Creative Music Industry

Vocational Qualifications Creative Music Industry

Whether you want to gain employment in the music industry or go into higher education, a Creative Music Industry qualification will give you the professional knowledge and skills needed for a career in music.

With pathways in Performance, Production, Composition, Live Events and Entrepreneurship, you’ll be able to build the most industry relevant qualification on the market.

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Pathway Information

Qualification Overview

“The UK music industry contributes over £5.2 billion to the UK economy with over 190,000 full-time jobs sustained.”
UK Music - Measuring Music 2019 report

RSL Awards is an awarding body specialising in the creative industries, designing qualifications which are relevant and reflective of today’s creative sector.

RSL’s Vocational Qualifications in the Creative Music Industry are designed to be a current reflection of the sector, offering 90+ units in diverse disciplines, suited to the kind of portfolio careers which predominate in the music industry.

For a career in music!

Our Creative Music Industry qualifications have five pathways: Performance, Production, Composition, Live Events and Entrepreneurship. Each pathway is defined by the mandatory content within it, but there are a huge range of optional units on offer enabling centres and learners to tailor their qualification to their main strengths and areas of interest.

Building on our long running, market leading Music Practitioners specifications, RSL has introduced bitesize ‘skills units’ which offer learners the opportunity to get a taste of a wider range of disciplines and develop a broader knowledge of the sector. Units have also been developed in Social Media, Streaming and Online Distribution to reflect developments in the current music industry.

With six different qualification sizes, a huge range of choice and flexible delivery encouraged, Creative Music Industry is sure to the fit the needs of your institution.

Qualification sizes:

  • RSL Level 3 Award in the Creative Music Industry
  • RSL Level 3 Certificate in the Creative Music Industry
  • RSL Level 3 Extended Certificate in the Creative Music Industry
  • RSL Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in the Creative Music Industry
  • RSL Level 3 Diploma in the Creative Music Industry
  • RSL Level 3 Extended Diploma in the Creative Music Industry

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Performance Pathway

Become the ultimate portfolio musician. The Performance pathway will set learners on their way to mastering their instrument and develop their songwriting ability, whilst giving them the tools to plan, promote and command the stage at their own headline show.

Learners will:

  • Perform effectively on their instrument/voice
  • Rehearse and display musicianship skills
  • Initiate and develop repertoire
  • Rehearse effectively and perform music live
  • Understand contextual issues relating to music style, audience and the music industry
  • Further their understanding of the live performance industry

Unit example: Performing Music Live

The aim of this unit is to refine learners’ live performance skills and to develop their capacity to take ownership of the entire performance process.

The purpose of this unit is to provide learners with a range of opportunities to refine their performance skills through performance to a live audience. This in turn will enable them to elicit constructive feedback to inform their ongoing development as performers.

Performing Music Live Assessment Criteria:

  1. Create a plan for a live performance of a musical set, to include
    • Image portrayal
    • Selection and preparation of repertoire
    • Communication with other musicians and technical staff
    • Promotion to an intended audience
    • Venue type (including risk assessment)
    • Personal equipment selection
  2. Undertake the live music performance relevant to the plan created above.
  3. Evaluate the success of the performance, identifying strengths and areas for development.

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Production Pathway

This pathway could lead to a desk job! In a world where content is king, being able to professionally capture audio and visual at the highest quality whilst creatively treating it for its desired output is paramount. Alternatively, learners might be a beatmaker with a yearning to get their music heard, the Production pathway will help professionalise their practice and hone their skills.

Learners will demonstrate:

  • Sound recording skills
  • Mixing and mastering skills
  • Sequencing and production skills
  • Video production skills
  • Understanding of contextual issues relating to music production techniques
  • Understanding of the music production industry

Unit example: Digital Recording and Production

This unit has aims to develop learners’ skills in effectively planning the recording process and recording instruments and voices, and to develop skills to edit audio samples for future use.

The purpose of this unit is to enable learners to record and use source material (instrumentation) as sample patches for future projects. The unit also focuses on the ability to plan and manage the recording process.

Digital Recording and Production Assessment Criteria:

  1. Suggest a rationale for a recording session or sessions, detailing:
    • The purpose and intention of the recording session
    • The sound sources that are to be recorded (minimum of six)
    • The resources needed to record the sound sources, including a justification of microphone types and placement
    • A working schedule and a list of personnel
  2. Create recordings of the sound sources, based on the rationale created above, meeting the following requirements:
    • Use of a variety of microphones and DIs, and a variety of mic’ing techniques (e.g. close, ambient, stereo)
    • Consideration of gain structure
  3. Based on the rationale, edit the recordings made above using software/hardware applications. The process should include:
    • Truncation of audio files (trim and crop)
    • Manipulation of samples (e.g. time stretching, pitch correction, looping, reversing)
    • Application of EQ and effects to process the audio
    • Presentation of the audio/recordings in a relevant file format in relation to the rationale
  4. Evaluate the results of the audio recordings created and edited above, analysing the decisions made and assessing strengths and areas for development.

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Composition Pathway

The Composition pathway allows learners to develop a comprehensive portfolio of work that is informed by a wide range of musical styles. Learners are equipped with a grounding in specific arranging and orchestration techniques for media, and have options to focus on lyrics, general musicianship, and using DAWs to foster creative independence.

