We are the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance (ICMP), a leading UK contemporary music college and London's top music industry education provider.
Established in 1986, we’ve been delivering contemporary music education both in the UK and internationally for over 30 years – longer than any other music school in the UK. In that time, we’ve earned a reputation for quality, excellence and success – leading thousands of students to study with us, and making ICMP the starting point for countless incredible careers in the music, business and creative industries.
Founded on four pillars – originality, innovation, independence and individuality – ICMP was the first music school in London to offer full-time degrees for students of contemporary music. And through partnering with global providers and institutions, we’ve pioneered the teaching methods, curriculum structure and philosophy that have become the benchmark for contemporary music education all over the world.
ICMP was originally established as the Guitar Institute & BassTech, before expanding to offer courses in drums and vocals. As ICMP, we progressed into songwriting, music business, music production and, more recently, audio engineering, live event management and digital marketing. Today we continue to develop more content in line with music business, content creation and entrepreneurship, with the understanding that music is deeply ingrained in our culture, communities and industries.
Delivering unrivalled education
For more than 30 years, thousands of people have studied courses and degrees in music, songwriting and business at ICMP.
We strive for quality, excellence and success, and have set the standard for contemporary music education across the international community. As the first music school in London to offer full-time degrees in contemporary music, we continue to adapt our curriculum and programmes to reflect the changing industry. Our education offer is:
Led by practicing industry professionals: Our tutors are a mix of academics and successful world-class industry figures. Through their priceless insights and guidance, students unlock once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that set them up for incredible careers across the profession.
Supported by personalised learning: Small-group teaching and highly specialised facilities come as standard at ICMP. Students meet in state-of-the-art spaces and use the latest industry-standard technology and equipment – building authentic, real-world experiences where students graduate with the superior skills that will set them apart in a competitive industry.
Contemporary, flexible and inspirational: Through the ICMP Careers & Industry Hub, we bring key industry players into our classes for one-to-one advice sessions – giving students and alumni industry insights, helping with networking, and closing the gap between the student experience and future careers.
Innovating in the industry
As a world-class provider of contemporary music higher education, ICMP has welcomed students from across the globe. Our students, graduates and teaching staff have contributed hugely to the development of popular music higher education through lectures, masterclasses, start-up advice, training and other support to providers around the world. Our graduates are:
Highly employable: ICMP graduates work across the music and creative industries, often in self-employed roles, cultivating impressive portfolio careers. Our students benefit from real-world opportunities throughout their time with us, learning their trade on state-of-the-art equipment and ensuring they’re industry-ready on graduation. We’re proud to have high employability rates for our graduates, and employers value what we offer.
Entrepreneurs at heart: We prepare students for successful careers through developing and nurturing entrepreneurial ability. This opens doors in music, marketing, content and beyond, while teaching students transferable skills suited to any industry – including problem-solving, project management, critical thinking and positive work ethics.
Valued ICMP members: Through our dedicated digital careers and networking portals, as well as our close links to the music industry, students, graduates and alumni can network with their peers and tutors, access exclusive events, book masterclasses, seek job opportunities and more.
Diverse and representative of our communities: ICMP helps address inequality and improve diversity within the music industry. Compared to other music conservatories, we have:
- A higher proportion of mature students
- A more ethnically diverse student profile (c36% Black/Asian/Mixed/Other)
- A strong majority (at least 70%) of ‘Home’ students who come from backgrounds historically associated with poor access and participation
- This unique student population creates a supportive and inclusive melting pot of culture, skills and creativity completely unique to ICMP.
Sharing in your success
Popular music is a global industry – and ICMP’s students and graduates have always been international. Many have gone on to win awards, support and work alongside well-known acts, design ground-breaking equipment and services, and enjoy streaming success, such as those in ICMP Club 1 Million, who each have over 1 million Spotify streams. At ICMP, success takes many forms:
Industry recognition: ICMP’s faculty and graduates are skilled professionals who deliver masterclasses, lectures, workshops and more.
Industry success: Through our impressive connections, world-class tutors, and graduate talent, ICMP is linked to much of the music heard across the media and entertainment sector. We work with – and develop – artists and performers, producers and technicians, agents and promoters, and influencers and content creators. Many graduates have gone on to:
- Win awards and/or become household names, including Fraser T Smith, Clean Bandit, The Vaccines and Cathy Dennis
- Support, produce or tour with well-known acts, such as Adele, Stormzy and the James Taylor Quartet
- Play a key role across diverse industries like music, film, TV and games
- Design high-tech equipment and services for names like the Rolling Stones, Sting and John Mayer
This is alongside alumni whose performances or works have been streamed millions of times on services like Spotify.
