Advanced Postgraduate Diploma; Professional Performance

Birmingham City University Faculty of Art, Design and Media

Program Description

Advanced Postgraduate Diploma; Professional Performance

Birmingham City University Faculty of Art, Design and Media

Key Facts

The course will provide the opportunity for you to further develop your already advanced performance skills through the provision of high-quality individual tuition and opportunities to perform in professional contexts. It will help you prepare for the professional world, and thus support you in the early stages of your career. Thehigh-quality, individualtuition you receive will be from dedicated and experienced tutors. As a senior postgraduate student at Birmingham Conservatoire, yourperformance opportunitieswill range fromparticipation in the institution's full range of ensemblesto departmental workshops and masterclasses. You can benefit from the Conservatoire's excellent links with professional musical organisations in Birmingham and beyond through professional schemes, including the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) and Birmingham Royal Ballet. As the standard to get on to this course is high, you will be in the company of a relatively small but verytalented group of musicians (no more than 10 per year), which also affords you very focused attention when you need it.

Entry Requirements

a)a postgraduatedegree/diploma, normally (but not necessarily) specialising in performance or b) substantial, verifiable public performance experience at an appropriate level. You will beformally auditioned, normally by a panel of three people, and will need to demonstrate that you are able to perform to an appropriately advanced level. The subsequent discussion will explore your musical interests and aspirations. You will also need to demonstrate an awareness of what is required of the performer wishing to forge a successful professional career in the 21st century, as well as an open mind about developing your own portfolio of relevant skills and experiences.

Audition Requirements

Audition requirementsvary according to the proposed pathway, and applicants are advised to consult the programme pages on the Conservatoire’s website for full details. International applicants are expected to either audition 'live' in their own country at one of the Conservatoire's established audition centres, or, where this is not possible, by sending a DVD recording (details of requirements can be found at Where a face-to-face meeting is not possible, some appropriate means will be found to enable a follow-up discussion with you, e.g. via Skype.


This is not a course leading to the start of a performer’s career, but one which you take alongside it in its early stages. The principal aim is that, when you graduate, not only will your professional life be well underway, but you will also have developed the confidence and skills to go on shaping it.

Course Structure

Our Advanced Postgraduate Diploma: Professional Performance programme revolves around the needs, strategic goals and enthusiasms of the individual student. To get the most out of the course, students will need to be highly self-motivated and able to work on their own initiative. There is an expectation that, with the support of your course tutors, you will take advantage of being on the programme to seek out and maximise professional development opportunities which will be strategically useful to your developing career. Throughout the programme you will have expert 1:1 tuition in your First-Study area. Currently, the allowance is 53 hours across the course: 40 will be assigned to your main tutor(s), but you will be given some choice as to how you deploy the other (decisions will be made in consultation with and with the agreement of the Course Director and Head of Department). All students on this programme have a weekly performance class together. You will also have access to the Conservatoire's full range of ensembles, departmental workshops, performance classes and masterclasses. As an emerging professional musician, it is hoped and expected that you will carve a distinctive niche for yourself within your department, becoming a role model for students at earlier stages in their studies. On the performance side, your studies will culminate in three performance assessments in a professional context. For full-time students these will usually take place in terms two, three and four; for part-time students, one assessment will usually take place in Year One, and the remaining two in Year Two. Throughout the course, your work in performance will be supported by the Professional Performer's Portfolio module. This module is focused on providing you with practical preparation for the professional world. It will be supported by 15 workshops for the whole cohort. Each student's work across the course - from programme planning to professional development - will be supported by 15 hours of 1:1 tutorial support; this is in addition to your 1:1 First-Study hours.


The three professional-level performance assessments will involve different repertoire and, in most cases, take a different format: details and guidance are provided in a syllabus for each pathway. The Professional Performer's Portfolio comprises three parts:

PartOne involves the assembly of a set of 'tools' that will be of practical use in the professional context and which you will undoubtedly already have in development (e.g. CV, web presence, recorded samples etc.).

PartTwo requires you to pursue, undertake and document professional-level experience while on the course, and to reflect on that in relation to your subsequent career plans and aspirations.

Part Three is a student-defined project where the focus should be an area relevant specifically to your individual career aspirations (e.g. a CD recording, setting up a new ensemble, or a community or education project).


Types of assessment (some subject to availability) for students on pathways other than Opera Repetiteur include the following: a 50-minute recital or chamber music performance; a concerto or other solo performance with orchestra; a mock professional-level orchestral audition; a major operatic role. Assessments for students on the Opera Repetiteur pathway include an opera workshop production, an extensive coaching session and a mock professional-level audition.

This school offers programs in:
  • English
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2017
15 - 24 months
Part time
Full time
8,000 GBP
Start date Sept. 2017
United Kingdom Birmingham, England
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Duration 15 - 24 months
Price 8,000 GBP
£16500 for international students