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Music Level 3 Extended Diploma at Truro and Penwith College

Course description

You will look at the practical skills required for performing in bands or as a session musician, developing the techniques needed for playing in a range of styles and genres. You will take part in a number of practical projects ranging from gigs at local venues, to community based music projects and events. You will also investigate the inner workings of the music industry, preparing you for life in the business, and look at popular music history and the way in which music affects society. You will develop composition and song writing skills, look at music sequencing and recording, and receive a free instrumental lesson every week.

If you love popular music, and can see yourself focusing on it every day, both as an individual and through teamwork, then this is the course for you!

The course is divided into two years, and you will achieve a 90 Credit Diploma (equivalent to one and a half A-levels or three AS levels) at the end of year 1, and the full Extended Diploma (equivalent to three A Levels) at the end of year 2. The course is packed with opportunities to develop across the range of skillsets within music, and provides an excellent platform for your future. Your studies will be divided as follows:

You will look at a range of practical projects in year 1, developing your playing ability, communication and teamwork skills, and performing several shows both at college and in the community. You will work within a number of different line-ups, in order to enhance your skills of creativity and develop your musical interests. You will also focus on song writing, and in year 2, you will organise, manage and perform at a large scale event, either in a band, or as a solo artist.

Musicianship Skills:
Your music theory skills, listening and aural perception will be developed, as these are key to anyone wishing to be successful in the industry. We will look at how these skills can be practically applied, and even give you the opportunity to study for a theory qualification if you want to. In year 2, You will look at how to write and construct music for a variety of purposes, and develop your song writing techniques.

Popular Music in Context:
This element will allow you to look at popular music history, and how the wider world affects the music that is written and created. You will study what makes certain artists successful, investigate the music of other cultures, and undertake a research project in a musical subject of your choosing.

Creative Music Technology:
Music technology is an ever expanding area of the business, and every up and coming musician should be aware of the benefits of honing these skills. You will learn to sequence and compose music using industry standard software, and will also learn to use our 24 track studio, to record and produce music to a professional standard. The skills that you learn here will ensure that you are ready for the future challenges and developments within the music industry and encourage your creative side!

The aim of the industry units is to prepare you for work within the music business. You will study the main areas of the industry, looking at the roles involved. You will then look at contracts, and investigate music licensing and royalty payments. Former students who have enjoyed these units have gone on to work as music lawyers or within record companies. In the second year, you will look at the skills needed to work as a freelancer within the industry, studying everything from applying for music jobs to looking at managing your finances and paying tax. You will also study the importance of marketing within the industry, and run a marketing campaign for a music product.

Entry requirements

The basic entry requirement is five GCSEs at grade C or above, one of which must be in either English Language or Maths. Though no formal music education is required, you should be able to display not only an enthusiasm and passion for the subject, but also an aptitude for performance and experience of an instrument or voice. You will be expected to attend an interview and audition, at which you will play or sing two contrasting pieces to assess your suitability for the course.


Because of the high dependence on teamwork and resources, grades often hinge on excellent attendance and punctuality, as well as effort applied in the correct manner. All units are assessed through coursework in one form or another; presently there are no exams to undertake. You will be assessed on a regular basis and through a variety of different methods, such as:

  • Performances and recordings
  • Continual practical assessment
  • Written essays or accounts
  • Individual and group presentations and evaluations
  • Ongoing logs, diaries, filmed discussions and class activities

Future opportunities

When you finish with us, you will already have the skills required for a number of career options. Many of our students progress to university level study, with the majority following music related pathways at BIMM, ACM, LIPA, Westminster, Goldsmiths and Bath Spa.

Career wise, although the dream for many is of playing day in, day out in a famous band, our former students have enjoyed success in many facets of the industry including performance, composition for film and TV, production, marketing, studio work, journalism, therapy, law, event management, photography, product design and media production.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Truro and Penwith College directly.

Last updated date: 15 June 2016

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