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Popular Music & Culture (MA)

Course Description

Be part of a lively popular music research community that embraces everything from metal music to film scores with the opportunity to work alongside performers, composers and studio experts.This course is about the here and now - you will study everything from folk to jazz, right through to rock, hip-hop and dance, developing your knowledge of contemporary popular music.You'll join peers from backgrounds in cultural studies, sociology, music and the creative arts to explore today's local live music scene and its connection to the wider national and international industry. From getting out into the Leeds area and conducting ethnographic research into local gigs and events, to composing scores for film and television, you'll discover how a wide variety of communities fuse together to create what is recognised as a vibrant and expanding scene.Whether it's developing your music editing techniques in our studios, or organising events and liaising with artists at Leeds Festival, you'll gain the hands-on experience employers are looking for, gathering evidence for your major research project.This course is the perfect springboard to make contacts, help you discover the interconnectivity of popular music and culture, and really engage with a vibrant and varied scene which covers everything from metal right through to country.

Visit the website http://courses.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/popularmusicandculture_ma

Mature Applicants

Our University welcomes applications from mature applicants who demonstrate academic potential. We usually require some evidence of recent academic study, for example completion of an access course, however recent relevant work experience may also be considered. Please note that for some of our professional courses all applicants will need to meet the specified entry criteria and in these cases work experience cannot be considered in lieu.

If you wish to apply through this route you should refer to our University Recognition of Prior Learning policy that is available on our website (http://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/studenthub/recognition-of-prior-learning.htm).

Please note that all applicants to our University are required to meet our standard English language requirement of GCSE grade C or equivalent, variations to this will be listed on the individual course entry requirements.


With more festivals and independent producers and artists than ever before, the need for live music and industry professionals has soared.

Employment opportunities could be open to you in sound engineering, performance, teaching, song writing, production, music for film and television, music journalism, marketing and PR, and events organisation.

Alternatively you may wish to further your research by studying for a PhD.

- Performer
- Songwriter
- Sound Technician
- Events Organiser

Careers advice: The dedicated Jobs and Careers team offers expert advice and a host of resources to help you choose and gain employment. Whether you're in your first or final year, you can speak to members of staff from our Careers Office who can offer you advice from writing a CV to searching for jobs.

Visit the careers site - https://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/employability/jobs-careers-support.htm

Course Benefits

As well as having access to modern, professional music studios, you'll benefit from being taught by a highly skilled and experienced teaching team, including Professor Karl Spracklen who is Secretary of the International Society for Metal Music Studies and the Editor of Metal Music Studies. You'll also have the chance to network with industry professionals during our guest lecture series. Previous speakers have included Leeds Festival boss Melvin Benn and chart-toppers Rudimental. We also have fantastic links with local and national music, arts and festival organisations, which help ensure you get the most from your course.

Core Modules

Popular Music as Leisure & Culture
Examine the importance of popular music as a form of leisure and culture. You will explore music subcultures through sociology, cultural geography, cultural studies and leisure theory.

Researching Popular Music & Culture
Develop an understanding of the strategies used in the study of popular music and culture, drawing on advanced approaches from sociology, musicology, cultural studies, ethnography, leisure and other relevant areas.

Popular Music Analysis
Examine performance, record production, video and reception and the meaning of music for your small scale, individual research project which focuses on the analysis of popular music artefacts.

Popular Music in Contemporary Culture
Engage in debate and discussion of how, where and why certain strands of musical productivity and creativity remain constantly part of the vocabulary of popular music.

Final Individual Project
Combine your learning into a significant piece of work, the nature of which will be determined by yourself and the course team.

Option Modules

Studio Production Skills
Produce a series of sound design projects and create your own systems for the purpose of manipulating/processing sound which will demonstrate your understanding of the concepts behind the tools used for sound design.

Creative Music Production
Develop a broad understanding of the creative possibilities of the studio environment by investigating a range of theoretical, technical, and creative approaches to the production process.

Music Industries in Context
Develop a range of theoretical perspectives drawing on contemporary research into the ecology of the music industries and how different stakeholders across the music sector work together.

Music Industries in Practice
Investigate a host of contemporary issues affecting the practice of operating in the music industries, focusing on one key area determined by your own interests.


- Library
Our libraries are two of the only university libraries in the UK open 24/7 every day of the year. However you like to study, the libraries have got you covered with group study, silent study, extensive e-learning resources and PC suites.

- Broadcasting Place
Broadcasting Place provides students with creative and contemporary learning environments, is packed with the latest technology and is a focal point for new and innovative thinking in the city.

Find out how to apply here - http://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/postgraduate/how-to-apply/

Visit the Popular Music & Culture (MA) page on the Leeds Beckett University website for more details!

Student Profiles

Entry Requirements

Please check our site for the most up-to-date entry requirements (View Website).

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