Ensemble Performance Skills
This module aims to develop your broad understanding of performance-related subjects through regular band rehearsal. These include repertoire, style, interpretation, improvisation, harmonising, rehearsal and stagecraft. You are given regular rehearsal and performance opportunities to practice your skills. You develop general ensemble skills such as collaboration and giving and receiving direction. Working across a variety of music styles, you strengthen your complementary rhythmic, vocal and instrumental performance skills.
Individual Performance Technique
In this module, you build a solid foundation for future development as an instrumental or vocal performer through one-to-one tuition.. You work on a range of vocal or instrumental exercises to improve your technique, and establish a routine of disciplined regular practice to reinforce your learning. You develop your performance-related skills such as study/practice, preparation and presentation skills. The module gives you the opportunity to improve your technical skills including your use of scales, modes or chords and music reading skills, and apply them to a performance setting.
Music Business & Context
Through this module, you develop the basic business skills and knowledge necessary to successfully support a career in the music and entertainment industries. It also aims to provide knowledge of the context in which these industries operate and how you will fit within it. You learn about relevant aspects of law, taxation and self-development which are essential for musicians. Practical business skills which are assessed in this module include project and financial planning and making presentations.
Music Technology & Production
Through this module, you gain an understanding of the processes and techniques involved in modern desktop recording and production. You are taught about the key technologies and ideas and concepts involved in music production. You develop practical skills including how to operate an industry standard digital audio workstation (DAW) effectively and efficiently and select appropriate technical tools and techniques. This leads to creating a portfolio of recordings and a final song demo, which you critically reflect on to identify strengths and weaknesses in your own work.
This module is designed to give musicians the basic ability to understand music notation at a practical level. You develop an understanding of the notated language of music including time and key signatures, and scales and chords. You also learn how to read and write music notation and gain an understanding of basic functional harmony. Your work in this module also forms a foundation for further study of music through notation.
Songwriting & Arranging
Through this module, you learn the skills and necessary knowledge to develop your potential as a songwriter in a wide variety of settings. You build an understanding of the creation and use of lyrics in song and their relationship to melody, harmony and arrangement. This leads to the recorded and notated presentation of completed songs or arrangements. As part of your work in this module, you write songs to meet specific briefs using popular song structures.
Music Direction (Option)
This module aims to provide you with the necessary skills to efficiently run rehearsals, leading to performance. As part of your work in this module, you make decisions about the best way to convey a piece of music and source and prepare parts. You then take responsibility for all aspects of leading a rehearsal of a group of musicians. Through this process, you build the interpersonal skills needed to effectively perform the role of musical director. You get to choose two options to enable you to tailor your learning to your personal interests and aspirations.
Music Skills (Option)
In this module, you improve your musical hearing and listening skills. Aural classes develop your skills in listening and transcribing rhythms, scales, chords, intervals and melodies from played musical examples. You learn how to use industry standard music notation software (Sibelius) to produce a score. A score submission forms part of your assessment, along with an exam to test your aural skills. You get to choose two options to enable you to tailor your learning to your personal interests and aspirations.
Popular Music Studies (Option)
This module provides you with a historical context to popular music. You focus on the major developments in the history of popular music since 1950 to present day. You explore key examples of different genres and identify cultural, technological and socio-economic factors linked to changes in the popular music industry. Through your work in this module, you develop appropriate academic writing skills and conventions. You get to choose two options to enable you to tailor your learning to your personal interests and aspirations.
Recording Studio Techniques (Option)
In this module, you build on the work from Music Technology & Production to progress to a multi-track studio environment. You learn about analogue mixing console architecture and signal flow, basic microphone techniques, recording strategies for a variety of acoustic instruments, outboard EQ dynamics processing and effects. Again, you produce a portfolio of recorded tasks and a song demo. You continue to appraise your practical work, producing a written analysis of your recordings. . You get to choose two options to enable you to tailor your learning to your personal interests and aspirations.
How You Will
How You Will Be
You are constantly assessed to monitor your progress. There is a minor component of written work with study logs and critical evaluations of practical work.
Practical/written work ratio
80% practical work / 20% written assignments
Course Leader and Senior Lecturer
Tim studied music at Breton Hall College starting on oboe but switching to bass guitar midway through. He is a multi-instrumentalist playing bass guitar, guitar, keys, saxes and double bass.
