MA Popular Music (Writer Performer) (2025)

New for 2025!

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MA Popular Music (Writer Performer) at Leeds Conservatoire

Launch your career in music with our MA in Popular Music (Writer Performer). Designed to empower you with a blend of musical expertise, a professional mindset and creative ingenuity, this postgraduate degree will prepare you to enter the ever-changing landscape of the modern music industry.

At Leeds Conservatoire students are in control of their personal, creative, and intellectual growth, emerging as skilled musicians and reflective practitioners who are prepared for enduring success in the music industry.

You’ll be challenged to explore, experiment, and uncover fresh perspectives and methodologies, being empowered to craft your best work and stand out in today's competitive global music scene.

This course is part of a brand-new suite of postgraduate music courses including:

  • Starts:
  • Duration: 1 Year
  • UCAS Code: 809F
  • UCAS Institution Code: L31
  • Apply Via: UCAS Conservatoires
  • Study Mode: Full Time
  • Validated By: University of Hull

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Course Overview

A Collaborative Curriculum

When you enrol at Leeds Conservatoire you will join a lively community of creative practice. We celebrate creative diversity, fostering collaboration among practitioners from varied stylistic backgrounds to pioneer new musical frontiers and build foundations for sustainable careers in the industry. Through dynamic group sessions, students from diverse stylistic backgrounds will collaborate, sparking innovation and forging lifelong connections. 

Master Your Skills

Alongside developing your music practice as a performer, we also provide our students with vital networking and entrepreneurial skills, essential for thriving in diverse professional arenas. 

Specialist tutors, peers, and industry guests provide invaluable support, constructive critique, and expert insights across a spectrum of disciplines. 

You’ll also engage in theoretical and research activities that will place your talent within a range of philosophical, historical, sociological, industrial and critical contexts. 

By combining both performance and songwriting in this specialism, you develop both performance and composition skills equally. You’ll receive comprehensive training in both disciplines, allowing you to refine your stage presence while developing your songwriting skills.  

The degree offers a balanced curriculum that includes one-to-one tuition, ensemble work, group workshops and live performance opportunities allowing you to gain insights into both the creative and technical aspects of music-making.  

This holistic approach will help you develop a cohesive style and connection with audiences through your music and performance and you’ll graduate as a multi-faceted artist in the competitive music industry. 

What you will study


Specialist Study modules in trimesters 1, 2 and 3 give students opportunities to reach their musical potential through one-to-one tuition and group workshops in songwriting and/or performance.

Creative Practice in Context modules in trimesters 1 and 2 engage students in research activities that place their music within a range of philosophical, historical, sociological, industrial and critical contexts.

Trimester 1:

  • Specialist Study 1 – assessed by one of the following: a public performance of existing work a public performance or sharing of original compositions or production work newly created; a portfolio of original compositions/production work evidenced by appropriate documentation, i.e. scores, recordings, etc.
  • Creative Practice in Context 1 – assessed by one of the following: essay, or presentation with an accompanying written commentary.

Trimester 2:

  • Specialist Study 2 – assessed by one of the following: a public performance of existing work; a public performance or sharing of original compositions; a portfolio of original newly-created compositions/production work evidenced by appropriate documentation, i.e. scores, recordings, etc.
  • Creative Practice in Context 2 – assessed by one of the following: essay, or presentation and an accompanying written commentary.

Trimester 3:

  • Specialist Study 3 – assessed by one of the following, accounting for 70% of the mark: a public performance of existing work/repertoire or a public performance or sharing of original newly-created compositions and/or production work, which may be live or digitally conceived, i.e. application-based, web-based, digital or physical EP release. Additionally, accounting for 30% of the mark, either a written critique examining the creative project submitted, or a panel-led spoken examination examining the creative project submitted.

Postgraduate Playlist

Check out a selection of tracks from Postgraduate students, developed during their time at Leeds Conservatoire.

LeedsConservatoire · MA Music out of Leeds Conservatoire
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With a deep understanding of the creative and industrial contexts within which your practice exists, as an alumnus you will be prepared for a career as a musician. 

Our postgraduate students have received commissions, performed at regional and international festivals including South by South West, The Reeperbahn Festival, Glastonbury and Live at Leeds, progressed to teaching positions, and created public installations.

Meet our Alumni

Entry requirements, fees & applying

Course Type: MA Postgraduate Degree
Duration: 1 year
Study Mode: Full Time
Start date: September
Validated by: University of Hull

Apply via UCAS Conservatoires

UCAS Code: MA Popular Music (Writer Performer) – 809F

UCAS Institution Code: L31

Apply directly to Leeds Conservatoire

Alternatively you can apply directly to Leeds Conservatoire when our direct applications open later in 2024.

Find out more about the application process.

Academic requirements

  • A degree in any subject, with a 2nd (2:2) classification or equivalent 


Musical proficiency requirements

  • Candidates must also demonstrate appropriate proficiency in their chosen discipline, or disciplines (songwriting, performance, writer performer, writer producer), which will be assessed through an interview/audition.

International applicants requirements

  • All international students must have a British Council English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 6.0 (with a minimum of 5.5 for each component)

Appilcants will be expected to submit an audition. The auditions process will be communicated later in 2024.


Our community

Our eclectic community comes from all over the world to write, interpret, discover, explore and reflect upon original and existing forms of music. 

Postgraduate students have the opportunity to meet industry guests from across the spectrum, with recent guests including: 

  • Anna Meredith MBE – Composer, producer and performer
  • Neil Davidge – Producer with Massive Attack
  • Harry Escott - Film score composer
  • Tom McRae - Singer, songwriter, recording and touring artist
  • Malcolm Joseph - Bass guitarist with Grace Jones
  • Ayanna Witter Johnson - Composer, performer and musician
  • Scanner - Electronic musician and multimedia artist
Postgraduate Open Days

Find out what it’s like to study at Leeds Conservatoire by coming along to an Open Day. 

Both Online and On-Campus Open Days allow you to find out more about our postgraduate courses, meet our teaching staff and see our facilities.

Find out more
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