Our course is a one-year, full-time preparation course for Higher Education study in music either at Edinburgh College or elsewhere. It is designed to give students an opportunity to strengthen their experience in several important areas before embarking on a Higher Education course. These include ensemble playing and singing, solo instrumental/vocal technique, academic work and music theory. A solid background in these areas gives students the best chance of success in degree-level study.
The programme sits at Level 6 within the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework – the level which is directly below the first year of Higher Education study. SCQF Level 6 also includes SQA Highers, and many of our Level 6 students already have Higher Music (and/or Advanced Higher) before they start the course. However, completing the NC Level 6 programme is very different to completing Higher or Advanced Higher Music: because it is a full-time course, we are able to provide a far broader and deeper curriculum than what can be delivered within music at school.
As well as regular one-to-one tuition in a first study instrument from an experienced specialist, students rehearse and perform extensively in supervised groups (bands, ensembles, choirs and orchestras as appropriate). Performances 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 alongside their preparation for end-of-year recitals.
Students also acquire fluency in using various kinds of music software, develop composition and songwriting skills in dedicated classes, study a series of set works, learn how to research and write about music, work through an introduction to the industry, and complete a thorough course in music theory.
As an add-on to the NC, students are offered teaching towards extra practical and theory qualifications. Typically these will be Grade 6 or 7 practical exams through ABRSM, Trinity or Rock School, and Grade 5 or 6 theory exams through Trinity or LCM Pop Theory. These qualifications help to establish a really solid foundation for Higher Education study, and as such are highly valued by ourselves as well as by universities.
- instrumental/vocal skills
- group music making
- music software
- composition and songwriting skills
- set works
- researching and writing about music
- an introduction to the industry
- music theory (including optional external exams)
SQA Higher Music (or equivalent experience)
Basic knowledge of music theory
Grade 5 standard instrument/voice
Core Skills at SCQF level 5
English Proficiency Requirements
How the course is assessed
- A variety of practical tasks, written assignments and timed assessments
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 Music NC Level 6 with
satisfactory attendance are guaranteed a place on our Higher National
Certificate/Diploma (Level 8) programme, which can lead to our Bachelor of
Music Honours degree. We also support students to make applications to
universities or other institutions during the course of the year, should they
wish to.Download our progression route map here
- Performing musician
- Classroom teacher
- Instrumental or vocal teacher
- Community musician
Number Of Days Per Week/Day Of The Week/Time Of The Day
Course Cost And Funding Options
‘College was an essential step for me. Having very little idea of what I wanted to do after school (and going from philosophy to musical theater to systematic theology to unemployed) I fell upon Edinburgh College's music course. They were willing to take me on at the level I was at (of course they saw all the hidden potential!) and help me grow from there. I met lots of people, some who liked similar music to me and others who didn't, but who introduced to things I now love. My time at college helped me mature in terms of practical work, academic study and professional attitude. I left school unable to get into a university course and now I am applying for a Masters. I wouldn't have got to where I am without the course and the lecturers who ran it.’
‘I began studying at the college because I didn’t have anywhere else to go that would have accepted my low grades. Music was my only Advanced Higher along with a C in Higher Art. Edinburgh College accepted me on to their foundation-level course which I couldn’t believe mostly due to a severe lack of confidence in myself. Looking back, it is now quite apparent how the lecturers saw my potential rather than the grades I came to them with. Since then, I progressed through the higher levels of the music education they provide. They supported me tremendously at every turn in the road when I thought I couldn’t go any further. They encouraged me to join the National Youth Choir of Scotland, which I got into first time. I have since performed with them at the BBC Proms, Edinburgh International Festival and in 2016 I joined them on their America tour. I am now in my first year at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland studying composition. I really owe all of my success in getting to where I am to the lecturers at Edinburgh College. They built me up and showed me what I could achieve rather than what I couldn’t. Thank you!’