The ICMP BMus (Hons) Popular Music Performance degree is designed for students who aspire to fulfill the highest levels of musicianship whilst building a successful portfolio career within today’s modern and diverse popular music industry. 


A dynamic, challenging and relevant programme, this course will provide you with the playing, performing, technical and theoretical skills necessary to prepare you for the real world of the portfolio musician. The study of established genres, styles and repertoire sits at the core of the BMus degree, and you’ll develop a wide and comprehensive understanding of genre conventions through study of your principal instrument, aimed at enabling you to succeed in a wide range of contexts.

The course covers a variety of learning activities in subject areas such as performance, stylistic techniques, music technology, arranging and composing, sight-reading and sonic analysis. You’ll be challenged to develop outstanding technical skills on your primary instrument, as well as being encouraged to explore a secondary instrument, which includes backing vocals, keyboard skills and vocal arrangement, all with the aim of guiding you towards becoming a well-rounded, technically accomplished musician. Unique opportunities will also be available within the ICMP community to direct bands, ensembles, choirs and musical theatre groups.

Over the three years of the degree, you’ll receive tuition from our expert teaching faculty, made up of highly esteemed musicians, all of whom have active careers in the music industry and higher education sector. Learning will be achieved in small groups, where collaboration is encouraged to enable conceptual exploration of experiences, influences and ideas. Through live performance workshops you’ll develop a strong comradery with your fellow BMus students, be inspired to network and create projects with students from other ICMP programmes, and receive individual instrumental feedback.

ICMP tutors will provide you with relevant knowledge of the internal workings of the music industry through the delivery of regular masterclasses, industry events and networking opportunities, along with addresses from guest lecturers and emerging artists. 

By the time you graduate with ICMP, you’ll be fluent in the language of popular music, capable of working in creative and collaborative music business environments, ready to explore exciting industry pathways to begin your professional career, and will have an impressive and professional portfolio of work to present to the industry.

September 2021: What you can expect...
In September 2021, we will be returning to a primarily onsite, face-to-face learning experience. All subjects and classes that are best suited to face-to-face delivery – such as performance activity, studio classes and other practical workshops – will be timetabled into the appropriate teaching spaces at our campuses. All of these sessions will be socially-distanced and properly ventilated. In order to facilitate socially-distanced learning, we have reduced our group sizes to a maximum of 13 and, because of the consequent need to run more sessions, some learning activity will take place online. We have listened to student feedback and only planned online delivery for those subjects and classes that work well in this mode, such as lectures and discussion seminars. This blend of onsite and online education will ensure we can facilitate the highest quality of learning and teaching, whilst ensuring the ongoing safety of all students and staff.

Fees & Funding

Taking a music degree course at ICMP Music College in London makes financial sense too, with the fees for ICMP music degrees the same as traditional universities - making studying music at ICMP in London great value as well as great fun.

2021/22 Course Fees: UK Students | EU/EEA/International Students

Students accessing Tuition Fee Loans are able to borrow the full course fee for ICMP degrees. Please visit our Fees & Finance pages for information on accessing student finance.

Full Programme Specification  


Successful completion of the BMus (Hons) Popular Music Performance at ICMP Music College leads to the award of Bachelor of Music by the University of East London.

Redesigned for 2021
Please note, this page contains a description of the course as currently delivered, and aspects will change before the start of the 2021 academic year. The course has recently gone through a redesign process with our validating partner UEL. Please visit for further detail on why we periodically redesign our courses and the benefits this has to you as an ICMP student. The information on this page will be updated in due course to reflect the changes that have occurred, all students and applicants will be notified of these changes.


Apply for this course today:


Key facts

  • September 2021: Your learning experience will be primarily onsite, with some non-practical classes taking place online.
  • A personalised learning experience which equips you with the knowledge, understanding and skills for successful employment in the music industry as a professional and versatile musician.
  • Enables the development of high-level instrumental skill and music literacy.
  • Enhances your musicianship across a diverse range of styles and scenarios.
  • Develops your unique identity as a musician through structured weekly individual and collaborative performance activities.
  • Allows for the development of an impressive portfolio of work, including a press pack and/or showreel to present to the industry upon graduation.
  • Being located in London provides opportunities to perform in gigs at top city venues, while immersing yourself in the global music scene.
  • High-quality teaching by music industry practitioners in a creative and inspiring learning environment.
  • Connections with the wider music industry enables you to build an impressive musical network.
  • A high level of contact teaching hours, delivered in small groups in world-class facilities.
  • Find out more at our next Open Day
  • Face-to-Face Tour

Student Stories

Peter Napper

Guitarist Peter speaks about how the course has pushed his playing and what London offers to musicians.


