Traditional Music Performance HND

traditional music course Glasgow

New for August 2019, Our HND in Traditional Music Performance is the ideal course for traditional vocalists and instrumentalists looking to hone their craft, and learn the skills and knowledge required to build a successful career in the industry. 

Apply Now

This is much more than a qualification, we view it as a two year work placement where our students benefit from developing a high quality CV and showreel, preparing them for working in the industry or moving on to University.

Delivered in our unique commercial environment, centred around one of Scotland’s most celebrated recording studios, this is the perfect course for those looking to build a successful career as a professional Traditional musician.

Learning at the hands of some of the country’s top musicians, our students enjoy frequent access to our commercial quality production and pre-production facilities, along with the opportunity to collaborate with other like-minded future industry professionals, providing our students with an exciting route into the music industry.

Practical applications of the Performance course will allow candidates to build their musical skills in group situations, develop a professional stage presence and learn about the practical aspects of performing. Our Performance students also have the opportunity to further develop their playing technique through individual study and one to one sessions with our experienced tutors.

At a glance our Traditional Music Performance students;

  • Receive one-to-one lessons on their first Instrument from leading traditional musicians
  • Develop their group work skills in our rehearsal studios and perform in Glasgow’s leading live music venues
  • Develop their composition and expand their knowledge of recording software and various recording techniques
  • Generate high quality recordings and gain the required skills to become a recording or session musician
  • Participate in a commercial record release and gain an understanding of promotion
  • Network and participate in seminars, workshops and masterclasses with leading industry professionals
  • Gain hands on experience at the other side of the mixing desk, accessing the latest music software and equipment
  • Cover theory based subjects such as; Income generating organisations (PRS, MCPS, PPL, MU,) and legal issues (contractual and copyright law, management, publishing, recording and live performance contracts)

Every single element of the course has been carefully designed and ties directly to industry relatable practices and activities.

Our year 1 HND students will study the following units: 

Unit Specification

Our students learn the organisational aspect of the music industry, giving them the background and knowledge to build a successful career within it. This unit provides an in-depth look at the commercial organisations that form the creative industries, such as; PRS, MCPS, PPL, MU, Creative Scotland and many others. Traditional organisations including Fèisean nan Gàidheal, Hands Up for Trad, and Traditional Music Forum will also be explored.

Get Industry Ready - Focus is placed on providing information on the opportunities for promotion and networking, relevant to building a successful career in the industry. Students will create a CV and identify the skills and qualities necessary to undertake a successful funding opportunity.

Although the focus is on self-employment legal issues and the research of available income streams, students will gain a valuable insight and transferrable skills that could apply to other roles within the industry, for example, working with, or as, a promoter, managing bands or venues, working with sync companies etc…

Unit Specification

Students will receive focussed one to one tuition with an expert tutor, developing a high level of proficiency on their chosen first instrument.

Get Industry Ready - Elements of First study are crucial when considering roles such as; professional performer, music tutor, examiner or session musician etc…

Unit Specification

Develop the skills necessary to perform in a live situation, including all the practical aspects involved and an understanding of the appropriate technology. Our students work towards performing at a live gig as part of the assessment.

This unit will improve candidates instrument skill and compliments first study as it establishes a rehearsal routine and encouraging a professional work ethic.

Get Industry Ready - This unit is primarily designed to provide students the required skills to participate in a structured rehearsal program and perform in a live environment (A minimum of three showcase events at city centre venues; (Stereo, CCA, Blue Arrow etc…)

This unit is used to supply bands and artists for our HND Sound Production, offering cross course networking opportunities highlighting this unique aspect of the Riverside learning experience.

Some of the HND Sound Production Units our Performance students participate in;

  • Multi-track recording - Students will gather the required skills to become a recording / session musician, learning studio etiquette and how to communicate with relevant sound technicians in a professional capacity.
  • Advanced Studio Techniques - Students are placed in a variety of situations including large ensembles or performing sessions in a live broadcast scenario.
  • Sound for Live Events - Learning the correct procedures and protocols when communicating with appropriate technicians or personnel in the live environment.

Working with our Sound Production students gives our performers the opportunity to forge working relationships with like minded, future industry professionals, whilst building a portfolio of work.

