BA (Hons) Actor Musician

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Study BA (Hons) Actor Musician at Leeds Conservatoire

Leeds Conservatoire's Actor Musicianship programme offers practical training for actors with instrumental skill. Through practical skills training in Acting, Music, Movement, Spoken and Sung Voice and Performance-based Research you will develop the skills to be a highly employable, multi-disciplinary storyteller.

  • Starts:
  • Duration: 3 Years
  • UCAS Code: W321 - Apply through UCAS - Institution Code: L30
  • Study Mode: Full time
  • Validated By: University of Hull

Acting Actor Musician Reading Script Sat On Stage

Course Overview

Intense Training

Training as an Actor Musician in a conservatoire environment puts you in a unique position. You will benefit from the teaching expertise of the music conservatoire, working with 1:1 instrumental teachers and the industry professional team delivering the BA Acting programme.

Training is physical, practical and demands consistent creativity. You are required to be fearless, as you acquire new skills and challenge those you arrived with. Training includes ensemble skills classes, 1:1 instrumental lessons, music ensembles, skills in context, seminars and rehearsals; culminating in a final year season of performance that serves as your industry introduction.

The programme celebrates individualism. You will develop your acting and music skills alongside your individual artistry, practically exploring ways of sustaining a portfolio career as a multi-disciplinary artist.

Creative Development

As an Actor Musician you are encouraged to develop creatively as well as technically; originating work and exploring established texts. Through practical exploration you will examine the musicality in acting and the drama in music, focusing on where they interconnect.

Collaboration

Actor Musicianship is a collaborative artform by design and collaboration is at the core of all we do at Leeds Conservatoire. On the Actor Musician programme, students spend their first weeks of training developing an ensemble practice, transforming a cohort into a company.

Regular collaboration with BA Acting students is central to the programme design, providing students with the broadest range of experience. Actor Musicians are encouraged to collaborate with music students -  through bands, music festivals, live performance and music ensembles - further developing their instrumental craft and expanding their knowledge of musical styles and genres.

We actively encourage cross programme collaboration with artists from other disciplines throughout your training, supporting our ambition for students to establish a creative network in training, originate live performance and carry both into the profession. Throughout training, students are given the opportunity to collaborate with theatre companies and leading artists in the region developing new live performance.

"Across all elements of live performance there is a surge in the demand for the actor that can make music and support their performance with a breadth of instrumentalist skill. A training in Actor-Musicianship provides a crucial tool-kit for the emerging performer. It’s also an exhilarating and thrilling training merging a myriad of art forms.”
– Alexandra Spencer-Jones, Director/Artistic Director of Action to the Word

What you will study

This course is a full-time, high-contact, vocational training programme, taught in six academic semesters over three years. Contact time  averages thirty hours per week, across thirty teaching weeks each year. The course has two core strands; Skills Training and Artistic Development, and time assigned to each adjusts each year to promote the transition from learner to independent artist.

First Year is dedicated to intensive skills training. Modules are designed to establish fundamental technique in Acting, Solo and Ensemble Musicianship, Movement, Voice and Research for Performance.

Artistic Development in First Year is focused on understanding the individual’s creative potential. Students receive an allocation of one-to-one hours that can be dedicated to one or more instruments, including voice.

Note: Module specifications are subject to approval

Actor Musician Skills: Acting Technique

This skills module looks to equip students with the fundamental technique associated with Acting for the stage. Students will explore in depth the notions of self in performance, a range of practical acting techniques and the ensemble skills of spontaneity, play and improvisation. The module includes an actor’s approach to the preparation of dramatic text; research, textual analysis, creating character and the world of the play.

Actor Musician Skills: Acting Technique - Module Specification

Actor Musician Skills: Music

This module introduces students to the core music skills required of the actor musician. Focusing on development of musicianship, solo instrument skill, ensemble skills, composition, musical direction and singing.

This is done through music ensembles, music lab and optional theory, alongside 1:1 lessons and ensemble singing classes.

Actor Musician Skills: Music - Module Specification

Actor Musician Skills: Voice

This module introduces the fundamental techniques associated with spoken voice for the performer. Routine vocal exercise and training enables students to create personal vocal plans, develop warm ups, personal regular practice and maintain good vocal health.