Year 1 (Level 4)

Year 2 (Level 5)

Year 3 (Level 6)

During your first year on the course, you’ll follow a core programme, developing music skills in performance, technique, theory and practice, music technology, stylistic awareness, collaboration, popular music history, songwriting, keyboard, percussion, and backing vocals.

Music Performance I

As a musician, it’s essential that you develop practical ensemble performance skills, and gain an awareness of authentic musical perspective, styles and historical context. On this module you’ll undertake live performance workshops, providing you with the opportunity to develop and deepen your performance and stagecraft skills. You’ll also participate in ensemble classes (vocals/backing vocals and percussion) that will further the development of these performance skills, and develop awareness of the appropriate stylistic idioms, essential communication skills and professional industry performance standards.

Harmony, Theory and Technique I

As a musician, it’s essential that you acquire the practical and theoretical skills required to support your core musical development. This module combines a solid technical foundation with a focus on developing these skills, which will allow you to fully express yourself on your first study instrument. The module covers styles and genres of music; the study of musical notation; aural and transcribing; harmony and theory; plus an introduction to basic keyboard skills.

Music Culture, Context and Criticism I

This module introduces you to the means of recognising and interpreting the development of popular music genres, and enables you to obtain the skills necessary to describe and explain popular music as a cultural phenomenon. Using a structured learning framework, you’ll engage with the investigation, analysis and critique of current debates and theories relating to the context within which popular music is produced, performed and consumed.

Music Technology

Alongside the development of your core musicianship, this module introduces and develops the skills required to create, organise and produce original work – an important skill for any musician. You’ll acquire a thorough introduction to the fundamentals of music technology, which will equip you with the tools necessary to understand and apply the principles of music processing and programming. You’ll also obtain a thorough introduction to the ethics of arrangement and the basic principles of song construction, including form, lyric writing, and rhythmic and harmonic construction.

In Year 2, you’ll further develop the core skills gained in the first year of study and you’ll also learn to control and present musical material for ensemble performance. Skill development is enhanced in the second year by modules that focus on the business and economic aspects of the modern music industry. Fundamental areas include online promotion and branding, and the development of creative music-writing skills, including creation, re-creation and re-presentation.

Music Performance II

As a musician, it’s essential that you develop and consolidate your practical ensemble performance skills with a detailed awareness of authentic musical perspective, cultural and historical context, and stylistic specifics. On this module you’ll engage in live performance workshops, providing you with the opportunity to continue to develop your core performance and stagecraft skills, and ensemble classes (vocals/backing vocals and percussion) to further support the development of your performance and essential communication skills, and obtain a comprehensive awareness of industry performance standards.

Harmony, Theory and Technique II

This module consolidates and enhances the practical and theoretical skills required to support your continuing personal progress and development. On top of techniques classes, which are designed to develop the skills to allow self-expression on your instrument and a secure technical foundation, you’ll also undertake styles classes, which provide a thorough study of the concepts associated with performance in the appropriate idioms. Reading studies will ensure a comprehensive knowledge of musical notation and the development of essential sight reading skills, while you’ll also cover aural and transcribing, harmony and theory relevant to the performance of popular music, and the continued development of your keyboard skills.

Music Culture, Context and Criticism II

On this module, you’ll explore the relationships between popular music genres and will experiment with a range of analytical approaches to justify intellectual positions. You’ll become able to interrogate and deconstruct popular music through a range of critical and political ‘lenses’ and, building on previous study, will further develop your capacity for intellectual engagement with popular music through analysis and critique. You’ll also explore current debates and theories relating to the context within which popular music is produced, performed and consumed.

Marketing and Monetising Your Music

Essential to the career of every musician is a thorough awareness of the various facets of today’s rapidly evolving music industry. This module will establish the framework of the industry, exploring its three main sectors: recorded music, live music and publishing. It will deliver an overview of the contemporary music business, allowing you to develop an invaluable understanding of current monetisation models; effective marketing and promotion strategies; the role of management; and how to recognise and exploit changes in practice which have been brought about by the impact of the internet and new technologies.

Arranging and Composing

On this module, you’ll consolidate and further develop the skills required to plan, create, organise, process and produce original work to brief, via theoretical, analytical and practical study. The module will expand your music processing and programming skills to aid and enhance composition, outline and contextualise standard music industry practices, protocols, standards and expectations, and provide an introduction to the fundamentals of music arranging and composing concepts in a variety of specific styles within popular music. Importantly, the module focuses on practical ‘real-world’ experience, providing invaluable knowledge and insight into both arranging and composing, and the development of ensemble skills.

