UCAS code

Start date

16th September 2024

Course length

1 Year (2 years Part-time)


The music industry has seen a rise in demand for talented and qualified vocalists at a time when the power of vocals to lift spirits and change lives has never been more important.

This highly personalised vocal-specific masters course will see you elevate your vocal creativity and already advanced performance skills in a supportive and nurturing environment. 

Whether you’re currently working in the music industry as a musician, vocalist or singing teacher or looking to change careers, this inspiring programme will take your vocal talents to the next level. 

With the ability to study the masters as either a one-year full-time or two-year part-time course, this flexible and tailored programme will see you advance your vocal technical ability – studying topics including Alexander technique, Fitzmaurice Voicework and Breathing Coordination – while deepening your performance skills, academic research and critical reasoning capabilities. 

As an MMus Vocals student, you’ll be expected to engage in independent self-directed study but with support and guidance from ICMP’s highly experienced professional teaching faculty. During your studies, you’ll be encouraged to focus on your individual learning requirements, while accessing essential resources, and designing and implementing a plan to achieve your goals.  

All MMus Vocals masters students complete a substantial practice-as-research vocal performance project, which leads to the creation of a significant body of vocal recital work. With supervision and support from an ICMP Vocals tutor, you can decide upon the form your project will take – whether a live or live-streamed vocal performance, video-recorded voice recital, written dissertation or more. 

In addition to four advanced-level core units, you’ll select one of multiple optional modules to study, which span the use of music in health and wellbeing, an investigation of a performance tradition, or study of vocal pedagogy for prospective singing teachers. 

This course will see you regularly collaborating with our wider MMus cohort – all extremely high-calibre instrumentalists, vocalists and performers. You’ll explore your musical management and leadership skills as you perform the role of ensemble musical director, leading to a performance of challenging existing and original repertoire. You’ll also benefit from an ongoing schedule of special guest musicians, vocalists and lecturers from the wider creative industries who’ll discuss their different approaches and philosophies with you. 

This course is sponsored by our industry partners:


Alongside generously sponsoring courses, rooms and providing equipment, our industry partners also offer ICMP students access to exclusive discounts, events and opportunities.

As an MMus Vocals student, music technology and digital diversity will be a central focus of your learning and you’ll have direct access to ICMP’s world-class facilities. Filled with industry-standard software, hardware and instruments – including multiple recording studios, dedicated performance spaces and high-tech Mac labs – you can book all of these free of charge outside of class time, seven days a week. 

The MMus in Popular Music Performance (Vocals) postgraduate course will take you on a journey as a vocalist and a musician. You’ll graduate with the skills, motivation and self-reliance to create and sustain a successful portfolio career as a talented vocalist, music professional or educator. 

Financial Support

Student support for postgraduate music masters courses is available to students studying at ICMP.

Eligible students on designated masters courses at ICMP will be able to access the postgraduate masters loan in the same way, and at the same value, as they could at a publicly funded provider. Eligible students will be able to borrow up to £12,167. If you opt to study part-time, your loan would be split into two instalments over the two years.

Course Fees | Programme Specification | Programme Handbook

Click to view the full terms and conditions of applying to study at ICMP.

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Successful completion of the MMus in Popular Music Performance (Vocals) course leads to the award of a Masters Degree by The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance.


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Key facts

  • An advanced specialist vocals programme equipping you with the skills and knowledge for a successful career as a vocalist. 
  • Develop your creativity and confidence as a performer and academic with rigorous scholarship, as you enhance your technical vocal ability and music literacy.
  • Engage in bespoke one-to-one vocal lessons with an expert ICMP singing tutor.
  • Explore vocal methods including Alexander technique, Fitzmaurice Voicework and Breathing Coordination.
  • Perform as a vocalist at London venues and connect with the global music industry to build an impressive musical network.
  • Discover your management and leadership potential as a vocal ensemble musical director.
  • Undertake personalised vocal assessment projects that suit your talents, career aspirations and areas of interest.
  • Study as a one-year full-time or two-year part-time programme (UK students only).
  • Work alongside highly talented instrumentalists and vocalists also studying on the MMus programme.
  • Apply Now
Course Ambassador

Vula Malinga

Vula Malinga is the course ambassador for vocals on our MMus Vocals course. 