In twice weekly classes students will explore the potential of the voice as a means of expression and communication. Technique classes encourage students to acquire vocal confidence when speaking text and develop listening skills. There is continued focus on posture, breath, resonance, tone and articulation working towards live performance.

Actor Musician Skills: Voice - Module Specification

Acting Skills: Movement

This skills module is designed to introduce students to a range of specialist tools to work physically as actors. Classes introduce the fundamental skills associated with movement training, support the development of individualised warm up techniques and develop physical ensemble practice.

Individual sessions are designed to encourage students to free and strengthen the body, to communicate physical story and understanding of the basics of dance. Each strand of the module is designed to support the actor in their ability to create a character's physical life.

Acting Skills: Movement - Module Specification

Acting Skills: Research for Performance

This module is designed to develop students' knowledge of the history of the performing arts industry, providing context for the performance of existing texts and informing the development of new work. Students will develop personal research strategies, relevant to an actor’s preparation for performance and the development of new work.

Acting Skills: Research for Performance - Module Specification

Artistic Development: Self as an Artist

Students begin the year with diagnostic activities to identify their artistic potential, strengths and weaknesses at point of entry before creating a plan for development. Each cohort establishes an ensemble as well as individual arts practice which they will develop and maintain throughout their training.

In understanding their creative potential, students engage in workshops with visiting artists, across disciplines, practically exploring their potential as performers and creatives. Practical exploration of the self, articulates with their own reflective practice and creative ensemble projects. Both of which encourage a creative output which is wholly original and personal to the artist.

Artistic Development: Self as an Artist - Module Specification

In Second Year skills developed in First Year are applied in the context of rehearsals and project-based work.

Students are consistently engaged in creative processes, led by professionals with contrasting specialisms. This approach is designed to broaden practice by providing a range of learning experiences.

The project nature of Second Year allows maximum opportunity for industry partnership, develops the skills associated with a portfolio career and promotes creative dexterity in graduate performers. The focus of Artistic Development shifts from understanding the self to understanding the creative industries.

Note: Module Specifications are subject to approval

Acting Skills: Rehearsal Practices

This module is designed to allow students to apply the developed skills acquired through Level 4 Acting Skills to text-based rehearsal settings. Students will be challenged with wide ranging texts from established repertoire to new work, each presenting different challenges to the actor. The focus will be on the development of character and broadening the individual’s performance range on stage, screen and radio.

Acting Skills: Rehearsal Practices - Module Specification

Acting Skills: Voice in Context

Voice progresses from the exploration of the student’s own voice and its creative potential to the use of voice in context, fully inhabiting a character and the world of the play.

Students apply the skills (ensemble and personal practices), acquired in Year 1 in rehearsal and performance contexts. All students study accent and dialects, beginning with RP and Standard American as industry standards, moving to text specific accent work.

Acting Skills: Voice in Context - Module Specification

Acting Skills: Movement in Context

Movement progresses from exploration of the student’s own physicality and creative potential to project based work, using movement as a point of access to the creation of character and original narrative. Students movement classes explore text-based and improvised performance in their dedicated area of study.

Students continue developing fitness and stamina through conditioning classes. Dance classes are content focused as students explore dance in the context of established repertoire and physical theatre rehearsal practices.

Acting Skills: Movement in Context - Module Specification

Actor Musician Skills – Music in Context

This module is intended to further develop the technical and creative skill required of the actor musician by putting learning in an ensemble, theatrical context. 1:1 focused development of skill on a primary instrument continues and students are introduced to using that skill as storytellers. Projects encourage ensemble skills, composition and arrangement for performance and physical relationship with instrument.

Actor Musician Skills – Music in Context - Module Specification

Artistic Development: Arts Industry

Following a year focused on understanding the self, students turn their focus outward; to understanding the arts industry. Through workshops, seminars, research and case studies, students will develop a detailed understanding of the theatre/film industries and employment opportunities.

Students will also create a professional portfolio in preparation for industry introduction.

Artistic Development: Arts Industry - Module Specification

Project 1: New Work and Adaptation

In this module students devise and develop a new piece of theatre. Forming a company, students work with a professional mentor and facilitator in the development of a new work. Development and rehearsals culminate in an in-house performance sharing, demonstrating the performers ability to create work and integrate their story telling skills in a moment of performance.

Project 1: New Work and Adaptation - Module Specification

The Third Year of study provides the developing artist with a bridge to the profession, with skills training becoming part of the individual’s artistic development.