In your final year, you’ll have the opportunity to study practical music skills to an advanced stage, both in individual and ensemble ‘real-world’ performance situations. Project options offer many opportunities for individual learning routes, so you can develop more specialist skills in your chosen area of music study.

Advanced Music Performance

Central to the ICMP BMus (Hons) programme is the development of advanced music performance skills. This module provides the opportunity to perform, create, and re-create music at an advanced level in various real and simulated professional scenarios, environments and situations. You’ll practice collectively, as part of an ensemble under direction, and individually, in a specialised field requiring advanced technique. You’ll also develop a highly focused and specialised practical skill set to help you shine in a variety of individual and ensemble musical situations and environments, including live performance, studio performance, clinics and demonstrations. Six hours of 1-2-1 tuition is also available to you, this offers the opportunity to focus on developing and refining specific skills and techniques.

Professional Project

On this module you’re provided with the support necessary for you to identify, plan and complete a project of your own choosing to a professional standard. You’ll have the opportunity to understand the challenges and demands involved in working as a creative artist, and will discuss and analyse project management best practice and methodologies prevalent in artistic project contexts.


A major element of your undergraduate degree, your dissertation requires you to plan, develop and realise an appropriate, independent research project under relevant subject-specialist supervision. This will enable you to: demonstrate how you’ve developed and applied the skills of critical and/or historical analysis acquired in the programme so far, offer a critical analysis of a wide range of source material, demonstrate independent thought and write lucidly. The dissertation is split into two parts – a series of lectures and seminars designed to inform your own work, supported by supervised sessions looking at the development and execution of your dissertation.

Event Management (option)

On this module you’ll develop the skills necessary to devise, plan, execute and reflect on the development and realisation of a live performance event in a professional setting, drawing upon prior learning to investigate and evaluate event management from a variety of critical perspectives. The module engages you with a broad range of relevant, practical management techniques, including communication, negotiation, organisation, coordination, arbitration and resource management, and enables the development of essential transferable skills, such as venue operations, event culture and tour management, promotion and marketing, and funding. You’ll also acquire a functional understanding of the relevant legal issues, obligations and regulations, such as public and personal liability, health and safety, and insurance.

Composing to Brief (option)

On this module you’ll use theoretical, analytical, and practical study to further develop the compositional skills required to plan, create, organise, process and produce original work to brief, while acquiring practical music processing and programming skills to aid and enhance composition. You’ll also: develop planning and organisation skills through the preparation of composition for performance and recording; build a portfolio of work; and engage in a range of additional studies and activities that will enhance your employment opportunities as a music professional, enabling you to effectively articulate, express, and realise your musical creativity and imagination. Ultimately, you’ll become able to function with confidence in a number of different musical settings by using complex skills with a high degree of co-ordination and fluidity.

Music In Education (option)

This module enables you to design, deploy and evaluate a variety of teaching, learning and assessment methods, preparing you for progression to postgraduate study, peripatetic teaching, or other music teaching roles. You’ll engage with subjects such as creating lesson plans; the psychology of learning; teaching methodologies; student assessment; the design of learning outcomes and course construction; small business and sole-trader practices; child protection (including safeguarding vulnerable adults); health and safety legislation and practice; and special educational needs.


You will be taught at our campus in Kilburn, utilising our live rooms, tech suites and in-house music studio facilities as well as classrooms and lecture rooms. You will have access to use these facilities outside of class time while you are a student at ICMP in order to rehearse and record your music. 

You will be taught through a variety of teaching and learning methods including lectures, small group tutorials, performance workshops, music technology workshops tutorials and one to one instrumental tuition. 

In September students will experience a primarily onsite, face-to-face learning experience, with some non-practical classes delivered online. Onsite lessons will be taught at our Kilburn campus , utilising our live performance rooms and extensive range of music equipment/instruments. Online lessons will be taught via Microsoft Teams.  

As a first-year undergraduate student you can expect to experience two days per week (approximately 11 hours) of onsite, face-to-face teaching. The remainder of your timetable (typically 3-4 hours each week) will be delivered online through a combination of Canvas (our online central learning environment) and Microsoft Teams. 

You will have access to the Student Services Department for support and advice concerning welfare, finance, personal development, safeguarding etc. You'll also have access to our Professional Development team ‘The Hub, who provide bespoke music industry careers advice and access to unique industry opportunities.

As a student of UEL you will also enjoy access to a range of UEL facilities, including the 24/7 multimedia libraries, with over 300,000 books, journals, audio-visual resources and archives, 500 electronic books and 25,000 electronic journals and databases. 

Read more about our blended-delivery model for September 2021.

