Undergraduate BA (Hons)

Music: Musical Arts

School of Arts and Media




Three year

Next enrolment

September 2020

Add to shortlist

In a nutshell

This course has its roots in Salford’s pioneering Band Musicianship programme which has bound together musicians with a shared passion for music of many genres, from symphonic brass and brass and wind band through to big band jazz and popular music.

Building upon these long established foundations, the Musical Arts course is well known for producing high calibre graduates in conducting and performance such as Paul Lovatt-Cooper (UK), David King (Australia), Alan Withington (Norway), Paula Russell (Australia), Hiroe Tada (Japan), Ben Richeton (France) and Glyn Williams (UK).

Welcoming musicians from all musical backgrounds, we have a large and vibrant student body who regularly contribute to a number of recordings, high profile concerts and festivals. Salford’s proximity to Manchester city centre means you will have the opportunity to engage with like-minded creative artists in a city renowned for its dynamic music scene.

You will be able to take part in a number of our internationally acclaimed ensembles such as the Brass Band, Wind Band, Big Band and the Adelphi Contemporary Music Group and thereby engage with a varied and extensive concert programme.

You will:
  • Learn that musical arts builds upon Salford's long-standing reputation for Band Musicianship and classical music training with internationally renowned tutors such as Richard Marshall and Les Neish
  • Study in brand new practice rooms and recording studios that are of the latest design viewed as the finest in Europe
  • Learn from being of a large and vibrant music department, and benefit from numerous performing and showcasing opportunities at MediaCityUK and around Greater Manchester

students accepted

This is for you if...


You want to access to industry-standard facilities


You want to be part of a diverse and vibrant music department and benefit from numerous performing and showcasing opportunities in Manchester and beyond


You want to be taught by practicing music professionals on a course well known for producing graduates who excel in their chosen careers.

Course details

All about the course

The musical arts pathway offers a broad-based curriculum during the first year, leading to increased opportunities for specialisation and professional development throughout year two and three.

The comprehensive range of subject areas you will cover include jazz, pop and electro-acoustic composition, brass and wind arranging, band and classical historical studies and ensemble musicianship, performance and conducting. Dedicated modules such as Music Journalism, Audio for Media, and Ethnomusicology are offered alongside negotiated project modules, encouraging self-directed learning and creative collaboration. The course retains a successful balance between your personal interest and academic enquiry to produce critically aware, creative, and well-rounded music graduates.

In addition to the traditional three year degree route, you have the option of pursuing additional training and academic tuition by undertaking our four year foundation option. While the foundation year is listed as an option below, it is by no means a pre-requisite to the BA (Hons) Music: Musical Arts course.

Year one

Musicianship Skills

Focusing on your instrumental proficiency, this module will develop your skills across three different assessed activities. Individual Performance consists of weekly one-to-one tuition with a specialist tutor, based upon an instrumental syllabus (pieces, technical exercises and sight reading). The Ensemble component requires you to join either a Latin Percussion group (Rhythmic Awareness), Big Band, Brass Band, Wind Band or Classical Choir. You will also choose an associated study, either Session Musicianship (a tutor led group rehearsal focusing on a broad range of Popular Music styles) or Classical Conducting.

Music and Society: Antiquity to Enlightenment

This module engenders a sense of history and an awareness of significant cultural epochs and the music associated with them. It relates performance styles, compositional techniques and musicological discourse to particular historical periods.

Fundamentals of Composition and Technology

The core aim of this module is to provide you with the skills and knowledge necessary for composing and arranging music in a variety of styles. You will gain a working knowledge of the key aspects of instrumentation voicing, score layout, formal design and the manipulation of texture. This module also provides an introduction to location recording techniques, appropriate sequencing software, musical acoustics and their relationship to music technology.

Performance Studies

Continuing on from Musicianship Skills in Semester 1, this module consists of Individual Performance (weekly one-to-one instrumental tuition), Ensemble Musicianship, and an Associated Study (either Session Musicianship or Classical Conducting). Within the Ensemble component, you will have the opportunity to form your own Popular Music group (writing and rehearsing original material to be presented at a concert at the end of the semester), or join Big Band, Brass Band, Wind Band, or Classical Choir.

Music and Society: The Modern Era

This module explores the continual interaction between “art” music and “popular” music, demonstrating the relationship between musical techniques/practices, ideology and historical contingency. You will be introduced to a broad range of repertoire and explore the historical development of competing canons in relation to social class, available technologies and prestige.

Applied Composition and Technology

This module will provide you with a strong understanding of advanced diatonic harmony, melodic writing, fundamental musical forms, and practical skills concerned with rhythm as applied to the broad field of composition. You will explore the creative uses of a range of microphones in relation to musical instruments and acoustic environments, and be introduced to techniques of sound synthesis using a range of hardware and software based synthesisers.