Learners will:

  • Compose and arrange music
  • Initiate and develop repertoire
  • Develop musicianship skills through use of a harmony-based instrument
  • Use recording and sequencing software/hardware
  • Understand contextual issues relating to music style, audience and the music industry

Unit example: Solo Music Composition

The aim of this unit is to develop a learner’s own compositional style and identity through the creation of a cohesive body of work.

The purpose of this unit is to facilitate the development of a coherent set of original material for performance or recording, reflective of a profound, analytical understanding of the learner’s own musical context.

  1. Suggest a rationale for the creation of a body of musical work (approx. 25 minutes), to include:
    • Musical style(s)
    • Potential destinations and uses for the music
    • Personal development objectives
  2. Work alone to create the body of musical work proposed in above, with supporting evidence providing:
    • Evidence of the creation of all musical songs or pieces in the set
    • Evaluation of the musical and structural arrangement processes undertaken to realise each finished song/piece
    • Justification of each piece’s inclusion and place/position in the body of work in relation to the rationale
  3. Evaluate the success of the body of work created in relation to the rationale suggested above, and assess strengths and areas for development.

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Live Events Pathway

A live performance only happens because of the dedication of promoters, stage managers, sound engineers, photographers, and many more. Master the craft of hosting live events so your learners can be the stars of the show even when they’re offstage.

Learners will:

  • Organise and run events
  • Learn about event promotion and management
  • Develop technical stage management and event management skills
  • Work as part of a team
  • Understand contextual issues relating to live events and the music industry
  • Further their understanding of the live events industry


Unit example: Managing a Music Event

This unit will develop learners’ ability to stage a musical event or series of musical events (tour). By evaluating the process involved in staging a musical event and applying the required skills to an area of their own interest, learners will develop strategies for event management and promotion in a variety of areas.

Managing a Music Event Assessment Criteria

  1. Analyse the job roles and responsibilities involved in managing an event, including team structure, management roles and strategy.
  2. Demonstrate their own ability to manage a team towards the realisation of a specific musical event (or series of events).
  3. Evaluate their performance as a manager and team member by critically reviewing the impact of their role and their contribution to the success of the event (or series of events), identifying any areas for improvement.

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Entrepreneurship Pathway

Releases and tours don’t just happen overnight. Our Entrepreneurship pathway enables learners to become the next generation of innovators by taking command of their work and pursuing a career that rewards creativity and business know-how with impressive results.

Learners will demonstrate:

  • Sound business and financial skills
  • Marketing skills
  • Understanding of contracts and copyright
  • Freelance practice
  • Understanding of contextual issues relating to the music business and the wider music industry
  • Further their understanding of the music industry

Unit example: Setting up a Music Business

This unit will identify the key entrepreneurial skills required for a music business startup and how to communicate a new business proposition. Through a comparative skills analysis, learners will establish whether they have the necessary abilities to run their own business and where their personal strengths and weaknesses are. They will identify a market opportunity for a new business and research and evidence a business case to demonstrate its viability.

Setting up a Music Business Assessment Criteria

  1. Compile a portfolio that collates a range of evidence on entrepreneurs and business owners, and identifies common traits and characteristics.
  2. Evaluate their own abilities, skills and traits in relation to those identified in above.
  3. Develop a business idea and present the idea with a supporting business plan.
  4. Evaluate learning from the unit by creating a career-focused action plan that highlights how they might apply what they have learned to planning to set up a music business in the future.

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Progression and Support

Learners completing these industry relevant qualifications may go on to further study in Higher Education, there are hundreds of music and associated degree courses available across the UK including 14 Commercial Music degrees, 271 Popular Music and Music Degree programmes and 20 Live Event courses.

Those completing a Level 3 Creative Music Industry qualification may also be able to access apprenticeships such as ‘Live Event Technician’, ‘Live Event Rigger’ or ‘Creative Industries Production Manager’.

Learners may also be able to enter directly in to one or more employment opportunities within the industry such as junior roles in booking agencies, promotion companies, labels, venues or retail, or as an artist, session musician or songwriter.

RSL’s Creative Music Industry qualifications are the latest addition to our suite of technical qualifications covering the contemporary creative industries.

There are similarities in the structure and format of these qualifications and our qualifications Performing Arts or Creative Digital Media, and there is a natural linkage in that all the qualifications encourage collegiate working across disparate subjects. However, the Creative Music Industry qualifications are unique in their focus on diverse aspects of the current music industry from performance and songwriting through to marketing, promotion and production.

Prospective learners seeking to gain knowledge and skills in the Creative Music Industry sector through undertaking an RSL qualification could also consider an apprenticeship, traineeship or an alternative qualification when deciding on their pathway into the industry.

Amongst others, RSL’s Creative Music Industry qualifications were designed with input from a range of individuals with considerable experience in diverse areas of the music industry including positions such as artist manager, label owner, producer, performer, educator, studio engineer and company director.

Education institutions contributing to and supporting these qualifications include BIMM, Access Creative College, MAS Records (Kidderminster College), SEMM.