Popular Music Performance and Songwriting BA (Hons)


Course Code

UCAS Code: W315
International Code: AHU081


Coventry University (Coventry)


Study mode



3 years full-time
4 years full-time with study abroad / professional placement

Start date

September 2023

We are reviewing this course for 2023-24 entry and the validated module information will be added shortly. Please keep checking back on this course page to see our latest updates.

Course overview

Study level: Undergraduate

The first step to becoming a popular musician is to think of yourself as one. Get trained up with our talent-building course to open up a world of opportunities!

  • This course is a practice-based, ‘outward-facing’ course that seeks to prepare you to be a versatile, flexible, and adaptable operator within the twenty-first-century music industry.
  • We are looking to produce critically astute musicians who are confident performers and songwriters, working with today’s technologies to make, reproduce, and disseminate music, and who understand the potential income streams available to them in the profession.
  • Unleash your skills in our Steinberg Certified Training centre where you can build your practical talents and emerge industry-ready4
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Global Ready

An international outlook, with global opportunities

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Teaching excellence

Taught by lecturers who are experts in their field

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Career ready graduates, with the skills to succeed

Why you should study this course

  • We offer you a focus on creative-based music skills in performance and songwriting which is underpinned by popular music theory and the chance to experience this in a vibrant and creative environment which gives you access to professional practices, new research and outstanding graduate support.
  • You get to engage effectively with a range of technology in the creation, performance and recording of music, including recording studios and live performance. And you can develop your own personal website (e.g. Domain of One’s Own) which by the later stages of the course, is intended to be a professional-looking, outward-facing website that demonstrates the breadth of your learning and professional experience.
  • Visiting master classes which are embedded within the course and which have included: Black Sabbath founder Tony Iommi, singer/songwriter Gwyneth Herbert; composers: Nick Ryan, Derek Nesbitt, Kit Turnbull and Juwon Ogungbe; sonic artist Trevor Wishart; guitarist Sam Cave; avant-garde bass clarinettist, Sarah Watts; composer and multi-instrumentalist Frank Moon; jazz keyboardist and music production composer, Andy Quinn. Masterclass visitors are subject to availability and may change each year.
  • There are opportunities to showcase your performing and songwriting talent in a public context throughout your studies. Performance spaces on-site include a large room with two grand pianos, suitable for small recitals, and The Hub’s Square One, a large performance space kitted out with PA, amps, drums and a grand piano4. You will have the opportunity to perform in at least one of the following city's live music venues (subject to availability), which previously has included: Studio 54, The Herbert Art Gallery, Kasbah, The Phoenix, The Cross, Drapers, The Cottage, The Tin, The Litten Tree, Ego Arts and Nexus.
  • You will receive a Mac laptop, fully loaded with industry standard music software and have access to our extensive specialist facilities: a music seminar room with grand piano, PA, amps, drum kit, 5.1 surround sound and directly linked to a control room for recording; music practice rooms with pianos, drums and PA; three band rooms; a 5.1 studio and live room; instrument storage; an iMac music tech suite plus further state-of-the-art recording studios running Pro Tools, Logic, Live, Max and Sibelius on Apple macs4

of our students found this course challenged them to achieve their best work

NSS, 2019

Music at Coventry

How you'll learn

We seek to provide you with the opportunity to develop a solid foundation of knowledge, practical experience and a professional portfolio with which you can launch a career within the global field of popular music, related industries, or postgraduate study.

Teaching contact hours

We understand that everyone learns differently, so each of our courses will consist of structured teaching sessions, which can include:  

  • On campus lectures, seminars and workshops
  • Group work 
  • Self-directed learning 
  • Work placement opportunities. 

If you would like more information, you can request information about teaching hours.

Part of university life is undertaking self-directed learning. During a typical week you will have time that allows you to work independently to apply the skills and knowledge you have learnt in taught or facilitated sessions to your projects or assignment briefs.  This self-directed learning allows you to use your research skills, consolidate your knowledge or undertake collaborative group work. 

As an innovative and enterprising institution, the university may seek to utilise emerging technologies within the student experience. For all courses (whether on-campus, blended, or distance learning), the university may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via online technologies and methods.


This course will be assessed using a variety of methods which will vary depending upon the module. Assessment methods include:

  • Coursework
  • Tests 
  • Essays 
  • Practical or project work
  • Presentations/posters.

This course is predominantly assessed by coursework.

The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards the achieving the intended learning outcomes. Assessments may include exams, individual assignments or group work elements. 

International experience opportunities

Music is an international industry. We explore a diverse range of musicians, musical styles and cultures. We have also previously been fortunate enough to attract a number of guest speakers (subject to availability), including the New York ‘cello innovator’ (Time Out NY) Madeleine Shapiro and Martin Atkins of cult band, Public Image Ltd.

Students have previously travelled abroad2 for a year in Cyprus, Spain, Finland, South Korea and Canada. We also try to organise an optional annual overseas fieldtrip2 (which may be subject to additional costs, availability, application and meeting any applicable visa requirements). Recent students were able to go on a three-day music cultural trip to Vienna, where students took in concerts and the Mozart and Schoenberg museums. We have previously visited Prague and New York, which included seeing the Broadway show Chicago plus a workshop with some of the cast, as well as going to Carnegie Hall. 

Please note that all international experience opportunities may be subject to additional costs, competitive application, availability and meeting applicable visa and travel requirements are therefore not guaranteed2.

Entry requirements

Typical offer for 2023 entry.

Requirement What we're looking for
A level BBC
GCSE Minimum 5 GCSE's graded 9-4 including English
IB Diploma 29 points

We recognise a breadth of qualifications, speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.

