University and college courses include:
- Musical theatre
- Music education
- Music and communities
- Sound and music for games
- Commercial songwriting
- Music business
- Audio recording and production
- Music composition and technology
- Sound engineering
Conservatoire courses include:
- Instrumental performance
- Music (classical)
- Master of Composition
- Bachelor of Music
- Musical theatre performance
- Music management
You can study music at a university, college, or conservatoire.
- Conservatoires specialise and focus on performance-based study, with a strong emphasis on one-to-one tuition, group work, and performance.
- University and college courses tend to focus on theory-based disciplines such as analysis, harmony and counterpoint, music technology, and psychology of performing, as well as performance itself.
Entry requirements to study music at a conservatoire
Entry requirements for conservatoire courses could be qualifications, auditions, other skills and interests, and more. Selection is principally judged by a practical audition or a portfolio of work. Some conservatoires also ask for a minimum of two A levels, though a strong audition may mean academic entry requirements are relaxed.
International students need to demonstrate skills in spoken and written English too.
Entry requirements to study music at a university
For a first undergraduate degree, you will usually need a minimum of two A levels or four Scottish Highers, but this varies between course providers. In addition, you normally require five GCSEs at grade C or above, including maths and English.
Entry requirements range from CCC to ABB, with the universities and colleges most commonly asking for ABB.
Scottish Highers – Entry requirements for Highers (the most common qualification) range from BBBB to AABBB, with universities or colleges most frequently requiring AABBB. Occasionally, universities ask for Advanced Highers to supplement Highers. If Advanced Highers are requested, universities or colleges typically ask for ABB.
Applicants taking a performance music course will often be expected to have achieved a minimum of grade 7 ABRSM (or equivalent) in their main instrument or voice.
Many providers use UCAS Tariff points in their entry requirements, where A levels and other qualifications have been converted into points.
Vocational courses – other Level 3 qualifications (e.g. BTEC extended diploma in performing arts) may be accepted as an alternative to A levels by many universities and performing arts colleges. Check each course provider’s entry requirements carefully.
Personal statements form an essential part of the selection process, and in general, admissions tutors are looking for:
- a sense of what drives your interest and passion for the subject
- evidence that you have a real enthusiasm and are highly motivated, which could be demonstrated by:
- relevant work experience or voluntary work
- additional research, training, and relevant qualifications
- membership of related societies/clubs
- a well-written statement that shows you have something to contribute to the university or college
- the ability to work collaboratively and share ideas with others
If you want to combine work and study while earning a salary, you could consider an apprenticeship. Which apprenticeships are available, and how you apply, depends on where you live.
Each apprenticeship sets out occupational standards for specific job roles, designed by employers. The standards outline the skills, knowledge, and behaviours required to demonstrate that an apprentice is fully competent in the job role.
Higher apprenticeships (Level 4)
- Assistant technical director (visual effects)
- Junior 2D artist (visual effects)
- Post production technical operator
Degree apprenticeships (Levels 5 – 7)
Key areas of employment
This subject area has a strong vocational link, with the key areas of employment being:
- live band
- opera company
- cruise ships
- musical theatre company
- recording studio
- music journalism
- session studio
Examples of related careers include:
- art administrator
- classical musician
- community arts worker
- dance teacher
- drama therapist
- events management
- graphic designer
- licensing and royalty officer
- music director
- music performer
- music publisher
- music talent scout
- music teacher
- music therapist
- singing coach
- sound engineer
- theatre director
- tour manager