The Foundation Certificate is a flexible programme, situated within a world-leading conservatoire. It is designed for aspiring musicians who wish to develop their musical skills and techniques through a dedicated programme of practice-based study and activity.
For some, this programme will provide an entry route to further study, such as an undergraduate degree programme at a conservatoire or university. It can be daunting to make the leap from A Levels (or other qualifications) to university. This programme is designed to help you make the leap.
For others, this programme will simply serve as a dedicated period of personal study and artistic development.
For students also looking to improve their English language skills, we also offer the International Foundation Certificate: Music & English. Please see the programme page for more information.
The programme takes place over one academic year, commencing in September and continuing until the following June. Classes in Applied Musicianship and Music, History and Society take place over 20 weeks during the Autumn and Spring terms. CoLab takes place during a two-week period in February. Professional Studies takes place throughout the entire duration of the programme.
Performance / Composition
Music, History and Society
The Professional Studies module includes 1-1 lessons, departmental classes, Alexander Technique, Dalcroze Eurythmics, audition class, performance workshop and generative techniques.
Running for one week in February, the CoLab module enables students to focus on working with other musicians, dancers and artists from other disciplines.
The Music, History and Society module is all about exploring the various roles, functions, and positions music can have in society, and understanding the context in which music is composed and performed.
The Applied Musicianship module focuses on the development of core musical skills (including aural awareness and improvisation) and the acquisition of core music theory including (harmony, harmonic function and form), all within a practical environment.
Outside of the formal programme structure, students will take a class in critical skills, visit a professional rehearsal, give a concert in a local school and set-up and run one or more public cohort concerts.
For further details see our Programme Specification
Teaching and Learning
Learning takes place through a blend of formal tuition, experiential learning and personal study.
Instrumental / composition / vocal tuition is at the heart of the programme. This comprises individual lessons, group classes, rehearsals, workshops and seminars, with some masterclasses also available for observation.
Students will develop their learning within a broad range of solo, small group/chamber and large ensemble activities. They can audition for Chapel and Chamber Choirs, Jazz Choir and various other orchestras and ensembles. Visiting artists, ensemble directors and lecturers will bring a variety of views and approaches current within the profession.
CoLab is a ring-fenced period of the academic year, when students from across the institution work together to create and develop creative projects, and where artistic risk-taking and innovation is encouraged.
Within academic modules, most tuition in is delivered in small groups, where practical experience is blended with theoretical knowledge. The programme aims to enable students to develop independent strategies for lifelong learning, and tutors will regularly encourage reflection and the formulation of specific targets for learning.
Specific modules or components may involve studying collaboratively with other students. Collaboration is considered to be at the heart of professional artistic life and as such, these opportunities represent valued learning experiences.
This programme assumes 1200 learning and teaching hours, with around 270 hours contact time. Contact time is defined as tuition which is delivered by a tutor. It includes performances, individual tuition, larger group tuition, seminars, departmental & academic classes, directed rehearsals, masterclasses, competitions and supervised study.
Self-study is supported by Moodle, the college’s virtual learning environment, and students will be expected to regularly upload material to their personal development portfolio. It is also supported by the award winning Jerwood Library of the Performing Arts, and by academic support from Student Services where needed.
Between 2012 and 2017, the Foundation Certificate was previously known as the ISP Foundation.
During this time, 87% of graduates of this programme went on to further undergraduate and postgraduate study either at Trinity Laban, at another conservatoire, or at a university. Of the graduates who chose to apply to conservatoire to study, 84% were successful.
Beyond their studies, graduates of this programme have gone on to follow careers in:
- solo, ensemble and orchestral performance
- composition and arranging
- creative project work, both within music and in
- instrumental and vocal teaching
- community project work
For more information on the successes of Trinity Laban music graduates, visit our Alumni Destinations and Alumni Profiles.
There are a range of assessment methods across the credit-bearing elements of the programme. As far as possible, these mirror challenges that can be encountered in professional contexts.
Assessments are both formative (in that they offer detailed feedback to the student) and summative, in that they offer a mark and justifications for that grade both to the student and the institution.
The programme throughout takes the view that assessment is primarily a learning rather than a grading tool, and students will undertake regular formative tasks in lessons and seminars. Graded assessment tasks are designed to be as valid as possible, whilst also maintaining fairness and reliability.
The Professional Studies module is assessed primarily through a short technical test and an end of year recital.
Applied Musicianship is assessed through a series of practical and notation-based assessments.
Music, History and Society is assessed through a written portfolio and a presentation.
CoLab is assessed through project research, documentation and reflection.
To pass the programme, students must achieve a mark of 40% or above on each of the modules that constitute the programme.
Successful completion of this programme will lead to obtaining the qualification of Foundation Certificate: Music.
Trinity Laban places greater emphasis on its own audition process than on formal qualifications. The course is aimed at students considering entry to undergraduate study at conservatoire or university, and places are offered to candidates who demonstrate the potential to reach that level within the year. As a guide, ABRSM/Trinity College London Grade 8 or equivalent would be the minimum expected level of entrance to the programme, although this is not a pre-requisite.
NB: All applicants should note that Trinity Laban will not consider applications for deferred entry.
The programme accepts students in all Western Art Music instruments and voice (NB this programme does not accept jazz students).
The Foundation Certificate: Music has an English language entrance requirement of CEFR B2 (ISE II - Integrated Skills in English or IELTS Level 5.5 in all 4 areas). For Tier 4 purposes the IELTS will need to be the specific IELTS for UKVI test. Students with English at a lower level than this are encouraged to apply for the International Foundation Certificate: Music and English
Fees and Finance
Fees for this course can be found on our current Music Fees.
It is not possible to confirm fees for future academic years as fee changes are linked to government policy. Fees may increase by up to 5% each year.
Accommodation and Living Costs
This information can be found on our Costs of Living page.
UK and EU students on this programme may be entitled to apply for student loans.
Read about financial awards and external funding opportunities in the Fees and Finance section.
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