BA (Hons) Career Musician

3-year (full-time on-campus) and 2-yr (online accelerated) options available.
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You are an independent, self-motivated musician who wants to thrive, not just survive.

Our BA (Hons) Career Musician degree is designed to give you the perfect blend of artistic freedom alongside practical strategies to forge your own career in music. On your own terms.

It’s flexible and comprehensive so you can study in a way that suits you. And you can build your own music projects into the course. It’s fully accredited and approved by one of the UK’s leading specialist universities for the creative industries, Falmouth University.

And for students studying on the 2-yr online course, you’ll also receive a £750 bursary to invest in new equipment, a Pro Tools subscription and a Slate All Access software bundle, so you can learn on your own gear.

3-year full-time on-campus option starting September.

2-yr online accelerated option starting September and January.

All the details...

You'll find all the information you need in the sections below.
  • Course duration 3 years
  • Course delivered on campus in Brighton
  • Suitable for vocalists, songwriters, guitarists, drummers, bassists and audio producers
  • Course tuition fee £9250 per year
  • Full tuition fee loan and maintenance loan available
  • Free place available via the Royal Blood Scholarship Award
  • UCAS course application page is here
  • Entry requirements: 104 UCAS points (guide only) or via accreditation of prior learning
  • Ready to apply? Click here

The degree is built on three fundamental elements – your music, your career and your projects.  It deals with what really matters in the industry. It will expand your options and push you to create original, boundary-shifting music. And both the 3-yr and 2-yr accelerated options feature our hybrid, on-demand learning model.

Who's it for?

Every musician has their own story to tell and their own path to follow. At WaterBear, we treat you as an individual and you can study a wide range of subject areas. This course has been specifically designed for:

  • Vocalists
  • Guitarists
  • Drummers
  • Bassists
  • Songwriters and composers
  • Audio producers
  • Music managers
  • Tour and event managers
  • Technicians

All lectures and content are available online for everyone, so you can access a wide range of content across different subjects. You can design your own path through the degree and make it your own.

You're a drummer who also wants to sing better? Or a songwriter who needs to improve your recording and mixing skills? Or just want to stay fully focussed on your main interest? No problem. How and what you study is completely up to you.

All musicians at WaterBear will make, record, mix and master their music. We provide a supportive, safe environment to experiment and create. You'll also develop a personal career plan to support your ambitions.

How you will learn

3-yr full-time on-site option

You’ll spend around 8-10 hours each week on site in timetabled teaching and learning activities. You'll also get access to all your module content prior to your class lectures via WaterBear's dedicated Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

On-site teaching and learning activities can include:

  • Lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops
  • One-to-one mentoring
  • Assignments, assessments and feedback sessions
  • Masterclasses
  • Live performances and gigs
  • Peer collaboration via 'Jam Cloud' (VLE)
  • Free rehearsal and recording time in professional studios
  • Networking and industry conference events

2-yr online accelerated option

You’ll get access to all of your course content via WaterBear’s dedicated Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). You’ll also be able to participate in tutorials, discussions and meetings using video conferencing. 

Online teaching and learning activities can include:

  • Lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops
  • One-to-one mentoring
  • Assignments, assessments and feedback sessions
  • Masterclasses
  • Virtual performances and gigs
  • Performance and peer collaboration via ‘Jam Cloud’ (VLE)
  • Networking and industry conference events

You’ll also be invited to attend regular events, masterclasses and other activities happening at the WaterBear campus in Brighton, which is optional.

Career pathways

This course is designed to develop careers in:

  • Music performance and composition
  • Audio/visual production
  • Studio recording
  • Music production and engineering
  • Live sound engineering
  • Digital marketing and PR
  • Digital content creation
  • Tour, artist and events management
  • Artist, label and publishing services
  • Technical support
  • Music education

Further study

After graduating, you'll have a number of routes to further study available, including the MA Music Entrepreneur course at WaterBear and other postgraduate specialist programmes.

Course modules

Level 4

Module title: Your Music

Making innovative music is the lifeblood of this course. This module is about creating and performing music that represents you as an individual. Music that tells your story and shows the world who you are. This is me today, and this is where I am going.

Weekly timetabled classes include Instrumental and Vocal Technical Development, Pre-Production, Live Performance, Audio Production Tools, Composition with Technology, Recording and Capture, The Art of Production, Songwriting, Songcraft and Music Project Management.

This module is assessed via the submission of a demo recording that showcases your best work, with supporting narrative to reflect on the process and result.

Module title: Your Music Industry

This module deals with the music industry, past and present. Exciting case studies of artists that have made an important contribution to music. How did they do it? How can you employ these insights into your own music projects, right now?

There is one weekly timetabled class common to all pathways that deals with this subject. Assessment is a case study of contrasting business models within the music industry.

Module title: Your Musical Development

Building on from the Your Music module, this is all about expanding your skills and abilities. Pushing the boundaries of instrumental or vocal technique, producing experimental work, or writing a hit pop song. The direction you take your music is controlled by you.

Weekly timetabled classes include Instrumental and Vocal Technical Development, Pre-Production, Creative Live Performance, Audio Production Techniques, Technology in Music, The Art of the Remix, Live Sound, Creative Songwriting, Songcraft Development and Music Project Management.

This module is assessed via the submission of demo recordings that showcase your best contrasting work, with supporting narrative to reflect on the process and result.

Module title: Your Strategy

Creating your individual career plan, with careful design and thorough testing. Here we develop knowledge of current music industry practice to create career plans that are a). realistic and b). achievable.

