IAB Diploma Popular and Contemporary Music

Programme Information

Programme Start September 2018
Title IAB Diploma Popular and Contemporary Music
Calendar September – June
Type Full-Time
Length 1 Year
Typical Class Size 27

Who is the programme for?

The BA Hons Popular and Contemporary Music programme is about developing independent, creative and entrepreneurial artist musicians. The degree provides the opportunity for musicians to grow as performers, develop their own unique style and be fully equipped with the knowledge and skill to flourish in the rapidly changing music economy.

Why Study in Barcelona?

Barcelona is one of the world´s most exciting music cities and home to numerous music festivals including Sonar, Primavera Sound and La Merce. The Music programme is about capitalizing on the dynamic culture of the city and creating a collaborative creative environment for the development of artist musicians. The IAB does not recognize the old boundaries of the music business but aims to create a space where creation, production, performance and artistry merge to foster innovation and new forms of music.

The IAB is a world leading creative community, which encourages its students to collaborate and think beyond the norm. Uniquely IAB Music students have the opportunity to work with dancers, actors and performers across the arts in a supportive creative and entrepreneurial culture.

The IAB Diploma is for talented, imaginative, forward looking musicians who want to undergo an intense period of study to refine their skills as performers and creators.

About the Programme

The IAB Diploma in Popular and Contemporary Music is designed as a one year intensive programme providing its students with high levels of creative and professional skills. More specifically the programme provides creative training in:

  • Music performance (including one to one tuition in principle instrument)
  • Music creation (songwriting)
  • Music Production
  • Music Performance and Technology
  • Music Business and Entrepreneurship

The programme does not foster one particular style or genre of music but rather provides musicians with the opportunity to develop their own work in whatever genre be it electronic dance music, rock, pop, fusion, or more experimental work.

Distinguishing Features of Music at the IAB
  • The focus on performance, innovation and experimentation
  • The international collaborative nature of the institution
  • The development of individual creative identity as a music artists
  • The integration of performance, creation, technology and entrepreneurship
  • Being part of one of Europe´s most creative and exciting Institutions with the opportunity to collaborate with artists from across the performing arts
  • One to one music tuition in principle instrument (see below)
  • High quality experienced staff with substantial links across the music industry
  • Its location in Barcelona one of Europe's most lively music cities
Teaching Staff and Associates

Central to the success of any programme is the quality of the teaching staff. All the staff who teach on the programme are experts in their field and have had successful careers as performers, composers or music entrepreneurs.

Principle Instruments

The IAB Diploma in Popular and Contemporary Music provides one to one tuition for all students for their principle instrument:

  • Voice
  • Keyboard (piano and synth)
  • Guitar (electric and acoustic)
  • Bass (electric and acoustic)
  • Brass (trumpet, saxophone, trombone)
  • DJing and electronic music
  • Other instrumental tuition may be available on request
Resources and Technology

Musician studying at the IAB will have access to a broad range of industry standard technology and equipment including:

  • Digital audio music recording facilities
  • Digital Audio Workstations
  • Audio-visual production facilities
  • Fully equipped ensemble and solo music practice and rehearsal facilities
  • Touring PA and backline equipment
Programme Content and Key Areas of Study

Although the programme is made up of separate units of study the programme as a whole is integrated with different elements of study joining together and feeding into each other.


Within this area you will, through weekly one-to-one session develop advanced technical and creative performance skills in your chosen instrument or singing voice (see above). Also within this area you will explore and develop advanced understanding of music theory for popular and contemporary music.

Performance and Music Projects

Performance in different creative context is vital for a career as a professional musician. The IAB offer unique opportunities across a wide range of areas for the artist musician.


Over the three years of the programme each student will develop a refined approach to the creation of music. Students will be supported in finding their own individual style targeted to a specific segment of the music economy. The IAB does not impinge on the direction and intentions of individual musicians but rather supports them in becoming unique individual music artists.

Producing, Music Technology and Recording

The creation, performance, recording and distribution of music is dominated by technology. Over the years course students will have the opportunity to develop an understanding of the use and potential of music technology from digital audio workstations and recording studios to live sound production. Technology is not only a means to an end but it, by its very nature, affords new creative opportunities previously not available.

The IAB is a practice-based institution where learning through doing is core. Whilst the programme does have lectures and seminars the dominant feature of the teaching and learning is hands on practical and experimental work.

English Language Requirement

All of our programmes are taught and assessed in English.

Foundation Certificates: IELTS 5.5 BA and MA degrees: IELTS 6.5

Students applying from countries where English is the main language do not need IELTS qualifications

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