After graduating he embarked on a career as a session musician and teacher. As both a music-reader and improviser, Tim has performed in theatres in the UK, recording sessions in London, playing for theatre shows at the Edinburgh Fringe and many jazz gigs. He was invited to teach at two of the institutions that he had previously studied at, and teaching became the dominant passion. After completing his MA in 1994, Tim began full-time teaching at LIPA in 1995. Since then, as well as teaching, Tim has mainly focused on jazz gigs on bass guitar for pleasure. He also turned his hand to other varied projects including the pre-production and recording of music played at The Beatles Story exhibition, to performing with China Crisis, and editing the music manuscript for Bill Bailey’s songbook. He can currently be found playing bass in two big bands (one with a weekly residency), and also holding the bass chair at the Liverpool Jazz Club’s monthly sessions.
Steve’s professional career includes production, songwriting, remixing, session playing, engineering, mixing, arranging and composition. As a writer and producer Steve worked in partnership with Pete Waterman for over a decade, developing projects and achieving releases on all major record labels (BMG, Sony, Warner, EMI, Universal, Jive/Zomba) and working on music projects for national TV and live events. Steve has achieved numerous top 40 singles and albums, attaining 11 platinum album sales. As a remixer, credits include well-known names such as Britney Spears and Kylie Minogue along with many more underground artists, achieving numerous number 1 dance chart positions. Steve believes that listening to and analysis of a wide range of material, coupled with a solid theoretical understanding is key to broadening your understanding of songwriting and of production and arrangement. His extensive experience helps students develop the practical skills and the work ethic and judgment required for a professional career.
Steve leads sessions in songwriting and in music production, delivering lectures, practical workshops, seminars and one-to-one sessions. He takes a practical task-based approach to teaching and developing skills and holds dear the belief that being able to realise your songs and musical ideas as effective demos is vital for any musician working in the music industry today.
Steve’s professional industry experience informs all aspects of his teaching, experiences such as working to deadlines, making decisions, understanding commercial briefs, analysing and understanding unfamiliar styles of music, and being able to realise commercially viable products are central to the experiences he tries to create for students. Steve is acutely aware that while you’re not always fortunate enough to work on what you want, what you create still has to be musically effective.
Clare has been teaching for more than 20 years and singing for even longer. She has worked as a studio session singer, live backing vocalist and radio DJ, as well as writing and recording her own songs. In the 1990s, she fronted dance act Lucid, achieving top 40 singles and performing on Top of the Pops. Having experienced the ‘pop star lifestyle’, Clare understands the fun-side and challenges involved in such things as media attention and giving interviews, live TV, club PAs, photo shoots, making videos and touring. In her teaching she uses a holistic approach, combining physical exercises and confidence building techniques to help each singer find and express their own unique voice.
Christina started singing professionally at an early age, putting together her own band and arrangements for function gigs at the age of 15. Since then, she has worked as a session musician and function performer as well as with her own original material. Christina has also worked in promotion for numerous music venues around Liverpool. Having worked with a number of amateur and professional singers, and studied a range of vocal techniques, Christina doesn’t believe in one approach for all students. Through her one to one sessions, she finds the best techniques to help students grow into original artists.
With over 25 years of professional experience, Martin’s recording credits include The Coral, Super Furry Animals and The Lightning Seeds, among many others. Martin is a lifetime member of cult jazz-punk beat combo The Wizards of Twiddly, and has toured extensively in Europe with The Muffin Men (Frank Zappa tribute band) and The BrassHoppers, a New Orleans-style street band. Outside teaching, Martin’s main focus is The Weave, an internationally-acclaimed jazz sextet. His experience of playing with groups of all genres means he has a good understanding of what’s required to become a high-functioning and valuable member of any ensemble.
Paul has been a professional musician and music lecturer for over 30 years. He has worked as an official demonstrator and product specialist for Korg (UK) Inc and as musical director for Wigan Youth Swing Band. Paul is currently a resident pianist at various venues across the north west and is co-director of Grande Touch, a company which provides digital grand pianos for functions. As Paul is actively gigging, he constantly learns new and current material to meet demand and his many years of experience allow him to advise and support students entering the world of professional music.
Subject Leader Music Production
As a self-employed music professional, Dan delivered projects with major and indie labels for 15 years before joining LIPA full-time. Day-to-day negotiation with A&R, artist management and label executives plus a practice-based understanding of music rights shaped Dan's experience, allowing him to pick up multiple platinum sales awards for his production work along the way. Dan now looks at how the new generation of music entrepreneurs can meet the challenges of a changing music industry.
