Music: Musical Arts
BA (Hons)

Overseas study available
Work placement opportunity
International Students can apply

3 good reasons to study Music: Musical Arts at Salford


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


We offer brand new practice rooms and recording studios that are of the latest design viewed as the finest in Europe


You’ll be part of a large and vibrant music department, and benefit from numerous performing and showcasing opportunities at MediaCityUK and around Greater Manchester

Course Summary

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.

Professional guest speakers and visiting artists, from our strong international links with the USA, Japan, Europe and Australia such as Nigel Clarke, Hummie Mann, Ben Godfrey, Masanori Fukuda, Naoya Takizawa, and David Thornton will provide you with an appreciation of Manchester’s historical importance within both traditional and contemporary music idioms. Our masterclass series will also assist you in your professional development and career management as a well-founded musician.

In addition to the traditional three-year degree route, you have the option of pursuing our preparation and training course, a one-year Foundation course, which develops the skill level required to continue further with the degree study.

"The BA (Hons) course, I feel was the best choice for me. With a range of different ensembles and helping me to widen my knowledge of music in general.  One of my favourite things about the course is that they encourage you at not only your current instrument but, if you are interested in other instruments, they are supportive and want to further your individual development.   There is a workshop/masterclass every week by a professional group or musician, in different genres of music, from classical soloists to TV composers.  It shows us avenues we could take after university and inspires us into the people we become outside of academia. Within the course there is a lot of opportunity to perform too from venues as prestigious as Regent Hall, to our modest local, The Old Pint Pot, we are surrounded by performance opportunities and encouraged in every way in our musical pathway." -- Rebecca Childs

Course Details

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.

Course Structure

Foundation Year

Semester 1

This module develops both your individual and ensemble instrumental ability. You will receive weekly one-to-one instrumental tuition from an internationally recognized specialist tutor, focusing on technique and its application across a broad range of repertoire. You will also join one of the many Ensembles within the Directorate, including Popular Music Choir, Big Band, Brass Band, Brass Ensembles, Wind Band and Classical Choir.
This module aims to provide the theoretical foundations for all further areas of study. You will learn to recognise and confidently use fundamental theoretical terms in your work, notate all perfect, major, minor, augmented, diminished intervals, and identify and notate a range of basic chords and progressions. The assessment requires you to compose idiomatic music incorporating all these elements. You will also develop your Aural and Transcription skills with focused ear training tuition
This module will equip you with the necessary analytical skills, IT skills and research techniques to complete written academic assignments. You will analyse a broad range of musical styles within the Popular, Jazz and Classical idioms. It will provide you with the appropriate reference framework from which to critically evaluate examples of these styles, as well as the use of harmonic and analytical terminology within the discussion of music.

Semester 2

This module consolidates and expands the instrumental skills developed in semester one, with a continuation of the weekly one-to-one instrumental tuition with your internationally recognized specialist tutor. For your assessed Ensemble activity you will have the option to form your own Popular Music group, or join Big Band, Brass Band, Brass Ensembles, Wind Band or Classical Choir.
Building upon the theoretical knowledge gained in Semester 1, this module introduces more advanced concepts and techniques including extended chord progressions, notation and recognition of diatonic melodic lines, moving bass lines, and complex rhythmic patterns, and SATB scoring. You will also receive further ear training within the Aural and Transcription tuition.
This module introduces software based solutions for recording and composition. You will learn to notate musical ideas appropriately with respect to instrumentation and genre and to identify appropriate software pathway to communicate musical ideas effectively. You will work with notation, sequencing and recording interfaces and interrogate the relationship between them.

Year 1

Semester 1

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 an internationally recognized 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.
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.
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. The module also provides an introduction to location recording techniques, appropriate sequencing software, musical acoustics and their relationship to music technology.

Semester 2

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.
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.
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 2

Semester 1

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 2 of the following:

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.
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.
You will be introduced to the creative use of sound and a range of hardware and software interfaces. This module instills 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.
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.
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.
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.

Semester 2

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This module provides an overview of journalistic methodologies as applied to the fields of music and the music industry. You will examine and construct a variety of forms of journalistic outputs as related to music as well as develop a critical understanding of the interrelationship between market, industry and culture.
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 3

Semester 1

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.
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.

Semester 2

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.

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.

Entry Requirements

Qualification Entry requirements
UCAS tariff points 104 - 120 points
FY: 72 points
GCE A level 104 - 120 points including B in music. Appropriate subjects to include music, General studies not accepted
BTEC National Diploma DMM to include music
Scottish Highers DDM (104 - 120). To include Music. MPP (72) for Music with a Foundation Year.
Irish Leaving Certificate 104 - 120 points. 72 points for Music with Foundation Year. To include Music.
International Baccalaureate 31 points, to include 5 (Higher Level) in Music. 24 points for Music with a Foundation Year.

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.

English Language Requirements

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

Applicant profile

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.

