Music - FdA (pathways:DJ, Performance, Composition, Engineering & Production) [Full-Time]

Level 5 - Foundation Degree or HNCs/HNDs or NVQ Level 5 or Equivalent

Subject Area Music

School Creative and Digital Technologies

Attendance Full-Time


The music industry needs driven, creative and pro-active people that have a broad understanding of the multifaceted music, sound and performance industry. This exciting music Foundation Degree has been designed in consultation with music industry experts with this in mind. The flexible nature of the course means that you’re able to focus on one area of interest and expertise through a specialist pathway or study modules across a range of pathways to enhance your music portfolio.

Pathways include:

• Composition

This pathway focuses on developing key composition skills; lyrics, melody and harmony and will explore the many approaches and techniques used in composition to develop your understanding and abilities. You will be introduced to the canon of music and range of harmonic applications and explore the function, purpose and techniques in constructing harmony and arrangement. These ideas will be explored and developed through sequencing and programming technologies to enhance the study of rhythm, harmony, texture and tonality. Your compositions have the potential to be released through our in-house student run record label, Push Puzzle Records.

• DJ and Electronic Music Production

This pathway focuses on the ethos of electronic music and DJing and will prepare you for entering the industry. All of our DJ course tutors currently work in the field which will help you to further develop your skills as a DJ.
The College has strong links with relevant publications such as DJ Mag, local and international nightclubs, DJs and record labels all with the expertise to help you stand out from the crowd as a producer or electronic music performer. Course tutors will help you to develop your genre of electronic music and harness your passion and creativity as well as offering advice and guidance in starting your own record label, releasing tracks, promoting events as well as the commercial aspect of electronic music.

• Music Production

This pathway will hone your technical knowledge and practical music production skills into a professional standard craft. As part of the course you will engage in practical workshops which will investigate historical and contemporary music production techniques and practices. These will range from traditional, contemporary and experimental microphone placement techniques through to the recording, editing and manipulation of sound sources. This will be realised via the latest Digital Audio Workstation software packages and virtual studio equipment plug-ins. You’ll learn include how to plan, organise, manage and successfully complete production projects through quality control, budgeting and effective communication. Through engagement with our own in-house record label, Push Puzzle Records, you will learn how the role of a music producer fits into the wider music industry.

• Performance

This pathway will further advance your existing skills and knowledge on your primary instrument and within a range of different ensemble settings. Through practical workshops and industry briefs you will rehearse and develop material in our 10 fully equipped rehearsal rooms and regularly perform in our 200 capacity music venue honing your live performance skills. You will perform in professional contexts to develop the skills, knowledge and experience required to succeed as a session musician. There are also opportunities throughout your studies to work with Push Puzzle Records, as a signed artist, enabling you to release your tracks on iTunes and other major streaming sites.

• Sound Engineering

This pathway focuses on the live music and sound reinforcement industry. This side of the music industry has grown in importance and size following recent changes in how the music industry operates and career opportunities are many and varied. The College works closely with many industry professionals who regularly give guest lectures. We also have established links with local employers who operate at regional, national and international levels.
As a sound engineering student you’ll have access to high quality industry standard 200 capacity music venue with both analogue and digital mixing consoles and a full separate monitoring system. You will also have use of a fully equipped theatre space for special events and project work.

Our Foundation Degree in Music is delivered at our Performance Academy, Rye Hill Campus and our West End Campus. As a music student you’ll have access to:
• three music venues
• ten recording studios including our five Pro-Tool studios (West End Campus) running UAD Apollo, Solid Sate Logic and much more
• extensive sequencing labs running Logic Pro and Embleton
• ten rehearsal studios
• a dedicated music store with hi-tech equipment for performance and recording.
• DJ EMP production suite.

This course runs on the following dates:

Start Date: September 2018. For further information, please call 0191 200 4000 or email
Duration: 2 Years
Venue: Performance Academy, Rye Hill Campus

Work Guarantee

As part of our work ready guarantee you will be fully supported to secure a professional placement or internship within your chosen specialist practice. You will also be encouraged to work on live briefs wherever possible with external clients as well as with students from the course to enhance your portfolio of work with employers.

Throughout your time on the course you’ll have the opportunity to work alongside producers, engineers, musicians, A&R teams, DJs, live sound engineers, and promoters as well as other industry professionals.

There will be numerous opportunities for you to gain work experience within the industry. Our record label Push Puzzle Records is run by students for students and gives you the chance to be signed as one of their artists and release your music digitally on a worldwide platform. There are also other roles available on the label from sound engineering and production work to creative roles in graphic design, marketing, and videography.

Other projects and placements undertaken by our current students have included live electronic music events working with The Cosmic Ballroom nightclub and OCTAVE promotions allowing our students to play alongside international DJs and promote their own night as well as projects with Jaunt Records, compiling a remix for a vinyl release. Sound engineering students have benefitted from work placement opportunities with Nitelites, an internationally renowned live sound production company and music production students have undertaken challenging placements with local recording studios including Blast Recording Studios.