Teaching and Learning

On the BMus (Hons) Popular Music Performance you will be taught in small mixed groups for seminars and small workshop groups for practical skills. Some lectures are in larger groups.

When not attending lectures, seminars or other timetabled sessions you'll be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve reading articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library, and preparing coursework assignments.Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities, including our Learning Resource Centre, our many performance and practice rooms, and well-equipped tech suites.

Throughout the duration of your course your time will be split as follows:

Teaching, Learning and Assessment hours per year
Year 1: 448hrs | Year 2: 406hrs | Year 3: 224hrs

Self-study hours per year
Year 1: 752hrs | Year 2: 794hrs | Year 3: 976hrs


Your knowledge and thinking will be assessed through coursework, essays, project work, examinations and presentations. Your practical skills will be assessed through live performance, practical examinations and recorded portfolios. Your skills for life and work will be assessed through project work, group work and portfolios. Modules are assessed through a variety of means, including practical exams and performance, coursework, projects, examinations, essays and viva voce.

The assessment breakdown of this programme is:

Year 1: 6% Written | 56% Practical | 38% Coursework
Year 2: 6% Written | 50% Practical | 44% Coursework
Year 3: 0% Written | 20% Practical | 80% Coursework


Applicants will typically have A levels, BTEC Diploma or Extended Diploma, or International Baccalaureate equivalent to 80 UCAS points, or an ICMP Higher Diploma.

In addition, you should hold a GCSE Grade C or 4 or above in English, or suitable equivalent, such as Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Adult Literacy/Numeracy.

We also welcome applications from mature applicants who may have no formal qualifications but can demonstrate their suitability for study through appropriate skills and experience.

International students will typically hold a relevant equivalent qualification, please check your qualification with our Admissions team. In addition, you should hold a relevant English language qualification equivalent to CEFR Level B2.

All applicants will be invited to audition/interview

UCAS code W315Uni code i25


 Please apply via  the "APPLY NOW" link  below.

At any time during the application process if you need help or further advice just contact our Admissions team who will be happy to assist you. 

By phone:
020 7328 0222

By email:


Just a few of our tutors

Charlotte HatherleyGuitar

Charlotte is a singer, guitarist, keyboardist and film/theatre composer who came to prominence as guitarist for alternative rock band Ash. Since leaving Ash in 2006, she has been an eclectic and acclaimed solo artist. As a touring musician she has performed extensively with artists including Bryan Ferry, Bat For Lashes, KT Tunstall and Birdy. Most recently Charlotte has toured...
Charlotte Hatherley | Guitar Tutor | ICMP London

Dave Troke Bass

Bass tutor Dave Troke has worked with many of the industry's biggest names including Spice Girls, Professor Green and John Newman. His experiences and reliability as a player means he's not not only gracing some of the biggest live stages but also played with a huge list of clients in other settings including Josh Groban, Tulisa, Donna Summer, Joshua Radin, Andrea Bocelli and Tiffany Page.
Dave Troke | Bass Tutor | ICMP London

Barbara AmoakoheneVocal

Barbara Amoakohene is a vocalist and educator with ten years’ experience teaching and singing professionally. As a session singer, choir leader, and studio manager, Barbara has a unique and personal approach, with a keen interest in personal and professional development. Barbara graduated with honours from the BMus degree in Popular Music Performance in 2007. Since then she...
Barbara Amoakohene | Vocals | ICMP Music School London

Jon HarrisDrums

Jon Harris is a highly regarded London-based session player and tutor with many years of experience in the industry. His credits include Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Odyssey, Eban Brown (The Stylistics), Roachford, Ebony Bones, Circus VIII and support tours with The Rolling Stones, Ed Sheeran, Incognito, The Feeling and regular studio work with Guy Chambers. Jon is currently...
Jon Harris | Drums Tutor | ICMP London

Lucinda AllenVocal

Lucinda Allen is a successful voice and singing coach in both the creative and corporate sectors. Since gaining a Distinction at Masters level in the ‘Practice of Voice and Singing’, she has worked with many accomplished individuals and organizations. She has since gone on to work with performers from West End shows such as Wicked, Legally Blonde, and The Lion King to individuals such as Grammy Award winner Lalah Hathaway.
Lucinda Allen | Vocal Tutor | ICMP London

Bobby HarrisonGuitar

Bobby Harrison has worked as a touring and studio guitarist with Sir Cliff Richard, Brian May, Bonnie Tyler, The Lighthouse Family, Westlife, Michael Kamen, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, as well as Brit Floyd, The Australian Pink Floyd Show and the hit musicals We Will Rock You and The Rocky Horror Show. With more than 30 years of experience playing many styles of music, Bobby has...
Bobby Harrison | Guitar Tutor | ICMP London