FdA Contemporary Musicianship

Petroc is one of the largest colleges in Devon and is committed to driving forward educational success in further and higher education. 

We are passionate about raising the aspirations, knowledge and skills of individuals, and year after year our students produce exceptional results, enabling them to progress further in training or employment. 

Petroc has been delivering a range of degree-level courses for over 30 years and is proud to be able to provide a wide variety of programmes (from HNCs and Foundation Degrees to Higher Apprenticeships and Honours Degrees) in subject areas including education, computing, science, engineering, and health and care. 

Petroc has three campuses situated across North and Mid Devon with modern and stimulating learning environments. We also offer small classes, extensive student support and exceptional links to local industry. 

Visit the Petroc website to find out how we can help you go further in life.

Course details

  • Year 1

  • Core modules

    • Research & Context (PETR1071)

      This module is designed to enable students to gain knowledge of theory and principles relating to their area of study and transferable skills necessary to support an emerging professional practice. The application of that knowledge will embrace written responses and portfolio building (PDP). Within which the students demonstrate an appropriate awareness of their subject sector, its contemporary and traditional practice, employability and entrepreneurial requirements.

    • Styles & Techniques (PETR1076)

      This module delivers a comprehensive study into the varying styles of music and their accompanying practitioners and musical vocabulary. This module aims to develop students awareness of the stylistic development behind genre, and a theoretical awareness of each discipline. There is a large focus on aural perception skills within this module and it will also require students to engage with research into the historical context and associated techniques behind genre.

    • Music Theory (PETR1077)

      This module equips learners with the foundation of music theory that is necessary in any musical career path. It will allow the student to develop their musical understanding to respond to the requirements of a broad range of industry scenarios. This module cements key knowledge in music theory essential topics that will prove vital to the success of the students studies and, in due course, to the pursuit of any successful music-related career.

    • Performance Techniques (PETR1079)

      This module will assess through audit the existing skills of the performer and identify how and where progression needs to take place. Students will be expected to develop and record development of performance skills, and the module will concentrate on developing skills of the group member. The module focuses on the development of music performance skills with the view to putting theory to practice in multiple performance scenarios.

  • Year 2

  • Core modules

    • Music Business (PETR1070)

      This module concentrates on organisations involved in regulating the music business, safeguarding intellectual property and royalty collection. Lectures will introduce contract law, copyright issues, developments with music promotion/distribution through traditional means and the Internet, also entrepreneurial/freelance aspects of employment in the music industry.

    • Music Production (PETR1078)

      This module introduces the student to a broad spectrum of skills and techniques necessary for the development of a Music Producer. This module focuses on teaching each student the technical requirements behind setting up, signal checking, and successful operation of advanced recording equipment. Students will operate within a professional recording studio environment with the view to confidently create a multitrack studio recording.

    • The Music Video (PETR2085)

      The module introduces learners to a comprehensive set of skills and techniques within the art of creating a Music Video. Learners will gain an enhanced understanding of the principle theories and practices behind the planning, pre-production, post production and delivery of a Music Video. By the end of this project learners will be expected to have planned and realised their own individual Music Video projects.

    • Performance in Practice (PETR2086)

      This module takes theories and practices taught within PETR1079 and develops them further with the view of students putting these theories to practice within an industry setting. By this point students will have developed a strong array of technical performance skills; this module allows for students to take these skills and use them within an external live performance environment such as a live music tour or short succession of gigs.

  • Final year

  • Core modules

    • Artist Development (PETR2087)

      This module allows students to develop a comprehensive understanding of what is required in order to become a professional musician working with the competitive music market. This module focuses on the personal artist development, branding and marketing strategies, and core entrepreneurial skills that are required for the development of a professional musician.

    • Composition & Arrangement (PETR2088)

      Music composition has many foundations and pathways and there is always room for more composers within the music industry. This module focuses on the core and extended theories and techniques behind the manipulation and organisation of sonic materials. Students will apply established fundamental skills and put their music ideas together within their own creative music compositions.

    • Professional Musicianship (PETR2089)

      This module allows for students to demonstrate the high technical development of their instrument ability. Whether that may be the development of their ability within guitar, bass, drums or vocals. This module focuses on working with students in order to develop a high standard of instrument proficiency and technique. Each student will work with their lectures to choose a particular area relating to their discipline to specialise in.

    • Music Project (PETR2090)

      This module gives the students the opportunity to culminate their learning over the last 2 years with the development and realisation of their own Music Project. The main focus of this module is to allow students to develop the creative, technical and organisational skills necessary for the completion of a successful Music Project. Students will have a unique opportunity to plan and realise their own creative and practical Music Projects, and the project idea is completely up to them.

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Fees, costs and funding

As this course is delivered by one of our partner colleges, please contact the college directly for information on fees and funding.

How to apply

For further information and to apply for this course, please contact the college's admissions team directly using the contact details below. 

Progression routes

Completing this course enables you to progress onto these related courses and programmes with the University of Plymouth at level 5 or level 6, as specifically defined by this programme’s progression agreement.

For further information, including the progression from foundation degree form, please visit

Our partnership with Petroc

The University of Plymouth has developed partnerships with institutions around the world with the sole purpose of making higher education more accessible to those people who need something just a little different.

Our Academic Partnerships enable students to enrol for a degree at a partnership institution closer to home, or engage in distance learning – even when they’re in the middle of the ocean. They are there for those people looking to return to education, or enhance their professional development. Full- or part-time; foundation degree to masters-level – we cater for a huge variety of needs and aspirations.

Many of our partners offer specialist degrees, unique facilities, and smaller class sizes at a competitive price. And as a student of two institutions, you get the best of both worlds; a supportive learning environment as part of a close-knit community, and a university-level qualification awarded by the University of Plymouth. You’ll enjoy not only the facilities and services your partnership institution provides, but also all of the additional support and resources you need from us, and you’ll automatically become a member of our Students’ Union, too.

We are continuing to grow the number of partner institutions and expand our academic community to new locations around the UK and overseas. Why not visit the Academic Partnerships page on our website for a full list of partners and for more details on studying with us?

One of our partners delivers this particular course – so please visit their website for full course details, entry requirements, tuition fees and information on what student life is like there. 

Please contact Petroc to apply for this course:

Old Sticklepath Hill
EX31 2BQ

Tel: +441271345291

Open days

Partner college open days

This course is run at one of our partner colleges. Open days are held at the college and more details of these can be found on the college website. You'll find contact details below, on this page.

University of Plymouth open days

You are also very welcome to attend a University of Plymouth open day, to get a flavour of the courses you can progress to from a partner college. There will however be limited information on this specific course and college.

Studying with Petroc

With main campuses in Barnstaple, Tiverton and Brannams, if you decide to study at the combined college, you’ll be able to take advantage of increased resources and the plethora of learning opportunities associated with them.
Plymouth students working on a group project