This vibrant and dynamic one-year course will see you develop an impressive overview of technical vocal skills, performance creativity and musical literacy in a very short space of time. A practical tailored programme, you’ll focus on your future career as a vocalist, but you’ll also work with your fellow students keen to launch careers as professional guitarists, bass players, keyboard players and drummers.

In a progressive and increasingly digital global music scene, there are more opportunities than ever for audiences and musicians to connect in innovative new ways. As well as building your technical and creative abilities, this highly current vocal performance course will see you grow your digital and entrepreneurial business skills, as you launch yourself as a competent and confident vocalist to the industry.

Perfect your singing in London with ICMP

At the heart of your CertHE is developing your technical ability on your principal instrument – in your case, your voice – but you’ll also improve your musical literacy by playing with and studying alongside those on your course studying guitar, bass, drums and keys. You’ll also have many chances to work and perform with students from the whole spectrum of ICMP programmes.

As you explore popular music genres, styles and repertoire, you’ll develop a thorough understanding of technique, theory and technology for live, livestreamed and recorded performances. You’ll also learn about stylistic techniques, music technology, the music business, and how to pull off an effective live performance.

In addition to lectures and seminars, you’ll take part in skills sessions – both one-on-one with your ICMP vocal tutor, and with peers during collaborative workshops and ensemble practice. A central focus of education at ICMP is teamwork, as well as regular ‘A&R-style’ peer-to-peer feedback, so you’ll learn to give and receive performance critiques and use these to improve your performances.

study vocals in London at ICMP

Across your CertHE year, you’ll learn in ICMP’s state-of-the-art industry-standard facilities as you’re supported and guided by our expert tutors – all highly qualified educators and professional musicians. They’re ready to give you comprehensive insight into the modern music business and how it operates. They’ll also ensure you to participate in a host of music business events, masterclasses featuring special guest artists, networking opportunities and performances at venues across London.

At the end of your studies, you’ll graduate with exceptional technical vocal skills and essential live, recorded and virtual performance experience, so you’ll be ready to forge a successful career across whichever music business path you choose to progress. If you’d prefer to keep up with your learning, the CertHE Vocal course offers a direct path to the second year of the BMus (Hons) Popular Music Performance and BA (Hons) Creative Musicianship degrees, where you can continue to advance your skills for a career as a portfolio musician and professional vocalist.

Fees & Funding

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

Full Programme Specification


Successful completion of the CertHE Popular Music Performance (Vocal) course at ICMP leads to the award of CertHE by the University of East London.



Key facts

  • An all-encompassing one-year course that celebrates the evolving global music scene and encourages recorded, live and virtual performance events.
  • Experience individualised learning with regular one-on-one sessions with expert ICMP vocal tutors.
  • Explore your unique identity as a vocalist through solo and collaborative project work.
  • Develop your vocal technique to ensure a safe and sustainable performance career.
  • Understand how to excel in both a lead and ensemble environment, and the industry requirements on a modern professional vocalist.
  • Develop your sight-singing skills that offer the opportunity to engage in additional professional scenarios.
  • Expand your musicianship by studying an extensive selection of popular music styles and genres.
  • Study alongside other instrumentalists who you will collaborate with throughout the duration of the course.
  • Receive a strong overview of the modern music industry and gain entrepreneurial skills to boost your career.
  • Connect with an extensive musical network and perform at key London music venues.
  • Choose to progress to the second year of an ICMP undergraduate degree on successful completion of the course.
  • Graduate with a full portfolio of recordings and performance work to showcase in your future career.
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Course details

During the one-year CertHE course, you’ll focus on developing your vocal performance abilities and technical skills, as you learn how to perform safely and keep your voice in the best possible condition. Your experienced tutors will provide you with a good overview of the modern music business, as you explore roles as a vocalist, backing singer and musical director, and advance your talents to a professional industry level.

live performance skills

In this practical module, you’ll build your core stylistic and stagecraft skills for vocals across a selection of genres in popular music – essential for professional vocal ensemble performances. While mainly concentrating your study on vocals, you’ll also extend your skills by exploring a secondary discipline (either instrumental or vocals). A large part of the module is receiving and giving critical performance feedback, then incorporating this into your own development. As you progress, you’ll build an extensive performance portfolio – while developing your skills in using industry-standard performance technology like backing tracks, in-ear monitors and click tracks.

  • In-person and recorded performance skills for vocalists
  • Stagecraft skills for vocalists
  • Connection with lyric
  • Live performance technology
  • Stylistic repertoire
  • Sustainable vocal performance
  • Rehearsal techniques
  • Backing vocals skills such as blending
  • Communication skills for performances
  • Ensemble performance as a vocalist
  • Acapella vocals
  • Vocal arrangement techniques
  • Using backing tracks in performances


This module will give you the academic knowledge and practical vocal training to arrange, perform and record music across many popular genres and styles. You’ll build strong foundations in music theory and music notation, as you gain key skills in sight-reading to elevate your vocal performance skills. You’ll also be introduced to the essentials of music technology and its application in popular music performance, including the use of keyboards, music notation software and digital audio workstations (DAWs). Learn through a mix of vocal skill sessions, seminars and one-on-one vocal tuition with a vocal tutor who will encourage and support your growth.

