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BA (Hons) Music (Session Musicianship) Course Overview BA (Hons) Music (Session Musicianship)  Course Overview

This pathway of our practice-based, industry-focused course equips you with the skills, knowledge and experience needed for a sustained career as a session musician.

Through continuous support and feedback from professionally experienced tutors you develop your instrumental/vocal technique, musicianship, and performance skills – both solo and ensemble - along with essential business knowledge. Underpinned by a thorough understanding of music theory; you leave as a highly skilled and educated musician able to make decisions to take control of your career. 

What You Will


  • Year 1
  • Year 2
  • Year 3
  • Student


    "LIPA was a great platform to meet like-minded people and we still regularly work with people we met there."

    Paul Burton - Hot City Horns (pictured far left), who performed with Paul McCartney on his Freshen Up and Got Back tours (Graduated 2008)

    Paul Burton Quote Icon
  • Student


    "Many of the contacts I made at LIPA I’m still working with now, those connections have proven to be a very important source of work"

    Louis Querrelle - Keyboard player with Niall Horan, 2017/18 World Tour (Graduated 2010)

    Louis Querrelle Quote Icon

How You Will


  • Workshops
  • One-to-one Instrumental Tuition
    One-to-one Instrumental Tuition
  • Practical Projects
    Practical Projects
  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Performances
  • Group Work
    Group Work
  • Independent study
    Independent study
  • Masterclass

How You Will Be


Most modules are assessed by practical portfolio submissions of songs, compositions, productions and performances. You also produce a final research paper relevant to your interests and career.

Practical/written work ratio

80% practical work / 20% written assignments


LIPA aims to have probationary degree awarding powers from September 2025 (subject to Office for Students approval). This is an exciting step, allowing us to take full control of our curriculum and course portfolio. In the unlikely event LIPA does not achieve probationary degree awarding powers, our degrees will be validated by Liverpool John Moores University.

What Our

Graduates Do

Our Music (Session Musicianship) pathway is new. Achievements of graduates from our Music degree have included:

Ed Juniper (2018)

Digital marketing manager for Polydor Records.

Eline Brun (2016)

Member of the band I See Rivers. They released their debut album, Deep and Rolling Green, to critical acclaim in 2020.

Gøril Nilsen (2016)

Member of the band I See Rivers. They released their debut album, Deep and Rolling Green, to critical acclaim in 2020.

Lill Scheie (2017)

Member of the band I See Rivers. They released their debut album, Deep and Rolling Green, to critical acclaim in 2020.

Katya Edwards (2016)

Co-wrote About You by Tyron Hapi & Laurell which went Gold in Australia. Other credits include My Way with One Bit featuring Noah Cyrus.

Katie Tarrant (2016)

Composer and audio designer for games company Rare. Credits include Sea of Thieves.

Sophie Cooke (2015)

Her songwriting credits include co-writing Jess Glynne’s hit All I Am, Dua Lipa’s Hallucinate and Katy Perry’s Only Love. Performing as Frances, she was nominated for a BRITS Critics’ Choice Award and her second album, Wonder, was released in 2021.

Rickey Long (2015)

Freelance musical director and musician. Credits include deputy musical director/ conductor and keys 2 on the UK & Ireland tours of Grease, Motown the Musical and Hairspray.

Laura Williams (2014)

Drummer with Riverdance tour, other credits include Six the Musical, West End, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s winter season at Barbican Centre and national UK tour of Romeo and Juliet.

Caroline Ailin (2012)

Songwriter who co-wrote Dua Lipa’s New Rules. Has also written for Katy Perry, Ellie Goulding and Clean Bandit

Sam Rourke (2011)

Bassist with Circa Waves, the band have had four UK top twenty albums.

Dan Croll (2011)

Singer-songwriter who released his third album Grand Plan in 2020. His music’s been used on ads for iPhone and FIFA and Grand Theft Auto games.

Jessica Staveley-Taylor (2010)

Makes up one third of The Staves, along with her sisters. Their 2021 album Good Woman entered the UK charts at number 13.

Hannah Peel (2004)

Artist, producer and BBC Radio Three presenter. Her album Fir Wave was nominated for a 2021 Hyundai Mercury Music Prize. Wrote the soundtrack for Game of Thrones: The Last Watch and orchestrated and conducted on three Paul Weller albums.

Liam Lynch (1998)

Musician, songwriter, filmmaker. Co-wrote music for School of Rock, co-wrote and produced soundtrack for Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny. Directed videos for Foo Fighters, They Might Be Giants and ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic.


