Faculty of Performance, Visual Arts and Communications

School of Music

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BMus Music (Performance)

In this section:


UCAS code Qualification Duration and mode of study
1U67 BMU

4 Years Full Time

What you study

The BMus is an exciting four-year degree specialising in performance, with the third year spent in a conservatory environment abroad.

Throughout the programme, 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, half your time will be spent studying solo and ensemble performance which will prepare you for the following year, when you’ll study in a conservatoire environment abroad. You’ll also develop in other areas, choosing from topics reflecting the diverse research interests of our tutors. In addition, you’ll choose options including notation and editing, analysis, aesthetics and criticism, music technology, composition and music psychology.

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

When you return to Leeds for 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.

What facilities are available

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 to students.

The School of Music has its own purpose-built building complete with rehearsal, performance and practice 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.

Take a virtual tour of the School of Music

Read more about life in Leeds

Why Leeds

You’ll focus on solo and ensemble performance, but you’ll also study music from a variety of critical approaches. You can pursue your own interests by choosing optional modules, exploring areas such as the psychology of music, aesthetics, composition, notation and editing or music technology.

From the composers of the Russian nationalist school to Duke Ellington, 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 in Europe or elsewhere in the world.

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

Studying music at Leeds is more than taking part in lectures and ensembles organised by the School. You can also be involved in extra-curricular activities through the student union, or through creating your own ensembles and bands. Leeds University Union Music Society (LUUMS) is one of the Union's largest societies and boasts four auditioned ensembles (Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Symphonic Wind Orchestra and Chamber Choir) and several non-auditioning groups (Brass Band, Wind Band, Sinfonia and LUUMS Choir). Each ensemble, run and conducted by students, gives regular concerts and some go on tour in the summer holidays. LUUMS prides itself on the quality of its performances (and its parties!), and there are many social events throughout the year. For more information visit their website.

The campus hosts a diverse range of other musical societies, including the Forum of Composers and Musicians, Revelation Rock Gospel Choir, Clothworkers Consort of Leeds, Opera Society, Stage Musical Society, Music Theatre, Band Soc, Big Band, Punk Soc, Rock Soc, and Jazz and Blues Society. Students perform in the city's live music venues too, and are active in civic groups ranging from Leeds Improvised Music Association to the Leeds Festival Chorus. Music at Leeds is what you make it - it is social, student-focused and enables you to develop your skills in a relaxed environment.

Applying, Fees, Funding

You are required to achieve ABRSM Grade 8 Distinction or an equivalent qualification at the time of application. Additionally, you are required to achieve one of the following (or equivalent):

  • A level grades AAB, normally with an A in Music (other A levels can include General Studies, but not Practical Music)
  • Scottish Highers: AAABB (A in Music)
  • BTECs: a minimum of Distinction, Distinction, Distinction in a music (not music technology or practical music) specialism.
  • IB 35 with at least a 6 in Music
  • Apolytirion 19 with 19 in Music plus at least 1 A-Level at grade B.

Our typical offer will be made at AAB, though we do make lower offers to applicants who perform exceptionally at interview/audition. Though most applicants study A Level Music, we will consider other subjects in lieu of Music (especially if it’s not taught at an applicant’s school/college) where the applicant is taking at least one essay-based subject at A Level, have theory (minimum Grade 5 ABRSM) and practical (minimum Grade 8 Distinction) music qualifications, and has auditioned successfully.

Please note that entry onto BMus Music (Performance) is by audition only.

All applicants to the BMus programme will be auditioned and interviewed if they have achieved ABRSM Grade 8 distinction (or equivalent; at least 80% in a practical examination) at the time of application or achieve it within the cycle. The auditions will typically take place during the months of November to March during one of the post-application open days. Applicants will be required to perform a selection of technical exercises and pieces and where necessary an accompanist will be provided. On the day of interview, applicants will also have the opportunity to look around the School of Music and meet some of our staff and students. The audition will last approximately twenty minutes. Applicants will receive a written invitation from the School to attend an audition at a specific time and date and are requested to let us know as soon as possible if an alternative date is required. We will do our best to accommodate such requests but this cannot be guaranteed.


At the audition you are required to perform the following:

  • TWO pieces or extracts of contrasting style or period of your own choice on your first-study instrument or voice. Please prepare at least five to seven minutes of music.
  • A prepared technical exercise or study, or we will hear a selection of scales/arpeggios (taking the Grade 8 syllabus as indicative where appropriate).

You will also be asked to discuss briefly your experience as a performer. An experienced accompanist will be provided for you.

Extended Project Qualification

If you are undertaking an EPQ in a related discipline (e.g. music, history, sociology, psychology) the School may make an offer in addition to an offer based on your three A-levels (or equivalent qualifications). This offer would be one A level grade below that of our standard offer on the condition that you achieve a grade A in your EPQ.

Science A-Level

If you are taking a science A-Level, then you would normally need a Pass in the practical component.

How to apply

Please apply online via UCAS. If you need help with their online application process please telephone UCAS on 44 (0)871 468 0468.

For some other tips on completing your UCAS form when applying for our courses click here.

Entry / admissions tests

Selection principles


Details of fees and the University of Leeds' financial support arrangements are available at www.leeds.ac.uk/yourfinances

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Leeds has one of the most comprehensive financial support packages available. One in four students qualifies for a bursary and in addition we have a series of scholarships Further information about scholarships and other types of financial support available here.

There are also a number of music-specific scholarships available to students offered by Leeds Parish Church and Leeds Cathedral. Click here for more information.

Course Content

Tutors in the School of Music are leading practitioners and researchers, carrying out cutting-edge research which directly informs their teaching.

To help you benefit from their expertise, a variety of learning and teaching methods are used. Depending on the modules you choose, these are likely to include lectures, seminars and tutorials, as well as online learning tasks, studio time for composition, and even lab work in music psychology. 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.

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 will have access to our expert instrumental and vocal teachers, but could choose to study with an alternative teacher off-campus if you wish.

We also 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.

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 an extensive programme of support for students offered through the library's skills programme.

Current modules taught

For a full list of modules taught please visit the Module and Programme Catalogue.

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 year abroad 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 is an excellent preparation 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 practising property law in Leeds at the moment!

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

Read our Graduate profiles

Study Abroad, Work Placements

Study abroad opportunities

If you progress successfully, you’ll spend the third year of this degree studying in a conservatoire/music college environment 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 in the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and other worldwide destinations.

See our current exchange institutions here

Work placement opportunities

Because this degree includes a compulsory year abroad, it doesn’t allow students to spend a year working in industry. If you’re interested in this opportunity, you may want to look at our BA Music degree. However, you can gain work experience and placement opportunities either during the academic year, or in the summer, with help and advice from the Careers Centre.

Work placement opportunities


If you wish to contact the School of Music for more information about the course or to book a department visit, please use the details below:

School of Music Reception

Tel: 0370 837 5874

Email: music@leeds.ac.uk

School of Music
University of Leeds

Web: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/music

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