Born in the United States to South African parents, Vula was raised in Hackney, London. Her religious parents supported her singing talents by allowing her to join the church choir, which resulted in her becoming one of the lead singers for the London Community Gospel Choir.


This brought her to the notice of Basement Jaxx, with whom she sang lead on their single "Oh My Gosh". The collaboration continues to this day, and led to her supporting fellow Basement Jaxx singer Sam Sparro on his tour.


In 2008, Malinga began developing her own music under her own record label, DivaGeek Records, releasing her first single "Wondering Why" in October.


She also sang support vocals for Dizzee Rascal and has supported him on live appearances, including Live Lounge, Later... with Jools Holland and the 2009 BBC Electric Proms.


Course Details

This specialist one-year postgraduate vocals programme will see you extend your already advanced musical competencies, while developing your critical thinking and independent learning. You’ll progress your technical expertise in singing to the highest level, as you master skills as a musical leader, collaborator and innovator. A thought-provoking and highly specialised programme, you’ll receive support, space, time and opportunities to develop your learning in any direction you desire. Upon graduation, you’ll present as a well-rounded professional musician and academic, with a remarkable performance portfolio you can use to target your future career. 

Advanced Vocal Studies

In this module, you’ll advance your vocal ability to an impressive level through the development of a broad range of vocals skills. With one-on-one lessons from your vocal tutor, you’ll cover technical, theoretical, conceptual, practical and epistemological vocal matters, as you examine a range of approaches to popular music performance. Your assessment will be centred around a live vocal recital, which you’ll then dissect and appraise, providing a great opportunity for critical self-reflection. 

  • One-to-one vocal tuition 
  • Advanced vocal skills 
  • Popular music performance approaches  
  • Critical self-reflection 
  • Collaborate with other vocalists
  • Personal and professional development 

Advanced Ensemble Studies

In this module, you’ll thoroughly explore the ensemble experience as you gain impressive levels of collaborative creative and technical skills. Within the context of an interpretive, improvisatory and creative performance, you’ll gain a sophisticated understanding of the roles and responsibilities each ensemble member plays. As you explore demanding ensemble rehearsal and performance scenarios, you’ll progress your autonomy as a performer, leader and director. You’ll finish the module having excelled in collaborative performances across a range of modern music genres. 

  • Ensemble skills 
  • Leadership skills 
  • Collaboration
  • Roles and responsibilities 
  • Critical self-reflection 
  • Music technology 
  • Creative project realisation 
  • Creative and collaborative approaches in the arts 

Studio Performance

You’ll head into the studio in this module, where you’ll be given the chance to experience a wide selection of professional studio production practices. As well as upskilling in production, composition, arrangement, distance recording, post-production and practical techniques for recording both small and large vocal ensembles, you’ll address vital musical communication abilities such as collaboration, leadership, team building and coaching. You’ll also experiment with software music production by presenting an individual composition or arrangement project using only samples, dub technology and synthesisers. 

  • Vocal ensemble techniques
  • Studio production practices  
  • Pre-production techniques  
  • Composition and arrangement  
  • Recording techniques
  • Collaboration
  • Post-production techniques  

Music and Wellbeing (Optional)

In this optional module, you’ll tackle the key issues that can affect a vocalist’s physical and mental wellbeing, as you acquire practiced-based research skills in this field. You’ll develop an advanced understanding of these factors, critically analysing how they impact the professional and personal lives of singers and other musicians. You’ll then critique and evaluate strategies and models that have been found to improve performance, confidence and wellbeing across music and the wider creative industries.  

  • Mental and physical wellbeing approaches for singers and musicians 
  • Personal and professional development   
  • Practice as research 
  • Critique strategies that improve vocalist’ wellbeing 
  • Critical self-reflection 


You’ll investigate the concept of performance tradition in music in this optional module. To do this, you’ll do a detailed study of the origins, history, development, context, theory, practice and repertoire of the tradition of performance. You’ll attend events showcasing your fellow students and other talented guest artists as you analyse and critique performance techniques and learn what makes an exemplary performance. There will also be plenty of opportunities to examine and appraise your own performances, as you discuss the influences that have inspired you as a musician.  

