Community Music (Level 3 Entry Only) BA (Hons)

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Use your music talents to work with people in a broad range of educational and community settings. Learn how to inspire, motivate and organise others to enjoy music-making.

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The course is based at Sage Gateshead and you will be part of the community of musicians at one of the UK’s most exciting music venues. You will be regularly involved with visiting artists and masterclasses as well as participation projects that have already reached over a million people across the North East.

You’ll be taught by musicians from Sage Gateshead and academic tutors from the University. Our professional teaching, together with the excellent facilities, has earned our courses a strong reputation.

The skills of musicianship and educatorship are developed in parallel, so that each informs the other, resulting in a well-rounded musician with an appropriate set of skills for a ‘portfolio’ career in music. As a ‘musician who also teaches’, the range of career paths for our graduates includes youth work, teaching music, performing arts and social work.

Why us?

  • High employability value and study benefits arising from exposure to a wide range of professional work through its regional music centre (Sage Gateshead) base
  • Aimed at everyone who is musically skilled, from school leavers to professional musicians
  • Trailblazing degree that is "set to make a major contribution to the field of community music" (Sound Sense)
  • A unique undergraduate programme that combines academic study with professional practice
  • This is the only Community Music degree in the North East
  • 93.4% of our graduates are in employment, further study or training within six months of graduating, according to DLHE 2016/17 (based on full-time, first degree, home leavers)

Course structure

Teaching methods include projects, feedback on performances, lectures, seminars and e-learning. We encourage you to develop independent study skills and to initiate your own projects with the support of tutors and other students.

In your first year you will shadow and work alongside experienced music leaders and facilitators. By your final year you’ll have developed the skills to design, manage, implement and evaluate a major project in a community setting, and stage a performance within Sage Gateshead’s public programme which showcases you as a musician. Throughout the course our tutors will encourage you to develop valuable skills in communication, teamwork and problem-solving.

Assessment methods include projects, presentations, essays, critical evaluations and public performances.

Part-time study

If you study this course on a part-time basis you will typically complete 40-80 credits in a year, rather than the 120 credits of full-time students. All modules are taught during the day time and you will be studying alongside full-time students.

Year 2 (national level 5):

  • Music in Context 2 (20 credits)
  • Creative Artistic Practice 2 (20 credits)
  • Musicianship 2 (40 credits)
  • Professional Practice 2 (40 credits)


Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

Final year (national level 6):

  • Major Professional Project (60 credits)
  • Performance Project (40 credits)
  • Negotiated Independent Study (20 credits)
  • Facilities for music and performing arts include:

    • Specialist music technology suites
    • Rehearsal rooms
    • A range of musical instruments
    • Individual access to specialist Foley, Post Production and Music studios
    • Our extensive libraries also offer thousands of books, journals and other resources
    Music facilities
  • Sage Gateshead is the home of this course. It is a renowned centre for music and musical discovery that offers both performance and participation projects. Its excellent facilities include:

    • 25-room Music Education Centre
    • Rehearsal space
    • Two auditoria with outstanding acoustics
    Sage Gateshead


This course is based at Sage Gateshead. You also have access to all the facilities at the University of Sunderland.

Entry requirements

Please note: To gain entry to Level 3 of this course you must be studying a HND or Foundation Degree in a Music discipline.

We accept a maximum of 6 points from Level 3 Key Skills qualifications.

We also require three passes at GCSE grade C or above, which must include Mathematics and English Language; or a minimum of Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If you have studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above.

If English is not your first language, please see our English language requirements.

If you are studying a HND or Foundation Degree you may be able to enter onto the final year of our degree courses. For more information, please contact

Additional requirements

We are interested in your musical skills and your potential as a music leader and team player. At your interview we will invite you to play and/or sing, and also provide a short written task.

The course involves community projects and so we require students to have undergone the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) (previously CRB) process. You will need to have successfully completed the DBS process, for which there is a fee, before starting the course.


Fees and finance

The annual fee for this course is:

  • £9,250 if you are from the UK / EU
  • £10,750 if you are an international student

Part-time fees

Tuition fees for part-time students are £5,000 per 120 credits.

Please note that part-time courses are not available to international students who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

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This information was correct at the time of publication.

City Campus by night


There is increasing demand for well-qualified musician-educators and facilitators, thanks to the expansion in the range and quality of community music.

Recent developments in music education in the UK recognise the need for musician-educators with a broad understanding of many different kinds of music-making as well as particular specialisms, to support a broad range of participants of all ages and abilities to benefit from music-making.

Sage Gateshead

Sage Gateshead is a major national employer of musician-educators, and is at the forefront of national developments in music learning and education, so the knowledge and skills acquired on the course are current and relevant to the rapidly-changing face of music education.

Roles include working for public bodies that promote community music, as well as for broader initiatives aimed at particular groups within the community. A number of music venues also have active programmes of community music.

Another career option is a ‘portfolio’ mix of performance, teaching and community work. You could also consider further training in order to qualify to teach music in schools. We also encourage you to explore short work-based opportunities either with Sage Gateshead itself or with the many projects attached to the venue.

Contact for more information and to arrange a placement.

Work placements

All students studying on-campus undergraduate music courses can take up a CV-enhancing work placement, a University-led industry initiative, or a professional and business development boot camp. By the term placement, we mean we are offering you a taste of the industry which might last anything from two days to four weeks on a part-time basis.

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