BTEC Subsidiary Diploma in Music Performance (Rock & Pop)

BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma
2 years
Curriculum Manager: 
Andy Light

What is the Rock and Pop Music Performance course?

The Live Music Performance course is a practical course focusing on modern popular music (anything from rock to reggae to indie to pop).

You will get to form a band and then rehearse with them, leading to various gigs in a number of professional venues. You will learn about how to manage band rehearsals, how to put on gigs, how to publicise an event and how to perform for an audience.

You will also have the chance to work on your songwriting and learn about live sound engineering too.

You get many to perform in your band throughout the year at a number of venues. You will also have the opportunity to record an EP of original work that will then be released.

Is the Rock and Pop Music Performance course suitable for me?

You should have an interest in an area of popular music (rock, funk, indie etc.) and be willing and prepared to explore other genres too.

You should listen to popular music regularly and be able to talk about your favourite artists and albums. A broad listening base is very helpful to being successful on this course and after you finish at College.

It is highly recommended that you have some experience of playing in a band either at school or within a youth group as this will be a great help. You will be expected to be at least Grade 5 performance standard (although you may not have taken the grade itself). You should be broadminded in your attitude towards all music popular music genres.

You should be a confident and creative performer who is happy to experiment and try out new ideas. Students who take this course are encouraged to take A-Level Music Technology, as they complement each other well.

How will I learn?

Year One (BTEC Certificate)
Performing: You will form your own band that will rehearse and perform regularly. You will learn classic songs as well as being encouraged to develop your own songwriting skills. You will be taught how to run a band rehearsals and skills necessary to help you perform in public.

Live Sound Engineering: Through practical lessons, you will learn how to set up and operate live sound equipment including placing microphones and using the mixing desk. You will get an opportunity to mix ‘live’ in a gig situation.

Year Two (BTEC Subsidiary Diploma)
Alongside your weekly AC Jazz Collective rehearsals you will study:
Original Project: You will put together an event that will include selecting (possibly writing) jazz music, promotion of the event and running the event in a professional venue.

Songwriting: You will study various famous songwriters from the history of popular music and also write original material for your band to perform.

How will I be assessed?

The BTEC Subsidiary Diploma is 100% coursework assessed and may include portfolio work - there are no exams. Projects are submitted for marking on a regular basis throughout the course. They are assessed internally by your teachers and then moderated by the board. Work is graded and written feedback provided enabling students to gauge how well they are doing on the course. Feedback will help you to see the strengths of your work, as well as allowing you to reflect on areas which can be developed further.

Your work will be graded pass, merit or distinction. The BTEC Subsidiary Diploma is equivalent to one A Level and carries a maximum of 56 UCAS points. The BTEC Certificate, awarded after successful completion of one year, carries a maximum of 28 UCAS points.

Students must complete and pass the first year to be awarded a BTEC Certificate and the full 2 years of the course to receive the full BTEC Subsidiary Diploma.

We are aware that Edexcel is currently evaluating the assessment process and there may be the introduction of an examined unit. Further information is unavailable at the current time.


Students who have taken this course have gone onto to study at Music Conservatoires and leading Universities.

Entry requirements

Students should normally have achieved an A*- C grade profile at GCSE. For GCSE English and Maths where a new grading system has been introduced a Grade 4 is equivalent to a Grade C. Alternatively if you have studied at level 2 you should have achieved a merit or above. Vocational courses are an ideal qualification for students who prefer coursework. To study this course you should have an interest in creative subjects.

Course costs

The department organizes a number of wide ranging trips throughout the year. Whilst it is difficult to put a price on these, students ought to set aside between £40 and £50 a year for these optional visits.

All students studying a performance course will be provided with one weekly free of charge instrumental lesson on their main instrument.

If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website.