Studios, a professional music recording and production studio in Newcastle-upon-Tyne who’s clients include the likes of Take That, The Arctic Monkeys and Sam Fender.

Alongside teaching music production at the Academy of Music and Sound, Lisa also works as a professional music producer in the local music industry.


Original material with a modern edge, Lily Brooke is a singer songwriter from the North East of England. Specialising in piano, vocals and songwriting, the artist has captivated audiences live and online reaching over 28k twitter followers. Her eclectic repertoire merges pop music with darker, twisted tones to create a unique alternative pop sound.

She has performed at some of the region’s biggest festivals and won competitions like the Pride of South Tyneside award; previous winners include renowned artists like Jade Thirlwall from Little Mix. More recently, Lily has headlined and supported acts at o2 Academy Newcastle and released her debut single Kaleidoscope.

Lily has shared stages with other festival headliners such as UB40, Atomic Kitten, Five, The Futureheads and DeadMau5 at the Evolution Festival to crowds of over 25,000 people.


Micky Crystal is a guitar player, producer and educator who has been teaching for AMS Gateshead for a number of years specialising in the Guitar and Theory courses. Micky has a wealth of experience not only as a teacher but also as a touring musician / artist playing all over the globe extensively. (You can read his tour CV below.) He has written and performed on major label album releases which have charted throughout the UK and Europe as well as making it to major magazine front covers. He is a part of the JamTrackCentral Artist Roster and is a Victory Amps, Elixir Strings and Bare Knuckle Pickups artist.

UK, USA, Japan, Ireland, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bulgaria, Brazil, Paraguay and Colombia.


Tom has been playing professionally since 2007 and has had a varied career to this date – currently he teaches at the Academy in Gateshead as the Drum Tutor and has been doing so since 2015. Tom is also Director at Yamaha Tyneside, based in Whitley Bay who provide musical tuition to people of all ages for Drums, Keyboard and Guitar and is a UK instructor for Yamaha Europe.

Tom also plays drums for a variety of bands, working as either a permanent member or as a session musician and has toured Europe and the UK extensively with his band SHIELDS. A career highlight was when SHIELDS won a slot to play Glastonbury in 2015. Tom currently plays with two function bands, operating in the North East during the busy wedding season – Phil Davids and the Good Times Band provide soul and funk covers while The Richard Sutton Band are a party band with a nod to the classic sounds of 90’s UK indie.

Starting aged eleven, Tom enjoyed his drum lessons at School but it wasn’t until he formed his first punk ska band at the tender age of fifteen that he realised this was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. Unsure of his direction after School, he applied to do the Jazz, Popular and Commercial Music degree at Newcastle College and graduated as a Bachelor of Music three years later. The people he met on that course have become the same people that shared in all of Tom’s successes up to this point and after graduating he immediately went into drum tuition and found it to be incredibly rewarding and something he had a natural passion for.

Currently Tom is busy running his School with his partner as well as spending lots of time providing online content for his students. He’s looking forward to getting back into the fray of live music very soon as it is something very important to him. Tom is also expecting to be back in the studio later this year working for a variety of artists to help arrange their songs and bring them to life before their release.


Steve, Centre Manager at AMS Gateshead, is a professional bassist with over 5000 gigs and numerous recording credits to his name. He has released 5 albums and resides in the North East of England but is in his own words “100% Scottish”. Steve has a MMus in Popular Music Performance which he gained here at AMS.

Although he grew up on Rock and roll, Steve is a lover of modal jazz, Jaco Pastorius and Weather Report, John Coltrane and of course Miles Davis. Steve has played all over the globe in many different settings from touring Taiwan With Seb Roachford (Polar Bear) to playing in the Dance band on the QueenMary 2, he has been there seen it, done it and got the t-shirt to coin an expression.

His current bands include New Breed Revolution and an upcoming Jazz project with Sid White and Paul Gowland.


Nick Jennison is a guitar player, vocalist, producer and educator, as well as a leading contributor to LickLibrary and Guitar Interactive Magazine and a PRS Guitars international artist. As a session player, Nick has played on chart-topping major label releases in the USA, Japan and the UK, as well as a number of high profile game soundtracks.

