This dynamic and exciting course for pop, rock, jazz and folk musicians will allow you to follow a broad-based, industry-relevant syllabus.  You will study all aspects of performance including: music creation (composing and song writing), the music industry, musicianship (theory, listening skills, voice, and keyboard skills), and technology (sound recording, music sequencing etc.).

During your first year you will be given a solid grounding in basic musicianship, rehearsal and performance techniques, as well as being introduced to how the music industry currently operates.

As you progress on the course during year 2, you will develop your stagecraft and writing skills and will be given more responsibility as you work towards your final major project in which groups devise, plan, promote and stage their own music event!

Students are encouraged to learn more than one instrument.  On the course this can either be approached formally (such as focus on vocals and keyboard) or as part of your development within bands, for example, many guitarists develop their bass-playing skills.

You will be supported throughout your time at HCA to make the best choices when considering your ‘next steps’ after the course. Visiting speakers will give you valuable first-hand insights into the many career options available and staff will guide you through the university application process with regular tutorials.

On this course, you will benefit from industry insights and experience. Students on this course have enjoyed talks and advice given by visiting musicians, producers, songwriters and managers. Guest speakers on our Music Diploma course have included, among many others:

  • Neil Adcocks, one of the most in-demand guitar technicians and equipment maintenance specialists in the industry who has toured the world with all the biggest acts from Elton John to Queen to Tricky and Robbie Williams
  • Alex Attwood, a composer/ arranger/ who creates music for a wide range of programmes including many Bafta-nominated shows
  • Cara Tivey, a teacher, jazz pianist and session musician for bands such as Blur, Billy Bragg and Everything But the Girl
  • Tom Carson, a former A&R man at Sony Records and curator and manager of Jägermeister festival stages.

As a student you will also have opportunities to gain work experience with local businesses and venues such as the Courtyard Theatre, Holmer Park Spa and Hereford Cider Festival.

In 2018, 48% of students on this course achieved UCAS points equivalent to A*A*A* at A-level.

  • 2 nights of amazing gigs at ‘The Speakeasy’ venue at Hereford’s Left Bank
  • Students recorded an album of songs written for a stage show
  • Workshop and performance with Birmingham Conservatoire Folk Ensemble
  • Regular visits to Royal National College to record video and audio with monthly ‘live streamed’ performances
  • Students performed their solo material in front of a panel of industry professionals including songwriters, producers and managers
  • Visit to London to see ‘STOMP’

You can achieve a maximum of 168 UCAS points equivalent to 3 A-Levels at A* grade. Students successfully completing this course can apply to BA (Hons) Popular Music at HCA, as well as other universities and colleges throughout the UK

  • Minimum 5 GCSEs at Grade 9 – 4 ( A*- C) (to ensure that you qualify, it is highly desirable that you achieve at least a grade 4 / C or above in English and maths), or on achieving a Merit at Level 2 Diploma in Music.
  • Interview and audition
  • Minimum age: 16 years
WatchOur students' describe their experiences on the course
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"I still use the knowledge gained at HCA when I'm working every day" Gigi Birch