Foundation Musicianship Skills
Music: Performance with Foundation Year
Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology
In a nutshell
The foundation year of this four-year programme aims to provide you with an understanding of the subject to allow you to progress on to the BA (Hons) Music: Performance course.
This course has its roots in Salford’s pioneering Band Musicianship programme, the first BA (Hons) degree in the United Kingdom to offer bespoke studies in brass band, wind band and big band. Building upon these long-established traditions, the Music: Performance programme is a diverse pathway for instrumental and vocal musicians looking for more traditional music education.
The course is renowned for producing high-calibre graduates within the fields of composition, conducting and performance, with alumni including Nigel Clarke, Joe Duddell, David King, Paul Lovatt-Cooper, Ben Richeton and Glyn Williams.
You will study ‘classical’ music from a broad range of perspectives, developing technical and creative skills whilst placing emphasis on academic and theoretical aspects. You will regularly perform in a number of the department’s acclaimed ensembles, including the big band, brass band, wind band, function group, choir and contemporary music group, contributing to a varied and extensive annual concert series.
You can also find helpful FAQs, learn more about student life at Salford or explore all our Music courses.
- Prepare to progress on to our degree programme
- Be taught by practicing professionals on a high-achieving course, well-known for producing graduates who are active in the industry
- Study in state-of-the-art rehearsal, recording and performance facilities
- Be able to explore creative ideas and passions and be provided with the facility for cross-genre collaboration
This is for you if...
You want to access to industry-standard facilities and to be taught by practicing music professionals.
You want to develop your technical and creative skills whilst studying the academic and theoretical aspects of classical/band musicianship.
You want to be taught by practicing music professionals on a course well known for producing graduates who excel in their chosen careers.
All about the course
After your foundation year, the course initially delivers a broad-based curriculum during the first year, with opportunities for specialisation and professional development. Our informative Masterclass series is designed to enhance your career planning, involving internationally renowned guest speakers and visiting artists from the creative industries.
In your first year, you’ll focus on instrumental proficiency and creativity through ensemble participation and one-to-one lessons with leading specialists. In addition to examining significant historical and cultural eras of music, you’ll develop fundamental creative skills in arranging, applied composition and music technology.
In year two you are given the opportunity to specialise within the musical fields of your interest and skill set. In the final year, you consolidate your learning, deepening your individual creativity in a personal body of portfolio work.
This module develops both your individual and ensemble instrumental ability. You will receive weekly one-to-one instrumental tuition from a 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, Wind Band and Classical Choir.
Introduction to Music Theory
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.
Foundation Performance Studies
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 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, Wind Band or Classical Choir.
Music Theory and Compositional Techniques
Building upon the theoretical knowledge, 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.
Introduction to Music Technology
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.
Students will engage with a range of different activities and taught sessions, designed to develop a broad range of performance skills. There will be a focus on Ensemble rehearsal and Individual performance preparation. Contact time will be divided into the following areas of focus:
• Individual instrumental tuition (weekly one-to-one instrumental tuition)
• Directed rehearsals in Ensembles
• Associated Musicianship Skills – Conducting
• Participation in performance workshops, masterclasses and concerts
Music in Context: Fundamentals
This module combines theoretical discussion with practical application, covering a number of clear themes across its duration. The themes covered will include - Static Harmony, Functional Harmony, Song Forms and Word Setting, Instrumental Forms and Rhythmic Patterns.
Fundamentals of Composition, Arranging 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 instrumental 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.
Continuing on from Musicianship Skills in trimester one, this module continues to develop your skills in Individual Performance, Ensemble Musicianship, and an Associated Study (Conducting). Within the Ensemble component, you will have the opportunity to join Session Orchestra, Choir, an ensemble from the small ensembles, or create your own ensemble.
Music in Context: Advanced Fundamentals
Continuing from Trimester One, this module combines theoretical discussion with practical application, covering a further series of themes across its duration. The themes this trimester will cover - Counterpoint and Voice Leading, Development and Recapitulation, Solo and Ensemble Musicianship, Group Improvisation, Extended Techniques.
Applied Composition and Technology
This module will provide you with a strong understanding of advanced diatonic harmony, melodic writing, and technical 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.
The second year of the BSc will be made up of 120 credits from the following module options:
Advanced Musicianship Skills
This module consolidates and expands further your performance development within two assessed areas of Individual Performance, Ensemble Musicianship, and an Associated Study (either Improvisation Skills or Vocal Harmony). The Ensemble component allows you to join Session Orchestra, Choir, an ensemble from the small ensembles, or create your own ensemble.
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 allows you to compose directly with studio-based technology, moving away from the need to represent compositional material through a traditional score. The technology investigated will have a direct influence on compositional output, and although human performances on traditional instruments can be integrated into the composition, there is an expectation that much of the work will be constructed within a Digital Audio Workstation. The module investigates synthesis deeply and requires students to demonstrate creative use of both hardware and software. The technology is investigated covering a broad range of defined genres, with the intention that students begin to develop a distinct individual compositional voice.