Nick has worked with AMS Gateshead for a number of years now, delivering Guitar, Vocal, Theory and Production modules. He previously studied his BA with us and passed with Honours in the First Class…. It was never in doubt!

academy of music gateshead open day evening

Our Gateshead Open Evening is moving online!

Our Gateshead Open Evening is moving online! Book today and join us on 3rd June for a comprehensive look at our courses in music and sound.


Join our friendly team via Zoom, as they guide you through our courses for prospective entry in September 2020 for our Gateshead centre.

Fancy studying music in the vibrant north east? This is an opportunity for you to hear more about our courses on offer in September 2020 and chat about general student life here at the Academy of Music & Sound Gateshead. The evening will take place via Zoom, and will last for about an hour - create an account at www.zoom.us

All those we have met and that have enquired about our courses will be automatically invited, and also we will post the Zoom meeting link up here nearer the time - so check back!

To network, check out the Facebook event here, and visit our dedicated Gateshead centre page for more info on studying at AMS in the North East.



We really hope you’ll come along and find out all about our courses on offer for a September 2020 start:


⭕️ RSL level 3 Extended Diploma Music Practitioners Course:

~ FULLY funded Rock School accredited music course for 16 – 19 year olds
~ An internationally recognised qualification with regular updates to mirror the developments within the music industry
~ Written and developed by industry specialists, with education professionals
~ Fully accredited by OfQual and DfES
~ Is equivalent to 3 A-Levels and can yield up to 168 UCAS points


⭕️ Foundation Degree Music & Sound:

~ Fully validated 2 year undergraduate music programme, equivalent to the first 2 years of a BA
~ Eligible for student loan to pay tuition fee
~ Eligible for student maintenance loan & grant to support living costs
~ Developed to mirror the modern music industry
~ Designed to help students become independent, multi-skilled music practitioners, fluent with various forms of multimedia
~ Open to guitar players, bassists, drummers, vocalists, song writers, composers, producers


⭕️ BA Top Up Year - Music and Sound

~Fully validated top up year (the final year of BA Hons degree):
~ Eligible for student loan to pay tuition fee
~ Eligible for student maintenance loan & grant to support living costs
~ Developed to mirror the modern music industry
~ Designed to help students become independent, multi-skilled music practitioners, fluent with various forms of multimedia
~Open to guitar players, bassists, drummers, vocalists, song writers, composers, producers
~ Open to those without prior qualifications to apply using their industry experience to Fast-Track

Please confirm your attendance by getting hold of our Gateshead centre using the Book Now link below or call 0191 4787879

See you there! AMS x

academy of music

Free 'Digital Marketing for Musicians' Masterclass in Gateshead

AMS Gateshead team up with Plectrumm Social to offer the free marketing session.


ams gateshead music masterclass plectrumm social media

We've said it once, we'll say it again. Social media and savvy digital marketing can be an excellent way to enhance your band's profile!

Good news then, Academy of Music and Sound Gateshead have collab'd with Plectrumm to offer a free Digital Marketing Masterclass. Gateshead students - get involved!

Founded by Matthew Wooton, Brighton-based Plectrumm brings a fresh and dynamic take on digital advertising. With over 5 years experience, the team have worked with some of the biggest artists in the game, including Thirty Seconds To Mars, Noel Gallagher, Four Tet and Freya Ridings.

"Born out of the desire to bring a memorable tailored service, Plectrumm's vision is built around growing engaged artist audiences, retaining key data and converting interest into income. With a creative and innovative campaign Plectrumm can help join the dots between the live, recorded and social streams."



"Proudly based in Brighton, Plectrumm looks to take the industry forward by delivering an untouched standard of e-commerce and advertising, exclusively to the world of music."

"The team are as passionate about breaking talented new acts as they are keen to work with household names. With a developing roster of some of the most exciting new acts around, this ethos fuels the belief that connected digital marketing will break the musicians of tomorrow."


Date And Time:
Fri, February 14, 2020
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM GMT

Academy of Music and Sound, Gateshead
191 High Street

Book now

Find out more on Plectrumm's website.

joe talbot idles sound city

IDLES' Joe Talbot, 6 Music's Chris Hawkins & more for Liverpool's Sound City conference lineup

Liverpool's Sound City has revealed new names for its conference programme - it's looking like a good one!

