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Music Performance (Guitar, Bass, Drums, Vocals or Keys) Extended Diploma UAL Level 3 at The Academy of Contemporary Music

Course description

ACM’s UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma is designed to give students a focused learning experience, providing the skills and knowledge necessary for continuing study at Higher Education level or building a career as a musician.

Students can choose from Guitar, Bass, Drums, Vocals and Keyboards disciplines and are given access to a host of lectures, tutorials, workshops and masterclasses led by the same world-class music industry professionals that teach on our Higher Education programme offerings.

An abundant amount of solo and ensemble performance opportunities are embedded into the course, delivered from our Roger Taylor Demo Theatre and Electric Theatre auditoriums.

Course content

First Year modules include:


Music Culture (COR-311)

  • Music Culture will provide learners with knowledge and insight into historical and contemporary contexts and perspectives that have influenced the development of music performance and production.
  • It will discuss how music functions within society and encourage critical commentary on the influences that technology, politics, business, history and geography have had on the development and production of music and wider popular culture.

Professional Industry Practice (COR-312)

  • These sessions aim to promote learners’ personal, academic and professional development through selfassessment, target-setting and preparation for Higher Education and future career paths.
  • It will investigate the workings of the music industry, where it fits within the creative industries, synergies, collaborations, partnerships, how the industry maps together, who the industry represents, why it’s so important and the mechanics of how it works in terms of income streams, money generation and flow, the rise of the DIY artist and new business models in creative projects coming to market within the creative industries.

Event Management (COR-313)

  • Through a practical and contextual approach, this module will discuss the planning of events – music, corporate, fashion, product launches, festivals – clarifying their purpose, the people, stage management, sound, backline, equipment, logistics, strategy, planning and execution, venue hire, health and safety principles, roles and all venue considerations when the public come together.


Technical Development (PRF-311)

  • In these instrument-specific classes students will learn and develop instrumental techniques, skills and confidence through practical activities and apply these in stylistically accurate ways.
  • They will also learn to develop their sound and creative expression in improvisation and chart interpretation.

Band Skills (PRF-312)

  • These ensemble classes will introduce the basic elements of music performance, production and technology and impart an understanding of performance as a collaborative activity.
  • Through practical workshops students will gather and develop musical material, take part in observed rehearsal and self-reflect and evaluate the process of rehearsal through to performance.

Composition (PRF-313)

  • This module will provide the student with the opportunity to expand and develop composition skills to help inform musical performance and production ideas and communicate clearly using music terminology.
  • Students will learn the principles of music theory and how these relate to composition and the generation and presentation thereof.

Critical Listening (PRF-314)

  • Critical Listening will provide the student with the opportunity to expand and develop listening skills to help inform musical performance and production ideas.
  • They will learn to interpret and analyse musical material and communicate clearly using music terminology.
  • It should provide the all-important link between the concepts of aural perception and music theory enabling students to appreciate its value and become conversant in the language of music.

Stylistic Awareness (PRF-315)

  • This module will provide the student with an introduction to the investigation of both historical and contemporary contexts and perspectives that influence the development of ideas within the music performance and production industry.
  • It should provide a practical environment within which to experiment with and develop ideas influenced and inspired by key points in the development of popular music.
  • Through practical workshops, students will learn to interpret ideas in stylistically appropriate contexts and present these in performance situations.

Entry requirements

  • Minimum 4 GCSEs (A* - C or 9 - 4 grade) or an equivalent Level 2 qualification. This should include English and Maths GCSE (A* - C or 9 - 4 grade).
  • All applicants will be assessed though interview/audition.
  • If you do not have a pass in either English or Maths GCSE then we will provide you with the opportunity to complete this alongside your course. Students needing to resit both English and Maths will normally be required to first complete the UAL Level 2 Diploma in Music Performance and Production programme. Your ability will be assessed and where appropriate you may be required to first complete a Functional Skills level award.

Financial information

If you are under 18 on 31st August 2017, the government will fully fund your studies with us for the entire two year Extended Diploma - and subject to eligibility criteria.

Future opportunities

Giving you the opportunity to obtain a qualification, which is the equivalent of three A* grades at A-Level, the internationally recognised UAL Level 3 qualification opens doors to studying all kinds of subjects (not just limited to music) at all kinds of universities, from a Russell Group University in the UK through to specialist institutions anywhere.

The Further Education Achievement Report we provide each of our students (serving as a record of their extra-curricular achievement and activity, as well as an academic reference) differentiates ACM graduates even further.

Of course, as a specialist provider of music industry education, we hope that our Diploma students choose to continue their studies with us here and progress onto our Music Industry Practice Higher Education programme

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact The Academy of Contemporary Music directly.

Last updated date: 17 October 2016
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Key information


  • More information
    • With a long-standing rich arts and educational heritage, the Surrey market town of Guildford is fast becoming a cultural, commercial and learning destination. With a buzzing live music scene, large student population and a location just a short 30 minute journey from central London, it is the ideal setting for beginning your music industry education.

      Combining the security and charm of a small town with all the vibrancy of a city, Guildford is very well serviced with a huge selection of shops, restaurants, live music venues and sports facilities.

      Guildford has a vibrant nightlife scene catering to the town’s large student community. It is bustling with clubs, bars, pubs and dedicated music venues of all sizes from The Boileroom, a 200-capacity live events space, to G Live, a 1,700-capacity venue.

      ACM’s immersive education experience extends into those spaces in the evenings and weekends, providing performance, production, technical and business opportunities for students at more than 60 live events that we are involved with every month. In fact, it’s hard to find a night in Guildford that doesn’t involve ACM in some form.

      Despite its vibrant nightlife and the urban benefits of such a well-served town, Guildford has one of the lowest crime rates in the United Kingdom. Being only a 30-minute train journey from London, students regularly travel for performance and work opportunities. With trains running every 15 minutes throughout the day, Guildford is also well connected for travel by road, benefitting from a 15-minute link time to the M25.