Audio for Media
This module will encourage you to use your unique skillset as a musician to create soundtracks for film and audio drama productions. You will be introduced to sound design, foley, scoring for film and recording dialogue and sound effects in the studio environment. You will also apply and develop digital audio editing, synchronisation and mixing techniques to refine your final stereo soundtrack.
Studio Recording and Production
This module is designed to give you a solid foundation in studio engineering and production practice. Particular attention will be given to microphone technique, signal flow and an investigation of strategies by which the needs of both engineer and performer(s) can be reconciled in the studio environment. Students will gain an understanding of historical developments in the field, exploring many musical genres. As aspiring producers, students will be guided through the process of developing a clear production aesthetic from the outset of a recording project.
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.
In this module students acquire and practice skills to develop an independent research project, applying contemporary theoretical approaches to a musical moment of their choice.
Advanced Performance Studies
This module begins to prepare you for Elective Performance study at third year level. Again, your performance development is assessed in two areas, combined ensemble and solo performance as well as an associated study (either improvisation or vocal harmony). The ensemble component allows you to join Session Orchestra, Choir, an ensemble from the small ensembles programme or create your own ensemble.
Advanced Studio Composition
This module is designed to build upon the techniques explored in the level 5 module Studio Composition (sequencing, synthesis and sampling / editing) and introduce students to composing for and within a 5.1 / 7.1 surround environment. There will be an exploration of electroacoustic compositional techniques around the themes of spectromorphology, abstract and abstracted synthesis, landscape and narrative and a historical analysis of how this practice relates to popular electronic music compositional practice. The module explores the concept of compositional interface, encouraging students to become deeply aware of how the technology they engage with shapes their compositional output.
Advanced Studio and Location Recording
This module is designed to develop existing skills in the studio environment (building on the L5 module Studio Recording and Production), working towards the completion of ambitious multitrack projects of a releasable quality. The module includes an investigation of mastering processes and places emphasis on the engineer / producer nurturing the best possible performances from the musicians involved. The module will also introduce the practice of recording live public performances, covering a wide range or acoustic and amplified ensembles, on location.
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 output 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.
Popular Music and Identity
In this module you will be introduced to a range of methods currently employed in the analysis of popular music, formal analyses, historical analyses and discourse analysis. These methods will be used to examine themes such as gender, sexuality, ethnicity and cultural identity.
This module enables you to undertake a comprehensive project encompassing two areas of specialist study (choose from: Performance, Composition, Studio Recording & Production, Studio Composition, Audio for Media, Arranging, Dissertation, Arts Administration, Collection of Writings, 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 practices. You will gain experience in one of the following areas of professional practice: music events management, sound reinforcement, business enterprise, and community music in its broadest sense.
Negotiated Major Project
This module will enable you to develop your chosen areas of study in two final projects, equipping you with the skills, guidance and portfolio of work to take into your next venture, whether this is professional work or postgraduate study.
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.
You will be taught by a tutors with a wide range of experience, including:
Dr Philip Brissenden – Lecturer in Music Technology, specialising in Musical Instrument Design.
Simon Connor – Lecturer in Music Technology, specialising in Composition, Sound Design and Sound Recording.
Paul Cusick – Lecturer in Music, specialising in Popular Performance Technique.
Dr Robin Dewhurst – Reader in Music, specialising in Arranging, Composition and Performance.
Tim France – Director of Music and Dance, Music Theory, Ear Training and Performance.
Dr Adam Hart – Lecturer in Music Technology, specialising in Audio Programming and Studio Composition.
Richard Harvey – Lecturer in Music, specialising in Conducting and Classical Performance.
Jostine Loubser – Lecturer in Music, specialising in Ethnomusicology, World Music and Composition.
Dan Parrott – Lecturer in Music, specialising in Enterprise and Engagement.
Dr Dan Price – Lecturer in Music, specialising Composition, Arranging, Music Theory and Conducting.
Justin Richards – Lecturer in Music Technology, specialising in Studio Production
Paul Robinson – Lecturer in Music, specialising in Popular Performance Technique.
Dr Nicola Spelman – Senior Lecturer in Music, specialising in Popular Musicology and Composition
Prof Alan Williams – Professor of Collaborative Composition, specialising in Composition, Contemporary Music, 20th Century Music History.
Dr Brendan Williams – Lecturer in Music Technology, specialising in Production, Recording and Composition.
Dr Tim Wise – Senior Lecturer in Music, specialising in Popular Musicology, Semiotics, and Ideology
SALFORD SCHOOL OF ARTS, MEDIA AND CREATIVE TECHNOLOGY
All our Music courses are delivered by the Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology.
Our School and University have strong and long-lasting relationships with local and national industry.
Once you graduate with us, you’ll join a thriving alumni community in Greater Manchester and beyond.
The music programmes are supported by an exceptional technical team and facilities housed predominantly in the New Adelphi building.
