Music (Performance) BMus

Year of entry

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2023
Delivery type
On campus
4 years full time
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
Typical Access to Leeds offer
BBB at A level and a pass in the Access to Leeds module
Full entry requirements

Course overview

Music performance

This course allows you to specialise in performance and spend your third year focused explicitly on your personal and professional development, usually in a conservatoire, music college or university abroad.

You’ll focus on developing as a performer in solo and ensemble contexts, supported through specialist personalised tuition, performance workshops, and engagement with the professional world of music-making, and you’ll also study music from a variety of critical approaches. You’ll choose optional modules, exploring areas such as musicology, analysis, aesthetics, composition, the psychology of music, or music technology.

Through music in psychology or politics, from baroque to pop, you’ll be able to study music from different cultures and periods. At the same time, you’ll develop your practice as a creative and individual performer, enhanced by your experience at one of a range of institutions worldwide during your year studying abroad.

At Leeds, you’ll develop a wide range of experience and valuable skills in a vibrant, diverse city with an exciting musical and cultural scene.

Specialist facilities

We have a wide vareity of excellent facilities to help you whilst you study with us.

At the heart of the School of Music is the Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall, a beautiful performance space which hosts a large and varied programme of concerts in term time. The entire concert programme is free for students.

The School of Music has its own purpose-built building complete with rehearsal, performance and practise spaces, a lab for studying the psychology of music and four lecture theatres. There are also studios for sound recording, software development and computer music composition – we have a wide range of professional recording equipment and up-to-date music software to help you with your studies. In addition, our instrument collection includes a specially commissioned gamelan, historic and modern keyboard instruments and a large selection of orchestral and world percussion.

Music at Leeds

Leeds offers a fantastic variety of opportunities to get involved with music and performance that go far beyond the School of Music ensembles. You can also be involved in extra-curricular activities through the students’ union or by creating your own ensembles or bands.

Leeds University Union Music Society (LUUMS) is one of the Union's largest societies and boasts 10 ensembles, including orchestras, choruses, brass and wind bands; each one gives regular concerts, and some go on tour. The campus hosts a diverse range of other musical societies, including Gospel Choir, Clothworkers Consort of Leeds, Opera Society, Music Theatre, Band Soc, Big Band, Electronic Music and DJ Societies.

You could also get involved in cultural activities in the Leeds area and perform in the city’s many venues such as clubs, pubs, churches, or the Town Hall.

Course details

Throughout the course, you’ll benefit from individual tuition from a specialist teacher in your instrumental/vocal lessons, and coaching in ensemble performance. In your first year you’ll study core modules that introduce you to theoretical, historical and social aspects of music; you can also choose from optional modules introducing you to composition, music technology or psychology, as well as discovery modules.

In your second year, you’ll study solo and ensemble performance which will prepare you for the following year, when you’ll focus on your performance and professional development, usually through study in a conservatoire, music college or university abroad. You’ll also develop in other areas, choosing from topics reflecting the diverse research interests of our tutors. In addition, you’ll choose from a range of options including analysis, aesthetics and criticism, musicology, music technology, composition and music psychology.

The performance and professional development year can focus almost exclusively on intensive performance study. However, if you’re studying in English you may also choose some academic modules, and if you’re abroad, you can improve your language skills.

In your final year, you’ll focus on specialist solo performance to prepare for a recital, and you’ll demonstrate the skills you’ve acquired when you produce a dissertation on a topic of your choice. It is possible to continue to choose from specialist studies, and you will have the chance to perform in the School’s ensembles.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Music (Performance) BMus in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Understanding Music 20
Music in History and Culture 20
Music Research Skills 20
Performance 20
Ensemble Performance 20

Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Composition 20
Sound, Technology, and Music 20
Introduction to the Music Business 10
Introduction to the Psychology of Music 20

Year 2 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Ensemble Performance 20
Performance 40

Year 2 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Towards the Future: Skills in Context 20
Interpreting Music 20
Music, Culture, Politics: the Long Sixties 20
Music and Culture in Late Seventeenth-Century London 20
Composition 20
Aesthetics and Criticism 20
Music Technology Skills and Techniques 20
Music in Practice 20
Film-Score Creation and Production 20
Studies in Conducting 20
Synthesizer Ensemble 20

Year 3 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Performance and Professional Development Year 120

Year 4 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Dissertation 40
Performance 40

Year 4 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Analysing Music 20
The Supernatural in Opera 20
Special Study in Musicology A 20
Composition 40
Editing and Source Studies 20
Contemporary Aesthetics 20
Music Technology 40
Opera North: Opera in Practice 20

Discovery modules

Throughout your degree you will benefit from a range of opportunities to expand your intellectual horizons outside or within your subject area.

This course gives you the opportunity to choose from a range of discovery modules. They’re a great way to tailor your study around your interests or career aspirations and help you stand out from the crowd when you graduate. Find out more about discovery modules on our Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

Performance modules will include individual tuition, ensemble rehearsals, and performance classes, where you will have the expertise of a piano accompanist for rehearsal and performances, if you need one. You’ll have access to our expert instrumental and vocal teachers, but could choose to study with an alternative teacher off-campus if you wish.

