Music Performance, Production & Composition BA (Hons) Southend Campus

This programme will give you a comprehensive understanding of the theoretical and technical aspects of musical composition and performance, as well as studio recording and production techniques and related disciplines.

In the music industry there is a growing need for multi-skilled practitioners who are able to write, create and perform music, as well as record and produce performances.

The course is concerned with the music production, performance and composition process in a variety of contexts, for example, sound for film and live performance. You will develop both the practical skills, theoretical knowledge and the ability to critically review music practice.

Equipment and facilities

Our specialist studio facilities are resourced with a recording studio, eight rehearsal rooms and two specialist music technology computer rooms. The course uses a variety of software including Apple’s Logic suite of digital audio workstation software, Avid Sibelius and Pro Tools and numerous other supporting pieces of software.

Why should I do this course? 
  • we have excellent progression of graduates into industry
  • small class sizes ensure you will have access to both tutors and specialist facilities to enhance your experience
  • access to industry specification software and equipment
  • students gain access to high quality work experience opportunities in venues across Essex and London
What's covered? 

This programme places huge emphasis on employability, including an industry week where you will have the opportunity to engage with experts and access work placements.

Work experience

There is currently one module per academic year focusing on work experience, which means you will have to engage with external clients.

Guest speakers

You will benefit from several guest speakers during the programme. Previous speakers include:

  • Steve Cheney, Creative & Cultural Skills, also stage management for the main stages at the Glastonbury, Latitude, Big Chill and Leeds Festivals
  • Sean McLoughlin, Senior Producer of Metal
  • Mark Saunders, a UK session musician and a member of the British band, Florence and the Machine
  • Richard Onslow, owner of South Record Shop in Southend, has worked with White Stripes and Katy Perry at major record labels, EMI and XL Records
  • James Price, drummer in Nothing but Thieves

Field trips

Although there are no compulsory field trips, some students get the opportunity to work in the following events:

  • artist liaison and backstage at the 02
  • Latitude Festival
  • Calling Festival

Contact hours

13 hours per week, including a one hour tutorial.

Time is split roughly 50:50 between practical training and theory sessions.

How will my work be assessed? 

You will be assessed using a variety of methods which reflect industry practice. Assessments include (but are not limited to) live performances, session performances which respond to a brief, sales pitches, compositions, recordings, reports and presentations. There is a strong focus on assessments which require you to combine industry relevance with high academic standards.

What can I do after this? 

The great majority of our graduates progress into the music industry. Some also progress to study a Masters programme, including:

  • MA Music
  • MA Music Technology
  • MA Music - Professional Performance
  • MA Composing for Film and Television
  • MA Composition

Graduate destinations

Previous graduates have progressed to a variety of roles, including:

  • freelance sound engineers for clubs
  • residential DJs at Essex and London venues
  • one student has set-up their own music education company, Muzic Matters

Year one

Provides the basic skills across the different programme areas to build a firm foundation in preparation for more specialist study in years two and three. A wide variety of subjects are covered, focusing on key practical skills and the basis of core academic inquiry in music. The practical topics include areas such as using a recording studio, musical performance and music sequencing, while the academic areas include music theory, cultural studies, and music law and ethics.


Music Theory and Fundamentals: This module provides you with instruction in the fundamentals of music theory that are required in order to fully engage with the construction of music. You will also explore the use of Sibelius notation software in order to create scores.

Music Industry and Law: An understanding of the relationship between the law and the production and promotion of music is vital for those wishing to work in or study the Music Industry. This module explores a range of legal issues that you are likely to encounter in your future vocational practice.

Music within Culture and Context: Music within Culture and Context will provide you with an introduction into cultural studies but more specifically the intrinsic link between music and the societal and contextual conditions in which it exists. Key cultural terms and concepts will be explored and utilised within the analysis of musical products.

Composition and Arrangement: This module introduces you to composition and arrangement – useful skills in many musical contexts, including production. You will examine the process of taking musical ideas and bringing them to fruition through an arrangement which works with other performing artists, in addition to bringing your own identity to the work.

Studio Management: The aim of this module is to introduce you to the environment, procedures, equipment and techniques involved in the production of music in the multi-track recording studio. Studio roles and effective communication will be explored and applied in order to further enhance your practice. Our studio has a mix of analogue and digital equipment, including industry standard Pro Tools software.