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You may be required to attend a portfolio showcase, activity session or audition or submit a portfolio via email (as is appropriate to your course), either virtually or face to face, as is practical to arrange. Invites for these sessions will be sent directly to your contact email.

Each application will be considered on its merits.

Are you eligible for the Fair Access Scheme?

We believe every student should have the opportunity to dream big, reach their potential and succeed, regardless of their background.

Fair Access Scheme

The selection process is friendly, informal and designed to help us assess the candidate’s suitability for the course, and whether it is the right course for the candidate. The candidate should demonstrate prior engagement in songwriting/music composition and performance. Candidates will attend* an interview and audition. Candidate’s musical skill level should, typically, be at an equivalent to Grade 6 (or above) ABRSM/RSL/LCM on an instrument or voice. Candidates who do not have Grade 6 will be able to demonstrate musical ability equivalent to Grade 6 (e.g. in songwriting/composition) at interview.

Typical offer for 2023 entry.

Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:

You can view our full list of country specific entry requirements on our Entry requirements page.

Alternatively, visit our International hub for further advice and guidance on finding in-country agents and representatives, joining our in-country events and how to apply.


You will be required to submit a portfolio via email or alternatively attend a showcase activity session or audition (as is appropriate for your course) which can be virtual or face to face, as is practical to arrange. Invites to send in your portfolio or attend these sessions will be sent directly to your contact email.

Each application will be considered on its merits.

English language requirements

  • Students whose first language is not English must demonstrate proficiency in the English language equivalent to IELTS 6 with no component lower than 5.5.

If you don't meet the English language requirements, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course. 

For more information on our approved English language tests visit our English language requirements page.

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Fees and funding

Student Full time Part time
UK TBC per year Not available
International TBC per year Not available

If you choose to do a work placement2, you should consider travel and living costs to cover this. There is also a tuition fee3 of £1,250 that will cover your academic support throughout your placement year.

For advice and guidance on tuition fees and student loans visit our Undergraduate Finance page and see The University’s Tuition Fee and Refund Terms and Conditions.

We offer a range of International scholarships to students all over the world. For more information, visit our International Scholarships page.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessments, facilities and support services. There may be additional costs not covered by this fee such as accommodation and living costs, recommended reading books, stationery, printing and re-assessments should you need them. Find out what's included in your tuition costs.


This course also offers extensive specialist facilities4, including:

  • Music seminar room with a grand piano
  • Practice rooms and band rooms
  • a 5.1 studio and live room 
Student playing trumpet on stage accompanied by a pianist.

Music seminar room

A great space for our budding musicians, our specialist music seminar room comes with a grand piano, PA, amps, drum kit and 5.1 surround sound, all directly linked to a control room for recording.

Students acting out a classroom scene on stage

Performance spaces

Our Ellen Terry Building has a dance performance space, two dance studios and a theatre workshop. It also has dressing rooms and storage with around 3,500 costume items and 1,500 accessories.

Student using computer equipment on a recording studio desk.

Recording studios

With some of our courses, you can have access to five recording studios, instrument storage, and an iMac music tech suite. We also have state-of-the-art recording studios running Pro Tools, Logic, Live, Max and Sibelius on Apple macs.

Careers and opportunities

On successful completion of this course you will be able to: 

  • Demonstrate a professional approach to music making in the areas of performance, songwriting and music production in an international context.
  • Evaluate and utilise established and experimental approaches to music-making within an international context.
  • Demonstrate professional competence in a variety of performance, music-creation, re-creation, and presentation modes and contexts, both conventional and unconventional.
  • Apply analytical, reflective, and critical skills to the evaluation of your own work, and to that of others, in the global music industry.
  • Manage your own professional development and profile in the music industry.
  • Demonstrate that you are an enterprising, creative, innovative, and flexible practitioner able to work with diverse communities within a global context.
  • Work in a professional manner so you can effectively function in a range of roles and responsibilities. 

There is a strong emphasis within the course on future career paths. This is aimed not only to help you to explore what your chosen career path might be, but also to help build a professional level of business skills and knowledge. 

Our graduates pursue careers as performers, sound designers and composers while others undertake the appropriate qualifications to become teachers in schools and colleges, or they become freelance instrumental or music theory teachers. Graduates also work with community arts organisations or as arts administrators. 

Where our graduates work

Notable successes include a leading professional guitarist and author of a series of advanced guitar handbooks, a recording artist who has released three EPs to date, a YouNow live-streamer and songwriter, an examiner for Rockschool, PhD in composition, and a London-based professional drummer doing a PhD. 

How to apply

  • Full-time students applying to start in September 2023 can apply for this course through UCAS from 6 September 2022.

    Part-time students should apply directly to the university. Read our application pages to find out your next steps to apply.

    If you'd like further support or more information about your course get in touch with us today.

  • Full-time students applying to start in September 2023 should apply directly to the university. Applications are due to be open in June 2022, so please return to this page to fill out your application.

    How to apply

    For further support for international applicants applying for an undergraduate degree view our International hub.

    You can also download our International guide which contains lots of useful information about our courses, accommodation and tips for travel.

    Get in touch with us today for further advice and guidance.

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  • 1Accreditations

    The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.

    2UK and international opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or International opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel COVID and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand the visa requirements, please contact the International Office.

    3Tuition fees

    The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For Home Students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.

    For International Students, we may increase fees each year but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.


    Facilities are subject to availability. Due to the ongoing restrictions relating to COVID-19, some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) may vary from those advertised and may have reduced availability or restrictions on their use.

    Student Contract

    By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. The 2022/23 Contract is currently being updated so please revisit this page before submitting your application. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.