Music Performance (single award)
Voc Lvl 3

If you aspire to work in the music industry or are interested in a career in music performance or composing for example, then this course will develop the skills you need to get into the contemporary music industry.  You will develop knowledge and practical skills in live performance techniques, song writing, software and sequencing and gain a detailed understanding of the music business.  You will work in our dedicated music technology rooms and recording studio using the latest industry-standard facilities.  The course offers an in-depth programme that will develop students' knowledge both theoretically and contextually, through a variety of assignments and ‘hands-on’ practical work.  The BTEC Extended Certificate in music performance is equivalent to one full A level when the two years are completed. 

For further information please email: 

You will have access to: 

  • three brand new Mac suites equipped with the latest Apple iMac computers (2017 release), running Logic Pro X and Native Instruments’ Komplete
  • a brand new industry standard recording studio equipped with a range of industry standard microphones, guitar amplifiers, Yamaha piano and Tama Silverstar drum kit
  • a range of departmental instruments including electric guitars, electric bass guitars, acoustic guitars, MIDI guitars, Alesis electronic drum kits and an acoustic Yamaha Tour Custom drum kit

This course is designed to develop a practical understanding of the techniques and processes involved in music practice and performance.  

The units studied on this course are:

  • Ensemble music performance brief - This is an externally assessed unit. In this unit you will develop the skills needed to respond to a music performance brief and put on a show as part of a group in relation to a specified scenario.  In doing this, you will be working with others and you may need to re-arrange the chosen songs to suit your ensemble.  Roles needed to fulfil this task may consist of performer, composer, arranger, technician, organiser or administrator.  You will explore how the rehearsal and production process works and how the different roles interrelate, before planning and putting on a live music performance.
  • Practical music theory and harmony - This is an internally assessed unit. In this unit you are introduced to the practical elements of music theory. You will learn the skills required to apply your knowledge, compositional techniques and music technology to produce a composition which will be played live.  This unit is designed to prepare you for progression to employment in the sector and towards higher education.

  • Professional practice in the music industry - This is an externally assessed unit. In this unit you will gain an understanding of what is meant by the term ‘professional practice’ as well as what it means to be a freelancer working in the music industry.  You will understand the professional skills that are important in the industry, and learn the importance of financial management, effective interpersonal skills and working with others.

  • Session styles brief - This is an internally assessed unit. In this unit you will explore the styles of music encountered in the role of a modern session musician and the different techniques specific to each genre. You will learn the art of performing in different settings i.e. performing live and recording in a studio environment.

You will be involved a variety of learning activities during lessons, including solo and group performance, composition, research assignments, class discussion and listening to, identifying and writing about the musical and technical characteristics of a range of recorded music.

The course is assessed both on an on-going portfolio basis as well as external assessments.  Two units are internally assessed and moderated, these units are completed through a mix of assessed written and practical assignments, presentations and group projects.  The two other units are externally assessed and are submitted through a mixture of videoed performances and written presentations.

Students who meet the minimum entry requirements will be able to study this course alongside other BTEC and AS/A level courses.

This vocational qualification is suitable for anyone considering a career in the music industry and students who have completed the course have a variety of options.  Some students may choose to progress on to music technology/industry degrees, whilst others may choose to seek employment in the industry.  The course can also count towards your UCAS points for acceptance onto non-music degree courses.

On completion of this course, many students choose to progress onto a wide range of specialist music performance and recording courses that are available throughout the UK.  Job roles in this sector include artist, composer/songwriter, session musician and record company personnel. Students may also go on to study acoustics, computing and media courses at university and pursue careers in music performance and promotion, composing for digital media, song writing, audio production, music video production, sound design, music industry management and music publishing.

95% of universities and colleges in the UK accept BTEC music students, including many of the universities from the Russell Group.  Nearly all universities accept BTECs in relevant subject areas and many creative undergraduate courses prefer BTEC qualifications.

BTEC students can often be better prepared in terms of the independent study that is required at degree level due to the portfolio-based nature of BTEC courses.  The time management and organisational skills you’ll acquire on a BTEC course can also give you an added advantage over other candidates.  A substantial number of our students continue their studies in music at many of the top universities, both in the UK and abroad.

Please see below for careers and labour market information for music performance - use the refresh buttons to find out about different courses and careers, and use the left and right arrows to view more detailed information.

You can find the prep work for this course at

Q:  Do I have to have grade 5 theory to do Music Performance?
A:  Some theory knowledge is advisable but is not essential. There is a theory unit in which we will expand upon your current theory level.

Q:  I am self-taught, can I still take the course?
A:  Yes, providing you pass the audition. Everyone who takes the course has to pass an audition (regardless of grade) in which you will perform two songs of your choice each contrasting in genre.

Q:  Do I get instrumental/vocal lessons as part of the course?
A:  As part of the BTEC music performance course you will receive 30 lessons during the year, paid for by the College. These are in place to help you with your development on the course and so must be taken in the instrument in which you are being assessed.

Q:  I don't play any instruments, I only sing. Am I still able to take the course?
Yes, your voice is your instrument. It is not necessary to be able to play another instrument, such as guitar or piano (but this is obviously a useful extra skill).

Q:  What do BTEC music performance students tend to go on to after Sixth Form College?
  Approximately half of the BTEC students will go on to study music-related courses such as performance courses, creative artistry, creative music technology, composition, song writing and audio production.

Exam Board

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Entry Requirements

  • You should have a comprehensive understanding of the fundamentals of your chosen instrument and be at grade 4 or above performance standard.
  • Acceptance on this course will be dependent on passing a live audition, which will assess your musical ability.

Employability Skills

  • Organisation and time management skills through consistently working to deadlines
  • Professional working practice, including personal development as a musician and compositional work
  • Extensive live performance experience both as a solo musician and as part of an ensemble
  • Recording studio experience
  • Self-evaluative and reflective skills
  • A working knowledge of a wide range of music genres
  • Numeracy & literacy skills
  • Confident computer skills