M.Mus in Popular Music Performance

Postgraduate Online M.Mus in Popular Music Performance, validated by London College of Music.

Specialise in your chosen topic, explore theories and ideas, and refine your craft on this online taught Masters course. Eligible for postgraduate student finance.

In partnership with the London College of Music and University of West London, the qualification is developed to address the needs of contemporary musicians on a practical, academic and professional basis and is delivered by professionals active in the music industry. Explore in-depth an area of musicianship that interests you, combine practical and academic study with extensive ensemble work and individual guidance to expand and develop your competitive edge, and gain academic recognition to explore theories and ideas.

This course is currently only available online as a distanced learning programme with AMSonline. Visit the AMSonline website for more information or scroll down to apply now.

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Course Details

  • Performance Portfolio: Consolidate and build on performance skills with a focus on stylistic interpretation, technique and creativity.
  • Ensemble and Musical Direction Skills: Rehearse and perform with the aim to develop ensemble skills with an emphasis on musical direction, creative interpretation and technical skill.
  • Postgraduate Research Methods: Undertake several tasks related to your discipline, including building a portfolio of work, documentation of research and dissertation proposal or project with an annotated bibliography.
  • Critical Perspectives: Develop an understanding of key critical approaches to the study of popular music through examination of key literature. Study a series of important practitioners, genres and milestones from the landscape of popular music through analysis and critical thinking.
  • Performance Portfolio 2: Building upon the work completed in Performance Portfolio 1, further develop skills as a performer. Key factors include the development and expansion of heightened technical performance ability, alongside interpretative and stylistic traits.
  • Masters Level Project: Project or dissertation based around a research question of your choosing that has been developed during the research methods module and through discussion with the module leader.


  • Songwriting: Engage in the development, management, and execution of a high-quality song portfolio. The material may be in any genre with a final presentation of a portfolio with recordings of your compositions, lead sheets, and a written critique.
  • Music Pedagogy: A placement to participate in learning and teaching activities based within a community music practice with the aim to develop and execute two observed sessions.
  • Studio Recording: This module gives you the opportunity to engage in the development, management, and execution of a high-quality music production project. The course will combine practice with theory


Studying at this level will broaden your horizons as a musician and scholar, to support you in a multi-faceted career. This master will enable you to explore areas of interest in greater depth, develop new skills and open new avenues of investigation both musically and academically.

Entry Requirements

Minimum of a 2:1 in a related undergraduate qualification, plus a successful audition and interview. Equivalent overseas qualifications will be considered.


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Audition & Interview

Our qualifications require a successful audition and interview to enrol onto a course, but don’t be nervous! The auditions are on a 1-1 basis to assess your future potential to see what you can do, rather than what you can’t. It’s a great chance for you to see the centre, meet our fantastic tutors and ask any questions. You’re coming to us to learn and improve your skills, so we appreciate everyone has their strengths.

How To Apply

Apply for this course is via the form below

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In this module, each student must define and explore in some depth, a topic relating to their intended future employment, as well as developing advanced skills in managing an extended project. The project will be developed over Semester 1 and 2, and students choose to base their project on one of the of topics below:

• Dissertation
• Songwriting or Composition
• Performance
• Production
• Event Management
• Multi-media

The Level 6 Project also provides experience of critically evaluating and reflecting upon the particular methodologies of the chosen subject area.

Assessment 1: Presentation 10%
Assessment 2: Portfolio 90%

This module deals with the theoretical and practical issues of putting music and sound to a moving image: a discipline that is highly relevant and useful for any freelance worker aiming to build a portfolio-based career or even just to promote themselves as an artist in the modern popular music industry.

Students study: relevant academic theories by writers such as Chion, Cook, Davis, Karlin and Venn; scoring; the role of film sound; modes of listening; cuts and edits; montage; influential approaches of film-makers like David Lynch; creating music for computer games; creating music for dance and theatre.

These subjects are studied alongside the technical considerations and practicalities of importing video within Logic X in order to produce musical and sonic results that are evocative of the moving image.

Assessment 1: Written Report 30%
Assessment 2: Video clip with music 70%

There is a large market for music that film and TV production companies can take ‘off the shelf’ for genres such as sport, gameshows, wildlife etc. In this module, you will create your own portfolio of original music suitable for submitting to a publisher that covers a wide range of moods, styles and uses.|

Students will be exposed to a ‘real life’ environment where a creative brief must be completed to professional standards and to a deadline and are given the opportunity to devise and execute an ambitious personal, self-managed music recording project that encompasses and showcases many of the skills and knowledge acquired and developed during the degree. This is an area traditionally known as ‘library music’ but now more commonly-known as ‘music for synchronisation’ and can be one of the most lucrative income streams for a modern music practitioner.

