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Bachelor of Music (Contemporary Performance)

Armed with talent and a music degree in contemporary performance from JMC Academy you’re well on your way to becoming a star.

Learn from skilled industry professionals and explore everything from song writing to musical arrangement and performance training.

Gain in-depth experience in professional recording studios during your entire course while learning production and business skills.

Whether you want to work behind the scenes as a composer or be on stage as a musician, this course can help you get there.


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At a glance

Study mode

laptop
In-class

Provider

JMC Academy
Career Opportunities
  • Composer
  • Recording Artist
  • Music Director
  • Songwriter
Recognition

Nationally recognised - meets Australian Qualifications Framework standards.

Prerequisites

ATAR score of 65 or equivalent, minimum 17 years of age an audition & an interview

Location

NSW - Sydney

QLD - Brisbane

VIC - Melbourne

Work placement

No placement; practical skills are gained through Industry Integration Program

Course length
Full-tim: 2 years
Study mode

In-class


Online

Study from anywhere, when it suits you best and graduate with the identical qualification as an on-campus student.

Blended

Study part of the course online. Combine your online learning with classes or practical sessions on-campus at a college or university.

In-class

Attend classes on-campus at a university, TAFE or college and interact face-to-face with teachers and fellow students.

Assessment
Assignments & Exams
Start date

3 start dates per year.

Provider
JMC Academy

JMC Academy is Australia's leading educator in the entertainment industry.

You will learn from a dedicated team of industry professionals, and you’ll gain hands-on skills in a supportive environment.

All campuses have the latest professional facilities – such as digital media and 3D animation labs, recording studios, digital television studios and editing suites.

Read more about
JMC Academy
Price

The course price can vary depending on a few factors, including whether you are an Australian resident or your chosen payment option. To find out more, contact the course provider.

Prerequisites

Year 12 or equivalent, with:

  • ATAR score of 65 or above or OP score of 16 or below
  • Written application
  • Minimum of 17 years of age
  • Interview
  • Audition

What you'll learn

Become trained in:

  • Your chosen instrument
  • Song writing
  • Musical arrangement
  • Improvisation
  • Performance for stage, screen & studio
  • Solo & band sessions
  • Music technology
  • Business principles
  • Live sound and production

Industry Integration Program

You will gain hands-on skills through JMC Academy's Industry Integration Program, which replicates the way the entertainment industry operates.

The program involves students from different departments working together to achieve a final result.

Course structure

29 units

Units

  1. Sound production


    The purpose of this unit is to introduce the concepts of sound in both live and recording environments. Students will be introduced to the set up and operation of audio technology equipment as used in the support of live performance and rehearsal situations. They will learn to work safely in supporting and enhancing performance by recognising the needs of the performer, the audience and the acoustic characteristics of the environment. 

    Students will also be introduced to live sound recording and how to apply appropriate planning, performance and management techniques to create a high quality recording product. They will also be introduced to the basics of the program Pro Tools.

  2. Music history I


    This unit provides an overview of Western Contemporary music since the 1950s. Students investigate major musical styles and periods, and develop the ability to define key characteristics of each. 

    The unit introduces the broad themes of music with an emphasis on musical events, personalities, institutions and publications which contributed to the development of different musical styles. Students are exposed to the structure of the music industry, developing their understanding of the inter-relationship between the different sectors as well as the professional practice opportunities available. Students also gain an appreciation of the music tradition within which they will work. 

    The unit provides a context and preparation for the concepts which are explored further in subsequent units, and is essential for future professional practice in the music industry. Basic essay writing skills will also be covered in this unit.

  3. Music theory I


    This unit provides musicians with the basic ideas, techniques and principles of musicianship to allow you to begin to successfully compose, arrange and notate contemporary music. Skills and understanding achieved in this subject will enable a basic level of musicianship, which will be further developed during the duration of the course. 

    This fundamental level of musicianship will eventually allow you to compose successful compositions and help develop your technical musical skills on your chosen instrument. Classes in this unit will be streamed, determined by previous experience and a basic theory examination.

  4. Ensemble I


    This unit is an introduction to musical style, technique and form. Students will develop musicianship through a prescribed repertoire. Stage performance is developed to provide the knowledge and skills necessary for effective performance presentation. This includes aspects of movement, stage dialogue, microphone technique, musicianship and stage image. 

