BA (Hons) Creative Music Performance
– Pursuing Excellence in Drums

  • UCAS Code: Not Applicable
  • Course duration: 2 years (full-time) / 4 years (part-time)
  • Direct line: 0203 3888 900
  • Admissions:


The BA (Hons) Creative Music Performance course provides you with an opportunity to specialise in drums. It aims to empower learners by equipping them with a high level of instrumental skill and the ability to develop an authoritative, individual approach to the performance and creation of music. On completion of the course you will have established a varied portfolio of creative work and have an understanding of how to develop your own unique approach to your specialism and the wider industry.

Under the guidance and supervision of highly respected artists and educators you will perform as a soloist or within bands to devise systematic and effective practice routines, compositional processes and general musicianship skills. Alongside the creative development of instrumental technique, performance and composition skills, you will develop research and writing skills and reflect critically on your practice.

Click on the module titles below to explore the course content:

Stage 1: Level 4

Technical Development 1 & 2
These modules are about consolidating your technical skills on the drums and providing you with the essential tools needed for you to realise your full creative potential. You will examine the ergonomics of drumming, which will include fundamental areas such as your grip, posture, stick motions and foot technique.

Throughout the course you will study a variety of technical exercises, including four-way independence, snare drum rudiments, polyrhythms and fills. This vocabulary will fuel your creative expression on the instrument, with the ultimate goal being to forget all about the exercises and just play the music you hear in your head. There is always a place for speed and flashy technique, but as working players we also value taste and creativity very highly.

Improvisation 1 & 2
You will be spending a considerable amount of time developing core skills on your instrument, and the application of these skills comes in the Improvisation modules. It’s here that you will go beyond the practice of basic exercises and develop your ear to ensure that you can place patterns, rudiments, fills and ostinatos into a musical context.

We will provide you with a number of stylistic studies designed to challenge you to create musically appropriate parts and improvised solos. Additionally, we will investigate how you can gain the authority of a professional through your sound, timing and dynamic balance. You will be referencing the work of some of the world’s iconic drummers as you learn the art of making music from the tool kit of your technical skills.

Artist Studies
In this module, you set the direction of your studies by choosing important drummers to study in detail as negotiated with your tutor. The choice is yours, but you will be expected to nail tunes originally performed by your chosen artists to the highest standards.

This will include generating an authentic sound and feel, fully committing to the performance with accurate execution, solid timing and groove. In addition to learning a representative portion of their repertoire, you will be asked to provide a critical analysis of your chosen artists that demonstrates contextual understanding of the historical, social and cultural factors that shaped their unique sound and style.

Rhythm Studies
A deep understanding of rhythm is the single most important area a drummer must have to truly excel in their playing. In this module you will study a wide variety of rhythmic subdivision, time signatures and polyrhythms that will strengthen your knowledge and give you the ability to make these and other rhythmic concepts such as displacement and metric modulation accessible. Additionally, you will reinforce your timing and develop the ‘inner clock’ that is essential for every drummer. These studies will take place in the context of a wide variety of genres that are designed to inspire you and make you a more versatile musician.

Stage 2: Level 5

Advanced Techniques 1 & 2
The Advanced Techniques 1 & 2 modules builds on the study of the specialist skills covered in the Technical Development 1 & 2 modules at Level 4. The techniques learned in these lessons are an extension of those previously studied and are designed to consolidate and expand your existing vocabulary on the instrument. In general, there will be greater emphasis on the application of the skills learned into a broader musical context in preparation for the next level of study.
Advanced Improvisation 1 & 2
The Advanced Improvisation 1 & 2 modules build on your work in Improvisation 1 & 2 and continues with the study of improvisational skills and methodologies that are ultimately designed to enable creative musical expression in your specialist area. The skills and vocabulary learned in these lectures will be applied and contextualised within performance scenarios at the next level of study. You will be encouraged to develop your own learning methodologies for the purpose of enhancing your technical abilities, applying these skills into a broader musical context and developing an individual approach to your drumming.
Artist Analysis
The Artist Analysis module builds on your work in Artist Studies and continues to examine the techniques, methodologies and repertoire of iconic artists as acknowledged within their area of specialism. The concepts examined in this module are intended to support you in the development of your own individual approach and should ideally be applied into a broader musical context throughout the course.

In addition to learning a representative portion of their repertoire, you will be asked to provide critical analysis of your chosen artists that demonstrates a contextual understanding of the historical, social and cultural factors that shaped their unique sound and style. You will extend your critical analysis through the inclusion of musical notation, commenting on how the unique voice of the artist is evident within the transcription.

Composition and Arrangement
Composition and Arrangement provides you with the opportunity to study and apply methodologies for composing and arranging original music. The module will support you in producing original compositions in response to a specified brief. The concepts examined will provide an integrated understanding of the broader musical context and will support the development of your work throughout the course. In addition to composing, arranging and presenting original music, you will be asked to provide critical analysis of how you applied the concepts studied throughout the module to your compositions.

Stage 3: Level 6

Developing Your Own Style
Developing Your Own Style provides you with the opportunity to amalgamate the concepts studied throughout the course and apply this knowledge towards the development of your own sound and style. You must apply a critical approach to your developmental process and be able to explain and demonstrate your unique approach to your drumming. In addition to demonstrating repertoire that embodies your individual style, you will be asked to provide a critical analysis of your work that discusses your developmental journey, current practice and aspirational goals for the future.
Applied Techniques
The Applied Techniques module builds on the material covered in the Advanced Techniques and Advanced Improvisation Technical Development and Improvisation modules and continues with the intensive study of specialist skills, techniques and methodologies. The content of the module will play a key role in the continued development of your artistic voice and in providing creative direction for the Solo Performance module.
Solo Performance
Solo Performance asks you to demonstrate the totality of your skills and knowledge on your instrument in a performance setting. You must assume responsibility for all musical and administrative aspects of your performance, such as the selection of repertoire, any additional musicians and choice of venue. You should demonstrate repertoire that showcases the skills, techniques and improvisational concepts that embody your own unique voice as an artist.
Professional Practice Portfolio
The Professional Practice Portfolio module requires you to research and report on the career opportunities available within your specialist area. You should also comment on how your craft can be contextualised in professional opportunities that will monetise your skills and inspire entrepreneurial practice and artistic excellence. Your Portfolio will also include a personal website and various forms of social media to support your professional work.

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