Assessment 1: Portfolio 20%
Assessment 2: Project 60%
Assessment 3: Written Assignment (Reflection) 20%

The bulk of employees in the popular music industry sector are freelance and a premium is set on a worker’s ability to balance a large portfolio of activities and show resourcefulness and adaptability as opportunities change.

In this gig economy, it is also important that freelancers have an entrepreneurial spirit and the knowledge and skills to create their own work through enterprise and industry; consequently, the Freelance Portfolio module requires students to formulate a proposal for their own viable business product or service, produce a business plan and then see that plan through to its conclusion by creating a tangible business product or service as well as the marketing machinery (including website) to promote it. This presents each student with an effective calling card when they graduate so that they can hit the ground running when they enter the market place. Critically, they will have the wherewithal to run their affairs on a cottage industry basis rather than rely on others for work.

In the course of the module, students will study:

• The impact of emerging technologies
• The financial considerations that apply to different types of music
• Raising local sponsorship; funding opportunities within the music industry
• Sample use & guidance on appropriating royalty-free samples
• The legal requirements of music downloading and on-line sales
• Brand awareness
• The role of the publishing industry and how it impacts on working practice in the music
• Industry
• The implications of recording copyright
• The importance of recording play lists to the appropriate organisations (e.g. PRS for Music)
• The role of royalty collection societies and how these protect artists and companies’ rights
• The different trading formats in the music industry
• Socio-Political Factors Affecting The Creative & Cultural Sector
• Ethical and Legal Factors Affecting The Creative & Cultural Sector
• Informal project presentations

Finally, each student must critically evaluate their learning on the module.

Assessment 1: Proposal 0%
Assessment 2: Project & Evaluation 100%

In this module, once their material is rehearsed and ready for public performance, each student will promote and stage a live showcase. They will develop an understanding of the key concepts of design, image and
saleability that enables them to market their music and band/teaching/solo career concept as a ‘product’. It deals with issues that have traditionally resided in the hands of management, record companies and publishers such as:

• publishing
• online marketing
• mailing lists
• distribution (online, via publications and retail outlets) etc

Showcase Studies will provide you with technical insights into a future musical career enhanced by the added independence gained from the experience of producing and marketing your own work.

Assessment 1: Performance 50%
Assessment 2: Course work 50%

In the course of the module, students will get introduced to ‘signature’ techniques used by various successful commercial music producers with view to informing their own practical knowledge and research.
Students will be expected to engage in an in-depth investigation of a successful commercial music producer of their choice, producing a 15-minute body of multi-track recorded music that makes that research and musical influence manifest in a creative way.

To meet the all the outcomes of this module, it is also important that students plan, implement, and reflect critically on work-in-progress; consequently, as well as the practical assessment described above, they must also produce a recording plan and an evaluation of their submitted work. As well as focussing on the signature production techniques, students will also study other essential elements of advanced production techniques:

• The main acoustical events/parameters in the mixing environment
• Stereo microphone techniques
• Surround sound multi-microphone patterns
• Rewire
• Advanced multi-track audio quantising with FlexTime
• ‘Out-of-the-box’ mixing
• The fundamentals of advanced vocal production
• Melodyne as a pitch correction and a composition tool.
• Identifying sample-based instruments
• Creating your own production sound palette
• Mastering

Assessment 1: Presentation 10%
Assessment 2: Project 70%
Assessment 3: Plan and Evaluation 20%

In this module, students will study and be expected to manage all aspects of producing a short radio play production:

• Pre-production (e.g., casting, script editing, storyboard, rehearsals), management (e.g., equipment requirement, recording schedules, logistics) and direction (e.g., delivery, vocal cues, production quality etc) required for radio productions
• Dialogue editing
• Use of incidental music
• Radio sound effects/foley
• Mixing and mastering
• Presenting a radio production in an industry-standard format

Assessment 1: Presentation 20%
Assessment 2: 15-minute radio production 60%
Assessment 3: Report 20%

This module is largely self-directed: with the option of specialising in artist management or music, retail management or crowd funding.

It provides an overview of the current and future broader music industry and seeks to furnish the student with the intellectual tools and specialist knowledge required to be a robust practitioner in today’s diverse and competitive global music business.
Lectures will provide students with a foundation of the principles of strategic music management and consider the need for planning within an ever-changing business environment. The music industry will be viewed from multiple viewpoints and the actions of policy and wider media practices will be examined for their impact upon the development and implementation of management strategies.

Assessment 1: Project 60%
Assessment 2: Written assignment 40%