We have six main recording studios, all of which are large enough to accommodate both bands and chamber classical / brass ensembles. The studios share common technical architecture, centred around Audient ASP 8024 HE analogue mixing consoles. Full patch bays offer extensive routing possibilities between live room, isolation booths and the control room. In addition, multiple studios can be networked via Dante interfaces.
All our studios contain an excellent provision of analogue hardware, analogue tape machines and a diverse array of software platforms; Logic X; Protools and Ableton being the primary DAW’s. Studio 6 is attached to our largest performance space, the Band Room. This space comfortably accommodates our brass band, big band, wind band, choir and contemporary music group. The studios are staffed throughout the day time, evenings (5pm - Midnight) and weekends (9am – Midnight).
The studio facilities office houses our exceptional and extensive microphone collection as well as a large selection of analogue synthesizers, drum machines and effects processing possibilities.
In addition to the six large studios, our students have access to:
Voice Acting Studio
This facility is designed predominantly as a recording environment for radio drama or video game production. It is possible to achieve a range of capture, from foley recordings in the acoustically flexible ‘live’ room to extremely dry spoken word in the ‘dead’ room.
Our computer suite contains twenty-six workstations (iMac; audio interface; controller keyboard; headphones) equipped with licences for all of the software we teach. The current software provision comprises: Logic X; Pro Tools; Ableton; Max MSP; Sibelius; Soundtoys; GRM Tools and a huge selection of Universal Audio and Waves plug-ins. This software is also available across all studio spaces.
A teaching space designed for mixing in 7.1 and 5.1 surround. The space is used extensively in the teaching of our Advanced Studio Composition and Advanced Audio for Media modules.
Studio 9 – Composition Lab
This studio facility is equipped with an impressive range of hardware including many synthesizers; DSI OB6, Korg MS20, Roland Juno 106, Moog Sub Phatty, Korg Volca FM, Vermona DRM Mk3 accessed through a full MIDI interface / patchbay. The space is acoustically treated and equipped for 5.1 mixdown.
The New Adelphi Building houses twenty-six rehearsal spaces designed to facilitate popular and classical ensemble rehearsals, individual practice, one-to-one instrumental tuition and ensemble teaching. The rooms are well specified with a wide range of carefully chosen and well-maintained equipment including drumkits from DW, Sonar, and Yamaha; Keyboards from Nord and Roland, guitar amplification from Mesa Boogie, Vox, Fender, Orange and Marshall and Bass amplification from Ampeg, Mark Bass and Aguillar.
One-to-one Tuition / individual practice spaces are equipped with well-maintained Yamaha acoustic pianos, a selection of classic keyboards and Bluetooth amplification for playback. All performance spaces have natural light and have been acoustically treated (absorbent and reflective) to suit discipline.
Performance assessments, public concerts and masterclasses take place across a number of spaces on and off campus. We operate a high quality modular PA system which is employed across:
A three-hundred seat concert hall with an excellent acoustic. The hall is used extensively by our large ensembles and houses the BBC Philharmonic Red Brick Sessions.
New Adelphi Theatre
The 350 seat theatre features flexible seating configurations to suit a range of events and performances and is equipped with a range of intelligent and generic lighting, a highly adaptable EM Acoustics PA system, and a high-powered Christie projector.
Our Student Union bar and venue hosts a number of both staff and student led performances throughout the year.
What about after uni?
Salford’s music courses are renowned for producing graduates who excel in thier chosen professions. Our graduates have forged careers as signed recording artists, professional performers, studio producers/engineers, live sound engineers and freelance composers and arrangers. Many have become organisers, promoters adn entrepreneurs while others have developed successful careers in music education as teachers, lecturers, senior administrators and educational advisors.
Those who continue their studies at a postgraduate level find themselves well-equipped to cope with the academic and technical demands of a postgraduate study.
We have direct links with professional institutions such as:
The Greater Manchester Music Hub
National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain
‘Sounds from the Other City’ festival.
We have a good working relationship with many venues in the local area including Band on the Wall.
What you need to know
This course isn’t suitable for international students. If you are an international student and interested in studying a foundation year, please visit our International Foundation Year course page.
Once we have received your application, you will be invited to an interview and audition on campus.
Although this is not a compulsory requirement, ideally you should be of grade 6 / 7 ABRSM standard with solid theoretical knowledge. Composition and arranging portfolios can be used in support of your application if you are looking to pursue a study beyond performance.
Once you’ve made your application to study with us, we’ll contact you and let you know the next steps.
English Language at grade C/level 4 or above (or equivalent) is required. Maths at grade C/level 4 or above is preferred but not essential.
You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.
Pass: D or E in core subject.
UCAS tariff points
BTEC National Diploma
Access to HE
Pass level 3 QAA approved Access Diploma with 72 points
Irish Leaving Certificate
Pass in Diploma of at least 60%
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.
|Type of study||Year||Fees|
|Full-time home||2023/24||£9,250 for Foundation Year and £9,250 for subsequent years.|
You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.
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Course ID W312