Commercial Music

BA (Hons), MA

Integrated MA

Key facts

Award
BA (Hons) Commercial Music; MA Commercial Music
School
College of Liberal Arts
Campus or location
Newton Park
Course length
Four years full-time
UCAS codes
Institution Code: B20
Course Code: W385
Campus Code: A,BSU

Entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our undergraduate programmes. Typical offers include A level Grades ABB  with Grade A in Music, Music technology or related subjects preferred.

View typical offers for more information.

A four year course for songwriters, producers and performers who want to turn their passion into a career.

  • We focus on original creativity.
  • We build careers through personal development and industry engagement.
  • All our staff have music industry experience at a high level.

The course follows the Commercial Music degree pathway for years one and two. In year three some level 6 credits are replaced by selected level 7 modules. With the Integrated MA pathway you get an additional fourth year fully funded. This allows you to focus on a particular pathway: songwriting, production or music business. You’ll graduate with a level 7 MA in Commercial Music.

If you have a flair for original musical ideas, our Commercial Music Integrated MA course can take you on a creative journey to inspire and define a lifelong career. You’ll write original material alongside exploring identity, promotion and the wider music business context of your music.

Some of our graduates are signed artists. Others work for record labels, in music publishing, in the entertainment business, or across the digital sector.

Instagram | YouTube Channel | Alumni Blog

“While giving you a deep understanding of the workings of the industry from business to creativity, it also allows an individual to pursue their specific interests in detail. Thank you for giving me the best 3 years of my life.”

Neil Martin, Broadcast Engineer, Abbey Road Live (Commercial Music Graduate)

What you'll learn

Overview

This Commercial Music course is about creation: songs, projects, bands and entrepreneurial ideas. You’ll acquire skills that broaden your future career choices, through writing, designing, promoting, performing, researching, touring and launching your creative material.

Songwriting / Original Music – Develop your songwriting skills, whether you’re a singer songwriter, play in a band, or want to write music for media.

Music production – Capture and present your musical ideas. Whether you’re into vintage studio techniques, or the latest digital technologies, we’ll teach you the skills you need to achieve your personal creative goals.

Contextual studies – Understand the context of your musical work through the analysis of your own creative outputs and the work of artists relevant to you.

Performance – Develop performance skills as solo performer, or within a band.

Course structure

Year 1
Your first year focusses on songwriting, performance and production; this raw material will define the launch and release cycles of your second year.

You’ll write songs, journalistic and promotional material and learn how to produce and develop your material in the recording studio. Meanwhile you’ll work towards live showcase events.

Year 2
You’ll write, produce, and record your own original material. You’ll explore semiotics, marketing, cultural theory, photography and advertising, and develop an understanding of branding in a crowded marketplace.

Create an online presence through designing and editing your own promotional video, as well as other website and audio-visual content. Using this for promotion, you’ll set up your own national tour.

Year 3
Start to develop your specialism alongside deepening your songwriting, performance and production skills. You’ll work in projects to design, fund and launch an innovative music product or service. All students write business plans and then implement their projects in the real world. Many graduates have continued successful business projects they started at university beyond graduation. You’ll also develop research skills at Masters level.

Year 4
Your fourth year sees you continuing to hone your specialist skills while devising collaborative projects. You’ll bring everything together in the Major Project module, which could involve creating an album or a major live event or business project.

How will I be assessed?

There are no formal exams. You’ll be assessed through the production of your portfolio materials which will include: songs, live performances, audio productions, promotional material, website design, photographic output, video staging, video editing, critical thinking, tour management, written dissertations, business plans, business diagnostics, and presentations.

How will I be taught?

You’ll be taught in a variety of ways including: group practical lectures in practice rooms; formal group lectures; small group seminars in band rooms; group lectures in technology suites (video, website design and music production); small group seminars in recording studios; one to one tutorials; and instrumental teaching in small groups and one to one formats.

Opportunities

Study abroad

Partnerships with other liberal arts institutions and international connections with educational partners in Barcelona provide opportunities for you to gain an international perspective and experience relevant to your musical career.

Music Think Tank

We don’t just teach you about the music industry, we bring it to you. Music Think Tank is an annual ten week lecture series, which brings you into contact with practitioners from a wide spectrum of the industry.

Promotion, branding and visuals

Making music is one thing, but understanding how to present your music is key. We’ll teach you how to present your projects through understanding the links between sound and vision. You’ll design logos, make and edit videos, be involved in photoshoots, and design your own websites and social media campaigns.