    The unit emphasis is to explore, rehearse and develop musical skills in a group or ensemble environment. Style masterclasses will develop understanding of a range of styles and genres. Students will develop planning skills and the ability to set specific, timely and achievable goals. Attention is placed on learning basic communication and interaction skills suitable for performance. The culmination of this unit will be the performance of a set of music to an audience at a professional public venue.

  5. Instrument I


    In Instrument I, students will begin to develop their technical expertise in their principal instrument and awareness of repertoire. 

    The unit involves the study of technical work and repertoire. For each subsequent instrument unit, students are required to demonstrate increased technical proficiency, creativity and the development of their personal playing styles.

  6. Music business I


    The purpose of this unit is to give students an introduction to the music industry enabling a basic understanding of key sectors, roles and structures within it. It will also introduce students to copyright as it applies broadly to musical, literary, dramatic and artistic works and the functions and responsibilities of publishers and publishing companies. All areas relating to the application of copyright and the workings of publishing are considered. 

    This unit outlines the practical application of the Copyright Act within the entertainment industry from its formative beginnings in the early twentieth century into an increasingly expanding competitive industry in the twenty first century. The course also introduces music publishing contracts, distribution deals, and opportunities that are emerging with the development of digital technology & the practices of independent artists. This knowledge is essential for any person wishing to work in the entertainment industry and provides the student with a solid understanding of these key elements.

  7. Arranging I


    Music arranging is an essential skill for many musicians. Without it, bandleaders and producers are limited to the simplest performances that can be created 'on the fly'. 

    This unit begins to develop students understanding of the process of music arranging. It will cover the creation of specific arrangements for rhythm section (that is, piano/keyboard, guitar, bass, drums) and voice. This will include writing and preparing the score, associated parts and other digital items often required by professionals.

  8. Music technology I


    This unit introduces students to the capacity of music technology to enhance their potential as musicians, composers, and recording artists. Students will investigate the fundamental range and features of music technology available and gain understanding of its potential in the creative process. 

    Students will learn the fundamentals of the technology underlying all stages of music creation and distribution. They will also investigate the operations and parts of a computer; set-up and operation of small music home recording systems; operation of industry standard software programs (Pro Tools); program using Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI), and understand basic principles behind sound synthesis. Students will acquire (or reinforce) basic musicianship and keyboard skills.

  9. Ensemble II


    This unit will provide further development in the understanding of musical style, improvisation, understanding of form and associated techniques. Students will continue to develop musicianship through a prescribed repertoire; however there will be focus on developing original arrangements and student's choice in repertoire. Students will develop planning skills and the ability to set specific, timely and achievable targets. Reflection and evaluation will be introduced and developed. Communication and interaction skills suitable for performance will also be a focus. The culmination of these areas will be the performance of a music set to an audience at a public venue. 

    Students will also be involved in a weekly style masterclass, predominantly in a group with their own instrument. The groups will develop specific understanding of genre and style to provide a broad understanding of contemporary music. Students will develop set repertoire and improvisational skills.

  10. Instrument II


    Instrument II will continue to develop the necessary skills to become eventually a master of your selected instrument. It will involve the study of technical work and repertoire. It is essential that you constantly develop yourself as not only a member of a band but also as an individual player to ensure your future musical career. 

    For each subsequent instrument unit, students are required to demonstrate increased technical proficiency, creativity, and the development of their personal playing styles. In Instrument II, students will continue to develop their technical expertise in their principal instrument and awareness of repertoire.

  11. Improvisation & rhythm


    This unit aims to provide the students with an opportunity to develop an understanding of the concepts involved in improvising across a variety of styles. It also will focus on rhythmic concepts in a concentrated way, enabling greater rhythmic precision and understanding of reading, writing and executing rhythmic elements in theoretical & practical contexts. The unit will also offer students an opportunity to discover how different cultures have developed and utilized rhythm.

  12. Songwriting I


    This unit develops students' conceptual knowledge and technical skills in songwriting, focusing on songwriting technique and practice methods, harmonic and melodic analysis, and the ability to present their songs using industry standard lead sheets. Students will investigate the links between music and text (prosody), form and structure of contemporary song, and analyse influential songwriters and their works. The unit contributes to the degree by giving students the opportunity to create their own original songs. The unit will also continue to develop students' musicianship and aural skills.