Who the course is for

This course is ideally suited to anyone who is wishing to broaden their scope and music industry knowledge and experience. It is perfect for those who wish to study across a range of disciplines or focus on one area of interest.

Qualification Gained

On successful completion you will be awarded a Foundation Degree in Music.

How to Apply


UCAS will begin to accept applications for 2018 entry from September 2017. Applications for 2018 entry will need to be made using the web-based on-line application system

When you apply, you will need the UCAS code for your chosen course (see the course listing in the prospectus). You will also need Newcastle College’s institution name and code.

The institution name is NCAST.
The institution code is N23.

If you have any problems with the online application, contact UCAS by phone: 0871 4680 468  or email:

If you are an international student please visit our international application section for further information about how to apply and entrance requirements. Additional start dates may be available please speak to our International Office on +44 191 226 6323 or email

Course Content

Year one:
Personal Development or Recognition of Prior Learning, Academic Study Skills, Work Related Learning, Music Business, Enriched Creative Practice, Key Terms, Concepts and Theory in Sound and Music. Each session will have specialist pathway tutors.

Optional pathway modules to enhance or diversify your specialist area:

• Advancing Musicianship (Performance)
• Collective Performance (Performance)
• Composition (Composition), Harmony and Arrangement (Composition)
• Electronic Music Portfolio (DJ and Electronic Music)
• Live Electronica – including DJ skills (DJ and Electronic Music)
• Audio Production (Engineering and Production)
• Live Sound Reinforcement (Engineering and Production)

Year two:

Professional Development, Work Based Learning, Project Proposal, Major Creative Project, Extended Creative Practice, Discourse, Theory and Thought.

Optional pathway modules:

• Professional Musicianship (Performance)
• Advanced Composition (Composition)
• Professional Electronic Composition Portfolio (DJ and Electronic Music)
• Advanced Audio Production (Production)
• Live Sound Engineering (Sound Engineering)

Learning Methods

As well as having access to our industry advisers and contacts, you’ll also have the opportunity to collaborate with other students across the College. This may include working within our high spec performance venues or our 15 professional recording studios and numerous rehearsal spaces. You’ll be involved in a range of industry related productions which could include original compositions, portfolio of remixes, performance events, radio productions, commissions and collaborations, YouTube and internet presence, remixes, seminars, practical workshops, tutorials and lectures.

Assessment Methods

You may be expected to complete original compositions, performances, portfolios of remixes, radio productions, commissions and collaborations as well as participating in seminars, practical workshops, tutorials and lectures. These modes are used for many of the assessments which will encourage you to develop your professional music career.

Progression Opportunities

Academic progression is available through a degree specialism within our BA (Hons) Creative Enterprise (Top-Up).

Career Opportunities

Previous students have progressed into the commercial music industry as recording artists. Other career opportunities exist as a DJ, MC, producer, recording artist, composer, arranger, musical director, session musician, music teacher, music lecturer, music journalist, acoustics engineer (architectural and studio acoustic design), studio recording engineer, live sound engineer, electronics, and software and hardware designer.

Entry Requirements

A minimum of 48 UCAS Tariff Points at A-level, BTEC QCF Subsidiary, 90 Credit, National or Extended Diploma.

Applicants are normally expected to have achieved grade C in GCSE Maths & English Language or the Level 2 equivalents.

Mature students (age 21) will be considered only on the basis of relevant industry experience.

Applicants for whom English Language is not their first language are expected to achieve a minimum IELTS Score of 5.5 or the nationally recognised equivalent.


Further Information

If you have a query about this course or would like advice on your study options, contact Student Services, based in Armstrong House at Rye Hill Campus. If you need information in another format (e.g. large print) or another language, please ask.

Student Services
Monday, Tuesday and Thursday: 8.30am - 4.30pm
Wednesday and Friday: 9.30am - 4.30pm

Monday - Friday: 8am - 4.30pm

Telephone Contact Centre
Monday - Thursday: 8.30am - 5pm
Friday: 8.30am - 4.30pm

You can also contact us via the following:

In person: Student Services, Armstrong House, Rye Hill Campus, Scotswood Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 7SA.
By phone: (0191) 200 4000 By fax: (0191) 200 4517 By minicom: (0191) 272 3304
By e-mail:
By post: Student Services, Newcastle College, FREEPOST NT920, Scotswood Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 7SA (you do not need a stamp). 

Course Costs

You may find it helpful to provide your own lap-top computer and smart phone. If you are an instrumentalist specialising in performance it is expected that you will have access to your own instrument.

Additional Course Costs

Higher Education courses

If you are interested in a Foundation Degree, Honours Degree or Postgraduate course you will be pleased to know that Newcastle College has some of the most competitive HE tuition fees in the country. Many people are eligible to apply for a tuition fee loan from Student Finance England to cover fees. For friendly advice please call our Student Services team on 0191 200 4000 for more information.