This Foundation Diploma equates to 1.5 A Levels and can be studied alongside 2 A Levels or Extended Certificates in your selected Study Programme.

Are you a musician that loves performing both in bands and as a soloist? Do you want to develop
your skills and grow as a performer? From Rock to Pop, Folk to Fusion, this course is well suited for all types of musicians from drummers to singers, guitarists to keyboard players, in fact anyone interested in gaining the essential skills and knowledge needed for future study or a career in Popular Music.

The course involves practical and investigative work centred on the performance of contemporary popular music and learning about the inner workings of the music industry. You will work closely with the Music Production students to record your music and put on live events.

Throughout the course you will be working as part of a production team towards putting on a tour at the end of the year. This will involve choosing repertoire, perhaps writing your own songs, designing promotional material and working with a budget. It will give you a real insight into what it is like to put on live music events.

On this course you will study the following topics:

  • Performance (group and solo)
  • Music Industry studies
  • Marketing and promotion
  • Session Styles
  • History of Popular Music
  • Music Theory
  • Event Management
  • Recording and Production

“This course is brilliant in the fact it allows a lot of freedom when wanting to take control of your future in music. Already within the course I have had the opportunities of gigging inside and out of the college. I have enjoyed experiencing different settings to gig at and to build a great friendship within my band. I have learned a lot about becoming a professional musician and all the hard work that goes into it. “

Popular Music Vocational Student

Standard College entry requirements: 5 GCSEs at grade 4 or above, including Maths and English Language or Literature. Plus a musical ability and the ability to perform in front of others.

We have a full programme of gig dates throughout the year to give our students the most experience of performing in the real world as possible. We gig every two weeks at local venues and further afield from The Cavern Club in Exeter to Gloucester University.

Over the last few years we have welcomed the following speakers:

Jim Fox :  John Peel Stage Glastonbury Festival

Zac Peters : DMF Music Exeter

Paul Grey : Musicians Union

Chris Tait : Shipboard Musician


Our students have had the chance to visit:

The John Peel Stage Glastonbury Festival (our 12th year of attending)

Loud Mastering Taunton

Real World Studios Box near Bath (Peter Gabriels studio)

Theatre Royal Bath

Theatre Royal Plymouth

Bristol Old Vic

Colston Hall Bristol

The Phoenix Art Centre Exeter

All music students on A Level or Vocational Music courses at Richard Huish College will receive a bursary off the cost of instrumental or vocal tuition.

For more information on the Music Bursary please click here.



The Aspen Music Centre is officially opened in December 2018 with the help of pupils from St George’s Primary School

Aspen Music Centre has been purpose built to offer the best experience for students wanting to advance their musical skills.

The music suite and performance space has:

  • 2 recording studios with RedNet Technology
    Studio 1: Audient ASP 8024 HE Mixing Desk
    Studio 2: Allen and Heath ZED 16 Mixing Desk
  • Industry standard microphones, guitar amplifiers etc
  • 2 sound proof live rooms for recording
  • A Mac suite equipped with the latest Apple iMac computers running Logic X, Ableton, Sibelius 8
  • Editing/production suite with Allen and Heath QU24 Digital Mixing Desk
  • 2 large specialist music teaching classrooms
  • 5 purpose built practice rooms equipped with pianos for instrumental lessons and individual bookings
  • Secure instrument store cupboard and vast library of printed music
  • Instruments and sound equipment available to loan

Also on campus we have a number of well equipped practice rooms;

  • Red Room – Large practice room with stage, full PA and recording facilities, Drum Kit, Amps and Piano
  • Green Room – Piano, PA, Drum Kit, Amps
  • Blue Room – Drum Kit, PA Amps and Recording facilities.




Do I need to have GCSE Music or music theory to do this course?

No, what you need is the ability to play an instrument and have some performance experience and plenty of enthusiasm.

What can I do with Popular Music?

Some students have successfully continued to become nationally renowned e.g. the Darlingtons. Combined with Music Technology, this prepares you well for a career in music production.

What progression routes are there from this course?

There is a record of excellent progression into higher education with the majority of students going on to study:

  • At Music College
  • ACM and Tech schools
  • Music Performance degrees
  • Music Industry Management
  • Commercial Music