  • Vocal skills
  • Performance and practice traditions 
  • Historical, theoretical and musicological frameworks 
  • Sociological, cultural and technological conventions 
  • Skills in practice as research 
  • Critical self-reflection 

vocal pedagogy (optional)

In this optional module, you’ll gain a thorough understanding of the key psychological and educational theories of learning, and will discover what it takes to be a successful vocal tutor. Investigating the specific educational practitioner contexts and roles that interest you, you’ll explore ideas including peripatetic teaching, coaching, community work, group teaching and mentorship. Even if you’re already an experienced singing teacher, this module will heighten your appreciation of the connection between your performance practice and teaching approach. By the conclusion of the module, you’ll have an impressive grasp of current educational pedagogy, having observed vocal educators in a range of different contexts. 

  • How to be an effective vocal teacher  
  • The principles of teaching 
  • Planning and assessing teaching  
  • Teaching observations 
  • Critical self-reflection 
  • Personal and professional development 
  • Equal opportunities, diversity and safeguarding in vocal performance and education  

performance research project

In this 60 credit point research module, you’ll take part in autonomous advanced planning to present a practice-as-research performance project in whatever form you choose – whether a live, live-streamed or recorded vocal recital, verbal commentary, PowerPoint presentation, written dissertation or another vocals-related output. You’ll be encouraged to investigate an assorted range of musical styles and genres to help you realise your unique musical voice as you perform to an exceptionally high level. As you progress your personal journey towards vocal mastery, you’ll be empowered and supported by your tutors – especially as you analyse and critique your own work, allowing you to truly mature as a performer. 

  • Advanced vocal skills 
  • Practice-as-research skills 
  • Solo and collaborative performance repertoire 
  • Performance approaches for complex and diverse popular music 
  • Critical self-reflection 
  • Personal and professional development    


As a student of ICMP, you’ll have access to these high-tech facilities outside of class hours, so you can rehearse and record your own music for both personal and assessment purposes. 

You’ll experience a range of different teaching and learning formats, including small group tutorials, lectures, performance workshops, one-to-one vocal tuition and music technology workshops. 

During your studies, you’ll learn at our Kilburn campus in London and will regularly use our tech suites, live rooms and in-house recording studio facilities, as well as lecture rooms and classrooms. 

For support and advice, you’ll have access to the Student Services Department in case you have any questions about finance, welfare, safeguarding, personal development or more. You can also see our Professional Development team – ‘The Hub’ – for bespoke music industry careers advice and unique industry opportunities. 

Teaching and Learning

On the MMus Popular Music Performance (Vocal) programme, your learning will be in small workshop groups for practical skills and small mixed groups for seminars. Some lectures will be in larger groups.

When not attending seminars, lectures or other timetabled sessions, we expect you to continue learning independently via self-study, as well as collaboratively with your wider MMus cohort. This will typically involve reading books and articles, undertaking research in the library, working on individual and group projects, and preparing coursework and assignments. Your independent learning will be supported by a range of exceptional facilities, including our Learning Resource Centre, well-equipped tech suites, and many practice and performance rooms.

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

Teaching, Learning and Assessment hours per year: 252hrs

Self-study hours per year: 1548hrs


Modules are assessed through a variety of means, including performance, recitals, practical exams, submission of projects and portfolios, presentations, coursework and written work.


Successful applicants will typically have gained a good Honours degree (upper second or first) or equivalent in music and be able to demonstrate advanced musicianship across a broad range of theoretical, technical, practical and conceptual competencies.  

ICMP also welcomes applications from established practitioners who are keen to undertake study at the postgraduate level but who may not possess a degree in music. If you’re wishing to apply through this route, please contact our Admissions team for further advice.  

International: English language requirement – minimum level B2 of the CEFR.  

Please note: International students, who require a visa to study in the UK, are only eligible to study on this course full-time.

When completing our full application form for the MMus in Popular Music Performance, you’ll be required to write a personal statement.  

You’ll also be asked to attend an audition/interview. Further documentation or evidence in support of your application may be required in certain cases.  


 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

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