In addition to practical areas, this programme focuses on developing an in-depth and critical historical understanding of popular music repertoires, cultures, and practices.
Choosing this subject as a Single Honours
Some modules are practical, concerned with musical performance, song-writing, or creative music technology, although none of these are compulsory. Others focus on popular music history topics or the music industry. The remaining modules involve writing about popular music from a historical, critical, sociological, or philosophical viewpoint. Our studio and performance modules cater for both classical and popular musical styles.
Programme in detail
The nature of the programme varies according to your module choices. In Year One, core modules will take a detailed look at the nature of the popular music industries, and a critical exploration of 20th-century popular music history, not only going through key musical milestones but also exploring their social contexts and the long-term cultural implications. In Years Two and Three you focus in more depth on fewer selected topics, either concentrating solely on Popular Music modules or retaining the option to pursue one or two modules in other areas. Specialist topics such as gender and sexuality, and sound, technology and society are studied alongside advanced level performance and music technology modules. In Year Three there is a particular emphasis on specialism and an extended or independent project (such as a dissertation, major technology portfolio or extended performance recital).
Choosing this subject as a Major
The nature of the programme varies according to your module choices.
In Year One, core modules look at popular music repertoire, as well as popular music industry and culture. Options include performance, technology, popular music theory, audio-visual music, world music, and music industry. In Years Two and Three you focus in more detail on the areas (normally three) that interest you most (such as history, psychology, audiovisual, performance, or songwriting).
Choosing this subject as a Joint
In Year One core modules look at popular music repertoire and history and industry.
Options include performance, technology, audio-visual music, world music, and music industry. In Years Two and Three you focus in more detail on the areas (normally two) that interest you most (such as history, psychology, audio-visual, performance, or songwriting).
Choosing this subject as a Minor
In Year One you take a core module in popular music repertoire.
Options include performance, technology, audio-visual music, world music, and music industry. In Years Two and Three you focus in more detail on the area that interests you most (such as history, performance, or songwriting etc).
Department Key Facts
Number of first year students
78 Year One undergraduates in 2017
UK league tables
We created the Institute of Popular Music in 1988, becoming the first Department of Music in the UK to introduce dedicated, specialist popular music studies and research
88% of our graduates are employed or in further study within six months of graduating (DLHE 2015/16)
Ranked 10th in the UK for 4* and 3* research in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 (THE 2014)
Why this subject?
Enhance your learning with technology and audio-visual media
We offer a distinctive provision in the study of music in audio-visual media, including film and videogame music. This can be practical, oriented towards composition and technology, with dedicated AV composition resources; or theoretical, focusing on the critical study and analysis of music in different types of AV media.
Take advantage of composition and song-writing opportunities
Traditional, electro-acoustic, and audio-visual composition, as well as popular composition/ song-writing, are all represented in the Department.
Develop your confidence through performance
Although not compulsory, if you wish to pursue performance then we offer tution, workshops and support to enhance your development as a performer. Among the many ensembles, there is a symphony orchestra, a university choir, and a chamber choir, while the University’s Music Society runs a wind orchestra, a brass band and a jazz band. We run a weekly professional lunchtime concert series, and our partnership with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra affords opportunities for participating in composition and performance workshops with professional players. We are also home to numerous pop and rock groups, covering many styles, and many of our students perform at local venues and open-mic nights.
Benefit from studying in a well-established Department
The Institute of Popular Music (IPM) is a research centre within the Department of Music, and one of the very first places to offer university-level provision in popular music. Founded in 1988, it remains at the forefront of popular music studies internationally. With the establishment of our innovative new Interdisciplinary Centre for Composition and Technology (ICCat) we are a Department at the cutting edge of the 21st century, exploring new possibilities for technology-enhanced composition.
Learn from music analysis and psychology experts
We offer a critical approach that encourages you to develop your own unique ways of analysing music from a broad range of repertoires and invites you to explore many new possibilities for appreciating the sonic experience of music.
Benefit from access to excellent facilities and learning resources
The Department has expanded recently to provide additional studios, practice rooms and a large rehearsal space. Students enjoy excellent library facilities, which include books, online services and learning spaces.