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This Foundation Diploma equates to 1.5 A Levels and can be studied alongside 2 A Levels or Extended Certificates within your 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.


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.

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

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. usually, we gig every fortnight 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 visited:

  • The John Peel Stage Glastonbury Festival (over a decade of attending)
  • Loud Mastering Taunton
  • Real World Studios Box near Bath (Peter Gabriel’s studio)
  • Theatre Royal Bath
  • Theatre Royal Plymouth
  • Bristol Old Vic
  • Colston Hall Bristol
  • The Phoenix Art Centre Exeter

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

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 or sing and to have some performance experience with plenty of enthusiasm.

How is the course assessed?

There are regular formal assessments in the form of performances, recordings, presentations and creative written work. There are no externally assessed examinations in this qualification.

Can I study Pop Music and Music Production?

Yes, if you are certain you are want to pursue a Music career you can study for a Pop Music and Music Production Extended Diploma. If you want to keep your Study Programme more broad, you may wish to choose either the Pop Music or Music Production Foundation Diploma and two other subjects.

What can I do with this qualification?

You will gain a wide range of skills to be able to join the Music Industry. Previous students have gone on to work in recording studios (including Abbey Road!), joined professional bands (October Drift, Last One Home), gone into Music Management and Promotional jobs (Senior Account Manager at Be-Hookd Digital and Artist Manager), the list goes on…

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

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



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.