Sequencing Practice: The aim of this module is to analyse and apply the techniques and procedures involved in the production of music involving computers and related technologies. It examines a range of hardware and software options with a view to integrating them in the production process. You will be producing work using Logic Pro software.

Band Musicianship: A key skill for any musician is being able to work with others. This is explored and built upon within Band Musicianship, where you will work within a band to produce material for a live performance.

Professional Musicianship: Building on the skills acquired throughout Band Musicianship, within Professional Musicianship you will seek out a client and work to their specifications, producing a live performance which responds to their brief. 

Year two

The second year expands significantly on composition and performance whilst exploring critical lines of enquiry, and introducing you to new ways of thinking and to artists outside of your area of experience. There is a significant focus in the second year on moving you forward in your study and encouraging you to work in a more independent and self-directed way.


Dissertation Preparation: Dissertation Preparation enables you to develop appropriate skills in preparation for the production of your dissertation, which is carried out during the final year of the programme. This module will assist your development by exploring appropriate research, statistical and critical skills to support the creation of your dissertation.

Business Practice: Business Practice provides an introduction to business and professional practices in the music industry and relates practical studies in music production to a professional context. You will develop knowledge of small business operations and procedures, together with a variety of marketing strategies.

Music and Sound for Film: While studying this module, you will examine composition and compositional techniques within the context of composing accompaniment to moving image. Music and Sound for Film will introduce the ideas and principles behind writing scores, creating and recording foley and sound effects, producing soundtracks and pre and post audio production for Film.

Advanced Ensemble Studies: This module requires you to develop and present a performance of a selected repertoire as a means to explore and practically apply a range of techniques and methods. This could include (but is not limited to) application within Jazz, Popular, Contemporary and Commercial music.

Instrumental and Group Tuition: This module will acquaint you with the potential for, and opportunities offered by employment as a part-time, or full-time music teacher. It is a work-based learning module, and will introduce you to managing the undertaking of several professional roles at once, and how these can inform one another.

Session Musicianship: You will develop and demonstrate professional session musicianship skills and studio performance techniques through participation in a variety of sessions which meet the requirements of a professional producer/composer.

Year three

The final year of the programme is the most challenging as it requires you to utilise the skills you learnt throughout the programme in an independent and self-directed way. In addition to the larger project-based units, the dissertation and practical project, both of which are double modules, there are some modules which deal with specialisation as well as supporting you to progress into the world of work.


Dissertation: In your final year you will carry out a substantial research exercise, as detailed in your Dissertation proposal within your second year. This will culminate in a dissertation based upon your direct research findings, underpinned with relevant evidence.

Industry Preparation: The creative industries often rely on practitioners to work in a freelance or micro-business capacity, and consider the entrepreneurial approach to monetizing their skills and interests. This module aims to challenge and develop you in order to give you the best start in what can be a challenging market place. 

Practical Project: Throughout this module you will explore a self-defined area of practice from which you will produce an extended practical project (for example a studio album; a composition or sound design for a live performance; a radio show; a multimedia product or a television/video product). 

New Music Composition: The aim of this module is to explore and evaluate contemporary compositional techniques. You will apply your understanding of a range of techniques to produce a portfolio of creative and original compositions that incorporate the unconventional and conventional use of instruments.

Collaborative Performance and Composition Project: The module will allow you to put into practice your composition/ arranging, session musicianship and ensemble skills alongside dance, theatre or other creative projects. You will develop a collaborative project by leading and working with a team of people to complete the given task.

Entry requirements 

You will need a minimum of 160 UCAS points from one or more of the following:

  • at least two A-levels
  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma/Diploma/Subsidiary Diploma/Certificate [QCF]
  • BTEC National Award/Certificate/Diploma [NQF]
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma
  • International Baccalaureate
  • AQA Baccalaureate
  • Progression Diploma
  • Advanced Diploma

You will also need GCSE English at grade C (old specification) or Grade 4 (new specification) or above OR a Level 2 equivalent such as functional skills.

To find out how many points your qualifications are awarded, view the UCAS Tariff tables.

Video requirements

Applicants to the BA (Hons) Music Production, Performance and Composition degree programme are required to provide a video of a performance(s) on their chosen (first) instrument. The requirements for the video are presented below:

  • the video must be uploaded to YouTube/Vimeo as an unlisted track
  • viewing access must be granted to (as directed on application)
  • length should be four to eight minutes, and can include more than one piece of music (or playing styles)
  • the performer must be clearly visible

Additional costs

There are no additional costs that students incur whilst on the programme. However, we do encourage you to purchase new technology, such as headphones.