Year two

Music and Context: German Romanticism

This module places developments in musical form and musical language within the context of complex technological and sociological changes. You will explore the links between contextual, sociological, historical, biographical and analytic approaches by studying music of 19th century German speaking culture.

Choose two of the following optional modules:

Advanced Musicianship Skills

This module consolidates and expands your performance development within the three assessed areas of Individual Performance (weekly one-to-one Instrumental lessons with your specialist tutor, based on an advanced syllabus), Ensemble Musicianship, and an Associated Study (either Session Musicianship or Classical Conducting). The Ensemble component allows you to form your own Popular Music group, or join Big Band, Brass Band, Wind Band, or Classical Choir. The Session Musicianship component now places the emphasis on you to bring in prepared scores and lead the band through the arrangement, guided by your tutor.

Compositional Practice

During this module, you will examine theoretical issues and practical skills concerned with the manipulation and control of modal harmony and melody within composition. This will introduce you to the principles of contrapuntal composition as well as provide you with the opportunity to explore and experiment with harmonic and melodic processes.

Studio Composition

You will be introduced to the creative use of sound and a range of hardware and software interfaces. This module instils a flexible and considered approach to musical interface by covering various sonic installation possibilities and a range of studio composition techniques including synthesis, sampling, interactive and generative.

Audio for Media

The purpose of this module is to introduce you to the creative use of sound and music within a range of media. You will explore techniques for recording stereo drama in a recording studio; sound and image synchronisation techniques; and how to apply and develop audio digital editing techniques.

Studio Recording and Production

You will explore the ways in which the needs and demands of technology and performing artists can best be reconciled. This module will enhance your working knowledge of sound mixing consoles, audio recorders, signal processing equipment, digital audio workstations and software audio applications. You will develop strategies for analysing existing recordings in order to appreciate and utilise the technology involved in the recording process.

Music and the Media

This module explores the relationship between various forms of music and the media. You will examine music within a variety of media contexts and apply media theories to everyday examples.

Professional Development in the Creative Industries

Focusing on current economic structures and potential development, this module provides an in-depth examination of the UK creative economy. You will explore concepts of copyright, authorship and ownership and gain an understanding of the processes involved in successful personal development planning.

Creative Compositions and Arranging

This module encourages more specialised forms of composition and arrangement through the introduction of theoretical and analytical issues concerned with the articulation of form and structure, and an advanced study of harmony. It also explores the ways in which the colouristic, formal, harmonic, textural and rhythmic aspects of a given work may be reconsidered within the context of the creative arrangement.

Advanced Musicology

This module enables students to develop a range of approaches and theoretical models appropriate to the discipline. It introduces skills in research methodology and musicological analysis. The role of context in musical reception and evaluation is explored in depth.

Advanced Performance Studies

The aim of this module is to fully prepare you for elective performance study at third year level. The Individual Performance aspect (weekly one-to-one tuition) requires you to undertake a formal exam based on your instrumental syllabus (pieces, scales and sight-reading). Ensemble musicianship provides the opportunity to develop specialist skills in either Latin Percussion, Improvisation, or Vocal Harmony, or join the Big Band, Brass Band, Wind Band, or Classical Choir. The associated study component allows you to choose between Classical Conducting or Musical Directing which focuses on aspects of band leadership such as score preparation, arranging and conducting a popular music ensemble.

Advanced Studio Composition

Continuing on from Studio Composition in Semester 1, this module begins to explore the integration of live sound, live instrument recording, and signal processing within studio composition.

Advanced Studio and Location Recording

Building upon your learning from Studio Recording and Production in Semester 1, this module aims to provide you with confident, genre-appropriate mixing, mastering and signal processing skills. You will develop a range of detailed recording strategies in relation to acoustic considerations.

Music Journalism

By understanding the complex relationship between the music industry and its target markets, you will be equipped to write accurate and engaging reviews of the latest music releases and live concerts. In addition to exploring the evolution and variety of this genre, you will also further advance your interviewing skills and writing abilities.


You will develop an understanding of the scope, methods and aims of Ethnomusicology with reference to the historical development of the subject; the analysis of music in culture and music as culture with special reference to enculturation and acculturation, the stature of the musician in society and cultural identity. You will develop performance skills and an understanding of a musical tradition from outside your own practical musical experience.

Year three

Project Scope

This module enables you to undertake a comprehensive project encompassing two areas of specialist study (choose from: Performance, Composition, Studio Production & Recording, Studio Composition, Audio for Media, Arranging, Dissertation, Conducting, Collection of Writings and Collaborative Practice). It assists the realisation of creative work (practical and/or written), encourages the development of a personal style within the chosen fields of study, and hones your artistic and academic skills base.