Depending on the modules you choose, other teaching and learning methods are likely to include lectures, seminars and tutorials, as well as online learning tasks, studio time for composition, and lab work in music psychology. Independent study is also an important part of the degree, whether in practice and rehearsal or research and reading, since this is where you will develop your analytical and research skills. Our experienced technicians and tutors are on hand to help if you need them.

You’ll be assigned a personal tutor who will meet with you individually at least twice a year, and tutorial support for your other modules is always available on request. All staff have office hours where you can drop in and ask for help if you need it. There is extensive support for students offered through the library's skills programme.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


We use different types of assessment, depending on the modules you choose. Performances are a vital element of your assessment, but we also use written and listening exams and essays, project work, composition portfolios, presentations, concert reviews and recordings.

Entry requirements

A-level: AAB Music

If these don't include A level Music, we would normally expect an essay/discursive subject and evidence of Musical Literacy.

Auditions and Interviews

All applicants will be auditioned and interviewed if they have achieved (or achieve during the application cycle) ABRSM Grade 8 distinction or equivalent – at least 87% in a practical exam.

You will be asked to provide a video recording of the following:

  • Two pieces or extracts of your choice of contrasting styles or periods on your first-study instrument or voice. Please prepare at least 8-10 minutes of music.
  • A prepared technical exercise or study, or a selection of scales/arpeggios (taking the Grade 8 syllabus as indicative where appropriate).

GCSE: usually 5 at A-C, including English at Grade C/4 or above

Other course specific tests:

As standard, we expect that you’ll have studied Music to A level or equivalent. However, if you haven’t we may still be able to consider your application providing you have, as a minimum, ABRSM Grade 8 Distinction practical qualification and evidence of musical literacy (e.g. Grade 5 music theory or equivalent). You should also have studied A level or equivalent at least one essay-based subject

Alternative qualification

Access to HE Diploma

The Diploma must be in a relevant subject with 60 credits overall, with at least 45 credits at level 3 to include 30 credits at Distinction and 15 at Merit


DDD in a music specialism, with evidence of musical literacy.

Cambridge Pre-U

D3, M1, M2

International Baccalaureate

35 overall (6 at higher level in Music)

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

(Leaving Certificate): H2 H2 H2 H2 H3 H3

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

AABBB (including AB at advanced level) OR AAABB (including A at Advanced level). For applicants just undertaking the higher level, grades of AAAABB will be required.

Welsh Baccalaureate

We can consider the Individual Project Element of the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate, and offer ABB for example + Distinction in the IP, (instead of AAB).

Other Qualifications

Apolytirion of Geniko Lykeio with Pan Hellenic exams: 18.5 overall normally including Music (equivalent music qualifications will be considered); including 17 in the English from the Pan Hellenic exams

Cypriot: pass in the Apolytirion with a minimum of 19 overall, including 19 in Music (other music qualifications will be considered) and 17 in English, plus at least one A level at grade B or above (or equivalent)

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.

Typical Access to Leeds offer: BBB at A Level and pass Access to Leeds


We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For information contact the School of Music Undergraduate Admissions Team.

International Foundation Year

International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.


UK: £9,250 (per year)

International: £24,000 (per year)

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will remain capped at £9,250 for 2023/24 and 2024/25. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for international students for 2023/24 and 2024/25 are available on individual course pages.

Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.


Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

Read our guidance about applying.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2024

This course is taught by

School of Music

Contact us

School of Music Undergraduate Admissions


Career opportunities

This degree will allow you to develop a wide range of subject knowledge and skills, focussing on performance. You’ll gain a solid background in academic study, and a wide range of transferable skills, which will enable you to pursue various career pathways. You’ll be a good communicator who is able to collaborate and work well in a team, but you’ll also be confident working independently. You’ll have the chance to develop analytical, research and organisational skills.

The performance and professional development year is a great opportunity to test your independence and will give you confidence in approaching new situations, as well as the chance to really concentrate on your performing activity.

The BMus degree will prepare you for a career in performance, including further study (our graduates regularly attain places at music colleges in the UK or abroad), and many of our students are working in the profession, including singers with Opera North, string quartet and band members, conductors, arrangers and orchestral musicians.

However, because of the rigorous academic requirements of the degree, it’s possible to move into careers in areas such as law, business, education and management. One of our BMus tenor voice graduates is working as legal counsel for Manchester United Football Club.

We run a series of careers events every year in collaboration with the University Careers Centre to help you explore your options.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.

Study abroad and work placements

Study abroad

If you progress successfully, and your application to an institution abroad is successful, you’ll apply to spend the third year of this degree studying in a conservatoire/music college/university at one of our partner institutions outside the UK.

It’s a great opportunity to develop your performance skills, explore another culture and develop personal skills that will stay with you for life. It will also look great on your CV, whether or not you choose to pursue a performance career after graduation.

Language classes are available during your first two years to prepare you to study in a non-English speaking country, though you may study in English if you prefer. We have a range of exchange programmes with conservatoires and music colleges worldwide.

See our current exchange institutions.

Student profile: Patricia Yates

Being able to perform in a hall with great acoustics and in your department’s own building so regularly has been an experience I don’t think many universities are able to offer.
Patricia Yates, BMus Music (Performance)
Find out more about Patricia Yates's time at Leeds