Most of our graduates go on to study at degree level, either with us or other specialist institutions. Some have gone straight into work as singer-songwriters, band members, session musicians, producers and as writers and arrangers. Their career achievements have included:
Bronnie Hughes (2016)
Singer-songwriter who has released four EPs and a stream of singles. Toured the UK, Europe and USA and supported Little Mix.
Lill Scheie (2017)
Member of the band I See Rivers. They released their debut album, Deep and Rolling Green, to critical acclaim in 2020.
Gemma Dunleavy (2014)
Her song Up De Flats was nominated for RTE (Irish national broadcaster) Song of the Year 2020. Recent collaborations include DJ Simon Raymonde and a Dr Martens campaign.
Edvard Førre Erfjord (2008)
Part of studio team with fellow graduate Henrik Barman Michelsen who produced and co-wrote UK number one singles for Little Mix and Jess Glynne. Has also worked with Take That, Olly Murs, Aurora and Jessie J and Don Diablo.
Phil Gornell (2008)
Owner of Steel City Studio in Sheffield, he works as a producer from the studio and his base in LA. Touring mix engineer for 5 Seconds of Summer, All Time Low and Bring Me The Horizon. Co-wrote tracks on All Time Low’s 2020 album Wake Up, Sunshine.
Malin Pettersen (2008)
A long-time member of the band Lucky Lips, her debut solo album References Pt.1 won Best Country Album at 2019 Spellemannprisen (Norwegian Grammy Awards).
Josefine Jinder (2007)
As Swedish pop artist Little Jinder, won Best Pop Album award at the Swedish GRAMMYs in 2015. Nominated in three categories in the 2019 awards.
Micheal Bruce (2006)
Composer, lyricist and musical director, including productions for the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Was composer in residence at the Donmar Warehouse.
Educational qualifications are important but limited in what they can tell us about you.
Your natural ability, your fit with what and how we teach, your growth and your potential are also key factors in our admission process. We can’t evaluate these solely on your educational achievements, so no matter which course you are applying for, we look for the following attributes on your application and at the interview stage.
"There’s absolutely nothing like LIPA in this country. It’s a genuine incubator of creativity for future players of the music industry because graduates leave with instantly applicable and viable skill sets. "
Grammy Award-winning producer, DJ and musician
"When I came and spoke at LIPA, it was one of the greatest days of my life. The feeling in the room was incredible. I love this institution. "
Award-winning composer, producer, guitarist and arranger. Co-founded pioneering disco band Chic. Production credits include David Bowie, Madonna, Duran Duran and Mick Jagger.
"LIPA students are the most intelligent people I have ever met or taught. They taught me so much about life. "
Musician, actor and writer. She’s co-written 28 albums and appeared in more than 40 plays and 20 feature films.
"LIPA is the most wonderful place to learn. When I came here to give a talk, I was struck by how focused everybody was. "
Co-founder of Squeeze and Ivor Novello Award winning songwriter
Books and Equipment
With regard to equipment, if you are an instrumentalist, you will obviously need to bring your instrument with you. It is also advisable that you have spare strings, sticks, reeds or anything else you may need for your specific instrument.
You will need a pair of headphones for use in the computer and Digital Audio suites.
Besides the usual pads and pens (or laptops), the only other things you will need to bring with you are your creativity, enthusiasm and dedication.
Cost of living
Wherever you choose to study, you'll have to budget for accommodation and other everyday living expenses, such as food and bills.
Liverpool represents great value for students. Accommodation costs are low in comparison with other places in the UK, particularly the South East. The city's shops and entertainment venues also have lots of student discounts.
We’d recommend completing a simple budget plan to predict your income and outgoings. This should include accommodation, bills, insurance, TV licence, food, laundry, clothes, books, travel and socialising. How much you'll want to spend on a lot of these is completely personal.
There is lots of advice available online about budgeting,:
- UCAS budget calculator is a great tool to help you balance your in-comings and out-goings.
- SaveTheStudent provides useful information on student money resources, including loans, budgeting, and scholarship sources.
Most UK students will be able to take out a maintenance loan to assist with living costs and there are some grants available. We also offer some bursaries. To find out more, please see Student Finance and bursaries.
Because our courses are intensive and we have a busy season of student performances, options for part-time work during our teaching periods can be limited. However, many of our students gain flexible part-time work, in performance venues, shops, restaurants and bars. We also provide casual work opportunities for our students ranging from stewarding work on our productions to working with young people to help us widen access to our courses. The long summer break is when many of our students choose to work.