There is one weekly timetabled class common to all pathways that deals with this subject. Assessment is a report to identify a viable, personalised career model.

Level 5

Module title: Who Are You?

Time to Stop and reflect. Who exactly are you? Competent musicians can play, sing and write well, but a real artist stands for so much more. Lots more in terms of music creation, production and performance in this module.

Weekly timetabled classes include Instrumental and Vocal Stylistic Development, Pre-Production, Professional Live Performance, The Art of Mixing and Mastering, Audio Lab, Sonic Art, The Art of Arrangement, Songcraft Development and Music Project Management.

This module is assessed via the submission of studio and live recordings, with supporting case study analysis to illustrate your key influences.

Module title: Making Things Happen

Now's the time for the rehearsal and practice to stop and for you to show the world what you're made of. Working as a team to put on shows and events. From live streams and solo shows to a fully-fledged national tour. It's all fair game.

There is one weekly timetabled class common to all pathways that deals with this subject. Assessment is via a live event that you will curate, as part of a team.  The scale and scope of the event is up to you.

Module title: Innovation in Music

This module will push you to expand your music into new and ground-breaking environments. Different methods of recording, innovative playing and performance techniques, new ways of composing. You'll use this as inspiration to create a wide range of original or creative cover material.

Weekly timetabled classes include Innovation in Performance, Live Performance Showcase, Innovation in Production, Producing and Collaborating with Others, Innovation in Songwriting and Music Project Management. There will also be optional advanced technical development classes for those wanting to push their instrumental and vocal techniques to the next level.

This module is assessed via the submission of studio and live recordings that showcase your innovation, with accompanying programme notes and press release.

Module title: Innovation in Music Business

In this business-focussed module, you’ll bring all your creative faculties to the table to create innovative new business models for the future music industry.

There is one weekly timetabled class common to all pathways that deals with this subject. Assessment is via a business plan submission designed to illustrate an innovative and viable new business idea.

Level 6

Module title: Dissertation

A dissertation isn't just a long essay. It's so much more than that. Yes, you'll be honing your academic chops as you undertake formal research. But you'll also be preparing the ground for your ambitious final project (Destinations).

There is one weekly timetabled class common to all pathways associated with this module. The Dissertation assessment will take the form of a research project focussed on a specific area relevant to today’s music scene.

Module title: Journeys

Having thought about what to do for that final project, you'll now need to prepare for it. This is where that work will be done, and the process documented. You'll be getting plenty of mentoring and guidance too, so don't worry.

There are two weekly timetabled class common to all pathways associated with this module – Digital Presence and project Management. There will also be optional advanced technical development classes for those wanting to push their instrumental and vocal techniques to the next level.

Assessment in this module is via the submission of Preparation Portfolio, including proposals, timeline and rationale.

 

Module title: Destinations

The big one. The final project. The springboard into your creative future. You are encouraged to be practical and realistic, but also ambitious and to challenge yourself. There is no limit to where you can take this or what you can do. Anything is possible.

Weekly class time to support this module will take the form of regular group tutorials, to ensure project progression. There will also be optional advanced technical development classes that continue for those wanting push their instrumental and vocal techniques to the next level.

Initial applications for the BA (Hons) 3-yr on-site and 2-yr online options can be made via the ‘Apply Now’ button at the top of the page, or by emailing enquiries@wbear.io.

We consider all applications on their own merit and potential. We'll invite you to a 1-1 consultation, either in person or by video conference. This is where you'll have the opportunity to find out all about WaterBear and talk about your music, achievements and career goals. Find out more about the 1-1 Consultation process here.

Students interested in studying the 3-yr on-site course can also apply directly via UCAS here.

UCAS Course codes are as follows;

Application codes

Course code: W3A2
Institution code: F33
Campus name: WaterBear, Brighton
Campus code: W

The BA (Hons) 3-year full-time course is also available to international students if they are based in the UK with settled status (no restrictions on how long you can stay). Students living outside of the UK can apply to study the 2-year accelerated online version of the course via the ‘Apply Now’ button at the top of the page, or by contacting enquiries@wbear.io.

Language requirements

If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to achieve equivalent to the IELTS Academic 6.0 overall score, with at least 5.5 in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. We accept a range of equivalent approved tests too. Visit the English Language Requirements page of the Falmouth University website for more information.

In order to get the most out of the BA (Hons) Career Musician course, it is essential that you have regular access to the correct resources. Having your own equipment will provide maximum flexibility to support both your college and personal project work.

Essential basics:

  • Your instrument (instrumentalists)
  • Expendables (strings, sticks, picks, leads, etc.)
  • Note-taking materials (pens, notepad, manuscript paper, etc.)
  • Computer (desktop, laptop, tablet, etc.)
  • DAW software
  • USB memory stick
  • Reliable Internet connection

We recommend:

  • Computer (laptop / desktop) capable of running DAW, audio interface, plug-ins and A/V processing software (recommended 8-16GB RAM, 7,200 RPM Hard Drive, 8MB buffer, 1TB hard drive)
  • Reliable, high speed Internet connection
  • Professional DAW software (ProTools, Logic, Cubase, Ableton, etc.)
  • External hard drive
  • Dynamic microphone(s) (e.g. Shure SM57 / SM58)
  • Audio interface (e.g. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2)
  • Headphones (e.g. Sennheiser HD 200, Beyerdynamic DT770)

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