As part of his newly announced 'In Conversation' tour, Joe Talbot from the punk band IDLES will go talk on a panel with BBC Radio 6 Music's Chris Hawkins in a discussion called “for the Reckless and Outspoken”, and Facebook's Vanessa Bakewell is offering a digital masterclass on 'how to scale your music marketing across Facebook and Instagram'.

Also announced is Producers Andrew Bushby (Foofighters, Spice Girls) and Steph Marziano (Sam Smith, Kasabian). They will talk in depth about their exciting and versatile music careers. Check out the full conference lineup and poster art below.

We've very excited to once again be able to offer the opportunity to some of our student from across the UK, to attend this years conference.

Not a student? You can grab a ticket here.

liverpool soundcity

'To the reckless and outspoken, there’s clovers blooming on the horizon.
A frenzy is forthcoming. The curious will be answered, the alliance will be formed and the party will start. This is ours, will you be joining us? Let’s start a f**king riot'

This year’s Sound City + conference will take place between Friday 1st - Sunday 3rd May 2020, starting at the British Music Experience then across the Baltic Triangle. There will be a weekend full of panels, workshops and InConversations from a wide range of industry professionals.

Read more about Sound City 2020 on their website.


More careers stuff....

Read our blog on how to promote yourself on social media as a musician.

Get the latest: Sign up to our newsletter.



ams gateshead music news

Gateshead Open Evening
12th December

AMS Gateshead will be opening their doors on Thursday 12th December 2019, for an Open Evening at their centre in the heart of the city. This is a great opportunity to see the professional facilities at our centre, hear more about all of our courses, watch a student band perform and chat to them about general student life at the Academy of Music & Sound Gateshead.

Head to the AMS Gateshead Facebook event for more details, and follow the AMS Gateshead Facebook page for the latest updates and news from our centre in the North East.

For more events in Gateshead, including masterclasses, live events, and more, check out our list of upcoming events.

callum beatie - gateshead masterclass

Callum Beattie, Rory McLeod, Loft Studios
confirmed for Gateshead Masterclasses

The Academy of Music and Sound Gateshead have announced a series of masterclasses
led by professional musicians and industry leaders for the coming months.

Up-and-coming Scottish singer-songwriter Callum Beattie will be leading a class on
20 November, Newcastle based recording and mixing pro Anth Mills, Rob Meek and
the team from Loft Studios.

(Just added!) AMS Gateshead will host on Friday 15th November, an epic masterclass with Rory Mcleod – ex-circus clown and fire eater, and one man soulband, poet and storyteller. The event is FREE for CURRENT/EX STUDENTS, and is also open to the public for only £5.

Rory is a modern travelling troubadour using tap shoes, acappella, harmonica, guitar, trombone, spoons, finger cymbals, bandorea, djembe and various percussion instruments! He’s also a seasoned traveler, having explored places such as the middle East, Gambia, Cuba, Central America, Australia, North America, Canada, Europe and other nooks and crannies of the earth. ????

While on 20th November, Callum Beattie heads to AMS Gateshead for a masterclass. Managed by the team behind The Kooks, Michael Kiwanuka, The La’s, and Cast, the former Edinburgh busker recently signed a recordings deal with 3 Beat/Universal. Callum’s debut album is scheduled for release in 2019, In the meantime, he can be heard on the new single from High Contrast and is currently supporting Robbie Williams and The Kooks on there European tours. This event is also free for current students or AMS alumni, with a generous £3 entry fee for members of the public – who are also warmly welcome to take part! MORE INFO HERE.

Rory McLeod | 15th November | AMS Gateshead
Callum Beattie | 20th November | AMS Gateshead

gateshead open eveing

Gateshead Open Evening 2019

Fancy studying music in the heart of the North East? Gateshead’s music scene is thriving, and what better place to start, or continue your studies.

Join us on 24th October for an Open Evening running 6-8pm, where you can enjoy a performance by some of our current students, an engaging talk with members of our staff and teachers who are professionals in the industry, and a tour of the centre and our facilities.

