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Level: 3

Location: Joseph Wright Centre

Years: 1

Interview: Y

Course Summary

This qualification is designed for students aged 16 years or over who have already achieved GCSE grade 4 [C] in both English and Maths and want to continue to study Music through applied learning to progress to higher education or professional vocational training.

The Advanced Music Performance: Creative Pathway has been specifically designed for students wishing to study a single creative subject plus work experience, tutorial and personal and professional development.

The qualification is not just about being able to perform on stage. It will provide you with the skills, knowledge and understanding to progress into higher education or professional vocational training on a specialist Music degree.

On the Music Performance pathway, you can focus on creating music, mastering techniques as an instrumentalist, singing or performance. There is also an opportunity to explore writing songs.

The Applied General in Music Performance is designed to be the substantial part of your study programme. However, it can be studied alongside other applied general qualifications including Business, helping you develop the skills and knowledge that are needed in the performing arts industry.

Entry requirements

Typically, you will have at least five GCSEs graded A*- C, including English Language and Maths. Alternatively you may have equivalent intermediate qualifications at Merit grade or above, along with GCSE grade 4/C in English Language and Maths.

Importantly a university application will probably require five GCSEs at grade C (4) or above including both English Language and Maths GCSE at grade 4/C or above.

In addition to these entry requirements, you may be asked to attend a taster activity where your practical skills and potential will be assessed.

Course Content

On the Music Performance pathway, you will explore a broad range of compositional ideas and influences to inspire current music creation possibilities. You will also reflect on a range of examples - from traditional western classical to jazz and popular styles - as a creative stimulus.

The scope of the creation and arrangement of music should allow you to express yourself in your chosen genre. This could encompass orchestral, choral, jazz, popular and gaming music as well as the more contemporary performance work employed by vocalists, rappers, DJ and VJ artists or electronic contemporary music makers.

Mastering the techniques and skills required to be an outstanding instrumentalist is a vital skill for any musician. Understanding how and what to practise and continuing to develop your music theory is at the heart of being a working musician.

This pathway aims to develop your technical music skills through exploring how chosen instruments work in theory and practice and in the application of skills and techniques. You will learn how to assess and monitor your skill level, the importance of regular practice, how to continually evaluate your development, and how to relate your skills to the industry standards.

Being a musician is all about performing: performance is a result of the hours of practice and rehearsal to engage your audience. You will investigate different genres of music, then select pieces to prepare for performance as both a soloist and as a member of an ensemble, whether this be a rock band, a duo or even a full classical orchestra. You will experience the demands and exhilaration of live music performance.

To secure work, the musician will need to be competent in a range of styles and genres: this course encourages the development of music skills in a variety of possible performance opportunities to prepare you for the realities of life as a performer.

How will I be assessed?

To achieve this qualification, you must complete between six and seven units consisting of:

  • Three mandatory externally assessed units
  • One mandatory pathway internally assessed unit
  • Two to three further units centre-assessed and externally moderated. The units will depend on the pathway selected.

If you don’t achieve a Pass in a unit, it will be unclassified. You must achieve at least a Pass for every unit to be awarded the qualification.

Qualifications are graded using a Pass, Merit, Distinction, Distinction* (and Unclassified) structure.

Are there any additional costs or specialist equipment required?

You will need to have your own pair of headphones and a USB memory stick.  You will also need to have your own instrument where applicable.

What can I do after this course?

The content of the course has been developed with universities, professional performing arts colleges, theatres and individual professionals in the sector. Such collaboration ensures that this qualification will support your progression to higher education or professional vocational training and will give you the specific skills that you need to build a successful career in the performing arts.


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This course is run at the Joseph Wright Centre

About Joseph Wright Centre »

Jacob Holmes

Jacob Holmes

Set to make some noise in the music industry

Music Technology learner Jacob Holmes chose his course after meeting Derby College tutors at an information evening. He says they were so passionate and enthusiastic about their subject, he was immediately inspired to enrol.

The decision turned out to be a sound one. He is now preparing for higher education at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, with a view to a career in the live sound and theatre industry.

Jacob has also won applause for his exceptional commitment to his studies. Keen to develop his skills and understanding, he undertook sound and lighting operations at extra-curricular gigs and performances – both in-house and at external venues – and proved to be an essential part of any technical team.

His dedication earned him the Media, Music and Performing Arts prize, sponsored by the Derby Telegraph, at our 2014 Peak Awards.

The tutors at Derby College are so helpful. They really care about the learners and their progress, which pushes you to work harder.
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