Extended Diploma in Music (Level 3)

This popular, two year course provides a fantastic opportunity to develop your musical skills across the entire popular music spectrum; from Metal to Hip-Hop, from Folk to Grunge, from Jazz-Funk to Classic Rock and everything in between.


It allows you to develop and build on your existing interest and knowledge of popular music, such as playing and singing techniques, music technology, songwriting and composition, sound recording and performing, alongside a team of experienced tutors and fellow students from a wide range of backgrounds. If you want to be a committed musician, what better way could you find to spend your time ‘doing music’ every day and gain a substantial qualification at the same time?

We believe it is important to make students feel valued, so whatever you bring to the course in terms of prior ability and experience, we will help you to build and develop it, to realise your full, creative potential.


The course is practical and work-related covering all aspects of modern popular music including Rock, Jazz, Pop and World.  It is designed to give you a broad-based foundation from which to progress to either Higher Education or directly into employment. All of our tutors have experience or currently work in a related area of the Music Industry, for example through performance, composing, and/or recording, and are able to pass on to students a wealth of practical and professional experience.

The Extended Diploma is equivalent to three A Levels and is recognised as such by all Universities and specialist Music Colleges.

Listen to our music demos in soundcloud

Key areas covered on the course include:
  • Musicianship
  • Performance and Practical Skills
  • Music Technology & Production Techniques
  • Music Business

More details about these areas can be found below


The course is based in a dedicated Music Suite located at our Folly Lane campus which includes sound-proof rehearsal/recording studios each containing a PA system, back-line amplifiers (Marshall, Fender, Ampeg) and keyboards and drum kit, alongside a fully-equipped Music Technology suite (Cubase & Sibelius). Class rooms are used for theory-based and formal teaching. Each studio, together with the Folly Arts Theatre, is digitally linked to enable recording from and to any of these spaces via a brand new Yamaha Digital mixing desk.

There are many regular opportunities to perform and record, both formally and informally throughout the course. A unique aspect of the course is the weekly ‘Performance Clinic’ where you and your fellow students can perform to each other and receive constructive feedback.


A wide range of trips are arranged to gigs, workshops and music fairs, and we also regularly host visits from music industry professionals, including former students. You’ll also have the opportunity to work at the College Road Campus with students from the Royal National College for the Blind, and take advantage of more excellent video and audio recording facilities.

Students also study English and Maths as an integral part of the course and will take Functional Skills qualifications and/or work towards GCSEs as appropriate.

Progression and Careers

Many students opt to study further at degree level after the course.  You’ll receive fantastic support throughout the UCAS application process, enabling you to make an informed decision in order to progress successfully at University or College.  Alternatively, you'll be well equiped to apply for junior employment in the music or related industries.



This area looks at developing your skills in music theory, aural skills, sight-reading, voice and keyboards. These are the essential aspects of being a well-rounded musician and will equip you for the entry requirements of higher education courses as well as a variety of career options.

Performance and Practical Skills+

This area includes repertoire from the history and development of popular music from the fifties to the present day, world music and jazz studies, solo and ensemble performance as well as opportunities to perform original songs and compositions.

Music Technology & Production +

This area looks at the use of sound recording, sequencers, samplers and notation software to develop up-to-the-minute skills commonly used in studio production and composition.

Music Business+

This area looks at how the music industry currently operates including new record company models, the internet, promotion and marketing. It also looks at the role and place of popular music in society


2 years full-time


When we asked students:
100% of students agree staff are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about what they are teaching

98% say coursework is challenging and interesting


"So much goes into this course - as well as performance we learn about the music industry and have a better understanding about how to organise gigs and promote shows"

Entry Requirements

  • Minimum age of 16 years
  • Minimum 5 GCSEs at Grade C or above (to ensure that you qualify it is highly desirable that you achieve at least a grade C or above both English and Maths)
  • or Level 2 Diploma in Performing Arts (Merit or above)
  • Interview and audition
  • Applicants will also be required to complete a short piece of written work


College-Level 3


No tuition fees (with the exception of students from the Channel Islands) will be charged to students aged under 19 on 31st August in the year in which the student begins the course


Firstly, come along to one of our Open Events - meet our staff, current students, walk round the studios and workshops, and find out more about our courses

How to Apply

Fees & Funding