“Culture is integrated into every part of the city and can be seen interconnected with entertainment, from street performers through to public art, creating inspiration where ever you turn. With one of the most vibrant student cultures in the country, it is also home to some staple music venues such as The Cluny (Newcastle) and The Sage (Gateshead). The region is a first-class option for musical study.”

At the Gateshead centre we run courses in:

Call 0191 478 7879 or Email [email protected] to find out more and book a place to attend.

The Gateshead centre have also been delivering masterclasses throughout the Autumn term. Newcastle based recording and mixing pro Anth Mills led a ProTools and Live Mixing session on 9th October, plus Rob Meek will be taking a class titled “Music and Sound for the Media” on 16th October. Rising Scottish star Callum Beatie and the team from Loft Studio will host classes later in the term.

Find out more about life and studying in Gateshead here.

Gateshead Open Evening | 24 October 2019 | 191 HIGH STREET, TYNE AND WEAR, NE8 1AS | 6PM – 8PM | FREE


Free Rehearsal Space THIS SUMMER: Exeter, Southampton & Gateshead

Our Level 3 music and degree students have broken up for the summer holidays, so we’re offering you FREE rehearsal space. It’s the perfect chance to practice for up and coming festivals or even to kick start a new band.

Book now as we have limited availability and space –  we can only offer free space during office hours. Please contact the centre you wish to rehearse at for further details and booking availability.

8 Coombe Street, Exeter EX1 1DB
[email protected]
01392 427 874

191 High Street, Gateshead NE8 1AS
[email protected]
0191 478 7879

11a High Street, Southampton S014 2DF
[email protected]
0238 082 9666

We offer paid for rehearsal space out of office hours. 
This offer will end on September 1st 2018 and is subject to availability.


Applications for September 2018 start are open for:
Level 3 music (16-18 year old)
Foundation Degree in Music Performance
Foundation Degree in Creative Music Production
BA (Hons) Professional Music Performance
BA (Hons) Professional Music Production
Masters in Popular Music Performance

Professional Musicians

We can map your experience as a professional musician, against the first two years of a degree, to fast-track you onto a 1 year BA (Hons). This saves you time and money so you can progress in your career, or start a new one such as teaching.
Contact us for more information: [email protected]

New Partnership with Blast Recording Studios

Blast Studios is situated in the Ouseburn valley, which is arguably the cultural epicentre of Newcastle. Born out of Demolition Records, the state of the art studio has a history of recording rock legends from The Quireboys to Therapy?, who finished their latest album there last year.

Designed by world renowned acoustic engineers, and with a range of high quality studio hardware, Blast will offer Academy of Music and Sound students a chance to use the best equipment available in the region.
The Academy of Music and Sound North East is an independent collective of experienced music industry professionals who are keen to give something back at grass roots.

Their staff includes Barry Hyde, the creative spark behind Wearside’s The Futureheads; guitar wunderkind Micky Crystal, who is much in demand on the rock scene playing with The Tygers of Pan Tang; Marco Mendoza (Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy); and Bumblefoot (Guns and Roses).

Students from the Academy have gone on to work with Marco Mendoza and Bumblefoot, and have also teamed up with Newcastle’s legendary Soul Kitchen management to give young people in Tyne and Wear the best opportunities available in the industry.

Blast Manager, Lisa Murphy, said: “I spent years working in music education and knew that I could make more of an impact on young peoples’ lives in the recording industry; this partnership is the perfect merging of two worlds.”

Academy of Music and Sound North East Manager Dan Donnelly (The Wonder Stuff, The Levellers) has come from the opposite angle. With 25 years of music industry experience from the lowest to the highest levels he said: “Having moved into music education from the industry, pairing up with Blast is a perfect combination. This is the type of environment that professional musicians work in, not a school.”

They both agree that the new relationship will provide unique employability opportunities for Academy of Music and Sound students. Budding professionals will get the chance to study in a real life scenario, among seasoned professionals.
In a field such as the music industry, this could be the leg up that cements a lucrative career.

Text taken from an article published in May 2018 edition of The Crack Magazine.