Training is dedicated to a season of live performance for a public audience. Students are showcased through the live performance season and create a portfolio of recorded performances, enabling them to market themselves professionally.

Having developed a culture of entrepreneurship through First Year and Second Year, Third Year students are encouraged to exercise creative agency – making as well as featuring in performances.

Note: Module specifications are subject to approval

Artistic Development: Live Performance

This module hosts a season of semi-professional Live Performances given to a public audience, allowing students to experience a significant period of work reflective of a working actor. Live
Students will engage in three performances of contrasting styles:

  • Small scale, studio equivalent production
  • Medium/Large scale commercial production
  • Non-traditional performance

Students will work with a creative team to realise the live performance season and will have technical support as appropriate.

Artistic Development: Live Performance - Module Specification

Artistic Development: Recorded Performance

This module provides students with the opportunity to create a piece of recorded performance, typically a show/voice reel.

Students rehearse and perform excerpts of material appropriate to their casting, with view to creating a tangible product that could be used for industry introduction.

Artistic Development: Recorded Performance - Module Specification

Artistic Development: Self in the Industry

This module site alongside Live and Recorded Performance modules, creating an academic year that closely parallels a standard year for the graduate actor.

It is designed to support students in building and managing a creative life including; maintaining and developing skill, making industry connections, setting up a self-employed business and sustaining a career between performance opportunities.

To that end, students engage in; skills classes, audition technique and mock audition scenarios, business management focused professional practice sessions and opportunities for self-led creative project work.

Students also engage in industry showcase activities, serving as an introduction to the profession.

Artistic Development: Self in the Industry - Module Specification

Entry requirements, fees & applying

Course Facts

Course Type: Undergraduate, Single Honours
Duration: 3 years
Study Mode: Full Time
Start date: September 2021
Validated by: University of Hull

Course Key Information Document 2020/21

Entry Requirements

96 UCAS tariff points from Level 3 studies or equivalent, which normally include an A Level or BTEC Extended Diploma in an Music / Acting-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).

Read full entry requirements

Audition Information

Due to current social distancing guidelines, we are asking all applicants to submit audition materials online, rather than attend in-person events.

Find more information and course-specific audition guides for UK applicants and International Applicants.

How To Apply

Apply via: UCAS
UCAS Code: W321
UCAS Institution Code: L30

The UCAS equal consideration (‘on time’) deadline is 15 January 2021. We may still accept applications for all of our courses after this date, although this may change at short notice as places fill up.

Read our step-by-step application guide

Fees & Funding
International Applicants

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
“The students on every course here are so friendly and welcoming – it’s such a warm, inclusive environment. Plus, the mix of music and drama specialists allows you to collaborate with a range of people and get creative – everyone is really keen to work together.”
– Zoe Martin, Musical Theatre student
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Playhouse Square

New Bespoke Facilities: Playhouse Square

We've now opened the doors on the conservatoire’s industry leading performance facilities at a new arts campus. Located just a few minutes walk away from our main building on Quarry Hill, we have added a further 1,200 sq m of specialist teaching and practice space, which opened in September 2019 as part of the School of Performance.

With a panoramic view over the city landscape, the top floor of this £60m campus houses bespoke performing arts facilities for our new suite of theatre courses. Developed by industry leaders The Studio People, state-of-the-art dance and drama studio spaces sit alongside a 180-seat purpose-built theatre. Three additional music ensemble rooms, a break-out learning zone for students and a green room complete this exciting addition to the conservatoire’s award-winning facilities.

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“As a Yorkshireman, I am thrilled by the arrival of this course at Leeds Conservatoire. As someone who works extensively with actor-musicians, I cannot stress enough the importance of the unity between these two disciplines. It supports my belief in total theatre; skilled and holistic storytelling. Such a course opens up the potential of true inclusivity in our industry. And bottom line, that means work for all of us.”
– Simon Slater, Olivier-Winning Composer & Musical Director
Online Open Days

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

As well as course talks and a virtual tour, you can also live chat to tutors and members of our Student Support and Admissions Teams about your application, support for students with disabilities, tuition fees and more.

Book your place

Missed Lucy's fabulous Instagram takeover yesterday? You can hear more about Music Business from a student perspect… https://t.co/uAyD7InFaA
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