BA (Hons) Music (Folk, Roots & Blues)

Applications are open for 2024

Note: This course is found under the Undergraduate option when making a UCAS application NOT the Conservatoires option.

Apply now

Study BA (Hons) Music (Folk, Roots & Blues) at Leeds Conservatoire

Rebellion. Tradition. Activism. Our exciting and inclusive approach to Folk, Roots & Blues celebrates and allows you to explore music from all over the globe, bringing an understanding and appreciation of the social movements, rebel traditions and protest music that are central to this progressive art form.

Expanding upon these elements through an innovative approach to performance, songwriting, composition, arrangement and recording techniques, you will be able to express your own creativity in the format and style you see fit.

With a focus on your own personal creativity, you will learn the foundations and structures of Folk, Roots & Blues and choose how to or how not to apply them in your own music making. Our genre-less approach to Folk, Roots & Blues has understanding and creative risk at its heart.

  • Starts:
  • Duration: 3 Years
  • UCAS Course Code(s): Folk, Roots & Blues W309
  • UCAS Institution Code: L30
  • Apply Via: UCAS Undergraduate Application (note: this course cannot be found under the 'Conservatoire' application option)
  • Study Mode: Full time
  • Validated By: University of Hull

Course Overview

Folk, Roots & Blues

As a performer, composer, or both, you will explore folk, roots & blues from its origins in oral tradition and its interpretation through different cultures and musicians. You’ll discover how different styles evolved in different communities and nations, and how traditions have been created and preserved.

Experiment and innovate

From this grounding in folk, roots & blues you will experiment with other genres and cultural identities, forming and joining innovative ensembles, building your portfolio in performance, composition and songwriting. You’ll also capture field recordings and collaborate with students from other pathways.

Live music scene

Leeds has an eclectic folk, roots and blues scene, with a wealth of opportunities to perform in well-known venues, including the Howard Assembly Rooms, Seven Arts, Brudenell Social Club, Hyde Park Book Club and The Grove.

Conservatoire education

With one-to-one and group tuition from experts in your specialism, you will learn to master the complexities of rhythm, melody and harmony. You will also apply theory creatively and explore contextual studies that enhance your musicianship.

Career destinations

Graduates from Leeds Conservatoire have gone on to a wide variety of careers including Award-winning Folk, Roots & Blues artists, Film Scorers, Record Label owners and Producers. Find out more in our Alumni section.

“Performing at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards was incredible – all of my tutors came and supported me and it was just wonderful to know that I have the support from everyone at Leeds Conservatoire. I’m really, really surprised to have won the award but it feels amazing and I’m so grateful!” – Maddie Morris, Folk Student and BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award Winner

Our 3 year BA (Hons) Music (Folk, Roots & Blues) is designed for musicians who know they want to specialise in Folk, Roots & Blues. 

All Specialist Study and Specialist Group Study modules are Folk, Roots & Blues focused, with the option to apply as either a Performer or Composer.

As with all our courses, studies in your specialist area will be supported by a broader curriculum designed to prepare you for your career in the music industry.

What You Will Study (See Modules and Specifications)

Each year of the course is structured into three distinct strands:

  • Specialist Study – One-to-one tuition and group study in performance or composition
  • Contextual Studies – Develop your composition/songwriting/arrangement, musicology and critical listening skills
  • Professional Studies – Develop your skills for working in the creative industries

Some examples* of Contextual Studies and Professional Studies modules:

  • Working in the Creative Industries
  • Politics and Art
  • Songwriting
  • Concerts and Touring
  • Self-Promotion and Music Marketing
  • Working with Music in the Community
  • Intercultural Music
  • Music and the Body
  • Collaborative Composition
  • Music for the Moving Image
  • Instrumental Music Tuition
  • Music Journalism
  • Introduction to Music Technology

*The above examples are chosen to represent a selection of the kind of mandatory and elective module options offered, so you can tailor your degree to your area of interest. See the full list of modules currently available for this course, including mandatory and optional modules, plus detailed module specification documents.

In addition to your chosen specialist instrument/voice/composition, you can also choose to have additional 1:1 tuition in a second  (for students at Grade 6 standard or higher in their second instrument/voice).

This is not part of your course, but there are a limited number of Instrumental, Vocal & Composition Bursaries available, or tuition can be arranged at additional cost.

Academic Requirements

96 UCAS tariff points from level 3 studies or equivalent, which normally include A Level Music or a BTEC Extended Diploma in a Music-related subject.

A minimum of three GCSEs including English Language at Grade C / Grade 4 or above or equivalent international qualification, eg IELTS 6.0 (5.5 in each component).