There's no shortage of opportunities for students to hone and showcase their abilities as performers and songwriters. These include regular gig nights, industry A&R sessions and a full-scale music festival. Off campus there's the chance to become part of Liverpool's eclectic, culturally diverse and flourishing music scene. Our students have been regular performers at venues in the city including The Cavern, Jimmy's and Zanzibar.

To see our students in action head over to YouTube for showcase performances from our festival The 2ube Xtra 2023. You can also see photos of them performing - including at our Christmas Concert - over at FLICKR.




UCAS tariff points required from level 3 qualifications

For example:

  • Three A Levels at grade C or above
  • BTEC Extended Diploma: MMM  
  • BTEC Diploma: DD
  • UAL Extended Diploma: M
  • T Level: P (C+) 
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma: Pass including 96 points from Higher Level subjects

You also need 5 GCSEs grade 4/C or above including English and Maths or Level 2 equivalents.

We prefer it if one of your Level 3 qualifications is a Music or Music Production qualification.

All of our music students are expected to have a good level of music theory knowledge to cope with the demands of composition classes in the first year. We expect you to have achieved a pass in Grade 5 Music Theory (for example, LCM Grade 5 Popular Music Theory or ABRSM Grade 5 Music Theory, Rockschool Grade 5 Popular Music Theory) by 15 August 2025. We also assess your theory knowledge at audition.

Mature applicants (aged 21+): if you do not hold the qualifications listed but have relevant work experience, you are welcome to apply. Your application will be considered on an individual basis.


IELTS or above

You need to meet our English language requirement - a minimum of IELTS 5.5 for each of the 4 individual components (Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening). We also accept other English language examination equivalents. You can find out more about English Language requirements here 

You also need academic qualifications at the same level as UK applicants. You can find out more about qualifications from specific countries here

All of our music students are expected to have a good level of music theory knowledge to cope with the demands of composition classes in the first year. We will test your music  theory ability at your audition and, if needs be, we will advise you on the steps to take if you need to improve. We may ask you to re-take our music theory test.

Mature applicants (aged 21+). If you do not hold the academic qualifications but have relevant work experience, you are welcome to apply.

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.




Knowledge, Ability and Experience

We want to know about your relevant music experience, so tell us about any gigs you’ve played as a solo artist or in a band, or performances as part of a choir or orchestra. We’d like to hear about any writing you’ve done, whether it’s songs, compositions or other music arrangements. Also let us know about any experience you’ve had in music recording. Don’t worry if so far this has mostly been limited to computer-based systems at home, but please tell us the software and hardware tools you’ve used.



We want to find out how you’re seeking your own opportunities to develop your skills outside of your school or college environment. However, we understand that distance or cost may have made this difficult. We’re also interested to see how much you read about music and have tried to experience other peoples’ music.


Ability To Work Effectively with Others

While you’re with us (and in your professional work) you’ll work with a range of people – students, teachers and industry professionals, so it’s essential that you can work well with others. We’d like to see that you can take direction and feedback well, listen to others and offer support and constructive feedback.


Broad Interest and Engagement

We look for evidence that you are curious about the world around you and want to engage with all aspects of the course you’re applying for and the wide range of opportunities we offer.



We’d like to know why you’re applying to us and how you think the course you’re applying for will help you to grow and achieve your career aspirations. We’d like to see that you understand your strengths and weaknesses and how we can support you.


A Spirit of Enterprise

We want you to be able to work on your own initiative and see that you’re interested in creating your own opportunities. You may have been involved in creative projects which weren’t part of your regular school/college curriculum, or if you haven’t had the chance to do this, you might have ideas and ambitions which you can tell us about.

  • "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."

    Mark Ronson
    Grammy Award-winning producer, DJ and musician

    Mark Ronson Quote Icon
  • "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."

    Nile Rodgers
    Award-winning composer, producer, guitarist and arranger. Co-founded pioneering disco band Chic. Production credits include David Bowie, Madonna, Duran Duran and Mick Jagger.

    Nile Rodgers Quote Icon
  • "LIPA students are the most intelligent people I have ever met or taught. They taught me so much about life."

    Toyah Willcox
    Musician, actor and writer. She’s co-written 28 albums and appeared in more than 40 plays and 20 feature films.

    Toyah Willcox Quote Icon
  • "LIPA is the most wonderful place to learn. When I came here to give a talk, I was struck by how focused everybody was."

    Chris Difford
    Co-founder of Squeeze and Ivor Novello Award winning songwriter

    Chris Difford Quote Icon

Course Changes

For information on possible changes to course information, please click here.