Diploma of Music (Contemporary Performance)

Want to make music for a living? A diploma in music from JMC Academy will give you the training you need to get your career started.

In one year you'll learn about music arrangement, composition, and receiving training in new music technologies. Get hands one experience in professional studios and be tutored by a range of industry professionals who will explore a range of different performance techniques.

Whether you want to work as a composer, musician or music director, this course will help you get there.

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At a glance

Study mode



JMC Academy
Career Opportunities
  • Composer
  • Musician
  • Music Director
  • Lyricist

Nationally recognised - meets Australian Qualifications Framework standards.


At least 17 years of age, a written application, interview & audition


NSW - Sydney

QLD - Brisbane

VIC - Melbourne

Course length
Full-time: 1 year
Study mode



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


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


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

Start date

3 start dates per year.

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

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.


  • Written application
  • Minimum of 17 years of age
  • Interview
  • Audition

What you'll learn

Become trained in:

  • History of contemporary music
  • Contemporary music theory
  • Music technology
  • Ensemble studies
  • Instrument studies
  • Music industry studies
  • Arranging music
  • Live sound and production

Course structure

10 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 unit 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.

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