Performance and Musical Theory Standard

Read our full entry requirements to see more  detail on musical performance and theory standards.

Apply via: UCAS Undergraduate (not Conservatoires)

Read our step-by-step application guide

Applicants will need to audition, interview and/or submit a portfolio of work. 

Exact requirements vary depending on which programme you are applying for.

Find more detailed audition information for applicants.

Leeds Conservatoire does not charge audition fees for any Undergraduate or Postgraduate course.

In many cases, if you prefer to submit your audition online rather than attend in person, this is an option. However, we don't want travel costs to be a barrier to attending in-person auditions at Leeds Conservatoire, so help is available for many applicants where finances are an issue. Eligibility and bursary application information is available on our audition information page.

Visit our Fees and Funding section to find out more about Fees & Funding for International Students.

If you are an international applicant, visit our dedicated International section of the website for information on:

  • How To Apply
  • Auditions
  • International Entry Requirements
  • Fees & Funding

Study Mode: Full Time
Apply via: UCAS Undergraduate (not Conservatoires)
UCAS Institution Code: L30
Validated by: University of Hull*

*Note for applicants and offer holders for 2022/23 entry:

Leeds Conservatoire plans to apply to the Office for Students for Degree Awarding Powers. If we are granted Degree Awarding Powers, your degree may be awarded by Leeds Conservatoire rather than validated by the University of Hull.

Course Type: Undergraduate, Single Honours
Duration: 3 years
UCAS Course Code: W309 

Course Key Information Document 2021/22

Percy 9 3


Our alumni go on to win awards, tour and record as part of bands and ensembles, and have diverse careers in and out of the music industry.

Careers Include
  • Session Musician
  • Touring Musician
  • Music Producer
  • Band Leader
  • Performer-Writer
Meet our alumni
Maddie Morris

Maddie Morris (Folk - Class of 2020) collecting the BBCR2 Young Folk Award

Maddie Morris, Young Folk Award 2019

In 2019 Maddie scooped the prestigious Young Folk Award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Previous winners Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar presented the award to Maddie at a ceremony in Manchester.

The BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award is an educational talent contest, open to musicians from the UK aged 16-21, that exists to discover the next generation of folk and acoustic acts. Eight shortlisted acts performed at a public concert and from those acts, Maddie was chosen as the winner by a panel of judges.

Read the article
“When I first started the Folk degree, I was interested in diversifying my drumming to include global traditions in my performances, which I’ve been able to do in all of the different ensembles I play with. I have a second study in bass with an amazing tutor, which has made me a more diverse musician. The course has given me the extra knowledge and skills I need to perform to the best of my abilities, and I’ve got to meet some great musicians within the industry!” – Tanatswa Bvumburah,Folk student

Tutor profiles

Jim Moray .jpg
Jim MorayPrincipal Lecturer: Folk

Courses taught: BA (Hons) Music (Folk)

Read more
Bryony Griffith
Bryony GriffithSenior Lecturer: Folk

Courses taught: BA (Hons) Music (Folk)

Read more
Pete 2.png
Pete FloodPrincipal Lecturer (Folk)

Courses taught: BA (Hons) Music (Folk)

Read more
Archie Churchill-MossSenior Lecturer (Folk)

Courses taught: BA (Hons) Music (Folk)

Read more
Rachael Sutcliffe.jpg
Rachael Sutcliffe

Courses taught: BA (Hons) Music (Folk)

Read more
Mat Walklate
Mathew WalklateLecturer: Folk

Courses Taught: BA (Hons) Music (Folk)

Read more

Folk musician and principal lecturer Jim Moray also hosts a podcast in which he talks to key figures in the folk scene. Past podcasts have featured visiting lecturer Sam Sweeney, and fellow lecturer Nancy Kerr.


We have over 70 teaching rooms, practice rooms and bespoke ensemble rehearsal spaces, as well as a comprehensive library of specialist instruments, mics and recording equipment, that are all available until late during term-time.

Find out more
“I have jammed with lots of people since starting at Leeds Conservatoire. This is something I have never done before and having the opportunity to play with so many musicians has drastically helped me to improve my musicianship.” – Iona Lane, Folk, Roots and Blues student
Open Days

Find out what it's like to study at Leeds Conservatoire by coming along to one of our Open Days. 

As well as talks and tours specific to the courses you're interested in, you can also chat to our staff and students.

Plus, get immediate access to our On-Demand Open Day.

Open Days
UoH-Logo.png (2) Conservatoires_Logo.png Partner_1.png AEC_Logo.png Roland_Logo.png prs-keychange-logo_red-blue_pantone-c (fine to use).png Luminate_Education_Group_Logo (small).png