Competitions and awards

The Bath Spa University Cullum Family Award supports music students by providing grants which help them explore and better understand the music industry and the various career pathways available to them.

Facilities and resources

Where the subject is taught

You'll have access to a range of music facilities. Many of these spaces are accessible seven days a week in term time, with full technical support available.

  • Recording studios
    Equipped with industry standard equipment including TL Audio valve desks, high end outboard and top of the range microphones.
  • Rehearsal spaces
    Fully equipped rehearsal rooms with high end drum kits, amplifiers (Mesa Boogie, Orange, Ampeg and Vox) and Nord Keyboards.
  • Technology labs
    With state of the art iMAC’s loaded with Logic, Protools, Native Instrument, Waves and numerous other industry standard music software
  • Performance spaces
    Our performance spaces include Burdall’s yard, a venue in central Bath particularly suited to acoustic music. We also have relationships with various venues in Bath, Bristol and the Students' Union, for regular performances, events and assessment activities.
  • TV studios
    We have a state of the art TV and media production facility, Commercial Music students use these facilities when making videos and working on post production audio mixing/editing.
  • Michael Tippett Centre
    A theatre venue where we undertake lectures, performance seminars and location recording sessions.

Resources

Students can hire out equipment using SISO, Bath Spa University’s free equipment loan service. Commercial Music students can hire our instruments, P.A systems, recording equipment, video cameras and laptops for their creative projects.

Fees

UK and EU students full time

2017/18 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 £9,250
Year 2 Published Jan 2018
Year 3 Published Jan 2019

2018/19 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2018
Year 2 Published Jan 2019
Year 3 Published Jan 2020

2019/20 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2019
Year 2 Published Jan 2020
Year 3 Published Jan 2021

International students full time

2017/18 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 £13,500
Year 2 Published Jan 2018
Year 3 Published Jan 2018

2018/19 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2018
Year 2 Published Jan 2019
Year 3 Published Jan 2021

2019/20 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2019
Year 2 Published Jan 2020
Year 3 Published Jan 2021

Interested in applying?

What we look for in potential students

We’re looking for individuals with the determination necessary to turn their creative ideas into lifelong career. Our graduates are ready to cope with the demands of a modern ‘portfolio career’, so you’ll need to be prepared to learn a wide range of skills in order to succeed.

Shortlisted candidates will be auditioned.

Applicants will also need a high level of performance or composing skill (assessed via MP3s/Soundcloud of your three best original tracks); music technology experience; performance experience. Submitted digitally prior to audition. Shortlisted candidates will be auditioned at our Newton Park Campus between December and March where they will be required to perform an original piece of work, written or part-written by you. Candidates should be aware that this is an interview as much as it is an audition, and so we will be looking to explore broader aspects of your character and personality as well as your specific musical skills.

We do not charge an audition fee.

Typical offers

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our undergraduate programmes. The main ones are listed below:

  • A Level - A level Grades ABB with Grade A in Music, Music technology or related subjects preferred.
  • BTEC - Extended Diploma in Music Technology or related subject grades Distinction, Distinction, Merit (DDM) accepted.
  • International Baccalaureate - A minimum of 28 points are required along with evidence of a high level of performance or composing skill, music technology experience; performance experience.
  • Access to HE courses - Typical offers for applicants with Access to HE will be the Access to HE Diploma or Access to HE Certificate (60 credits, 45 of which must be Level 3, including 30 at merit or higher). Any selection procedure/further requirements will also apply. Applicants must also provide evidence of a high level of performance or composing skill, music technology experience; performance experience.
  • Candidates without standard qualifications but with music industry experience considered.

English Language Requirements for International and EU Applicants
IELTS 6.0 - for visa nationals, with a minimum score of IELTS 5.5 in each element.

How do I apply?

Ready to apply? Click the 'apply now' button in the centre of this page.

Need more guidance? Head to our how to apply pages.

Interview and portfolio guidance

We ask you to provide a link to three original compositions and complete an additional document which allows you to highlight your specific contribution to the music.

At interview you’ll need to perform some music. The nature of this performance will depend on your own musical aims: a singer songwriter might perform a song; a drummer, guitarist or keyboard player might play to a backing track. It's fine if you want to peform a track that you submitted as part of your portfolio.

This is your opportunity to tell us about all your musical activities, so be prepared with links to videos, a portfolio showing performances, events you have organised or work related experience that you have undertaken.

Admissions service: +44 (0)1225 876 180
Email: admissions@bathspa.ac.uk
Course leader: Jim Dickinson
Email: j.dickinson@bathspa.ac.uk