  13. Music technology II


    This unit provides the student with an understanding of audio production techniques within the Pro Tools digital audio workstation software. Students will learn to analyse and reproduce common audio production techniques, focussing on areas such as editing, arrangement, and effects and how they impact the outcome of the song. 

    While Music Technology I focused primarily on the fundamentals of digital technology and MIDI programming, this unit will develop skills to an intermediate level in audio editing and music production. Students will also explore virtual instruments to a greater depth, looking at how they can be used for music production across a range of musical styles.

  14. Ensemble III


    In this unit students continue to develop the understanding of musical style, improvisation, form and interpretation, and musicianship through a prescribed repertoire. There will be an emphasis on the development of original material and more opportunity will be given for students to develop repertoire of their own choice. 

    Students form ensembles of their own choice and it is expected that they would be at a standard to make a contribution to the ensemble. Students work collaboratively with the other departments as part of the Integration project. This could be in the form of a recording, a film clip, music for an animated project and other approved activities. This is an opportunity to work with the other JMC Academy creative disciplines and develop new understanding and skills.

  15. Instrument III


    In Instrument III students will continue to develop their understanding of style and repertoire, technical expertise in, and mastery of, their principal instrument. The unit involves the study of technical work and awareness of challenging repertoire. 

    For each subsequent instrument unit, students are required to demonstrate increased technical proficiency, creativity, and the development of their personal playing styles furthering development not only as a member of a band but also as an individual player to ensure a future musical career.

  16. Arranging II


    Music arranging is an essential skill for many musicians. Arranging skills can be utilised for recordings and live performances for a range of art forms. 

    This unit further develops the students' understanding of the process of music arranging. Moving on from MUS 209 (Introductory Arranging), the students begin to develop an understanding of writing for non-rhythm instruments. 

    The unit covers arranging for specific brass and reed instruments which are known in contemporary music as the 'horn' section. These instruments differ in arrangement from the rhythm section. Rhythm sections are interpreters and improvisers whereas the horns are generally reading specialists and require a different approach to notation and arranging.

  17. Music cultures


    Over five trimesters, students will have gained extensive knowledge of the process of composing and arranging contemporary music. In this trimester, students will be encouraged to look beyond Western music conventions and examine a range of music traditions from around the world. 

    Students will implement this information, and the skills gained in the Music Technology and Composing and Arranging streams, to write and/or record a 'crossover' piece of music utilising one or more non-Western musical traditions. In essence the unit is an introduction to the specialist research field of ethnomusicology whilst giving students a chance to further hone their composition/arranging skills.

  18. Music technology III


    Successful completion of this unit empowers the student with the capacity to integrate music technologies using Ableton Live within their live performance. Students investigate contemporary music artists who use AbletonLive in their current live performances. Assessment tasks aim to enable students to analyse the real-life use of the tools by current artists and then produce a work which can be integrated effectively into a three to five minute performance piece. 

    Students will gain an understanding of a context in which music technology is currently used for contemporary music performance, and will gain experience with the technical process which enables the merging of Ableton Live into their own creative work. 

    While Music Technology II focused primarily on the fundamentals of digital technology and production techniques, this unit will develop skills to realise the use of music technology in live performance.

  19. Ensemble IV


    In this unit students continue to develop their understanding of musical style, improvisation, form, interpretation, and musicianship through performing original material. Students will have the opportunity to work with the Film and Television department in preparing a music video collaboration project. This is an opportunity to work with the other JMC Academy creative disciplines and develop new understanding and skills.

  20. Instrument IV


    In Instrument IV students will continue to develop their understanding of style and repertoire, technical expertise in, and mastery of, their principal instrument.

    The unit involves the study of technical work and repertoire. For each subsequent instrument subject, students are required to demonstrate increased technical proficiency, creativity, and the development of their personal playing styles furthering development not only as a member of a band but also as an individual player to ensure a future musical career.

  21. Screen music


    This unit enables students to develop their conceptual knowledge and technical skills in understanding and composing music for a variety of productions. Students are required to apply these skills to the preparation and recording of music for a screen project. 

    The unit follows on from the fundamental skills of composition and production that students were introduced to in previous theory and technology units. Students also develop knowledge of the relationship between music and a variety of visual scenarios and the scoring possibilities within each context. 