Investing in world-class facilities
Originally founded as The Guitar Institute & Basstech and focusing on drums, vocals and other instruments, we became ICMP in 2006. We then diversified into music business and production, and more recently, have developed courses in live event management and digital marketing. Through our history, we’ve built lasting partnerships spanning the industry, giving students and alumni access to cutting-edge equipment, networking opportunities, professional spaces and more. At ICMP, you’ll find:
World-class facilities: Across both our campuses, we offer high-quality teaching spaces, industry-standard production studios, rehearsal and meeting rooms, and places for students, tutors and faculty to meet, collaborate and create together. Many of these are available for students to use 7 days a week outside timetabled hours.
Exclusive access and offers: Through our extensive partnerships with leading brands, ICMP gives students discounts and access to equipment, software and key learning tools that help support their studies and create even more opportunities to discover and develop their talent.
Continual investment in our facilities: You won’t find broken gear and deteriorating facilities at ICMP, but instead, well-maintained, state-of-the-art facilities and equipment which students can use to meet with industry professionals and build their knowledge and expertise. We unveiled our Queen’s Park Campus development in September 2021 – opening three brand new recording studios, tech labs and our very own live music venue. Development continues on this incredible site as we move to open further parts of this substantial building in the coming year.
Working in partnership
Since 1986, we’ve focused on developing and delivering contemporary music education, both in the UK and abroad. We proudly pioneered the teaching methods, curriculum structure and philosophy now used by the majority of industry leaders and institutions – and continue to work with over 30 schools, universities and colleges around the world. Our role includes:
Powerful partnerships: We help bodies like the Los Angeles College of Music, Hong Kong Design Institute, ATLA Paris and Vienna Music Institute to create and develop their own contemporary music education courses. We have also designed or redesigned popular music BTEC, GCSE and other qualifications with leading exam boards, including our involvement on the current 2018 Edexcel BTEC music qualification.
Recognition and sponsorships: ICMP sponsors the Music and Creativity category of the Global Youth Awards, which acknowledges young people who have “impacted others to change through any creative outlet such as music, art and performance”.
Mentoring and scholarships: We’ve provided these through trade bodies like the Association of Independent Music (AIM), which represents 900 organisations and professions within the independent music sector, and The Music Producers Guild, which represents record producers, recording engineers, and mixing and mastering engineers.
Providing exclusive discounts, equipment and more: Being connected to global brands like Marshall, Ernie Ball and Austrian Audio, we can give students opportunities that they won’t get anywhere else.
Offering professionally-accredited courses: Improving job prospects for graduates and a hallmark of quality, some of our courses are endorsed by global industry leaders, such as the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and Digital Marketing Institute (DMI). We also offer Certified Pro Tools training, being the only London provider to do this to an expert level. And, we’re an Ableton Certified Training Centre.
Shaping the future of music
We welcome around 600 students every year to ICMP, with thousands passing through our doors throughout our established history. Quality, excellence and success are what we’re known for in the industry, and we’ve played a starring role in influencing music and culture across the UK and globally. Today, we continue to champion contemporary music education. Our recent milestones include:
Achieving full Degree Awarding Powers (DAP) status: Awarded in 2021, DAP status shows our key role as a contemporary music education provider in the higher education sector – not just at ICMP, but across our partnerships. From September 2022, ICMP will ‘’take full responsibility for the academic integrity and standards of its programmes, and the award of its undergraduate and postgraduate programmes’’.
New professional-grade training: In 2020, we launched our Avid Pro courses, targeted at professional musicians, producers and sound engineers looking to enhance their skills and knowledge in this leading software. ICMP is the only provider in London professionally accredited to deliver Avid Pro courses to expert level.
New campus redevelopment: Our Queen’s Park Campus opened in September 2021, with more exciting features to come as we continue to develop this substantial building.
Professional Accreditations: Our Digital Marketing courses are accredited by the Chartered Institute of Marketing and, in 2023, our esteemed BA Music Business and Entrepreneurship degree achieved accreditation from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) - making it the only Music Business degree in the UK with CMI accreditation.
As an essential part of global modern culture, we’re committed to growing the subject of contemporary music in higher education. We’ll ensure our courses continue to offer high-quality and relevant teaching – evolving as the industry and employers do. We’ll also keep supporting ICMP alumni, championing their careers and offering key services through our Careers & Industry Advice Hub.
Ultimately, we’ve been achieving excellence for over 30 years –and are looking forward to many, many more.