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Luton Sixth Form

Music Practice (Performing) (BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma)

Why study Music Practice (Performing)?

This course is intended for students working in any musical discipline who wish to develop a professional approach to music performance. The focus is on modern popular music but students will work in a wide range of familiar and unfamiliar
styles within this general area. The course also provides a grounding in many of the practical and associated business, planning and promotion skills required to succeed as a working musican. However, the course’s thoroughly professional ethos and
transferable skills in self-development, leadership, groupwork and managing large-scale projects will benefit students with career aspirations in many other areas.

Entry Requirements

In addition to our general entry requirements, you must have:

  • GCSE English – grade 3

In addition you will need an appropriate level of vocal or instrumental proficiency, to be assessed by the course teaching team at audition.

The Course

Students develop as musicians through the completion of challenging practical projects. They work ‘by ear’ and from standard musical notation, building strong aural and music theory skills. Practical projects are supported by extensive written research, listening tasks and detailed reflective journals. Coursework assignments are designed to help improve general skills such as communication, working with others and self-management. Students can also expect significant ongoing written homework.

Course Activities

Although some activities will require students to work as individuals, most learning takes place in group and workshop situations. Students will often be taught specific practical techniques and theory during lessons and expected to work on these independently through personal practice and group rehearsals outside class. Occasionally, presentations are given by visiting music industry professionals.

Career and Progression Opportunities

Former students have gone on to study Music Performance, Commercial Music, Music Technology, Music Management, Composition and Music Production in a range of universities, music conservatoires and private music colleges.

Since the course develops an understanding of the professional work environment it may very occasionally provide more direct access to music-related employment. However, most careers in the field are becoming graduate entry only and thus require further study.

Course Structure and Assessment

The course is continually assessed through tasks, assignments and performances. There is no formal written examination although there are externally assessed written tasks under timed conditions.

Music Performance Techniques: Students develop their individual instrumental/vocal technique through a range of oneto-one, small group and and workshop-based sessions. They will also work to acquire a disciplined and structured personal routine, reflecting on their ongoing progress by keeping a detailed logbook. A range of solo and ensemble performance assessments sequenced through the course and during the final project.
Working and Developing as a Musical Ensemble: Students develop ensemble communication skills in planning, in preparation, and in performance. They study approaches to structured ensemble practice and how to work up musical arrangements as a group. Case studies, assessed reflective discussions, tutor observation.
Live Sound Techniques: Students develop practical working knowledge of setting up sound systems for live performance, which
is a critical skill for any musician performing in the industry. They will be introduced to the wide range of technological processes employed in the production of live modern music.
Practical assignments assessed on ability to set up equipment, written report.
Music Performance Session Styles: Students will explore performance techniques and conventions in a series of contrasting musical styles. Through a series of intensive practical workshops, they learn how to identify ‘stylistc fingerprints’ and assimilate these
rapidly into their own performance practice and reflect upon this
work in writing
Public and class performances in a range of live and studio contexts, logbooks, assessed discussions.
The Music Freelance World: Students will gain an overview of the financial, managerial and entrepreneurial skills required by the contemporary freelance musician. This emphasis will be on the adoption of a professional approach to all aspects of music making. Research and development project, assignments, case studies.
Music Project: Students will employ the skills acquired through the course to undertake a substantial live performance project. This will involve significant financial, resource management and promotional planning in advance of the event. For the performance itself, students will devise a musical programme and organise the necessary individual and group rehearsal schedules. Students will be required to demonstrate professional working practices and comply with all necessary legal and health and safety obligations. Large-scale final public performance, tutor observations, reflective logs and evaluations, final viva voce assessment.

Additional Information

This subject can be combined with A Level Music or Music Technology. It will often be necessary for students to attend rehearsals and prepare for performances outside lessons. These rehearsals may be scheduled before, during or after students’ normal timetabled day.

Examination Board: Pearson Edexcel


Case Study