Our HND programme makes up the first two years of a full Honours degree in music offered at Edinburgh College. Students may leave after the first year with an HNC, after two years with an HND, and after three years with a BMus Honours degree. Our HND is awarded by SQA (Scottish Qualifications Authority).
We welcome applicants from all musical backgrounds and disciplines, including classical, popular, traditional, and jazz. HN students receive twenty hours of instrumental, vocal or composition lessons over the course of each academic year. A range of classes and activities supports the individual lessons; these depend on students’ first study instruments and interests.
Students have many opportunities to rehearse and perform with other musicians in supervised groups such as bands, ensembles, choirs and orchestras as appropriate; they also gain experience as both performer and engineer in the recording studio. Performance classes for students focusing on popular music involve two-three hours a week of rehearsing and performing in bands, typically involving a singer, two guitars, bass and drums, with regular input from a lecturer; there are also opportunities to rehearse independently. Students work through a wide range of different genres, and there are opportunities for individuals to take increasing ownership of their material as they progress through the years. Classes culminate in gigs in our excellent in-house spaces and in some of Edinburgh’s favourite music venues. Many students also take their learning into bands outside the college.
Performance classes for students focusing on classical music involve regular rehearsal sessions with an accompanist, and numerous opportunities to perform to lecturers and classmates. Many students work towards ABRSM or Trinity grade exams or diplomas alongside their preparation for ambitious end-of-year recitals. There are also frequent solo roles in our larger ensembles.
Jazz improvisation is a real strength at the college. Many students are introduced to elements of improvisation in the earlier years, and the discipline can become a major focus in the later ones. There are dedicated improvisation classes in the second year of the HND programme and in the BMus programme; students work in both small and large groups, learning from each other as well as lecturers. The college big band provides further fantastic opportunities for students to develop their improvisation skills.
Our HND also offers the chance to hone skills in various other practical and creative disciplines: second study instrument, keyboard skills, songwriting, composition, and vocal ensemble work. In the second year, students can explore further exciting fields such as music for film and television, community music, work experience, instrumental accompaniment, instrumental instruction, and improvisation.
Students work through a comprehensive introduction to the industry and develop academic skills through researching, writing and presenting about subjects pertinent to their own instrument and practice. They also train towards external music theory exams (awarded by London College of Music and/or Trinity/Guildhall); these are important benchmarks highly valued by ourselves as well as by universities.
- instrumental/vocal skills
- group music making
- music business for musicians
- music history
- academic skills
- music theory (including optional external exams)
- Work placement is an optional HND unit.
- SQA Advanced Higher Music (or equivalent experience) and two other Highers
- Knowledge of music theory at Grade 5 level
- Instrumental playing or singing at Grade 6 level
- Some band or ensemble experience
English Proficiency Requirements
How the course is assessed
Information on Test/Auditions/Interview Requirements
All applicants will be expected to attend an audition and interview which may include a music theory test.
Note: when you submit an application, please specify your first study instrument (or voice), and whether you wish to study classical or popular music, at the beginning of your personal statement.
Progression And Articulation Routes
Students who successfully complete our HND with an A or B in
Graded Unit 2 are guaranteed a place on our Bachelor of Music Honours degree,
delivered in partnership with Kingston University, London. We also support
students to make applications to universities or other institutions during
the HNC or the HND years, should they wish. In recent years, music students
have progressed to Aberdeen, Abertay (Dundee), Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier,
Glasgow and Manchester universities, as well as Leeds College of Music and the
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.Download our progression route map here
Number Of Days Per Week/Day Of The Week/Time Of The Day
Course Cost And Funding Options
‘My time at college was a bridge from
growing up in the Highlands of Scotland with no formal singing training to
completing an honours degree in Vocal Studies at the Royal Conservatoire of
Scotland. I am now working full time as a self-employed musician.
It is no exaggeration to say that I
LOVED my time at college – easily the happiest two years of my life. The
hands-on and student-focused approach of the college was exactly what I needed
to thrive. What I remember best is the enthusiasm of the staff who were always
looking for new ways to get the best out of the students. Whether it was
marking an essay or directing an opera, the staff seemed to take genuine
pleasure in my work and that was the only motivation I needed to give the very
best I had to give to the college.’
‘I had some of my best years at Edinburgh College … I am
currently finishing a course in primary teaching at Aberdeen University –
something I would never have been able to do if it wasn’t for Edinburgh
College. When I first began at college I was shy and lacked confidence in
many things, from speaking in front of people to performing as a musician.
Thanks to the opportunities and support of staff, I gained in confidence during
my three years as a student, and now I can stand in front of large groups of
people speaking clearly and confidently, an essential skill for teaching.
staff at Edinburgh College create an inclusive and friendly environment that
makes you want to turn up, learn and develop your skills and knowledge. They
always go out of their way to help you, with both your college work and with
applications for jobs or universities. Furthermore, they are always there
for you, and you feel like you could talk to any of the staff and that they
would listen to any problems or worries that you have.
college I was given the opportunity to teach music at local primary schools.
This experience introduced me to primary teaching and ultimately influenced my
decision to become a primary school teacher. The staff even extended
opportunities to me after I had left college encouraging me to take part in
their music tour of the Highlands which was a fantastic experience, which I
will never forget. Edinburgh College truly opened up possibilities for me, both
academically and as a person. I would not be where I am without the college and
the staff, as they have helped shape and develop me and are still influencing
me today. Thank you for everything.’