We positively welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to successfully pursue a programme of study in higher education. Students who do not have formal entry qualifications are required to sit a written assessment which is designed for this purpose. Support in preparing for the written assessment is available from the University. Please contact Beth Hewitt the Director of Admissions for further information.


  • 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 in order 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.

Instrumental tutor list

Les Bolger
Glenn Cartlidge
Paul Cusick
Mel Dean
Andy Duffy
Brian Kelly
Adam Palma
Carl Barnett (Bass Guitar)
Ollie Collins (Bass Guitar)
John Wilson (piano)
Laurina Sableviciute (piano)
Rob Gibney (Piano)
Matt Steele (Piano)
Clare Hogan (voice)
Sue Hickey (voice)
Gair Carson (clarinet / flute)
Munch Manship (sax / clarinet)
Tim France (sax/ensembles/ Big Band)
Helen Tonge (Strings)
Mark Wilkinson (flugel / cornet)
Brian Taylor (cornet)
Richard Marshall (cornet)
Mike Eccles (flugel)
Helen Varley (tenor horn / French Horn) David Thornton (Postgraduate Performance) 
Billy Millar (euphonium)
Les Storey (bass trombone)
Gary Curtin (euphonium & tenor horn)
Brett Baker (trombone)
Lee Hallam (jazz trombone)
Les Neish (tuba)
Steve Gilbert (drums)
Gaz Hughes (drums)
Mark Landon (percussion)


Examination and coursework.


Career Prospects

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.

Alumni Profile

Ben Dixon

The Principal Tuba player of Black Dyke Band, Ben Dixon now works as a clinician for Buffett Group and as a peripatetic teacher for both Rochdale and Salford music services, and is the Musical Director for Rochdale Music Centre Youth Band.

Charlotte Ankers

"After completing my Undergraduate studies in 2013 I was accepted onto a Graduate Scheme with the company UP Global Sourcing where I have been adapting the creative and analytical skills developed throughout my degree to build a career in Buying and Merchandising. Whilst getting a foot onto the career ladder I continued to develop as a musician and decided that I would return to Salford to study an MPhil in Music on a part time basis. It was the inspirational lecturers at Salford that confirmed to me that it would be the perfect place to continue my education and their passion and support is second to none. The wide variety of modules available on the Undergraduate course definitely helped in the preparation for the research that I’m conducting at Postgraduate level and has improved the scope of what I hope to achieve."

Links with Industry

We have direct links with professional institutions such the BBC Philharmonic, Halle Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain, National Children’s’ Brass Band, Black Dyke Band, Faireys, Fodens and Leyland Band as well as the ‘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.

Placement Opportunities

Further Study

Fees and Funding


Rehearsal Facilities

Our brand new £55 million Arts and Media building houses the most up to date practice rooms, rehearsal facilities and recording studios that have been judged as the finest in Europe.

The Music Directorate houses six 'amplified rehearsal rooms', each containing a vocal PA system, stage piano / keyboard, drum kit and back-line amplifiers for guitars, bass and keyboards / electronics. The equipment is sourced from a wide range of manufacturers such as Sonor, Sabian, Roland, Mackie, Yamaha, Line 6, Fender and many more. All of the equipment is maintained by our team of both full time and evening / weekend rehearsal suite supervisors.

We also encourage students to use their own equipment for rehearsals. To facilitate this we have an instrument storage facility where students can leave their equipment to avoid having to constantly transport it between lectures, seminars and accommodation. Students are free to store instruments, amplifiers, drum kit accessories on a short/mid term basis.

'The Band Room' is a large double height space with a modifiable acoustic characteristic. It is mainly used for large acoustic ensemble rehearsals, catering for our Big Band, Brass Bands, Adelphi Contemporary Music Group and Wind Band. It is also used for performance master classes and small concerts (capacity approx 80 - 100) with a two tier stage and 5kw PA system.

Specialist rooms for drum / percussion tuition and bass guitar tuition are located in this area. When these facilities are not in use by teaching staff the rooms can be booked for individual student practice.

In addition to the facilities housed in the University we have a partnership with 'Blueprint Recording and Rehearsal Studios' ( This world class facility is located just 10 minutes walk from the Adelphi campus and caters for any overspill from our own rehearsal rooms. Many students take 'block bookings' at Blueprint whilst working towards ensemble musicianship performance exams.

Recording Studios

The Music Directorate houses two fully equipped professional recording studios and a further three pre/post production studios with access to a variety of recording/performance spaces. We have created a creative and educational environment which aims to mirror contemporary professional studio practise. 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. The two large recording studios (A / B) make use of comprehensive balanced patch bays, giving students the opportunity to fully explore traditional signal routing, a skill vital to ones progression into professional practice. 

Opening Hours

Monday - Friday:  9.30am – Midnight
Saturday: 10am – Midnight
Sunday: 10am – 9pm