Unit Specification

The focus of the Music Theory unit is the rudiments of music and the relationship of the written symbol to sound. This unit is designed to promote knowledge and understanding of musical theory in context.

Get Industry Ready - Knowledge gained in this unit can help secure jobs within the music industry such as; music tutor, composer, session musician or performer.

Unit Specification

Designed to give candidates an insight into the multi-track recording process, related terminology and key factors concerning the recording of music. This unit is aimed at candidates who have little or no prior knowledge of recording equipment.

Get Industry Ready - Frequent access to a professional recording environment ensures our performers can be confident when articulating their needs to sound technicians.

The unit covers critical areas, such as; session planning, appropriate microphone selection and techniques, equipment selection, connections and routing, artist monitoring, Multi-track recording systems, gain structure, overdubbing, studio etiquette, EQ and processing.

This unit is crucial for today’s musician, in a world of self releasing and self producing, RTFM teaches candidates to select the appropriate equipment and apply the appropriate techniques in order to record and produce high level professional recordings.

Unit Specification

This unit is designed to develop the skills required by a songwriter and composer. This is achieved by listening, analysing and researching existing folk songs and traditional melodies. Students will work through a series of musical examples and research their chosen genre, in order to assist the creative process and assimilate the necessary knowledge and skills. Students then undertake the process of songwriting based on the conventions of the “traditional” idiom. Some elements of this unit are cross-assessed with the Digital Audio Workstations unit and reinforced within First Study, Live Performance and Music Theory.

Get Industry Ready - Perfect for those looking to pursue careers as recording artists, composers or songwriters.

Unit Specification

Designed to deliver an understanding of a digital audio workstation specification and the ability to record and manipulate audio and MIDI for sound production. It gives our students an underpinning knowledge required to utilise the main functions of a digital audio workstation and to take an audio engineering project to a conclusion by creating a final production master.

Get Industry Ready - This unit is crucial for today’s musicians in a world of home recording and self releasing/producing. The unit teaches candidates to select the appropriate software and apply the appropriate techniques in order to record and produce high level professional recordings using a digital audio workstation.

Studying Digital Audio Workstations will benefit candidates when entering a professional recording studio as they will possess a broad knowledge of industry standard platforms, such as, Pro Tools and Ableton Live.

Unit Specification

The graded unit is designed to provide evidence that the candidate has achieved the following principal aims of HND Music Performance Year 1:

  • An ability to analyse and synthesise knowledge and skills acquired through study
  • An ability to develop study, organisational and research skills
  • An ability to develop competencies in a range of specialised areas of their choice, in line with their preferred career aims
  • An ability to prepare candidates for progression to further study in music
  • An ability to adopt innovation and creativity in their work and be able to respond quickly to the challenges posed by changes in the music or audio industries.

The Creative Project is designed to enable candidates to develop expertise in the generation, development, completion and presentation of a project to a given brief, for an elected vocational area of the creative industries. This project acts as a ‘showcase’ to display skills and knowledge being acquired throughout the group award.

Get Industry Ready - Learners will plan and produce a portfolio of work that could be used to showcase their ability in, for example, a job application or interview situation for either employment or further study. 

Both Graded Unit and Creative project work in tandem to enable candidates to work on a project that will see them specialise in a discipline of their choosing, both these units revolve around the culmination of a years learning and are delivered as a large project for which they will receive an end of year grade.

"The new HND course at Riverside Music College is an exciting development in the field of education of Traditional Music in Scotland. The team at Riverside have a deep understanding of Scottish Traditional Music, in terms of performance but also how to successfully capture and record the music with gorgeous results."

Chris Stout - Musician / Composer

When filling out our online application, please state your chosen first instrument in the 'other info' section.

Apply Now


Fees & Funding

Riverside offers flexible payment options for students wishing to pay fees via our SAAS and non-SAAS funded instalment plans. Eligible students can also apply for living cost support via SAAS, who have a combination of loans, grants and bursaries available. Student loans of up to £6,750.00 and bursaries of £2,000.00 are available depending on individual circumstances. For further details please check the SAAS website.

Entry Requirements

Minimum of One Higher (Band C or above, music is highly desirable) or equivalent plus passes in at least 2 other subjects at NAT 5 or equivalent. Students must demonstrate ability on at least 1 instrument, or voice.


2 academic years (HNC can be obtained after 1 academic year)
August - June
18 hours