Commercial Music

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How to Apply

Apply on UCAS's site

A vocational course for songwriters, producers and performers who want to turn their passion into a career.

  • We focus on original creativity
  • We build careers through personal development and industry engagement
  • All our staff have music industry experience at a high level

“While giving you a deep understanding of the workings of the industry from business to creativity, it also allows an individual to pursue their specific interests in detail. Thank you for giving me the best 3 years of my life.”
- Neil Martin, Broadcast Engineer, Abbey Road Live (Commercial Music Graduate)

Why study Commercial Music?

If you have a flair for original musical ideas, our Commercial Music course can take you on a creative journey to inspire and define a lifelong career. You’ll write original material alongside exploring identity, promotion and the wider music business context of your music.

Some of our graduates are signed artists. Others work for record labels, in music publishing, in the entertainment business, or across the digital sector.

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Visit our Commercial Music Alumni Blog

Course structure

This Commercial Music course is about creation: songs, projects, bands and entrepreneurial ideas. You’ll acquire skills that broaden your future career choices, through writing, designing, promoting, performing, researching, touring and launching your creative material.

Songwriting / Original Music – Develop your songwriting skills, whether you’re a singer songwriter, play in a band, or want to write music for media.

Music production – Capture and present your musical ideas. Whether you’re into vintage studio techniques, or the latest digital technologies, we’ll teach you the skills you need to achieve your personal creative goals.

Contextual studies – Understand the context of your musical work through the analysis of your own creative outputs and the work of artists relevant to you.

Performance – Develop performance skills as solo performer, or within a band.

Modules

  • Year 1
    Your first year focusses on songwriting, performance and production; this raw material will define the launch and release cycles of your second year.
    You’ll write songs, journalistic and promotional material and learn how to produce and develop your material in the recording studio. Meanwhile you’ll work towards live showcase events.

  • Year 2
    You’ll write, produce, and record your own original material. You’ll explore semiotics, marketing, cultural theory, photography and advertising, and develop an understanding of branding in a crowded marketplace.
    Create an online presence through designing and editing your own promotional video, as well as other website and audio-visual content. Using this for promotion, you’ll set up your own national tour.

  • Year 3
    Choose to specialise in production, songwriting or music business. Songwriting, performance and production all combine within our outward-facing Portfolio module which will showcase your skills on leaving University. You’ll also explore an aspect of music culture, leading to a final dissertation.
    You’ll be given ‘seed funding’ to work in a team to develop and actively pursue a ‘real world’ music related business project. Many graduates continue successful business projects beyond graduation.

Course assessment

There are no formal exams. You’ll be assessed through the production of your portfolio materials which will include: songs, live performances, audio productions, promotional material, website design, photographic output, video staging, video editing, critical thinking, tour management, written dissertations, business plans, business diagnostics, and presentations.

Study abroad

Partnerships with other liberal arts institutions and international connections with educational partners in Barcelona provide opportunities for you to gain an international perspective and experience relevant to your musical career.

Music Think Tank

We don’t just teach you about the music industry, we bring it to you. Music Think Tank is an annual ten week lecture series, which brings you into contact with practitioners from a wide spectrum of the industry.

Promotion, branding and visuals

Making music is one thing, but understanding how to present your music is key. We’ll teach you how to present your projects through understanding the links between sound and vision. You’ll design logos, make and edit videos, be involved in photoshoots, and design your own websites and social media campaigns.

Competitions/awards

The Bath Spa University Cullum Family Award supports music students by providing grants which help them explore and better understand the music industry and the various career pathways available to them.

Teaching methods

You’ll be taught in a variety of ways including: group practical lectures in practice rooms; formal group lectures; small group seminars in band rooms; group lectures in technology suites (video, website design and music production); small group seminars in recording studios; one to one tutorials; and instrumental teaching in small groups and one to one formats.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

International students should visit our international pages for more information about our entry requirements, fees and scholarships, and student support.

Course enquiries

Please contact the Admissions Team by email or phone +44 (0)1225 875609

Typical offer range for UK / EU applicants

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our undergraduate programmes. The main ones are listed below:

  • A Level - A level Grades BCC in Music, Music technology or related subjects preferred.
  • BTEC - Extended Diploma in Music Technology or related subject grades Distinction, Merit, Merit (DMM) accepted.
  • International Baccalaureate - A minimum of 27 points are required along with evidence of a high level of performance or composing skill, music technology experience; performance experience.
  • Access to HE courses - Typical offers for applicants with Access to HE will be the Access to HE Diploma or Access to HE Certificate (60 credits, 45 of which must be Level 3, including 30 at merit or higher). Any selection procedure/further requirements will also apply. Applicants must also provide evidence of a high level of performance or composing skill, music technology experience; performance experience.
  • Candidates without standard qualifications but with music industry experience considered.

English Language Requirements for International and EU Applicants

IELTS 6.0 - for visa nationals, with a minimum score of IELTS 5.5 in each element.

Applicants will also need a high level of performance or composing skill (assessed via MP3s/Soundcloud of your three best original tracks); music technology experience; performance experience. Submitted digitally prior to audition. Shortlisted candidates will be auditioned at our Newton Park Campus between December and March where they will be required to perform an original piece of work, written or part-written by you. Candidates should be aware that this is an interview as much as it is an audition, and so we will be looking to explore broader aspects of your character and personality as well as your specific musical skills.

Career opportunities

Many graduates from Commercial Music go on to work either in the music business or related fields. Employers of graduates include Sony, Universal Music Group, PRS for music, Mercury Records, One Little Indian, Union Square Records, PIAS, Atlantic Records and many more. Signed artists include The Heavy and Kill It Kid.

Please click on the link below to see a range of career destinations of 40 of our graduates:  

http://cmgrads.wordpress.com/

What students say...

I am a professional songwriter and the lead singer for Kill It Kid, published by EMI and signed to Sire Records. I’ve toured the US, Europe and the UK, worked with major record producers, heard my songs played on the radio, been all over the television and even met some of my heroes along the way. Commercial Music gave me the platform to explore my own originality, meet like-minded musicians and the breathing-space to develop my own songs and the visual content that helps define my project. The business side of the course makes you well aware of the various machinations behind the music which prepares you for the tough negotiations that surround any act entering the industry. Commercial Music gave me the perspective and the resources to quickly focus and craft my identity into something that was valuable to the industry. Getting our first E.P. and tour together was the most exciting part of the journey so far – we had the time of our lives”

Chris Turpin, Songwriter and lead singer, Kill It Kid

“After finishing my degree, I went to work for a record label in New York. Without Commercial Music, I would never have done that”

Georgina Huitson/Sony Records (Commercial Music Graduate 2008) 

"While giving you an in-depth understanding of the workings of the industry from business to creativity, it also allows an individual to pursue their specific interests in detail. The teaching staff are incredible and they do everything they can to help you become what you want. Thank you for giving me the best 3 years of my life."

Neil Martin, Engineer/Producer Abbey Road Live

"The tutors are always there for you"

Sam Dixon, Producer/Studio Manager, Arcadium Studios, London  (Commercial Music Graduate 2009)

“At all stages of this course students are encouraged to produce work that reflects and engages with the commercial world and entertainment industries.”

"This is one of the best courses I have witnessed in terms of how it embeds the realistic music industry into its structure. The quality of practical work in particular is first rate, with students having an excellent chance of making a living in this competitive industry."

 Dr Mark Pulman, External Examiner (University of Huddersfield) 2012