Exceptional Entry

Applications from mature students who do not possess the entry requirements as listed above, but who possess related professional experience or professional qualifications, are welcome to apply. You will need to demonstrate by interview, exceptional entry portfolio (this is likely to include evidence of paid or unpaid work experience) and/or written assessment that you are suitable for the course. In the first instance we suggest you contact to discuss your application.

Open Event - Higher Education

Saturday, 10 October 2015
Saturday, 05 December 2015
Saturday, 23 April 2016
Saturday, 08 October 2016
Saturday, 26 November 2016
Saturday, 03 December 2016
Saturday, 22 April 2017

The Forum

As a higher education student at South Essex College you will get exclusive access to The Forum Southend-on-Sea, a £27 million ultra-modern library and learning zone located opposite our Southend Campus.

Therefore we are holding our higher education open events at The Forum so that you can see for yourself the fantastic new building and learning facilities you will have access to if you choose to study with us.

Southend Campus (Luker Road)
Monday, September 19, 2016
Full time
3 years
Higher Education
Course code
W312 (BA)
Fees are per academic year for home and EU students
Southend Campus (Luker Road)
Luker Road

The latest

My story Marc Baker
Graphic Design BA (Hons)

Marc Baker
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Hello my name is Marc Baker, I am 25 and this is my story.

I started at South Essex College in 2007 on a Level 2 Art & Design course which led to a Level 3 Diploma in Graphic Design. I knew that doing graphic design would allow me to develop and progress as a student, and was the natural choice to pursue my chosen career. I then did a BA (Hons) degree in Graphic Design.

I enjoyed my time at South Essex College and it was probably the best time of my life so far. I met some really great people and built and developed great relationships with my tutors whom I keep in touch with to this day. It was a fantastic time and I would recommend it to anyone else. I think the skills I developed at the College really helped me and benefitted what I wanted to do in the workplace. I always had the time that I needed with tutors, one-on-one and resources were always made available to me. Since I left the College an opportunity came up at Essex Web Creative. I am in charge as the creative graphic designer of the team. It was a great pleasure to come to this company because I can provide something that they need and produce fantastic work and beautiful art work. It is great to be able to help other businesses with their creative process.

I would always recommend South Essex College. It has a professional atmosphere,  but it is also a very friendly atmosphere which from my experience helps. At South Essex College you get the best of both worlds and when needed there is always a tutor to help you.

My story Danielle Martinali
Fashion Design BA (Hons)

Danielle Martinali

Danielle Martinali >

Fashion Design BA (Hons)

My name is Danielle Martinali and I live in Shoebury. I am 22, studying Fashion Design BA (Hons) at South Essex College and this is my story.

I began at South Essex College straight from school and have always studied fashion design. I chose the College because it is close to home. Being at South Essex College has taught me many skills to use in the future. From pattern cutting to draping to Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator, how to research and find the right fabrics for designs and how to design correctly, using a range of new different software (Gerber). I learnt how to use machinery correctly and how to sew to a high quality standard. These are things I will always have and remember for many years ahead.

Best of all is being able to have a one-to-one relationship with the staff. I built up good relationships and felt comfortable with them all. We now have a really strong bond. I hope we will always stay in contact and I don't think I could have got through the years without them and their support.

Hopefully I will graduate with a first class Honours degree. During my degree I did all things ‘fashion’ to get myself noticed and my graduate exhibition will be held at FreeRange in Brick Lane, London. I have successfully landed a job at a company called Australia Luxe Collective in London as an assistant designer having applied online through the Creative Arts. A week after I graduate I will start work on developing a new women’s outerwear clothing line to compliment the existing footwear ranges. I will be responsible for research, design and pattern cutting for first samples amongst other things (

Because I built up such good relationships with my tutors I now feel confident about my future and I think that doing further and higher education gets you in more doors and to enables you to proceed to a better life for yourself. I would recommend South Essex College because you get a lot of one-to-one tuition which isn’t available at most universities as they are overfilled. I am proud that I have managed to get myself into the industry and my ambition is to finally have my own brand designing outerwear.

At South Essex College I gained a lot of confidence and the ambition to push myself to be the best I can be.

Key facts

  • Music & Sound Technology
  • Undergraduate Qualification
  • BA (Hons) Music Performance, Production & Composition
  • - Media and Performing Arts

Awarded by

University Of Essex