    The unit looks at media involving film and television, videogames, web sites, commercials, animation and other new media. Students learn how to master the technical and musical skills needed to create effective music for each type of media. During this unit there is scope for students to integrate with other departments in collaborative projects.

  22. Specialist project


    Throughout previous units, students have developed skills and knowledge across areas of music theory, industry, performance and technology. 

    This unit aims to provide an opportunity to demonstrate this knowledge and employability skills within a focused area of the music industry. Students are able to apply their specialist knowledge and understanding of both current and future practice while reflecting on their own work related performance. 

    The unit equips students with skills in a specialist area of music that is of interest to them, helping to better prepare them for focused work within the industry. It also enables them to focus on an element of their previous study they find most fulfilling. Students have the opportunity to define their own work or knowledge based project or may have a lecturer assign one for them.

  23. Songwriting II


    In this unit, students continue to develop conceptual knowledge and technical skills in music analysis and songwriting. 

    This unit concentrates on songwriting techniques, with a focus on melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic development. Students also further investigate the links between music and text (prosody), forms and structure of the contemporary song and the musical methodology of song composition. 

    The unit builds on skills learned by Songwriting students in Songwriting I, and by Music Performance Students in Arranging I, Songwriting I, and Arranging II, focusing on the development of musicality, songwriting ability and professional practice. Students have the opportunity to create their own songs and write lyrics which demonstrate an understanding of the principles of rhyme, song structure, style and phrasing.

  24. Ensemble V


    This unit will continue to develop the understanding of musical style, improvisation, form and interpretation. There will be an emphasis on the development of original material and the development of a range of repertoire. 

    Students will demonstrate a higher stylistic understanding and incorporate advanced music concepts. Students will form ensembles of their own choice and it is expected that they would be at a standard to make a contribution to the ensemble.

  25. Instrument V


    In Instrument V students will continue to develop their understanding of style and repertoire, technical expertise in, and mastery of, their principal instrument. The unit involves the study of technical work and repertoire. 

    For each subsequent instrument unit, students are required to demonstrate increased technical proficiency, creativity, and the development of their personal playing styles furthering development not only as a member of a band but also as an individual player to ensure a future musical career.

  26. Music history II


    The purpose of this unit is to provide students with an historical and cultural overview of Western Art Music. It is important to understand the historical context of the periods and how they influenced musical development, to enable students to communicate with other musicians and develop a conceptual framework for describing music and its stylistic characteristics. 

    The purpose of this unit is to provide students with an historical and cultural overview of Western Art Music. It is important to understand the historical context of the periods and how they influenced musical development, to enable students to communicate with other musicians and develop a conceptual framework for describing music and its stylistic characteristics. 

    The different musical movements will be discussed and analysed looking at musical characteristics such as: use of key, harmony, instrumentation, texture, dynamics, melody, phrasing, ornamentation, articulation, form and rhythm. These musical eras will be put into context with the political, social, philosophical and artistic cultures of each period. 

    The unit will cover ancient and medieval music to music of the 20thCentury. The different musical movements will be discussed and analysed looking at musical characteristics such as: use of key, harmony, instrumentation, texture, dynamics, melody, phrasing, ornamentation, articulation, form and rhythm. These musical eras will be put into context with the political, social, philosophical and artistic cultures of each period. The unit will cover ancient and medieval music to music of the 20th Century.

  27. Arranging III


    Musical arranging is an essential skill for musicians hoping to take their art further than just playing in a band. The practical skills covered in this course require students to start to internalise music and develop notational and analytical skills. In building upon previous study in composition and arranging this unit will now introduce student to writing and arranging for a strings, woodwind, brass and percussion. 

    The aural and solmisation skills contained in this course continues to develop students' aural and sight reading skills. There is also a continued focus on contemporary music theory & advanced harmonic & melodic concepts.

  28. Music business II


    The purpose of this unit is to examine business principles and concepts for the contemporary music performer with the aim of establishing a sustainable professional practice. It will examine performance environments as well as music industry business models. Each student will be required to identify ongoing professional development requirements and opportunities.

  29. Instrument VI


    At this stage of the study program, you will be required to draw upon your ability to apply conceptual and technical skills in preparing and performing a 40 minute individual showcase recital. For this unit students are required to demonstrate high-level technical proficiency, creativity, ensemble leadership skills, and the development of their personal playing style.

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