  • Vocal warmups
  • Application of technique to style
  • Connection with lyric
  • Expanding your vocal colours
  • Understanding your voice
  • Music notation
  • Fundamentals of music theory
  • Digital audio workstations
  • Sight-singing and chart reading
  • Music technology essentials
  • Stylistic awareness


Building on the previous module – Theory, Technique and Technology – this module advances your skills in vocal technique, music theory and music technology to a higher level. You’ll develop notation and keyboard skills using industry-standard music technology, such as notation software. You’ll also expand your knowledge of arranging, recording and performing by exploring a range of more challenging styles of popular music. Combining critical analysis, with one-to-one sessions with your keyboard tutor and committed practice, you’ll develop a selection of vocal skills and techniques to be proud of.

  • Refining vocal technique
  • Music technology
  • Music notation software
  • Musical literacy
  • Music theory
  • Digital audio workstations
  • Arrangement skills
  • Keyboard skills

music business for performers

To launch a successful music business portfolio career, you’ll first need a good understanding of how today’s creative industries can shape the future of music. In this module, you’ll explore essential music industry structures and functions, examining the latest industry processes, practices and models. You’ll also examine revenue flow, music copyright and the inter-relationship between the key areas of music. Using learning formats such as case studies, peer discussion and seminars, you’ll develop a solid understanding of how the music industry works.

  • Overview of the modern music industry;
  • Music marketing and promotion
  • Recorded music
  • Music publishing
  • Live music
  • Music rights and royalties
  • The role of artist management
  • The A&R process
  • The transformation of the music industry
  • Future music industry developments
  • Sales and distribution
  • Professional music industry membership organisations
  • Trade bodies and collection societies

performance and identity

You’ll explore popular music performance methods in this module, as you consider these within both current and traditional music practices and cultures. As you look at how these concepts affect the choices you might make as a vocalist in the future, you’ll discuss concepts including stardom and fandom, identity, the auteur, stage personas and sexuality. You’ll expand your academic research, critical analysis and inquiry skills, as you experiment with approaches of documenting practice, such as audio, videos, blogs and vlogs. Using newly formed self-reflection skills, you’ll see yourself move beyond the descriptive into evaluation, analysis and action planning as you take your future performances to the next level.

  • Popular music performance theories
  • The wider cultural contexts of performance
  • The effect of context on decision making
  • Using documentation to refine or alter performances
  • Approaches to documenting performances
  • Documenting practice in performances, rehearsals and workshops
  • Video, audio, blogs and vlogs


During your time on the CertHE, you’ll be taught at our campus in London’s Kilburn and will regularly use our in-house music studio facilities, live rooms and tech suites, as well as classrooms and lecture rooms. As an ICMP student, you’ll have access to this equipment outside of class hours so you can rehearse and record your own music in your own time.

You’ll study using a variety of teaching and learning methods, including small group tutorials, lectures, performance and music technology workshops, and one-to-one vocal tuition. 

For support and advice, you’ll have access to the Student Services Department if you have any questions about welfare, personal development, finance, safeguarding or more. You can also call on our Professional Development team – ‘The Hub’ – who’ll provide you with bespoke music business careers advice and unique music industry opportunities. 

As a student of the University of East London (UEL), you’ll also have access to UEL’s facilities, including 24/7 multimedia libraries containing over 300,000 books, journals, archives and audio-visual resources, 500 e-books and 25,000 e-journals and databases. 

Teaching and Learning

On the CertHE Popular Music Performance (Bass) programme, your learning will be in small mixed groups for seminars and small workshop groups for practical skills. Some lectures will be in larger groups. 
When not attending seminars, lectures and other timetabled sessions, you'll be expected to continue your independent learning through self-study. This will typically involve reading books and articles in your spare time, undertaking research in the library, working on individual and group projects, and preparing coursework and assignments. Your learning is supported by a range of excellent ICMP facilities, including our Learning Resource Centre, well-equipped tech suites and numerous performance and practice rooms. 

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

Teaching, Learning and Assessment hours per year:

Self-study hours per year:


Modules are assessed through a variety of means, including practical exams and performance, submission of course work, projects, examinations and essays. 

The assessment of this programme is:


CertHE Popular Music Performance (Vocals) course applicants will typically have A-levels, a BTEC Diploma or Extended Diploma, an International Baccalaureate equivalent to 48 UCAS points, or an ICMP Higher Diploma. 

You should also hold a GCSE Grade C or 4 or above in English, or suitable equivalents, such as Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Adult Literacy/Numeracy. 

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

International students will usually hold a relevant equivalent qualification – please check yours with our Admissions team. You should also hold a relevant English language qualification equivalent to CEFR Level B2. 

All applicants will be invited to attend an audition/interview.  

This course is also available as a three-year BMus (Hons) Popular Music Performance option. 

UCAS code 316VUni 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. 


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020 7328 0222

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