Professional Practice

By broadening your work experience in areas requiring a leadership and/or team role, this module gives you the opportunity to further develop your own professional practice. You will gain experience in one of the following areas of professional practice: band management and promotion, arts administration, musical directing, business enterprise and community music in its broadest sense.

Negotiated Major Project

This module enables you to undertake a comprehensive project encompassing two areas of specialist study (choose from: Performance, Composition, Studio Production and Recording, Studio Composition, Audio for Media, Arranging, Dissertation, Conducting, Collection of Writings and Collaborative Practice). It assists the realisation of creative work (practical and/or written), encourages the development of a personal style within the chosen fields of study, and hones your artistic and academic skills base.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What Will I be Doing?

  • Lectures are enhanced with audio/visual material. A lecture on a topic is usually followed up by a relevant seminar
  • You will be encouraged to prepare materials in preparation for seminars, where you’ll contribute to discussions
  • Masterclasses - Visiting speakers and performers from relevant areas of the music industry
  • Supervision both individual and in groups
  • Individual Instrumental Tuition to develop you performance technique and musical vocabulary
  • Ensemble tuition to develop your performance technique and musical vocabulary in an ensemble setting
  • Workshops to explore concepts and develop research techniques within a workshop environment, mixing class-based discussion and activities with library and archive work, providing you with the opportunity to develop creative ideas and to interact with leading scholars in the field Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) – ‘Blackboard’, supports every module within the course.


School of Arts and Media

The School of Arts and Media is the largest School at the University of Salford with more than 4,000 creative students. Across sites at MediaCityUK and the University's Peel Park campus, we offer a huge variety of courses, from fashion image making and styling, television and radio, creative writing and music to journalism, animation, design and performance.

This broad range of disciplines offers enhanced opportunities for specialist and interdisciplinary study, including collaborative work across subject areas.


The Music Directorate houses five fully equipped professional recording studios with access to a variety of recording/performance spaces. We have created a creative and educational environment that aims to mirror contemporary professional studio practice.

Our general philosophy is to facilitate the use of both analogue and digital recording platforms, software and hardware signal processing. All studios centre around a large format mixing desk which can feed hard disk recording systems and 24 track analogue tape machines.

All studios make use of professional level outboard and software plugins as well as comprehensive balanced patch bays, giving students the opportunity to fully explore traditional signal routing, a skill vital to ones progression into professional practice.

Employment and stats

What about after uni?

Many of our students go on to further study at Salford, or to other leading musical institutions such as the Royal College of Music, the Royal Northern College of Music, or gain employment teaching music. Students are actively encouraged to participate in the Student Associate Scheme, which provides students with the opportunity to gain classroom work experience whilst studying.

We also have a number of students that have gone on to develop freelance careers as performers or composers as well as being associated with brass bands such as Black Dyke, Fodens, Leyland, Brighouse and Faireys.

A taste of what you could become

A Recording musician

A Session Musician

A Record Producer

A Sound Engineer

A Composer

And more...

Career Links

We have direct links with professional institutions such

  • BBC Philharmonic
  • Halle Orchestra
  • National Youth Orchestra of Scotland
  • National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain
  • National Children’s’ Brass Band
  • Black Dyke Band
  • The Fairey Band
  • Foden's Band
  • Leyland Band
  • ‘Sounds from the Other City’ festival.

We have a good working relationship with many venues in the local area including Islington Mill and the Bridgewater Hall.


What you need to know

All applicants should be able to sight-read, have a good understanding of chords, scales, rhythms and harmony, and have the ability to transcribe ensemble performances. Applicants may be tested in these areas and will be auditioned on the instrument they wish to study for practice-based pathways. All applicants are expected to have some knowledge of acoustics and the principles that govern the creative use of music technology.

All applicants are required to audition and interview for the course.


International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0, with no element below 5.5, is proof of this.

Standard entry requirements


English Language and Maths at grade C/level 4 or above (or equivalent).

You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.

GCE A level

104-120 points, applications can be considered without a Music A-Level

UCAS tariff points

104-120 points, applications can be considered without a Music qualification

BTEC National Diploma


Scottish Highers

104-120 points, applications can be considered without a Music qualification


Irish Leaving Certificate

104-120 points, applications can be considered without a Music qualification


International Baccalaureate

30-31 points, applications can be considered without a Music qualification


European Baccalaureate

Pass in Diploma of at least 60%

Access to HE

Pass level 3 QAA approved Access Diploma with 104 – 120, applications can be considered without a Music qualification

Alternative entry requirements

Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.

There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home/EU 2019/20 £9,250per year
Full-time international 2019/20 £14,400per year
Part-time 2019/20 Your annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying.
Full-time home/EU 2020/21 £9,250per year
Full-time international 2020/21 £15240per year
Part-time 2020/21 Your annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying.
Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Apply now

All set? Let's apply

Enrolment dates

September 2020

UCAS information

Course ID W304

Institution S03